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12:00pm Thursday 5th April 2012 in Letters
I was interested to see the piece last week on the Wiltshire Regiment reunion. I was an Army photographer in Cyprus during the EOKA campaign and visited most of the regiments stationed there to photograph their parades and individual soldiers for their local newspapers.
Another of my duties was to attend the funerals at Waynes Keep for the War Graves Commission.
Some of those soldiers I had known and photographed. It was a harrowing and dangerous time but those lads are now forgotten by the public and the government, but not by those they served alongside.
Unfortunately they are interred in a foreign land, unlike the present where those who have died are repatriated.
My saddest experience is remembering the day I had to photograph two Military Policemen. They arrived at our compound and we had a great day larking about, cracking jokes, eating spam rolls from the sandwich man, pretending to race with their gleaming motorcycles.
We got some great photographs and their last words to me before they left were: “Can we have copies of the photographs for our mums?”
The next day they were both killed by terrorist action and I was ordered to destroy the negatives but, I had kept the prints, determined to fulfil my promise.
Unfortunately these were confiscated when I passed through Nicosia airport to return to Blighty for my demob, a permanent source of regret. I know that the duty officer or sergeant at the airport would have kept those photographs as a memento of their own time in Cyprus. That action deprived those mothers of seeing that their sons’ last full day of life was a very happy one.
Terry Buchanan, Willowbank, Chippenham.