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THE WILTSHIRE REGIMENT
CYPRUS

 

Because of the ever increasing number of images that have become available it has become necessary to continue the photographic gallery on this page

 

The Enemy

Grivas

Matsis

Grivas the No 1 on the Wiltshire Regiments Wanted men's list Kyriakos Matsis, Grivas's Quartermaster in Cyprus at this time. He was killed by troops of the 1st Bn Wiltshire Regiment in Placid Dhikomo Village in November 1958

 

The circumstances leading to the Killing of Matsis as reported by the Times of Cyprus, Thursday 20th November 1958

EOKAs leader in Kyrenia district chose death in a crude hide in Placid Dhikomo village yesterday to a "Surrender or die" ultimatum from troops.

He was 32 year old Kyriakos MATSIS, who's trail led from the north coast and beyond the Pentadactylos mountains. It ended in a four room house on the village outskirts. Within eight hours of a surprise cordon and search after a Wiltshire Regiment officer received information that MATSIS was in the village, troops had reached the home and were probing the tile floors for the hollow sound indicating a hide underneath. With a bayonet, one soldier traced out a square block of tiles in a rear bedroom and intelligence officers knew they had their man. "MATSIS", one yelled, as troops moved back and waited. The wanted man answered and was told to come out, "There are two men down here with me" he said "I'm sending them up first unarmed, Don't shoot". The interpreter told him that troops were clearing the room, and shortly after the two men lifted the tile hatch and climbed out with their arms raised. Troops handed them over to special branch men.

 

The deceased MATSIS after Action

Picture of MATSIS from a Cyprus newspaper after being dealt with by the 'Springers'

Again, the interpreter ordered MATSIS to  surrender, but he answered "I'll come out shooting" a smoke grenade was lobbed into the hole and MATSIS was warned that next time it would be a live explosive. "Come out" he was told again "No" answered MATSIS and an army grenade exploded in the hole. Troops found his dead body lying a couple of yards under the floor. They threw in another grenade in case any explosives had failed to go off.

Unidentifed Wils Regt Officer

An officer of the Wiltshire's pictured in a local newspaper 'At the scene'

Lt Col George WOOLNOUGH who was directing the operation, said that MATSIS and the other two wanted men had probably entered the hide only yesterday after a house curfew was announced.

Later the Director of operations Major General DARLING said "It is an absolutely splendid effort. My men have been first class under conditions requiring great patience and endurance, it is a terrific show and only the beginning"

If any Soldier from the Wiltshire Regiment who took part in this operation has any recollections that can complete the picture we will be glad to hear from you.

 

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                            Revised: 19 July 2006.