The Forgotten Cemetery

Si Garnet Wolseley

In 1878, as the result of a secret deal, the island of Cyprus was leased to Great Britain by Turkey.
Sir Garnet Wolseley was called upon to occupy the island on behalf of the British Government.
He was to be the Commander-in-Chief of an expeditionary force some 10,000 strong - troops that were already based in Malta.

Lieutenant General Sir Garnet Wolseley - the first British High Commissioner in Cyprus

He departed Malta on the evening of the 18th July 1878 onboard HMS Himalaya.

HMS Himalaya was once the largest steamship in the world - however, she proved uneconomic to run and was purchased by the Admiralty and used for trooping voyages to India

Sir Garnet wrote to his wife every day until the 31st December 1878.
These letters give important details of his experiences together with some blunt personal opinions and are published as............
"Cyprus 1878, The Journal of Sir Garnet Wolseley".

A selection of journal entries:

"The Cyprus people are a wretched lot as far as I can learn, but what can be expected of a people bred under such a form of slavery and ground down as they have been by masters who did not even care to conceal the contempt in which they held them."

"The labourers hired locally are generally skulkers."

"It was a very unwise move sending these British regiments here during the hot weather."

"I hope he is equal to the work and has some organising ability in him."

"I am afraid Grant is a complete failure; he looks as if he were asleep."

"Mass - dirty greasy priests attempting to intone some dreary dirges that were utterly devoid of music or melody."

"There are several groves of olive trees and a good many wells worked after the Persian fashion with coarsely baked long jars fastened on an endless rope made of some sort of withies."

"I drank a glass of water with a lime squeezed into it and almost immediately diarroea set in."

"The men as listless and weak and evidently most depressed in spirits. I never saw a corps so utterly demoralized."

"So ends this year upon my career in Cyprus, where I shall be this day 12 months, it is hard to say. I hope not here."