The Forgotten Cemetery

The Move to Mathiatis

On the 29th August 1878, Sir Garnet Wolseley rode to the Mathiatis area which he thought would make, "a very nice Cantonment, especially if we can get rid of the existing village."

At this time, the 71st (Highland) Light Infantry and the 31st Forest Company Royal Engineers moved to a temporary camp near Dali in order to commence construction of the Mathiatis Cantonment - "a hutted winter camp at the more refreshing hillside location."

Note: The altitude of Mathiatis is about 1100ft above sea level.

The map shows the location of the temporary camp at Dali and the site of the new camp at Mathiatis
Click the image or this link for a larger version (opens in a new window

On the 5th September 1876 Sir Garnet Wolesley wrote in a letter to his wife that one soldier of the 71st had died of sunstroke and 21 were admitted to hospital with fever. However, no name or place of burial was noted.

Sir Garnet also reported that the regiment was moving their camp from the valley to the heights above it where, "there is always a good breeze."

A useful image of the 71st Highlanders but unfortunately not taken in Cyprus (actually, 22 years earlier in the Crimea)
However, the uniforms, bell tents and wooden huts are indicative of their 1878 Cyprus days

On the 1st November, the new Mathiatis camp having been completed, the temporary camp at Dali was abandoned.

Sir Garnet visited the camp towards the end of the 71st's stay at Mathiatis and wrote in his journal:
"Started at 8.15 after breakfast for Mathiatis which I reached in 2 1/2  hours without galloping. Went round the hospital and the men’s huts.
The men very comfortable and looking remarkably well.
The Cantonment is a very nice one and the doctors pronounce it to be very healthy."

The 71st (Highland) Light Infantry were relieved in Mathiatis a few days later on the 14th December 1878 and they sailed for home via Gibraltar on the 15th December.

Five of their comrades had succumbed to disease.