The Forgotten Cemetery

The Cemetery at Mathiatis

It is recorded that five members of the 71st Highland Light Infantry died during their five month stay in Cyprus.

Private James McGlashan - 24th July 1878
Private James Hewitt - 29th July 1878
Private Henry Elliot - 7th August 1878
Private James Lowden - 4th September 1878
Private David Splain - 16th September 1878

The stone walls have mostly fallen away but small sections remain at their full height
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The first three soldiers on the list died in the early days and before the regiment moved to Mathiatis........the location of their graves is not known.
Note: Private James McGlashan, like Sgt Samuel McGaw VC died on his first day in Cyprus.

Private James Lowden died shortly after arriving at the temporary camp in Dali and his death was noted in Sir Garnet's journal on the 4th September 1878.
A 71st Regiment grave was recorded by a Major Donne (Royal Sussex Regiment) near a church in Dali in 1882 and this is most likely to have been the final resting place of Private Lowden.

In one corner of the Mathiatis cemetery is, unquestionably, the grave of Private David Splain who died on the 16th September 1878.
The headstone is in many pieces but a few traces of writing can be made out.

The grave of Private Splain and the broken pieces of his headstone
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Part of the headstone probably reading......"SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF"

The figure '31' with other undecifered lettering

An extract from the Muster Book (Pay List) showing that Private Splain had previously been a footman

A wider view of the cemetery with a single mature eucalyptus, several pine trees planted in a straight row and one tree of (currently) unknown type
Note: The eucalyptus first came to Cyprus through a French arborist who was sent to the island in 1876 by the Ottoman administration
These trees are typical of the early British colonial days when they were planted to reduce the number of mosquitoes by draining marshy ground