Soldier's death in Cyprus to be marked 50 years on

A memorial service is to take place to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of a 17 year-old soldier in Cyprus.

On 21 July 1974, Guardsman Graham Lawson, from Barmston, Washington, of the Coldstream Guards, became the first soldier to be killed while serving with the UN in Cyprus during the intervention on the island.

The ceremony will be held at Washington Cemetery on 21 July at 11:30 BST.

Ged Parker, chairman of the Washington History Group which organised the ceremony, said: "It just seemed the right thing to do, to remember his passing."

Two men on the group in a stony environment
The Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 led to the island's partition [AP]

Guardsman Lawson was reported to have been killed in the Cyprus city of Limassol when a weapon he was unloading exploded.

He had been in Cyprus for four weeks and it was his first posting.

Turkish forces had invaded the island a day earlier in response to a military coup on the island which was backed by the government of Greece.

He was buried in Washington on 1 August 1 1974, leaving behind his parents and brothers and sisters.

Mr Parker said local history was about "remembering the human stories like Graham's".

He said: "What is really great is that we've been able to find a surviving relative, an uncle, who will be coming along to the ceremony.

"It seemed really important to us that we have a member of the family there."

Representatives of the Coldstream Guards, the Washington Royal British Legion, and Holy Trinity Church will also attend the service.

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