The remains of five Greek soldiers who lost their lives in battle in August 1964 were handed over to Greek Alternate Defence Minister Dimitris Vitsas during a special ceremony that was held in Nicosia on Tuesday.
Lieutenant Panagiotis Chrysoulis from Athens, Plutarch Spyridon Agathos from Corfu, Plutarch Nicholas Panagos from Arcadia, Antipaspostor Panagiotis Theodoratos from Kefallinia and Piertis Nikolaos Kappadoukas from Skopelos were on board the patrol vessel “Phaethon” at Tyllirias when a Turkish bomb attack was launched. The death toll of the bombardment also included Antipaspisist Nikolaos Niafas from Lamia, whose remains were repatriated last January, as well as Cypriot volunteer from Morphou Akis Filatas, whose body rests in his birthplace.
Cyprus also handed over the remains of two more Greek soldiers, Reservist Vasilios Koukousoulis, who also died at Tyllirias in August 1964, and Colonel Athanasios Fotopoulos who was killed in the battle for Nicosia airport in July 1974.
Cypriot Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs, Photis Photiou apologised on behalf of the Cypriot government for their delay in handing over the remains which he attributed to mistakes and omissions of the past. He also thanked the staff and experts who undertook the exhumation and identification of the Phaethon crew’s remains, adding that the deceased had “offered their lives at the altar of Cypriot freedom”.