The Community Council of Agios Ioannis of Pitsylia, wanting to honour the fellow-villagers that sacrificed their lives for the freedom of their country during the 1074 Turkish invasion, has created a modest monument, which it has dedicated to the community’s following Heroes and Missing Persons.
Commando’s Sergeant Pittas Anastasis
Anastasis Pittas is the third out of 9 children belonging to the family of Andreas and Anna Pitta.
Anastasis stood out for his diligence, his bravery, and his decisiveness. He loved nature and was very fond of hunting in the village’s harsh mountains.
The fatherland called him for service on the 20th of January 1974. He enlisted in KEN of Pafos and was selected for the Commando Corps. He was placed in the 33rd Commando Squadron in Belapais of Keryneia, holding the rank of a sergeant. During the tragic days of the invasion, he took part in a night raid aiming to take over the Agios Ilarionas height, which was successful. The height was then abandoned due to insufficient support by other units and his group was ordered to hold the defensive line in Agios Georgios of Keryneia.
His group was surrounded by the Turkish invaders. The efforts to break through proved futile. Before the danger of being captured the commandos chose to retreat one-by-one. During that heroic sortie they lost their lives. Anastasis was killed by a burst of fire from a machine-gun while trying to help a wounded comrade.
Commando Savvas N. Malekkides
The only son and the second out of five children in the family of Nicolas and Elli Malekkide.
Savvas was the hope and the prop of his family, the tireless aid of his father in the carpentry workshop. On the 22nd of July his unit settled in a defence line on the Alonagra height. It was then transferred to the Tymvou Airfield. The unit’s next mission was the defence line in Pachyammos. The commandos held the defensive line until the 14th of August. When the defence line of Mia Milia broke, the unit was ordered to withdraw due to the encircling movements of the Turks. The commandos separated into small groups and moved toward the staging area, in which Savvas and his small group did not manage to reach. Ever since then Savvas is Missing in Action.
Private Demos Chr. Demosthenous
The last of seven children of Christoforos and Eleni Demosthenous.
Demos was characterised by his good mood and his love for soccer and sports. He was working in Varosi (Famagusta – Ammochostos) and played soccer in AEK of Ammochostos, being the “banner” of the Nationalist-Religious Association’s soccer team whenever he was visiting the village.
Coming from a family with a tradition in the struggles for freedom, he was also present when the country called in 1974. He had his father as an example -who was present in WW II, fighting in Egypt and Greece where he was captured and lead to a concentration camp in Germany -as well as his brother who answered the call in the epic struggle of 1955.
When the fatherland called Demos set out from Famagusta to Aspri Moutti in Pentadaktylos. He reported to the Commandos’ camp in Agios Chrysostomos and from there he was sent to Keryneia along with other reserves. He is missing ever since then.
Private Christoforos Giatros
The fifth out of six children in the family of Savvas and Anthousa Giatrou.
Christoforos was characterised by sensitivity. He was joyful, cheerful, and ready to help whoever was in need.
The fatherland called for his service in January of 1972. He served in the 241st Infantry Battalion and was (honourably) discharged in January of 1974.
The tragic July of 1974 found Christoforos running after and trying to catch the village’s bus so as to meet his younger brother, Costas, in the front, where he was serving in the Commando Corps, and his older brother Chrysanthos who also gave his presence in the reserves.
From the village he went to Syrianochori along with other fellow-villagers. According to testimonies, efforts were being made in Syrianochori to organise a battalion of reserves. After summary proceedings, a platoon was formed, which went straight to the front line in “Exi Mili” (Mile Six) -the region where the landing of the Turkish Invaders took place. The bus was stopped by soldiers, the platoon’s leader realised that they were Turks as he was getting off the bus and shot at them; an exchange of fire ensued, the reserves abandoned the bus and found refuge in the fields. Christoforos was wounded in his leg. There was heavy firing in the night. Christoforos sought help in the village Elia of Keryneia. According to information, he found help in the house of Rita Mantoles, where his wounds were nursed and civilian clothes were given to him, since the village was surrounded by Turks. On Sunday 21/7/1974 the family and other fellow-villagers from Elia raised a white flag and surrendered to the Turks. The invaders picket out 13 men from the crowd. Ever since, none of these men returned, among them Christoforos Giatros.
Corporal Costas I. Palama
The second child in the family of Ioannis and Evanthia Palama.
Costas was a merry person who passionately loved life and people.
The fatherland called him for service on January of 1973. In the tragic days of the Turkish Invasion he was serving under Charalampos Lottas in Trachonas. His unit was hit by a barrage of mortar shells artillery fire. Costas was heavily wounded by mortar shells that went off next to him on the 1st day of the invasion.
This serious injury left Costas with grave disabilities. The love of the fighter for life kept him together. After several surgeries and medical help he managed to stand on his legs again and he looked to the future with hope.
Fate however turned her back on him. On 23/10/1984 he lost his life in a road accident, during his first trip from the village in his special handicap’s automobile. A fateful journey resulting from the disability that he acquired in the tragic days of the invasion.