Veteran seeking to unite relatives with soldier's medal

A Cyprus war veteran is looking for relatives of a man with Brechin roots who died during the Cyprus emergency in the 1950s so they can claim his medal from the conflict.

Mark Dowie
Thursday, 10th February 2022, 12:38pm
Veteran seeking to unite relatives with soldier's medal

The war was fought between 1955 and 1959 and eventually led to Cyprus being declared an independent state in 1960s.

During the conflict 372 British soldiers lost their lives, along with 90 members of the Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston, a paramilitary organisation seeking the end of British rule in Cyprus, and union with Greece.

Now Les Smith has contacted Angus County Press in a bid to track down the family of Lieutenant John Joe, who died in action and was the grandson of former Brechin town Bailie John Joe. Since 2009 his relatives have been entitled to receive the Elizabeth Cross, awarded to the family of personnel who have died during operations since the end of the Second World War.

Born in Hampstead, London, on June 6, Lt Joe died in 1956 and his death was announced in the Brechin Advertiser on May 1 that year. He is buried at Wayne’s Keep, the British military cemetery in Cyprus. In the report, the Advertiser said that the 26-year-old Royal Artillery officer, son of Dr Alexander Joe, superintendent of Colinton Hospital in Edinburgh, had been found shot on April 24.

Les, a veteran of the conflict, said: “Lieutenant Joe is one of the 372 British Service men whose name is among those remembered with honour on the British Cyprus Memorial.

"He had a sister, Elizabeth Joe, born 1935, also Hampstead. Their parents were Alexander and Elizabeth Lawrie, nee Page. They were living at 10 Greenbank Loan in Edinburgh with daughter Elizabeth, who was there in 1958 but had moved out by 1963. John married Joan Cairns Paterson and after his death I’ve reason to believe she married a Dr Clive Dennis and lived in Cockburnspath, Berwickshire.

“My search is for John's widow, any children she may have had with him, his sister Elizabeth or any children she may have had.”

He said that the only cost involved would be that of a postage stamp to apply to the medal office.

He added: “I would supply all details needed to apply.”

Anyone who can help can email Les at

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