My grandfather at war

By: | Post date: July 7, 2023 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Culture, Greece

The Venetian bridge across the river Setrachos at Kalopanayiotis.
Which reminded my uncle of a story I had also heard from my father, and forgotten.
My maternal grandfather saw action on the Albanian front in WWII; he kept a diary during his time, which turned out to be full of pledges to celebrate masses for saints, if they got him out of there alive. My paternal grandfather, 20 years older, saw action, I’ve been told, in 1919, in Baku. The only way I can make sense of that via the Internet is either the Battle of Baku in August 1918, a confused British attempt to bolster Armenia in its incipient conflict with Azerbaijan, or the subsequent British occupation of Baku, arriving in November 1918 and remaining through 1919. Wikipedia records involvement in the Battle of Baku from Empire colonials (“Dunsterforce“, under Lionel Dunsterville), but I am finding zero evidence of Cypriot involvement in what seems to have been a hand-picked contingent. So I assume my grandfather was one of the 5000 occupying British Empire troops in 1919, instead.
That was not the last of my grandfather’s military adventures.
My grandfather was a manly man, of the type that used to flourish here in times of old. When his wife would ask him to quieten down, he would shout, “I’m a man, and I’m not afraid of anyone.”
The Cyprus insurgency, which found my grandfather in 1956 at the age of sixty, was no time not to be afraid of anyone. Not when the insurgents killed more Greeks, accused of treason, than they did British.
My grandfather was instructed by one insurgent cell to keep watch for Turkish Cypriots in place A. Another cell instructed him to go to place B instead.
My grandfather, being a man and not afraid of anyone, was not about to be bossed around by some snot-nosed teenagers giving him contradictory instructions, so he headed off to water his cherry trees instead.
The small detail that those snot-nosed teenagers had guns, and were quite happy to turn them on him, seems not to have registered.
The following evening, as he headed out to water his cherry trees again, a megaphone announcement went out. “Nicholas Hadjimarcou and (some other villager) are exhibiting treasonous conduct, and if they do not change behaviour quickly, they shall be executed and made an example of.”
Hadjimarcou went the following day to the local insurgent leader to demand a resolution, nowhere near as sheepishly as would be prudent. Nevertheless, it worked. The broadcast the following night was, “Nicholas Hadjimarcou has now seen the error of his ways” (εσυνετίσθη)

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