EOKA & Cyprus

EOKA & Cyprus

The Para’s in Cyprus in the 50’s. Below is a rare document which is a EOKA propaganda flyer warning that informers will be executed.

From 1950-56 Corporal Lowe was stationed in Cyprus and during this time was involved in the efforts to track down the EOKA terrorist movement and find the World War One and World War 2 veteran Greek Army officer Georgios Grievas.

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Source: Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EOKA



EOKA was headed by Georgios Grivas Greek Army officer, World War I and World War II veteran. During the Axis occupation of Greece in World War II, he led a small, anti-communist resistance group, named Organization X. During the anti-communist struggle of December 1944 in Athens after the Axis withdrawal he was saved due to British intervention. Grivas assumed the nom de guerre Digenis in direct reference to the legendary Byzantine Digenis Akritas who repelled invaders from the Byzantine Empire. Second in command in EOKA was Grigoris Afxentiou, also a former officer of the Greek army. Afxentiou had graduated from the reserves Officers Academy in 1950 without previous experience on battlefield.
Suez 56 - EOKA properganda flyer



The main objective of EOKA was Enosis: union of Cyprus with Greece. The organization adopted typical Greek national ideologies and displayed religious, conservative and anticommunist ideas. This was in agreement with the prevailing ideas of Cypriot society at the time. There was a widespread belief that leftists opposed national objectives and provided a certain support to the colonial regime contrary to other contemporary anti-colonial insurgencies in Africa or Asia, which were led by Marxists.
Grivas and Archbishop of Cyprus, Makarios III, disagreed about the way to rid the island of British rule. Grivas rejected Makarios’ attempt to limit the campaign to acts of sabotage, avoiding loss of life. Nevertheless, he shared Makarios’ view that victory would be won by diplomatic means. Grivas’ goal was to subject the British to continued relentless harassment, making it clear to them that occupation carried a price, while keeping Enosis on the international diplomatic agenda. The British response to the EOKA campaign was crucial in this regard: repression would on the one hand alienate the Greek Cypriot population from British rule, and on the other hand provide Makarios and the Greek government with a stick to beat the British with before the United Nations. EOKA would ensure that there was a Cyprus problem and demonstrate to the world that the British could not resolve it.


Grivas carried out a first reconnaissance in Cyprus as early as July 1951.  Makarios was certainly skeptical, telling Grivas on one occasion that he would not find supporters for an armed struggle. The British shared the same view. Grivas finally arrived on the island in early November 1954 and set about establishing his underground network. He recruited from the Cyprus Farmers’ Union (PEK) in the villages and from the two main youth movements, the Church-controlled Christian Youth Movement (OHEN) and the nationalist Pancyprian Youth Movement (PEON) in the towns. Grivas intended to turn the youth of Cyprus ‘into the seedbed of EOKA’ The backbone of EOKA were the mountain groups, a conventional guerrilla force living in hidden camps in the forests, and the town groups, often continuing their civilian job or schooling. Supporting this armed wing was the much broader National Front of Cyprus (EMAK), which provided EOKA with intelligence, supplies, weapons, medicines, recruits and safe houses, confronted the British on the streets with demonstrations and riots and conducted the propaganda offensive.


CONTACT US: If you were on Operation Musketeer or in Cyprus as a serving soldier in the 50’s. Also please do get in touch if you have images of a family member. Photos and stories welcome.

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All pics on this site are copyright AJ Lowe apart from photo of Suez drop, which is taken from the front cover of Brigadier Paul Crook’s Book ‘Came The Dawn’ and Corporal Lowe ‘counting bullets’ which was first published by the Cyprus Times. We are now receiving more pictures. Many Thanks to Derek Charlesworth who has recently contributed pictures of his dad’s time