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Glasgow City Council

Elizabeth Cross presented to brother of soldier killed in 'forgotten' conflict

Published: 10 August 2017

The brother of a Glaswegian soldier killed during the four year Cyprus Emergency was presented with the Elizabeth Cross by the Lord Provost, in her role as Lord Lieutenant, at a ceremony at the City Chambers yesterday, Wednesday 9 August.

It represents the third and final Elizabeth Cross to be presented in the last year to a sibling of a local soldier who served in the Ist Battalion Highland Light Infantry more than 60 years ago.

Pte Ben Doherty (18) from Bavelaw Street, Garthalmlock, was one of three soldiers who died when a bomb detonated during their football game.  His brother, Tony Doherty (57) was presented with the Elizabeth Cross in recognition of his sacrifice. He was also awarded the General Service Medal as an enlisted soldier.

Pte Doherty was deployed to Cyprus as part of the Cyprus Emergency Peace Keeping Force in January 1956.

He had been enjoying an off-duty game of football at Lefkoniko with his comrades when a bomb located at a nearby water fountain exploded. Pte Matthew Neely died instantly. Ptes Doherty and John Beattie survived the initial blast and were rushed to the Military Hospital, Nicosia. Sadly, they later died of their injuries.

Lord Provost Eva Bolander, in her role as Lord Lieutenant, made the presentation to Tony Doherty who wasn't born at the time of his brother's death.

Lord Provost Eva Bolander said: "It's important that families of these soldiers do receive some recognition of their service. Conflict visits great costs on everyone who loses a loved one. It's my honour and pleasure to be able to present the Elizabeth Cross. I know that it's a source of great pride and comfort to surviving family members."

Tony, a telecoms service manager with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: "I'm very proud. Sadly, I didn't know my brother. He was the eldest of nine children, two girls and seven boys. I remember his picture always had pride of place in the living room.

"His death devastated my mother Margaret and father Ben. They explained to me that he had died in Cyprus when a bomb exploded in a well while he had been playing football."

Mrs Margaret Moncur from Crow Road received the emblem in memory of her big brother, Private Matthew Neely (19) in 2016 and Jean Andrew inn recognition of the death of her brother Pte John Beattie in February.

A total of 371 British servicemen lost their lives in what some call 'The forgotten conflict' between 1 April 1955 and 18 April 1959.

The Elizabeth Cross was created to provide national recognition for the families of armed forces personnel who have died on operations or as a result of an act of terrorism. It is not a posthumous medal for the fallen but an emblem demonstrating tangible national recognition for service families for their loss.

Published: 10 August 2017

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