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Charalambos Pettemerides

Charalampos Pettemeridis was born in the mountainous village of Kannavia of the Nicosia District on January 21st, 1934. He came from a family with eight children. His parents were Ioannis and Antriani Pettemeridi and his siblings were Michalis, Nikos, Alexandros, Hermione, Eleni, Maria and Meropi. When he was killed fighting for his country, he was married to Eleni Stylianou Pettemeridi. He had been working to make a living ever since he was a young child. He worked in the mines of Amiantos, but also as a greengrocer in Amiantos and a waiter in Keryneia.  

He enlisted in EOKA upon the commencement of the fight, in 1955, while he was still working in Keryneia as his love for Greece and Freedom were overwhelming. He continued operating in the area of Pitsilia, Spilia and Amiantos. He had a very close cooperation with the guerillas of the area, who he would hide is his house, where he had built a hideout. Even hero Gregoris Afxentiou stayed there in December 1955, when the fierce battle of Spilia took place, during which Afxentiou helped EOKA leader Dighenis avoid getting caught by the British.

Pettemeridis was both liaison and supplier for the guerilla teams acting in the area of his village. His actions were betrayed in June 1958 and he was arrested and detained at the interrogation centre in Platres. He was interrogated and tortured for 35 days, but he never revealed anything to the British. When he was released, he continued helping EOKA. However, the British soon found out about him and started looking for him again, but this time Xerxis (this was his alias) had not stayed at his village. He went to the mountains to fight as a guerilla and joined the other guerilla teams. He built a hideout in the mountains across his village with the help of his fellow fighter and wanted guerilla, while the hideout was also used by other guerillas.     

On October 6th 1958 he was ordered to ambush the British with other guerillas at the location “Moutti tou Saranti”, somewhere between the villages of Spilia and Lagoudera, southwest of Kannavia. The four guerillas were armed with a mine, a pistol, a Bren gun, an automatic M3 and grenades. They placed the mine on the road and they connected it to the mortar which they had attached to a tree, so that the explosion would destroy the British car, while the mortar would immobilize all following cars. During the attack two vehicles, which had approached the ambush area with their headlights off and which were loaded with British soldiers, were hit. During retreat, while crossing the road, Charalampos Pettemeridis was fatally wounded by soldiers who were on the third car, which was also approaching with its headlights off.    

The hero’s dead body was found the next day, while the British were examining the ambush scene. He was buried with honours in his village, where his bust stands today, next to the bust of Andreas Patsalides. At his funeral his wife sang some lyrics she had written herself, paying tribute to her brave husband before she fainted into the hands of her father. Later on, she continued her contribution to the cause until the end.

 

 
 September 2018

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