Markos Drakos’ Sten Gun
The Regiment’s last overseas tour of duty was in Cyprus from 1956 to 1959, in operations against EOKA terrorists. Its greatest success was the ambushing and killing of Markos Drakos, the third man in the EOKA hierarchy.
In August 1956 the 1st Battalion the Suffolk Regiment moved to Cyprus for what turned out to be its final overseas posting. Its role was to combat the terrorist activities of EOKA, whose aim was the union of Cyprus with Greece; the methods used were a combination of patrolling and ambushes.
The Battalion’s most spectacular success was the ambushing and killing by ‘D’ Company of Markos Drakos, EOKA’s 2nd in Command, on 19 January 1957.
‘D’ Company had deployed a set of section patrols on the mountain slopes of the Adelphi Forest, aiming to catch guerrilla groups who would come down to the villages at night to collect food. A section group of eight men under Corporal B King established their ambush as dark was falling; he found a suitable rest area about 150 yards away and left Lance/Corporal H K Fowler there with three men while he returned to his four-man ambush.
The two groups changed place every two hours on a bitterly cold night with freezing rain. As Lance/Corporal Fowler’s group were taking over at 23.00 hours one of the men, Private S J Woods, saw a lone figure of a man on the track seven or eight yards away from him. He fired at him instantly and the terrorist returned fire. The remainder of the section opened fire and Drakos fell dead to the ground.
Corporal King, Lance/Corporal Fowler and Private Woods were all Mentioned in Despatches for their part in the operation.
Drakos’s sten gun was preserved as a trophy and presented to the Suffolk Regiment Museum.