The Sunderland story which finally can be revealed after 60 years

Maurice, left, and a pal with their bullet-holed caps.
Maurice, left, and a pal with their bullet-holed caps.
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The photo of a Sunderland man’s close shave - showing his bullet-riddled cap - has finally been revealed after 60 years.

This picture shows Maurice Charles Naisbitt, now 79, who served for two years in Cyprus from 1958 and came under attack happened on the way back to camp.

Maurice and his wife pictured last year.

Maurice and his wife pictured last year.

His patrol was ambushed and took heavy fire from the trees. Two were shot and injured. As for Maurice, he and his friend came within a whisker of death when bullets winged through their headwear.

Maurice’s son Michael Naisbitt told us: “Photographs were taken for posterity.

“One was sent to the Echo but the then Editor decided against publishing it as he didn’t want to worry any of the nearest and dearest of those serving their time in Cyprus.”

But Michael wanted us to publish the photos to show the bravery of his father and the picture came back to light when his daughter Hannah - the granddaughter of Maurice – was “learning about the military at school.”

The attack happened on the way back to camp after a patrol and they were ambushed and took heavy fire from the trees. Some of the bullets came so close that they actually winged his and his mate’s caps as well as hitting others in the vehicle

Michael Naisbitt

She wanted to do a show and tell session for classmates, said Michael. And so finally, after all these years, a remarkable tale of a close shave can be shared.

Proud Michael also revealed more about his father.

He worked at Cherry Knowle Farm “when it was entirely self-sufficient and supplied the entire of Cherry Knowle, cows, pigs, hen-houses, turkeys, geese”.

“Always been fit, a joker and a good laugh. When we were little he was always joking around, whether it was putting snowballs in the freezer to have a snowball fight with in the summer or making old-school go-karts for me and my friends he was always up to something and very good with his hands. He was and still is an expert gardener. Also great with animals due to his farm days, both big and small.”

Cherry Knowle Farm.

Cherry Knowle Farm.

We are delighted and honoured to finally share Maurice’s remarkable tale.

Cherry Knowle Hospital.

Cherry Knowle Hospital.