Grave dilemma over Volos British remains

Three months after municipal officials in Volos asked London to take delivery of the remains of 14 British servicemen buried in the area three-quarters of a century ago and pay outstanding grave fees, a new hitch has appeared in the form of state conservation officials, a report said yesterday. The British Embassy in Athens had agreed last month to pay the local authority some 44,000 euros in fees – down from an initial demand for 120,000 – and was ready to take over the remains. But now, according to Ta Nea daily, the Culture Ministry’s department for 19th and 20th century buildings has decided the 74-year-old graves constitute a historic monument that merits preservation. The 12 sailors and two marines died in an explosion on the warship HMS Devonshire during exercises off Skiathos, and were buried at Nea Ionia, on Volos’s outskirts. The cemetery is now scheduled to become a park.

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