A FLINTSHIRE town once rallied together to bring the body of a soldier, awarded the Military Medal for combat in Malaya and buried overseas, back home where he belonged.

Born in Mold on September 13, 1935 Cpl Derek Joseph Humphreys was one of eleven children of Thomas Edward and Kathleen Humphreys.

He joined the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Welch Fusiliers in August 1954, during the period of the battalion’s involvement in the Malayan insurgency.

Cpl Humphreys was to quickly prove himself to be an outstanding soldier and was selected to undergo training as a junior leader in Jungle Warfare.

After many months of painstaking searching for an elusive enemy, without ever losing his enthusiasm, his energy and skill were rewarded on September 16, 1956 when he was commanding a small patrol searching very thick jungle in the steep mountainous area of the Kuala Pilah District Forest Reserve.

At 10.30am, whilst quietly moving down a stream, his leading scout found himself standing in the washing place of a Communist Terrorist camp. The enemy could be heard talking and were clearly not aware of the patrol’s presence.

Cpl Humphreys immediately ordered his patrol to turn back and cover their tracks, and succeeded in withdrawing unnoticed 1500 yards to his patrol base. By 2pm he had guided two platoons back to a point close to the camp.

While one of platoons established a cordon, he helped to position the assault party. With every soldier in place Cpl Humphreys then took a spirited part in the attack, which was heavily resisted by the trapped enemy, using automatic and other weapons.

By his outstanding skill and leadership, Cpl Humphreys laid the foundation for the plan by which six Communist Terrorist in the camp were eliminated.

For showing outstanding courage and leadership skills far beyond his years, the-then Cpl Derek Joseph Humphreys was awarded the MM (Military Medal).

When his Service came to an end in 1957, and upon his return to the UK, Derek found employment at his local Steel Works.

However, whilst being as popular with his fellow workers as he had been with his military comrades, it was not enough. Derek was a warrior by heart and, early in 1958, he decided to follow return to soldering.

He joined the 1st Battalion at Whittington Barracks, Lichfield, where the Bn was preparing for a tour of duty in Cyprus.

Not long after joining the battalion he sailed on the troopship Ss Dilwara, from Southampton to assist in quelling the EOKA insurgency on the Island of Cyprus.

On 12th November1958, Cpl Humphreys was on vehicle escort duties travelling through the Troodos mountains. They were following a route frequently used by civilian and military vehicles travelling from western regions of the island to Nicosia City and Nicosia Airport.

At a point near to a ravine alongside of the road a bomb planted by terrorist, detonated under the vehicle Cpl Humphreys was travelling in. The blast tossed the vehicle off the road into the ravine and he died aged just 23 years old as a result of this.

He was buried with military honours at Waynes Keep Military Cemetery in Nicosia.

However, the remorse felt for the Humphreys family led Mold residents to start fund raising to return Derek's body for burial in his home town.

Feelings were such that the friars of nearby Pantasaph Monastery donated to the fund and Father John Aloysius Ward personally travelled to the family home with the donation along with all of the friars’ blessings to the family.

Cpl Humphreys can these days be found at rest with his parents at Mold Cemetery.