The Invasion of Cyprus

#1
I was just reading a couple of threads on Cyprus and was wondering about our role in the Turkish Invasion in 1974. I’ve tried to do a couple of Google searches on it, but no joy.

Does anyone know what actually happened? Did we try and defend the SBAs or was it the case that the Turks would never dare attack Sovereign British soil? And what happened to any land we had in the North, because I keep hearing the old stories about abandoned NAAFI warehouses in Famagusta?

Can anyone shed any light on it?
 
#2
TheCheerfulSubbie said:
I was just reading a couple of threads on Cyprus and was wondering about our role in the Turkish Invasion in 1974. I’ve tried to do a couple of Google searches on it, but no joy.

Does anyone know what actually happened? Did we try and defend the SBAs or was it the case that the Turks would never dare attack Sovereign British soil? And what happened to any land we had in the North, because I keep hearing the old stories about abandoned NAAFI warehouses in Famagusta?

Can anyone shed any light on it?
OP ABLAUT. 40 Cdo RM were Spearhead Bn - 19 Bde (incl some TA elements) were in Cyprus at the time on Ex cammanded by Brig Jimmy Glover. 10 Ord Sp Bn provided the Bde Spearhed Ordnance Field Park. 8 Sqn RE were there as was 1 Sqn RCT. Royal Scots were in Paphos and 3 RRF (IIRC) were in Dhekelia. A Sqn of the Blues and Royals was deployed with the brand new CVR(T). I lived in a fcuking 160lb tent for 6 months at Pine Track Camp and learned to trust my seniors (who ended up living in the female accn at the BMH in Dhekelia :twisted: )

The Turks never attempted to attack the SBA's because:

1. The V bombers took all of the nukes off the island and returned with a gut full on 1000lb ers.

2. We had a Sqn of Phantoms and 2 of Lightnings in RAF Akrotiri.

3. They knew better than to upset the NATO alliance.

4. It was 2 phase attack. The Turks secured 2 foothold in the N and then took over the top half of the Island about 2 weeks later.

As an aside the Stn Comd at Akrotiri was sacked by CinC Middle East because he refuse to accomodate refugees in his MQ.

As a further aside I seem to recall that 1 RS formed a square formation and fixed bayonets when the local Turkish Refugees got a bit lively.

And my fecking PB branch always insisited that I'd had a sunshine posting :D

And you've made me feel old :(
 
#4
EOKA (KEO is ale!) were the barstewards and were headed up by a little sh1t called Nicos Samson. They wanted Enosis (Union with Greece) and kicked Archbishop Makarios of the throne - the Turks invaded and we reinforced. Samson was a well known murderer who we should have topped during the earlier troubles. An older brother of a friend of mine was killed during the EOKA campaign when serving with the Gordons (well done Mike Jackson - you did what the Germans couldn't!)

I have a good friend who served with 1 Para in the early '60's and regards some of what happed during the internecine strife as almost medieval - and he isn't squeamish!
 

old_fat_and_hairy

LE
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#5
In the uprising in Cyprus (EOKA was the rising up party) and the demand for Enosis (Unification with Greece) Eoka were led by General Grivas, and Archbishop Makarios was the de facto leader. This rather nasty business involved many attacks on Turkish Cypriots and a number of horrible massacres.
The Green Line in Nicosia was a result of this, as was a parttion of the island
the invasion in 74 was the Turkish response to Greek demands.
Brig Jim Glover was my battalion Commander in 3RGJ and an excellent soldier.

A film was made about the intial uprising, Eoka, starring Dirk Bogarde as a Rifle Brigade officer seconded to intelligence. It was called 'The High Bright Sun' and was not too terrible.
 

old_fat_and_hairy

LE
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#6
rickshaw-major said:
EOKA (KEO is ale!) were the barstewards and were headed up by a little sh1t called Nicos Samson. They wanted Enosis (Union with Greece) and kicked Archbishop Makarios of the throne - the Turks invaded and we reinforced. Samson was a well known murderer who we should have topped during the earlier troubles. An older brother of a friend of mine was killed during the EOKA campaign when serving with the Gordons (well done Mike Jackson - you did what the Germans couldn't!)

I have a good friend who served with 1 Para in the early '60's and regards some of what happed during the internecine strife as almost medieval - and he isn't squeamish!
To reinforce what your mate in Paras thought, it was obscene. My section found a house where an entire family had been butcherd - literally - and the pieces thrown into a bath. We couldn't work out how many were there, the pieces were so small and mixed up.
 
#7
Thanks Mr D. I'm fairly well read up on the background of the conflict, I was really wondering about the role of British Forces during that time.

It seems (from what I've read) it sometimes got quite hairy. Was there ever a medal or clap issued for our servicemen?
 
#8
old_fat_and_hairy said:
rickshaw-major said:
EOKA (KEO is ale!) were the barstewards and were headed up by a little sh1t called Nicos Samson. They wanted Enosis (Union with Greece) and kicked Archbishop Makarios of the throne - the Turks invaded and we reinforced. Samson was a well known murderer who we should have topped during the earlier troubles. An older brother of a friend of mine was killed during the EOKA campaign when serving with the Gordons (well done Mike Jackson - you did what the Germans couldn't!)

I have a good friend who served with 1 Para in the early '60's and regards some of what happed during the internecine strife as almost medieval - and he isn't squeamish!
To reinforce what your mate in Paras thought, it was obscene. My section found a house where an entire family had been butcherd - literally - and the pieces thrown into a bath. We couldn't work out how many were there, the pieces were so small and mixed up.
This memory comes from a drunken afternoon in the Rugby Club (after a good lunch!) but was the family head a doctor and his wife pregnant at the time?
 

old_fat_and_hairy

LE
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#9
A clasp was issued to the GSM.
It was hairy for families as well as servicemen.1956 2 bombs were placed on a plane carrying service families. Luckily the take off was delayed so none were on board when it exploded.
In 1958 the wife of a Royal Engineer sgt was shot in the back by two Eoka terrorists.
 

old_fat_and_hairy

LE
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Reviews Editor
#10
rickshaw-major said:
old_fat_and_hairy said:
rickshaw-major said:
EOKA (KEO is ale!) were the barstewards and were headed up by a little sh1t called Nicos Samson. They wanted Enosis (Union with Greece) and kicked Archbishop Makarios of the throne - the Turks invaded and we reinforced. Samson was a well known murderer who we should have topped during the earlier troubles. An older brother of a friend of mine was killed during the EOKA campaign when serving with the Gordons (well done Mike Jackson - you did what the Germans couldn't!)

I have a good friend who served with 1 Para in the early '60's and regards some of what happed during the internecine strife as almost medieval - and he isn't squeamish!
To reinforce what your mate in Paras thought, it was obscene. My section found a house where an entire family had been butcherd - literally - and the pieces thrown into a bath. We couldn't work out how many were there, the pieces were so small and mixed up.
This memory comes from a drunken afternoon in the Rugby Club (after a good lunch!) but was the family head a doctor and his wife pregnant at the time?
I believe that was so, and there were two other children and a mother of one of the adults supposed to be there, but it really was hard to tell, especially after the flies and rats had been in there.
 
#11
TheCheerfulSubbie said:
Thanks Mr D. I'm fairly well read up on the background of the conflict, I was really wondering about the role of British Forces during that time.

It seems (from what I've read) it sometimes got quite hairy. Was there ever a medal or clap issued for our servicemen?
No medal clasp was issued. The Turks did fire on British troops but it was "relatively" inadvertent.

Its all coming back now (I had a lot of slivo yesterday!). 16/5 Lancers had a Sqn there and 29 Cdo Regt also had a Bty deployed - 105mm Pack Hows IIRC. I remember seeing a signal Wng O which would have deployed about another 10,000 troops if needed.

I did the Sunday convoy to Nicosia to get all of the trapped tourists out - and got a sh@g as well - (I was her hero 8) )

The Crabs gave top cover with Phantoms, the B Sqn The Blues and Royals had the baby Panzers on the road and the Booties looked the Dogs Nads and made it clear to the Greek National Guard that this was not an exercise!!!!!!The US 6th Fleet sent hairygozzers in (lots of them) to take off Septic refugees. All in all quite impressive.

I'm off to lunch with the little honey in my office - a couple of glasses of pivo may improve my memory :roll:
 

old_fat_and_hairy

LE
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#13
TheCheerfulSubbie said:
Sorry, bit confused:

old_fat_and_hairy said:
A clasp was issued to the GSM.

But

rickshaw-major said:
No medal clasp was issued.
:?
That was for the original campaign against Eoka, as opposed to the Turkish Delight day trips.
 

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#14
Some other bits.

41 Commando Group, who were based in Malta were returning from a carrier based Ex in N America when it all kicked off in '74. They had just passed Gib when they received the order to go to Cyprus, they called at Malta on the way & offloaded under 18s & took some of the rear party. When they arrived off Cyprus they thought they were landing in something dodgy. Helos started ferrying troops before the carrier was visible over the horizon & the booties landed & took up defensive positions. No one told them they were thee to help with the humanitarian side & help all the Brits to be be evacuated.
After the return to Malta the Battery changed over & my Battery (Black VIII) became part of 41. In Oct '74 the Group went to Cyprus as UNFICYP and unlike now there was a job to do.
I was based at Polemedia Camp, Limassol & we had troops out in various villages where the Turks had remained. The main Turkish Refugee Camp, at that time, was within the Episkopi SBA. The villagers did not like being out in the Troodos villages & so at lot came down to Epi. Of course this upset the Greek Cypriots & wasw an embarrassment to the UK government.
The only way these people could be moved north was to fly them via Akrotiri to the Turkish mainland as the Cypriot authorities would not allow movement North overland.
Some of the Turks tried to go North by hiring Greek Taxis to take them through the Troodos mountains, for a large fee. We found their bodies!
 
#15
old_fat_and_hairy said:
TheCheerfulSubbie said:
Sorry, bit confused:

old_fat_and_hairy said:
A clasp was issued to the GSM.

But

rickshaw-major said:
No medal clasp was issued.
:?
That was for the original campaign against Eoka, as opposed to the Turkish Delight day trips.
My father got his NGS and PTSD fighting EOKA c. '58, with 45 Cdo. Bless'em all. B'stards.
 

old_fat_and_hairy

LE
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Reviews Editor
#16
angular said:
old_fat_and_hairy said:
TheCheerfulSubbie said:
Sorry, bit confused:

old_fat_and_hairy said:
A clasp was issued to the GSM.

But

rickshaw-major said:
No medal clasp was issued.
:?
That was for the original campaign against Eoka, as opposed to the Turkish Delight day trips.
My father got his NGS and PTSD fighting EOKA c. '58, with 45 Cdo. Bless'em all. B'stards.
I was there in 60's. Wasn't a lot of fun. Went back in 70's with Unficyp, based at a camp outside of Limassol. We had outposts in Paphos and other places. Ayaia napa was about 6 mud huts at the time. Paphos had nowt, except the pelican restaraunt. Biggest bugbear was saluting anything vaguely UN coloured. We almost had to present arms to the Med!
 
#17
old_fat_and_hairy said:
I was there in 60's. Wasn't a lot of fun. Went back in 70's with Unficyp, based at a camp outside of Limassol. We had outposts in Paphos and other places. Ayaia napa was about 6 mud huts at the time. Paphos had nowt, except the pelican restaraunt. Biggest bugbear was saluting anything vaguely UN coloured. We almost had to present arms to the Med!
I was there last week OFAH. Paphos hasn't changed much except for the presence of an airport, a few HIND helicopters and a few more restaurants. The sea front/promenade is currently entirely shut for rebuilding until May! There is now a very nice motorway stretching from Paphos to Nicosia and Larnaca through Limassol so that the Greek Cypriot National Guard can retreat even more quickly should the Turks renew their advance. The Med is still blue.
 
#18
Not too sure if this adds much to the thread, but anyway….

Back in the summer of 1974 I was one of several hundred pads’ brats waiting to fly out to Cyprus courtesy of an RAF VC10 which is probably still hauling its sorry backside around the airways… I remember that our first planned sortie was cancelled due to the Turkish / GCNG initial spat which saw the Turkish Cyp population suffering the first signs of what was to become known as ethnic cleansing. We subsequently did manage to get into the air and to Cyprus when the tactical pause (although it probably wasn’t acknowledged as such at the time) took hold. Subsequently the Turkish Army invaded via the North, we were hastily evacuated along with many others from Limassol (Berengaria) into what was then RAF Episkopi and some poor RAF sod’s MQ. I think there were about 14 of us living in the house. Interesting times – 10 man ration packs dropped at the door, trips down to Happy Valley to what was then a fairly significant refugee camp, and watching Turkish aircraft circling Paphos from the verandah of the house we were living in. I can’t remember if they ever attacked, but they, along with the Turkish navy certainly put the frighteners on the place.

Loved the tale told by my father about the GCNG piqueting a route along which Makarios was to travel – they did a pretty good job by all accounts –until they got to a major roundabout in Limassol; they worked out all round defence, but forgot to notice that they were dug in around said roundabout….facing inwards.

Happy Days.
 

chrisg46

LE
Book Reviewer
#19
I seem to recall my plt sgt was one of the brats being evacuated. He mentioned the memory of rounds going over his head at some point. I shall ask him next time i see him, and maybe point him in the direction of this thread.
 
#20
I can remember the RAF MQ I lived in at Wattisham being used for a temporary billet the night that a lot of families were flown out of Cyprus. They arrived very late at night and were gone by 8 the next morning. Seem to recall being told they arrived by Herc...poor sods.
 

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