The Invasion of Cyprus

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by TheCheerfulSubbie, Feb 13, 2008.

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  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. 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 :(
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Thanks RM, just the kind of thing I was looking for.
  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!
  5. old_fat_and_hairy

    old_fat_and_hairy LE Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    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.
  6. old_fat_and_hairy

    old_fat_and_hairy LE Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    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. 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?
  9. old_fat_and_hairy

    old_fat_and_hairy LE Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    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.
  10. old_fat_and_hairy

    old_fat_and_hairy LE Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    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. 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:
  12. Sorry, bit confused:


  13. old_fat_and_hairy

    old_fat_and_hairy LE Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    That was for the original campaign against Eoka, as opposed to the Turkish Delight day trips.
  14. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    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. My father got his NGS and PTSD fighting EOKA c. '58, with 45 Cdo. Bless'em all. B'stards.