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“The British were in Cyprus as it was strategic for the eastern Mediterranean and the Suez Canal.
“The Greeks hated the Turks and vice versa and both hated the British. This made it difficult for us to know who was the enemy. “
“A lot of the routes, and our camp, were surrounded by orange groves. This meant that the terrorists could throw home-made grenades at us and then disappear into the orchards never to be seen again. On one occasion they destroyed our water tower. This meant shaving in seawater or lemonade!”
“More seriously they once threw an explosive device into a lorry full of our soldiers, killing one and injuring many more. “
Interviews with heroes
Derek served as part of National Service and because he was so young he had to do 3 years. After doing his National Service he came out and then re-enlisted to the Army. He was a radio operator. He was serving in Cyprus in 1955. At the time there was a terrorist campaign going on as some people wanted to rejoin with Greece but since many Cypriots were Turkish there was a great deal of unrest. His regiment was based in Famagusta where he carried out some Top Secret intelligence work but also had to act as armed escort for the British school children and civilians who had to go to school and work under guard as they were targets for the terrorists. “Looking back we felt we did a good job even though people got killed on both sides.”
It was a time of great unrest and the following year he was involved in the Suez crisis. He set sail from Limassol to Port Said in Egypt. The fighting only lasted for a day but he stayed there for about a month until the United Nations troops took over.
Following on from the Suez crisis, the Arab nations felt empowered to take on the might of the British and French who occupied a lot of the Middle East at the time. General Nasser of Egypt was broadcasting to provoke the Arab nations to come together so Derek flew down from Cyprus to Aden to take part in listening to broadcasts to find out where they were coming from and get the artillery to come and lift them.
He then went back to Cyprus and was demobbed in 1957 and then after 3 months he re-enlisted in the Army! He says of his time while involved in conflicts “We all grew up in the war so a few bombs and bullets were taken in our stride”.
When he went back into the army they sent him back to Cyprus and were in direct support of the Infantry.
Read Mr Mallinson’s Letter ;
Mr V Mallinson
Peter joined the Army in 1957. He went into the Royal Army Pay Corps as his
National Service being demobbed in Aug 1952.
There were 24 men allocated to a room or a “squad”. They were from all
walks of life. One of the first tasks they were given after being issued with
their uniform was to “blanco” their kit. This meant using a “Blanco block” on
their webbing, full pack, small pack, ammunition pouches gaiters etc to make
them a khaki colour. One of the men in the squad was called Rutter but he was
soon known as “Nutter” when he used blanco on ALL of his kit – his great coat,
his battledress, his trousers, his socks, his shirt....you name it! All character
After he finished basic training he swapped with a man who was chosen to
go to Germany so that he could go to Cyprus, undergoing a further months
training for preparation of “any” active theatre of war conflict – little did they
Although he worked in the Pay Corps offices at HQ Dhekalia, he also had to
do “Internal Securities” which meant doing patrols once the day was over. At
all times local people were confined to a curfew to their homes at night so
if anybody was out and about they had to find out why. He had to man road
blocks both during the day and the night, including guard duties, armed at all
times. They took part in man hunts in the hinterland in and around the Larnaca
area helping out other regiments stationed nearby, searching for terrorists.
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