Excerpts taken from the 1967 Powder Horn annual regimental journal and transcribed by Warrant Officer Graham Humphrey, CD.
By Lt RG McLean
The first of January 1967 was a day of anticipation. The Cyprus count-down began in earnest and preparations became more concrete in nature.
Unit projectionist courses, signals refresher training, driver familiarization, weapons qualification and, of course, immunization shots, all commenced.
The “Cyprus Point” couldn’t have been better made than with the “Needles Parades”. Unfortunately, however, this meant that the Red Cross had to be disappointed. The January blood clinic suffered greatly because the immunization shots meant that blood could not be donated because of the danger in passing on infection. However, another clinic was arranged for a later date and the Battalion then gave as generously as usual.
Other preparations for service in Cyprus were also very evident. WO2 Ramsbottom, a veteran of Mediterranean Peace Keeping operations, presented an excellent, well-illustrated briefing on the geography of Cyprus. This ably supplemented the “Cyprus Room”, a project designed to give the atmosphere of the island by means of pictures and relief tables. A briefing team also appeared from CFHQ. Airportability training, voice procedure refreshers and an internal security tactics exercise also assisted in correctly orienting the Battalion for its role in Cyprus.
On the night of 24 Feb, twenty members of the Regina Rifle Regiment arrived at McCall Field for a weekend of machine gun training with the Battalion Machine Gun Platoon. The Reginans were led by Maj Scales, Officer Commanding Support Company, and Maj Nakumara. Lt Price commanded the seventeen members of the Regina Rifles Machine Gun Platoon. After being met at the airport by Lt Ray Taylor and Sgt Frank Gunter, the visitors were led to a waiting bus and moved to Currie Barracks for a short training conference chaired by Sgt Guntner.
Training began in earnest on Saturday morning as Sgt Guntner and his fellow instructors began intensive theoretical and practical instruction as a prelude to the afternoon’s live firing. In the afternoon the echos of machine gun fire resounded from High Butte in the Sarcee Camp training area as the militiamen fired the .50 calibre Machine Gun. For many of the younger militiamen, it was their first exposure to live .50 calibre firing. The day wound up with a tour of the Regimental Museum prior to a platoon party that evening.
On Sunday morning, training switched to the .30 calibre Machine Gun and a field firing exercise was held at Sarcee. Many of the militiamen were surprisingly accurate shots and Sgt Guntner remarked that he would be pleased to have some of them in his platoon. The tour was climaxed by an introductory ride in an M113A1 APC, driven by Sgt Don Black. That afternoon, the Regina Rifles left Calgary International Airport in an RCAF Dakota, homeward bound after a busy and exciting weekend of valuable training.
The Battalion was also kept busy on the recreational side. Ssgt Westergard and Sgts Bruce, Lawless, Gardiner and Gagnon were victorious in the Colonel Osborne Trophy competition designed to locate the finest curlers in the Sergeants’ Mess. The intercompany hockey league ended with a freewheeling Headquarters Company team on top. In addition, the Sergeants’ Mess copped the Col Andrunyk Trophy as the best (luckiest?) Mess involved in athletic competition.
The unit also received its share of awards. On 3 Mar the Commander 1 CIBC, Brig SC Waters, CD presented the Strathy Trophy to the Battalion for winning the 1966 annual Regimental Officers Pistol Competition.
Perhaps the most exciting news of the year was the announcement that the Battalion had won the Hamilton Gault Trophy for the third time, previous wins having been recorded in 1961 and 1962. This win was due chiefly to the herculean efforts put forth by Maj Jeff Jefferies, WO2 Doug Brown and Sgt Don Black of the Training Office to round up all possible firers, and to the cooperation of the companies in getting firers out to the ranges. The Battalion paraded on 28 Mar, just three days prior to the departure of the advance party for Cyprus, for the presentation of the Trophy by Lt Gen WAB Anderson, OBE, CD, Commander Mobile Command, to Lt Col Robinson – who received it on behalf of the Battalion. General Anderson warmly congratulated the Battalion on its achievement.
The last event of major significance before the departure of the Battalion for service on Cyprus occurred on 30 Mar, when the Battalion paraded through the streets of Calgary to City Hall to exercise the privileges implicit in the granting of the Freedom of the City to the Regiment in 1960. On this occasion, the Commanding Officer, on behalf of the battalion presented to the City a framed Battalion flag which was accepted on behalf of the City by His Worship, Mayor Jack Leslie. His Worship then, on behalf of the City, presented the Battalion with a prize bull. The bull was later butchered and shipped via RCAF to Cyprus, resulting in magnificent barbecued steaks which were enjoyed by all ranks of the Battalion on the “Calgary Day” celebrations held on 1 Aug.
Such were the events preceding embarkation. Altogether, a busy time. However, the real excitement was yet to come.
ROTATION TO CYPRUS
By Capt M L Catton
Scene: Second floor, Athlone Building, Currie Barracks, sometime in March 1967. Two men in khaki are lounging against the bulkheads (old “ringy” naval term) quietly smoking.
1st Man: “Wonder what it will be like over there, Hank?”
2nd Man: “Yup, wonder too … “ (ALARUM! ALARUM! A gyrating apparition appears, oscillating down the corridor, madness personified.)
1st Man: (Horrified, stubs his cigarette) “He’s coming towards us!”
2nd Man: (Eyes watering) “Yup…”
Apparition: (Great stomping of boots, hands waving) “You! Stand and receive! Would you believe? Take this crayon down to B, mark MFOs on all you see. But, before you flit away, give to me your docs 2A; and 2B or not 2B. What the heck is wrong with thee? But now I must depart, so… take Heart!” (more stomping, apparition revolves into the distance).
1st Man: (To now hysterically sobbing 2nd Man). “There, there Hank. He’s only the Rotating Officer. Rumour has it the lot of them are stark raving mad… Besides, he’s lost his glasses, and even his best friend won’t tell him…”
2nd Man: (Crying like a child now) “But after all, I’m only the janitor here.”
Thus it came to pass it the Year of Our Lord Nineteen Hundred and Sixty Seven that 2nd Battalion, The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, rotated to the Island of Cyprus.
Preparations for the rotation of the Battalion commenced early in the year under the auspices of the Second-in-Command, Maj W.S. Wilson, CD. Capt Ivor St Aubin d’Ancey, CD, was initially appointed unit Movements Officer and Lt M.L. Catton was appointed Rotation Officer. These appointments were complementary, the former dealing mainly with the actual physical movement of the Battalion and the latter concerned primarily with sorting out the reams of paper connected with the documentation of personnel. On 20 Feb, Capt JA English was appointed Movements Office vice Capt IA St Aubin d’Ancey who had been posted from the battalion.
The basic rotation problem consisted of fitting 610 all ranks, properly processed, into five Yukon aircraft. A very simple problem on the surface, but the fact of the matter was that the Battalion did not have 610 men ready to rotate. Various types of trade specialists, from sheet metal workers to cooks; had to be found in order to fill the unit to the establishment required for Cyprus duty. In addition, extenuating circumstances and various compassionate reasons caused the unit personnel establishment to fluctuate almost daily.
The unit Movement/Rotation Office was set up on the second floor of the Athlone Building. The staff consisted of Sgt Morey Andres (replaced on departure by Sgt Dave O’Brien), Cpl Ray Demeules and Rfn Rollie Chater and Bill Maillie. Lt Rob Roy and WO2 Vic Ramsbottom, who were remaining in Calgary, handled the last stages of the rotation as the entire official staff left for Cyprus before the last flight.
The Rotation Staff was aided throughout by a number of people. Capt Jock Demers and Sgt Ted Modderman were always available to give the necessary medicals, inoculations, and vaccinations whenever the regular appointment system faltered. Capt Danny Hayden and Cpl Murray of the Base Movements Section worked closely with the Unit Movements Officer; Capt Ben Cantin and Lt Len McQuatt of CFB Calgary provided a guiding hand in documentation; and the unit Quartermaster with Lt Ron Kyswaty, 2Lt Gary Hargove and Capt Gary Padley were a great help when it came to shipping unit stores and baggage.
The Battalion was authorized to take 27,000 lbs of unit stores to Cyprus. Each soldier was permitted to send 100 lbs of unaccompanied baggage and to take 50 lbs with him. Two Yukon transports were provided to lift unit stores and unaccompanied, baggage from Trenton to Nicosia on 3-4 Apr. That meant the unit had to ship its unaccompanied stores and baggage from Calgary by road via tractor-trailer on 22 and 23 Mar. A large drill hall, Building AF-16, was requisitioned for processing the stores and baggage. This entailed the weighing, strapping, and numbering of every piece of unaccompanied stores and baggage and the compilation of the necessary baggage rolls. By mid-day 23 Mar, two tractor-trailers were Trenton-bound with 14,537 lbs of unit stores and 40,177 lbs of personal unaccompanied baggage, the total weight of 847 individual pieces. From that point on, many of the soldiers of the Battalion lived out of a kitbag.
By 29 Mar, arrangements had been completed for the rotation of the 110-man Advance Party to Cyprus. Aircraft timings were known and flight nominal rolls had been run off (120 copies required – so everyone was told!). The first “Draft Parade” was held in Building AF-16 under the enlightened leadership of Lt Dave Montgomery, the Draft Conducting Officer. United Nations blue berets were inspected for proper fit and each man was required to show that he was in possession of his Category 1 documents (identity cards and service books). The Rotation Staff checked each soldier’s Category 2A documents (Medical papers and vaccination certificates) and Category 2B documents (Quartermaster cards, conduct sheets, UN Photos, and identity discs). Generally speaking, the first Draft Parade went off quite well, and the Advance Party prepared for departure on 1 Apr 67.
At 0700 hours 1 Apr, one hundred and fifteen members of the unit, each with $10.00 in US currency, trooped down to Building AF-16 for final processing (the five extra soldiers were last-minute spares). Accompanying baggage was weighed and manifested, identity discs were issued and documents were checked once again. Family farewells were then said over coffee and biscuits generously provided by Col Orly Fusion’s Maple Leaf Services (Calgary Branch), and the Advance Party boarded chartered buses for the trip to the airport.
At McCall Field, the troops cleared Canada Customs and then marched single file through the waiting room to the tarmac to the stirring beat of the Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) Band. On the tarmac, the Advance party formed up in three ranks for inspection by the Mayor of Calgary, His Worship Jack Leslie. The Mayor presented Col Robinson with an official Calgary White Stetson (which was immediately donned) and commenced his inspection, giving a farewell handshake to every soldier. At 1000 hours the giant Yukon’s wheels left the ground and the Advance party was Cyprus bound. The flight was routed via Trenton instead of taking the Polar Route to Shannon, Ireland since the RCAF had apparently left the 15-man advance party of the Royal Canadian Dragoons there before flying to Calgary.
Once the Advance Party had been successfully dispatched, the Movement/Rotation Staff knew the form. Their only fear was that flight nominal rolls, all 120 copies, would have to be changed at the last minute! Fortunately, this did not happen and the remaining four drafts were processed without difficulty. On 8 Apr, Main Body Flight Number 1 left Calgary direct for Shannon and Nicosia. That afternoon Flight Number 2 held its first Draft Parade. This procedure was repeated until 10 Apr – two flights being processed per day. By 11 Apr, the move had been completed and all that remained in Calgary was Maj LJ Bush, CD, just back from sunny Tanzania, and some sixty-members of his rear party. 2 QOR of C was on service in Cyprus!
BATTALION HEADQUARTERS CYPRUS HEADQUARTERS KYRENIA DISTRICT
By Capt W.H. Minnis
The following account of life at Battalion Headquarters in Cyprus from Apr to Oct 1967 is necessarily brief, touches on only a few aspects of life at the Headquarters and, unfortunately, is restricted to those incidents which “stick in the mind” of the author. The Headquarters was a very busy spot in Cyprus, virtually the centre of the Rifles, and, in fact, Canadian activity on the island. Many readers of this article will be veterans of a UN tour in Cyprus – this then will serve to bring back memories for them. For those readers who have not been to Cyprus, it is hoped that this will give them some idea of life there with 2nd Rifles.
The Commanding Officer was also Commander Kyrenia District under the island organization of Headquarters, United Nations Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). 2 QOR of C Group included the Reconnaissance Squadron, Royal Canadian Dragoons and was under command of the Commander UNFICYP for operational and United Nations administrative and personnel matters. Thus the Headquarters had a dual role, the Commanding Officer “wore two tunics” and the Second- in- Command was also Deputy commander Kyrenia District, etc. Naturally, the Battalion looked to Headquarters Canadian Contingent in Cyprus for normal Canadian Administrative functions.
The Headquarters was located in the Kyrenia Mountains some three miles south of Kyrenia and the coast, 20 miles North of Nicosia and smack in the middle of “no man’s land” between opposing Greeks and Turkish Cypriot factions. The Headquarters was a sprawling set-up, consisting of rented civilian accommodation, make-shift buildings and the usual array of marquee tents. Each sub-section was complete, with different tasks, different characters and of course different memories. I shall try to recall some of them to mind.
The Operations Centre, or “Ivory Tower”, was the home of Operations A (Ops A – operations in the normal sense), Operations B (Ops B – Intelligence) and Operations E (Ops E – economics). It was festooned with battle and situation maps, pop coolers, air conditioners (yes, air conditioners!), radios and telephone lines. This was the home successively of Majors “Iron Duke” Allan and “Awful” Werry who each served three-month tours as Ops A, Lt Barry Ashton who was Ops B, and Capt Jack English who was Ops E – when he wasn’t organizing functions for the Officer’s mess or counting carob trees. A deceptively steep gravel path led to the Ops Centre; it claimed its share of Field Officers! A very high radio tower was located beside the Ops Centre – the little red flashing light at its top proved too much of a lure for several night visitors, who left their mark on it!
The Battalion Orderly Room (BOR) and offices of the Second-in-Command and Adjutant were just below the Ops Centre on that same deceptive gravel path. Originally a gardener’s shed and a summer cottage, this hive of activity was the virtual nerve centre of the unit and Kyrenia District where the paper war was relentlessly fought for six months – without the aid of air conditioners I might say. The BOR was the home of SSgt Al Tate, who was our Chief Clerk, Cpls “Little Joe” Ravvio, “Pop” Gannon and Bob “CSM” Evans (who worked here whenever the CSM HQ Company had the lip on!) and Rfn “Killer” Wright.
Headquarters Company office housed RSM Thomas, WO2 Brown and WO2 Noble. Cpl Evans did work here when he wasn’t finding work in the BOR.
The “Popery” was the Commanding Officer’s residence and also the home of his able staff – Cpls Chenier and Campbell and Rfn “Willy” Wilson. The walls of the room in which Willy lived were covered with interesting pictures and he constantly claimed that the pictures were his inheritance from the previous battalion in residence. Rumour has it, however, that from time to time fresh strips of scotch tape could be seen interspersed with the old. The “Popery”, incidentally, is not so named because it is the home of the resident battalion commander but because it was originally owned by a lady by the name of Pope!
The Hillside Inn was the Corporals’ and Men’s Canteen. The corporals and men of Battalion Headquarters performed miracles on the building and the canteen soon became a very busy and important spot in the life of the Battalion. The unflagging efforts of Cpls “Honest Ed” Kuzik, Jerry “The Shouter” Demeules, Bob “CSM” Evans and Rfn “Crasher” Hodder and “Tiny” Lunnie and many other individuals resulted in a most successful and happy canteen. The bar sold everything from hair oil to pickled eggs, in addition to the normal refreshments of course, and turned a pretty fair profit for the tour. Many memorable Saturday afternoon “happy hours” were held there and it wasn’t long after the first such affair, which was attended by the Officers and Senior NCOs, that the revered lines of the song “Orta Kevy” and the unit battle cry “Let’s get at ‘er” could be heard echoing across the nearby slopes!
Transport Section and Company Stores were located on the main road leading into the Battalion Headquarters area. CQMS Chuck Davey, Cpl Mac MacDonald and Rfn St Amand held sway here, from one variety of the UN blue tin huts. Here also was home of Cpl “Honest Ed” Kuzik’s, Cpl Pointer’s RCEME miracle shop and Sgt Howie Gagnon’s crew – who did a tremendous job and in the cause of it logged many tiring and repetitious miles of driving. Sgt Gagnon paid a daily liaison visit to the Transport Officer in Camp Maple Leaf in Nicosia but occasionally the Transport Officer came to Battalion Headquarters to see him! – a most interesting situation. Cpl Kuzik waged a six months battle to control the many happy Rifle “tourists” who wanted vehicles to travel everywhere in Cyprus, at all hours, for all purposes.
The Provost quarters and Kyrenia District Detention Barracks were located on a slope overlooking the main gate to Battalion Headquarters and two Quonset huts, aptly named “Bridal Suite” and “Penthouse”, plus an able crew of Regimental Policemen, performed a great job of policing during the tour and earned the respect of every member of the unit. The Regimental Policemen at the main gate were offered an interesting time when a civilian car smashed through the barrier, when Turkish Cypriots tried to buy 9 mm pistol ammunition and when they were besieged by goats, goats and more goats. The C Pro C [Canadian Provost Corps] Section drove many miles on town patrols and in the course of their duties encountered a few rather different and interesting sights. Would you believe a Rifles Major, who shall be nameless, and an Australian Civilian Policeman, on bicycles, breaking the Kyrenia town speed limit on a busy Saturday night?
The Mens’ Mess fed the Battalion Headquarters and Tjiklos Company. Sgt Bernier and his cooks received constant praise for their good food. Nearby was the “Tin Hut”, home of the men of Battalion Headquarters, kittens, lizards and tarantula spiders.
Signals Platoon, in which many “infamous” 2nd Rifle characters lived and worked, was located above Battalion Headquarters on a rutted trail which had been known the frighten Finnish soldiers and Canadian press correspondents alike. The platoon had to be called an “Empire” in Cyprus and Capt “Hamish” Taylor and Lt Bob Bush are to be congratulated on maintaining the whole well-kept secret. Details of the exploits of the platoon must go unheralded here due to space restrictions but their job, as always, was extremely well done.
Time passed fairly quickly at battalion Headquarters for there was always work to do. The summer heat and Mediterranean humidity hit us a bit hard at first but we soon adjusted our living and working conditions. Electric fans of all shapes and sizes soon appeared and no gathering was complete without one. One fan was so large that it was rated as a spare Yukon engine and as a result spent many hours in the Hillside Inn, much to the chagrin of the owner.
The area became very dusty and every movement of the gravel resulted in a cloud of fine dust. Many of the flowering trees blossomed – and very colourful displays they were! Lizard and chameleon-watching was a most interesting pastime – it being quite an experience to participate in a staring contest with a lizard. Some members of the Battalion displayed suntans while others were of the “shirts on – white skin” species who skulked from shadow to shade muttering about mad dogs in the midday sun. One really had to make a conscious effort to replace body fluid lost through perspiration – the squash and beer sales boomed. Occasional incidents provided some with a chuckle, others with regrets. Bedford 3-ton trucks rolling driverless down slopes with slipped hand brakes and corporals attempting to prove that the ¼-ton jeep is really amphibious in salt water might be given as examples. The Battalion was most fortunate in not losing a life as a result of traffic accidents – although we left our share of wrecked trucks.
There were many frustrations during the tour but fortunately, perhaps, since the memory seems to retain only the good, many irksome aspects of UN Cyprus peacekeeping are now difficult to recall. Cyrpus was an experience none of us shall soon forget. Perhaps its greatest value was gaining experience as a soldier in just one more of the varied roles facing the Canadian Armed Forces today.
Mention should be made in this our regimental chronicle of the great support and cooperation we enjoyed from Maj Kevin Troughton and his squadron of Royal Canadian Dragoons during our tour in Cyprus. We were proud to have them in the Battalion group and proud of their professionalism and skill.
CONFESSIONS OF A DUTY OFFICER IN CYPRUS
By Capt KC Eyre
This is the Command Post, buried deep within the Operations Centre at Tjiklos. This is the throbbing, pulsating heart of Kyrenia District, United Nations Forces in Cyprus. From here, these highly trained professional soldiers, the duty officers, keep their sensitive fingers on the pulse of the District. There was is untiring. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, a duty officer sits at the Master Operations Control, alert, confident, and conscious of the tremendous burden of responsibility that rests on his young soldiers. It is 0745 hours.
In this typical scene, we see some of the outstanding young men on the job. From left to right; Lt Barry Ashton brings the map up to date, Lt Bob McLean carries on a simultaneous conversation with HQ UNFICYP and a rifle company, Lt Ken Eyre checks the log while Dave Montgomery and Danish Police Liaison Officer, Hank Borg, give concise orders to deploy forces to meet a sudden emergency. The Commanding Officer, who, incidentally, is expected to arrive any minute now, is bound to be impressed.
The Commanding Officer left just five minutes ago, well satisfied that the “DOs” are on the job and able to cope with any situation that could possibly arise. Here we see a scene where the tension is terribly high, yet note the calm expressions on the faces of the men. Here are professionals used to working under extreme pressure. McLean and Montgomery are in the five contract (vulnerable). The brilliant defensive play of Ashton and Eyre has already won them two tricks. Montgomery is about to make what will probably be the most important decision he will make all day. Should he finesse for the queen or play for even distribution?
Yes, the DOs were almost superhuman. However, it must be admitted that once during the tour they did make a mistake. Behind the Command Post were two grape vines. One, it was impossible to water, but there was a hope of saving the other. Accordingly, Maj “Awful” Werry made the command decision. Montgomery and Eyre would water one of the vines every day. At least one vine would produce grapes before the end of the tour. Here, Montgomery and Eyre mournfully look at the result. The healthy vine in the background is the one that did not have a drop of water in over two months. The dried-up, dead thing (the vine!) in the foreground is the one that the boys watered religiously day after day. It seems that grapes don’t need water during the summer. WAR IS HELL!
by Sgt HFM Abson, CD
ONEISHA FARM Company’s area of responsibility contained the major geographical portion of the Turkish Cypriot enclave:
Base Camp was located in a large group of permanent buildings which once constituted a communal farm.
Beaver Lodge Outpost was originally called “Pillory” but was renamed by the Battalion. It was located on a lovely windswept hill situated mid-way between the Greek and Turkish forces in an agricultural area normally called the “Death Strip”. The purpose of this outpost was to allow cultivation of the land by both factions.
Stampede Corral Outpost was located in the southern foothills of the Kyrenia Mountain Range and is completely dominated by both Greek National Guard and Turkish Cypriot positions.
Hanley’s Hill Outpost was located in such a position as to observe movement on the NICOSIA – MYRTOU highway.
Teko Lime Plant Outpost was atop the building which was originally an office for the management of the lime plant. It was completely self-sufficient except on those occasions when the water supply was cut off. The personnel were well off in that they were in close proximity to the Base Camp and able to watch movies or indulge in the amenities available from the wet canteen.
Oneisha Lime Plant Outpost was also in close proximity to the Base Camp. It was completely self-sufficient and required little or no repair. It housed two corporals and five men and had all the facilities of a small bungalow.
Martin’s Mount Outpost was located in an extremely barren area, giving the impression that it was situated on the moon. On our arrival in Cyprus, this outpost lacked various things such as windows and a shower, a situation rectified by the time the Battalion left. On occasion, the odd bullet flew around which bothered the occupying personnel somewhat. The quarters were very good and the kitchen small but adequate. The area is extremely hot in the summer and cool during the winter. When the rains came, this outpost had to be re-supplied by helicopter.
Kanli Kuay Dam Outpost was established about 15 Aug 67. It is situated between NICOSIA and KYRENIA approximately 3 1/2 miles off the main highway on a dam approximately 300 yards wide and 1100 yards long and 125 feet deep, filled with fresh water. The purpose of this outpost was to control the material that is sent to the site, ie, cement, gravel, sand and lumber, to ensure that it was in fact used to repair the spillway and not for the purpose of fortifying the defences of the Turks in the area. As it was supposed to be a temporary outpost, tents were used to house the troops who were occupying this site.
TJIKLOS Company’s area of responsibility was approximately 12 kilometres wide and three kilometres in depth. The area ran along Kyrenia Mountain Range, exclusive of the foothills, and is bisected by KYRENIA Road.
Base Camp was located in the Thompson’s Farm complex. The Base itself consisted of a small Headquarters building, a kitchen and a building which was used to house the outpost personnel. By the time 2nd Battalion left Cyprus, the buildings had been substantially improved due to a great amount of “acquiring” and “going through proper channels”. The outpost was better off than most in that it had its own water supply.
Saddle Outpost sits on a saddle between high features thence its name. The East side is held by the Turkish Cypriot fighters and the West side by the Greek National Guard.
Boghazi Farm Outpost was located in a small building from which the outpost personnel operated. Its primary purpose was to check personnel travelling East and West on the road. The personnel were housed at Thompson’s Farm.
Mountainside Outpost was situated on the North side of the Kyrenia Mountains and afforded an excellent view of the town of Kyrenia, the surrounding area and the Mediterranean. On a clear day, one could see the country of Turkey. All personnel were housed at the outpost which consisted of a single building which was divided into two parts, a kitchen and living quarters. Also, there was a small building from which personnel on duty operated.
Borehole Outpost was situated just off the KYRENIA – NICOSIA highway. The building was small and surrounded by barbed wire. The purpose of the wire was to keep goats and their herders out of the outpost position. Located at the outpost is a main water pump, the water from which was issued to the Turkish civilian population on a daily basis. The outpost personnel were housed at Thompson’s Farm.
Cliffside Outpost was situated on an escarpment overlooking the East side of the KYRENIA – NICOSIA road and had a commanding view of a large training area for the Greek Cypriot National Guard.
Hilltop Outpost occupied a position midway between a Greek Cypriot National Guard platoon to the East and a Turkish Cypriot fighter platoon to the West.
KYRENIA Company’s area of responsibility was approximately 11 kilometres wide and 5 kilometres in depth. It was bounded on the North by the Mediterranean Sea and on the South by the Foothills of the Kyrenia Mountain Range.
Base Camp consisted of two private estates, both of which are owned by Lady Blackhall. Because of its fine view overlooking the town of Kyrenia, it was the most pleasant Base Camp in the Kyrenia District. The Officers’ Mess, Company Office and Command Post operated from Lady Blackhall’s home. The Sergeant’s Mess, Company Stores, Mess Hall and Mens’ Lines were across a steep ravine in the other estate.
Snow White Outpost was situated on the West side of the village of TEMBLOS. It is part of a series of outposts placed around the village to provide protection for the Turkish civilians. The bunkers and positions of the Greek National Guard form almost a semi-circle around the village, sealing off the Turkish Cypriots completely except to the South over the mountains.
Trail’s End Outpost was located on the WHITEHOUSE – TEMBLOS road and the men were quartered in a corrugated iron hut. They manned a roadblock and searched vehicles to make certain no military articles were taken to TEMBLOS.
Ted’s Farm Outpost was able to have cold drinks of the citrus types since it was located in the orchards above the town of KYRENIA. The drinks were a result of the excellent relationships developed mainly by successive outpost commanders. It was by far the largest of the outposts – quartered in a huge building with the observation post located on top. It had a kitchen and a shower bath, although on occasion the water was cut off. It was also just about the coolest place in Cyprus.
Paquin’s Hill Outpost was located on a ridge of land running North from the face of the mountain range, overlooking the routes into TEMBLOS. The location of this outpost prevented the area from being occupied by either side.
Temblos Outpost and Listening Post were located in the area of a Turkish Cypriot village. Anything that happened would ensure reports to both outposts causing some confusion. The outpost originally was without a shower or kitchen – a lack which was soon remedied. Before we left, the kitchen was constructed by the outpost personnel themselves under the able direction of Cpl Horst Keese who prefabricated the necessary parts at Base Camp and supervised the final installation. In the vase of the Listening Post, the only thing lacking was a shower and this was eventually provided by the Battalion.
Generally, a base camp had a company command post, company stores, transport area, kitchen, canteen and officers’, senior NCOs, Corporals and Riflemens’ quarters and messes.
LIFE AS AN OUTPOST COMMANDER IN CYPRUS
By Cpl R Hardy
Immediately following my arrival in Cyprus I was taken to Camp Maple Leaf and given a briefing by my Company Commander, Maj Werry, on the events that were occurring in the ONEISHA Farm area. I was then despatched to my first outpost at HANLEY’s HILL.
I was pleasantly surprised to see how nice that outpost looked! Its commander was a corporal of the Royal Canadian Regiment whom I had met previously at Rivers, Manitoba. He had a quarter guard mounted for me as a joke and presented me with a plaque which I shall always cherish. After being introduced to his men, the corporal informed me that we would commence real business at 0600 hours the next morning – the smiles on the faces of his men worried me.
During the next three days, I received an excellent briefing, studied my duties and responsibilities and did the nine-mile patrol. The RCR corporal and his men then left for Canada and my own men were on my outpost. This was now our outpost. I would have to take my job very seriously because everything connected with the outpost was my responsibility.
The members of my outpost formed a good team. They were Cpl PV Isbister, a very humorous man, and Rfn Perry, Parker, Shepard and Grosh. I spent the first week teaching them the duties and responsibilities of the outpost until they were almost blue in the face. I stressed the point that it was their outpost as much as it was mine and that work was the price of success. We were now strong on the ground.
Our daily routine here was: Reveille at 0530 hours; wash, shave and breakfast by 0700 hours and by 0800 hours the personnel, and the outposts, were ready for inspection. Each of us had a job to do and after the first week there was no need for orders to be given, I could rest assured the job would be done. The weapons were cleaned before the re-supply vehicle arrived. It was then time for our daily patrol and for the escort for the Greek farmers to leave.
The cooking was done on weekly shifts – the individual detailed to this task had to look the part, therefore he wore whites. Believe it or not, this was where initiative and imagination took over – for the responsible individual invariably took a great deal of pride in his work.
As well as the nine-mile patrol, the provision of an escort for the Greek farmers and the settling of disputes. I also made sure that there was time for recreation, practice on communications, and instructions on how to send in Shot-Reports and on how to solve some of the problems that occurred in our area. My aim was to develop a proficient team.
The outpost attracted many visits by VIPs – in April the Chief of Defence Staff, General Allard, visited us. Although we had only been in Cyprus a short time we endeavoured to demonstrate to him that the responsibility rested in good hands – that each of us knew our job as UN soldiers.
We were very proud to be from ONEISHA FARM Company. In order to demonstrate this fact, we wore a small plastic pig on our uniform to make everyone aware that we were from the “Pig Farm”. I will not elaborate on this, but the little plastic pig almost cost me a night in the guard room. This could be explained by Sgt Gardiner of our Military Police.
After two months on HANLEY’S HILL it was time for A Company to rotate to KYRENIA Company area and I was designated to command PAQUINS HILL. I had a great affection for my first outpost and did not like to leave it.
PAQUINS HILL was a very quiet outpost. There were no patrols and we were not required to provide escorts for the farmers. To keep us occupied, we had physical training in the morning and ample time for recreation. Two weeks after our arrival, we painted the outpost building blue and white and produced a Centennial sign that could be seen from a distance of four miles by aircraft. The sign gave us a lot of publicity and was our Centennial project. At this outpost were Cpl Jimmie Achultz and Rfn Perry, Potvin Clark and Bernais. Once again we formed a good team.
This outpost was also a good one for visitors. The Col of The Regt, Col Strathy, visited us there and presented us with our Cyprus Medals. This was a great honour. Reporters from Canada visited us and we made sure that they left with the good impression that we knew our job.
Once again the time for rotation came round. After spending seven wonderful days on leave I returned to the outpost to pick up my kit and proceed to SADDLE Outpost which was situated between the Turks and Greeks; it was a very vital outpost and much time was spent in trying to settle disputes. We always made time for outpost improvement – in this case, it was blowing a hold in the hard ground for a latrine, which, incidentally, cost me a watch. The members of this outpost were Cpl O’Connor and Rfn Bernais, Dumont, Barr and Tower With the troops rotating on leave, I was always busy briefing and teaching new members.
Lt Gen Anderson visited Cyprus during this time and it was a great distinction to have him pay us a short visit and to discuss with us our job.
We also had frequent visits from personnel of the Battalion, among them being Padres Leduc and Isaac.
After six weeks at SADDLE, our tour in Cyprus was coming to a close and we were being replaced by a Battalion of the Black Watch. It was then I found out why the RCR personnel had been smiling when I arrived. The next two and a half days were spent briefing the Black Watch Corporal. He had arrived in a war-like frame of mind but after meeting the Greek National Duty Officer and Turkish Cypriot soldiers and overhearing conversations between us about volleyball, etc, his opinion had changed. Now, it was time for me to return to Canada.
I will conclude this account by saying that it is impossible to recount all the incidents that occurred to me as an outpost commander – no matter how small the episode, however, it was my job to settle it.
Long hours on patrol, providing escorts for farmers and solving disputes, all helped to achieve the aim of our mission in Cyprus – that of maintaining the peace. My tour as an outpost commander in Cyprus was the greatest responsibility and challenge I have encountered in my military career to date.
“A” COMPANY IN CYPRUS
By Lt RJ Taylor
The first elements of A Company arrived in Cyprus with the Battalion Advance Party on 2 Apr. We quickly made ourselves at home with the RCR at ONEISHA FARM Company area. It was dark when we arrived. In the morning we looked out the windows to see the signs, WELCOME “A COMPANY” 2 QOR OF C. It was here at the “Pig Farm” that our best times were had. The Company Commander, Maj Ron Werry, and his advance party learned their jobs during the next week. The RCR at ONEISHA were the first to leave Cyprus, and A Company was the first complete Second Rifles company on Cyprus.
New surroundings and new jobs presented the puzzling problems of the first two or three weeks. Meanwhile, new ideas were formulated and improvements made. We were truely becoming attached the the “Pig Farm” at which location were some two hundred pigs. This rather undignified title brought on cries for a new name. The greatest of minds and wielders of paintbrushes of A Company got together and produced a sign depicting a female pig with appropriate accoutrements and a saddle on her back. Above this sign was the new name of the farm – “Razorback Ranch”.
Small plastic badges were produced and a routine order was cut authorizing the wearing of the “badges” on the centre of the left breast pocket. Much to the dismay of the other companies, the badge became famous all over the island.
At ONEISHA FARM, the organization of our base camp was divided into departments. Since administration exists solely for operations, we shall deal with the administration side first. Overall supervision of administration was the responsibility of the Company Second-in-Command, Lt Ray Honig. The personnel side was ably looked after by the Camp Commandant, WO2 John Hearn. SSgt Al McMillan, our CQMS, was in charge of all stores and resupply of outposts. In charge of the Transport Section was Sgt Bruce Lloyd. Sgt Bill Easton and his Canteen Staff kept the troops happy. On the operational side, the Senior operations Officer was Lt Ken Eyre. Operations Officers 1, 2 and 3 were 2Lts Ray Taylor and Jim Bent and Sgt Roy Waterfield, respectively. Sgt Ed Titus, and his Communications Section, kept the “operationals” talking.
The ONEISHA FARM Company Outpost and commanders were: HANLEYS HILL – Cpl Hardy; MARTIN’S MOUND – Cpl Slater; ONEISHA LIME PLANT – Cpl Gofenko; TEKO LIME PLANT – Cpl Woolley; STAMPEDE CORRAL – Cpl Kilgallen; and BEAVER LODGE – Cpl Robertson.
ONEISHA FARM was a busy place, and the time passed quickly. We were the uncouth ones who wore rubber boots to mess dinners and gave out with pig calls in the most highbrow places. We had our own “Queen” and a favourite pig called “Elmer”, but when the first two months of our tour were completed we moved to KYRENIA Company area and regretfully left them behind.
KYRENIA Company is situated around the grounds of Adah Chiflik, North of the Kyrenia Pass and is by far the nicest location in the Canadian Contingent area. We had our own pool and the spare time to make use of it.
We had only been there a week when Maj Ron Werry left us for Operations A at Headquarters together with our Senior Operations Officer, Lt Ken “Hawk” Eyre. Maj Doug Williams arrived from 1st Battalion to replace Maj Werry and Lt Mike McKwown replaced “Hawk”. The next two months were undoubtedly the most relaxing of the tour, although we were still pig farmers at heart. Mass improvements and cries for paint were the order of the day – enabling us to use our spare time constructively.
The outposts and commanders were: TRAILS END – Cpl Woolley; PAQUIN’S Hill – CPL Hardy; TED’S Farm – Cpl Marr; SNOW WHITE – Cpl Smith; TEMBLOA LP – Cpl Currie; TEMBLOS OP – Cpl Stevens.
TJIKLOS Company area, our third, is situated in the middle of the Kyrenia Pass. Probably the most important base camp problem encountered here was our helicopter flag. Due to the rapid disappearances of UN flags, we had to find a suitable substitute. Red was unsuitable because it looked like a Turk sign. Blue looked like a Greek flag. White was the sign of surrender. Yellow the sign of cowardice. The answer? A red, blue, yellow and green striped dish towel – which the helicopter pilots claimed they couldn’t see! So, we resorted to the next best thing – a new UN flag. Perhaps the Black Watch could fly a Kilt?!
Volleyball was the favourite sport when the weather cooled off. The workers usually won, but contrary to usual procedure the officers sometimes won – by default?
The outposts, in this area, were closer together, and commanders were: THOMPSON’S FARM – Sgt Clark; MOUNTAINSIDE – Cpl Robinson; CLIFFSIDE – Cpl Kilgallen; HILL TOP – Cpl Stevens; SADDLE – Cpl Hardy.
The time was almost up, the days were numbered. The Cyprus tour had been a good one. There wasn’t a man among us who hadn’t benefited by it. For the last time – Fuse out.
CANADIAN CENTENNIAL – KYRENIA STYLE
By Capt DP Montgomery
Actually, it started out quite innocently. We were all sitting around the Mess playing bridge, having a “drinky-pooh” or two and minding our own business, when someone casually mentioned that we should do something a wee bit different to celebrate Canada’s Centennial on 1 Jul, especially since we were probably going to be the first Canadians to celebrate due to the eight hour time difference between Canada and Cyprus.
It’s amazing what those terrible words “Do Something Different!” can conjure up in the minds of supposedly normal people, after three months in Cyprus. It was almost frightening to see my peers standing at the bar, brows furrowed, wheels turning, deep in thought. Then it happened! Someone said “How about we form an honour guard and march to the Harbour Club with a flag party, escort, guard, the whole bit?; then some idiot hollered “Let’s Get At it” and we were off like a herd of dirty turtles.
After about ten minutes of panic because “It is already 2200 hours”, “Where will we get a sword?” or “What will super sunray say?” we got down to the business of dress, rehearsals, duties and programme. It took very little time to decide that:
- Parade Commander would be Maj “Iron Duke” Allen;
- 2. Colour Party Commander would be Maj “The Boss” Werry;
- Canadian and Regimental Flags would be carried by Capt “Hiram” Minnis and Lt “The Beard” Montgomery;
- All who could be in uniform and able to walk would make up the guard;
- A sword (rifle) not a sword (sword) would be carried by “The Boss”
After a tedious and gruelling three and one-half minute rehearsal, due to the short time available and the rowdy uncooperative, impatient mob (us), we formed up and moved off to the Harbour Club with flags flying, swords glistening, desert boots gleaming, trouser creases razor sharp and drill impeccable.
Due strictly to coincidence and maybe a little luck (?), the Commanding Officers, who had been dining with some friends who lived along our route, just happened to step out onto their balcony for a cigarette and a breath of fresh air as we approached; just in time to see us change flawlessly from double to quick time. He should be thanked here, firstly, for not saying “Get back to the Mess, you crazy bunch of ________!” and secondly, for finding himself an ad hoc reviewing stand and taking the quickest salute in history.
We now find ourselves in the quiet, pleasantly British atmosphere of the renowned Harbour Club. The clientele this night consisted of the usual large crowd of British tourists all of whom, plus Brigadier MW “Fireball” Harbottle, Chief of Staff at UNFI CYP Headquarters, through no choice or knowledge of their own, had decided to help us celebrate with a short, unrehearsed ceremony commencing at 2359 hours.
Our rather nostalgic ceremony began with a rousing chorus of “O Canada”, followed by “Auld Lang Syne”. We had mounted the Canadian Flag in an appropriate place behind the bar. Lt Col Robinson arrived just as we commenced the ceremony, he having appreciated what was going on from the reviewing stand and taking leave of his hosts rather quickly.
“Fireball” then made a short speech congratulating us on our Centennial, was loudly applauded, and then left to a rousing verse of “Jolly Good Fellow” and a farewell speech by Lt “Destruct” Catton.
After some hours of singing and celebrating we headed back to the hotel. Constable Paul Cummings, an Australian civilian policeman, who had joined the mob, decided to hoist the Canadian flag on the hotel roof – in which he was ably assisted by some members of the guard. The water main probably would have broken anyway, fellows, so I shouldn’t worry about it!
The following morning, or rather a couple of hours later, the Commanding Officers rushed a wire off to Colonel Lou Bourgeois in Ottawa claiming the first celebration of Canada’s 100th Birthday. No details were included in the message.
“B” COMPANY IN CYPRUS
By Lt GM Whiting
1 Apr – After much involved and intricate preparation and many fond farewells, the advance party from “Combat B” was bound for sunny Cyprus.
Upon arrival, WO2 Don Wilson had the pleasure of taking over our new home, KYRENIA Company area, from the RCR landlord. It was a pleasant enough handover, with the RCR obviously pleased to be homeward bound. However, we wondered for some time about some of the sardonic remarks they made to us as they departed. We were consoled by the thought that we’d have six months in this bright, warm country to prove their prophecies wrong.
Over the period of the next ten days, the total complement of Bravo Company arrived and, following a day or two of orientation, a mass clean-up was begun. This was done with great vigor and enthusiasm and the most handsome result was the Sergeants’ Mess, complete with bar and Rfn LDJ Gariepys goat, “Lady B”. Lady B derived her name from a “Name the Kid” contest and Sgt Jim Petty, the winner, was the happy recipient of the prize of three Cypriot pounds.
While Base Camp was in a turmoil of repair, likewise were the outposts. KYRENIA Company had six outposts: TEMBLOS with Sgt Bill McManners at the helm; SNOW WHITE Under Cpl WR Hubert; TED’S FARM directed by Cpl RL Proctor; TRAIL’S END under Cpl AR Cousins; TEMBLOS (Listening Post) under Cpl L Pinter and PAQUIN’S HILL under Sgt “Rock” Hudson.
To reward the most improved outpost, a prize of 10 pounds was offered by the Company Second-in-Command, Capt Mike McMurtrie. Judging was carried out at the end of one month’s concentrated effort and PAQUIN’S HILL, with its combination of cleanliness, combat readiness, general improvements, efficiency and knowledge of the job, was the winner – “well done” Sgt Hudson, Cpl Pinter, and Rfn CE Higgins, WC Winder, BW MacDonald and DJ Maier. A close second was SNOW WHITE Outpost.
Outpost life was the most interesting. This was where physical contact was made with the opposing factions. Diplomacy, fairness, honesty, accurate and informative reporting, firmness, patience, stability, dependability and humour were required of an outpost.
In April, Combat B celebrated the Regiment’s Birthday with a party at the TEMBLOS village school. Candy, pop, and ice cream were available for everyone and we suspect the kids stockpiled enough for the coming month. Races were run, with prizes for everyone (super diplomacy!). The Battalion Bugles played for us after the games and were at their best, as usual. To complete the day, the children performed authentic costumed folk dances. As we were leaving, Ssgt M MacDonald was seen being mauled by many little hands as he handed out the left-over prizes.
About a week later, a distressing incident occurred when Rfn WJ Webb accidentally received third-degree gasoline burns to his body while trying to rid his outpost of ants. His condition was serious enough to warrant his return to Canada. This mishap made everyone suddenly more aware of the wide field of dangers which were prevalent on every outpost.
The month of May saw Combat B faithfully following a Physical Training schedule under the direction of Lt Ray Crabbe, we lost some of our Canadian Fat. We invariably ended each session with a rousing game of volleyball, becoming so proficient at the game that we confidently challenged the Turkish Cypriot Fighters to a test at this, their own game. It is worth noting that “Bravo” was the only team to hand the Fighters a decisive defeat, however, diplomatic relations were restored as we hastily opened the post-game beer.
Shopping in downtown KYRENIA or NICOSIA became the favourite pastime; when anyone tried to dicker for souvenirs, the same cliche could be heard over and over again”…. you are Canadian UN….you have lots of money…” Most souvenirs were of the traditional nature – lighters, rugs, carvings, lace, etc – but many were beautiful and extremely well made, and will always be a pleasurable reminder of Cyprus.
Cpl HE Leigh, the Company “doctor”, was kept busy. Aside from the regular hypochondriacs parade, his daily routine included ministering to refugees in the pitiful village of TEMBLOS. Needless to say, he dealt with a great many problems.
With the arrival of June, it was time for intra-battalion rotation and B Company moved from KYRENIA to TJIKLOS Company area. Again, a whole new wave of improvements and projects were begun. Everyone swore a vendetta, since we thought we had been unfairly “marched in” by the departing Company. Explanation? War is hell!
Our new outposts included the SADDLE under Sgt Hudson; HILLTOP with Cpl AW McGinnis; THOMPSON’S Farm under Sgt JN Williams; BOREHOLE under Cpl JAD Dusseault; CLIFFSIDE under Cpl NEW Walker; BOGHAZI GATE under Cpl WG Johnston; MOUNTAINSIDE under Cpl AR Cousins. A constant headache for everyone was goat chasing! It was a shame that the local shepherds couldn’t understand English – it would have made things so much easier, at least on our nerves.
At the Duty Officer’s shack, Sgt Jim Petty ably set up and put the command post in good shape. Keeping him company were the Signals people under Cpl RH Darroch and with their help and ingenuity, our communications centre became one of the most efficient in Kyrenia District.
During the hot days of summer came this astonishing report – over 800 bottles of pop were consumed by the Company in one day. Obviously, we had been pretty dry!
July saw changes at Company Headquarters. Maj Paul Zmean replaced Maj Basil Baskerville who journeyed to Forces Staff College. Capt McMurtrie went to Reconnaissance Platoon and was replaced by Lt (now Capt) Mike Gentles; Lts Ray Crabbe and Brent MacDonald exchanged jobs, with Crabbe becoming the new Transport Officer. Only the two original subalterns remained.
Medals parade was the most looked-forward-to item on the agenda for July. After standing in Canadian Contingent Administrative Support Group’s glorious sunshine for two and a half hours, and thereby supplementing our already khaki-shaded operational tans, General Martola arrived and we were medalled. It was a very exciting occasion for those who were newly decorated, whereas the older veterans kept their “cool”.
White at TJIKLOS, “Bravo” had a number of parties, the main highlights of which were the “boat” races. The outcome? – as usual! The Corporals – champs; the Riflemen – second; the Sergeants – third; the Officers – well, they were forth and, as always, embarrassed. Cpl CW Timmins found that he had too weak a stomach to be anchor man and Rfn CFJ Gomes gained the title of “super boatman”.
August – time to move to our final company position. This meant ONEISHA FARM area – the best company location to be had. Charlie Company, which had just left, had worked well on the fixtures here and it was a pleasure to move it. The vendettas were gone!
Under the guidance of “Fin Bin” (the Finnish Infantry Battalion) we constructed a Sauna bath which materialized mainly through the efforts of Maj “Pablo” Zmean and Lts Brent MacDonald and Mike Gentles. “Health nights”, with a satisfying Tuborg, were the “in thing”.
The outposts acquired as a result of this move were HANLEY’S HILL – Cpl JM Carson; MARTIN’S MOUND – Cpl NEW Walker; Teko LIME PLANT – Cpl BG Spence; ONEISHA Lime PLANT – Cpl JA Pratt; STAMPEDE CORRAL – Cpl WG Johnston; BEAVER LODGE – Cpl Comeau.
The most active of these was MARTIN’S MOUND. Its patrols would invariably report something out of the ordinary, eg, new barbed wire, contact with unfriendly sentries, being threatened with shotguns, or being given a demand to lay down their arms. They met these occupational hazards with a remarkable “what-the-hell” attitude. The morale was high among the members of this isolated strong-hold consisting of Cpls NEW Walker and Cpl LA Sparks and Rfn D Copage, WT Crawley, GJ King and PE Cromwell.
The mainstays of all the outposts were the resupply sergeants; one in particular, Sgt JAP Leger, was always reliable and much appreciated by all of his customers. Whether it was eggs or meat, spray bombs or mail, Sgt Leger did a good job of ensuring that the outposts were always reasonably happy. There were others who did a bang-up job as well. The Signals people were constantly on their toes keeping the lines up, open, and secure from children and goats and the shepherds who constantly (sabotage? Pleasure?) cut the wires. This valuable group included Cpls MJ Goldmsith and RL Proctor and Rfn WH Brown, TC Manfini, GE Higgins, MD Mahoney. Their reliance and dependability were unsurpassed.
Sgt (now Ssgt) F Casemore, who took over from the capable Sgt Petty, must also be mentioned. He continued the good work in the command post and maintained it at a high standard. His daily routine encompassed the improvement of maps, position marking, acting as CSM, feeding the dogs, and keeping Signals in line.
September and departure day was near. A new outpost, KANLI KEUY DAM, was assigned to the company; its set-up and administration was delegated to Lt Gary Whiting and the pick of the fighters and “Gomer Pyles” in Second Rifles – Cpls CW Timmins, and EG Anderson and Rfn JD Malcolm, MG Gerlach, S Marzocco, and TG Sullivan. They all did a first-class job in a new and difficult situation.
I would personally like to extend my appreciation for the valuable assistance rendered by our CQMS, Ssgt M MacDonald and his staff, consisting of Rfn JHP Beaumont and WL Pirrie, for the promptness when setting up at KANLI KEUY. It was not only here that they performed so well – all through the tour on Cyprus they did a first-class job of keeping everyone well stocked with the odds and ends necessary to the enjoyment of the surroundings. Well done indeed!
The most valuable of awards in Cyprus was the title of Best Transport in the Battalion – which was accompanied by a $50.00 bonus for the Transport Sergeant responsible. To Sgt JW Lalor went the honours – some of the statistics being more than 97,000 miles driven before our first accident (award) and most miles with the fewest number of accidents (140,000 + miles and only one accident). Other awards and $25.00 went to Rfn TD Van who logged over 11,000 accident-free miles. This efficient section of men included Cpls GT Hodge, JR Burgher and Rfn CFJ Gomes, JE Chaisson, CJ Goodall, CW Morash, PE Plakholm, SL Trodd, EC Tucker and Rfn MC Walker.
October – our final month. We were counting the days and hours. The time couldn’t go too quickly. It was at this time, with home so near, that “Bravo” was grateful to everyone within the battalion for a wonderful time.
We had never had it so good. Sgt FR Zimmer and his kitchen staff would always satisfy our palates with a delicious meal. After hours was no exception – his staff could always be counted upon to provide a fitting spread for any occasion. We must also express gratitude to Cpl E Tiefenbach, Pte RC Ogden and Rfn JT Hearn for their unflagging efforts.
The jolly sight of Cpl WJ Standen and Rfn JW Wannamaker behind the canteen bar was always welcome. Never was there a shortage of beer or rye, and with hot dogs as extras the evening movies were always most enjoyable.
There are a great many who should be given special mention, however, the list is just too long for the space available. All did a good job and contributed to the efficiency of “Combat B” during its tour in Cyprus – from Rfn WG Ferris in the Company Officer to Rfn RV Emery in the Officer’s Mess and from Sgt JN Williams in resupply to Cpl AW McGinnis and his dog.
Suddenly it was over. On 12 Oct, B Company left Cyprus most of us with Canadian Club under one arm and all with six-month tour of duty behind. It was a top-notch company.
KAMBLYI-OR-A WEEKEND IN A TURKISH-CYPRIOT VILLAGE
By Capt MG McKeown
On the afternoon of Friday 18 Aug, a small UN party arrived in the Turkish-Cypriot village of KAMBYLI for what did not appear to be an exciting weekend holiday. The Greek Cypriot National Guard was having another of its “camp outs” and it had been felt necessary to reassure the “nervous” villages that the UN was both watchful and awakeful.
The UN force consisted of Lt Mike McKeown, Cpl Ed Bakker and Rfn Bill Kowalchuk and “Scotty” Connor. The “force” looked forward to a quiet weekend, well prepared for the cribbage battle that would rage for the next three nights.
Let it be pointed out right now that KAMBYLI was no substitute for EXPO – or CANMORE for that matter! A collection of mud huts and old scrap set in some of the dirtiest, driest country on God’s green earth, KAMBYLI was not notable for its night-life. If the town had ever been serviced by electric power – all that ended with the outbreak of hostilities! An evening’s activities here consisted of conversation and Bel-Kola in the lantern lit gloom of the local canteen.
By Saturday night all hopes of entertainment had faded. There had been the initial interest of watching from a distance as the National Guard went to war but that was quickly replaced by boredom. At “force” headquarters, the front porch of the village school, all was quiet except for my bitter muttering as I lost the umpteenth game of crib to Bill Kowalchuck. It was 2200 hours, late by local standards, when the first tracer bullets went curving overhead as the “force”, less its lone sentry tucked itself into its sleeping bags, Good Lord, did I say tracers!!!!
The resulting confusion had to be seen to be appreciated. The recent cribbage opponents departed for the scene of the firing at a furious clip, leaving Ed Bakker and “Scotty” to secure the headquarters and get the until then unused radio back into operation.
Subsequent impressions of a busy Saturday night:
- It is undignified to die with your boots unlaced!
- My God, those are real bullets and I haven’t got my blue hat!
- I wish this old Turk wasn’t so cheerful, I’m terrified!
- The jeep is coming back. Things must really be serious, Kowalchuck wants his What?!
- That’s better. A fellow could get killed without his hat!!!
- How do you persuade fifty crazy Turks to stop firing. “Stop it” – Good Lord, it worked!
- Now all I’ve got to do is walk down and talk to the Greeks. “Does anyone speak English down there?”
- Yipe! Who fired that shot?!
- What are you doing there? General Grivas has said what?
- Well then, tell your CO where you are. No, you can’t have that hill. You don’t dare attack, I have three more men up there. You can’t shoot me, I’m a UN Officer!
From the foregoing, you will father that the KAMBYLI night life had become a little more confusing and exciting than anyone had dared hope. As a matter of fact, it was downright terrifying. The National Guard Company Commander was lost and not the least bit prepared to admit it, particularly to his own Commanding Officer. Fortunately, although the company commander would rather `fight than switch`, it was apparent that his troops did not share his enthusiasm.
The Turkish Cypriots for their part were enjoying the proceedings immensely and it was quite obvious it was the best time that they had had in ages. It was only after it had been pointed out to them that the National Guard fire, if it didn’t hit them personally, was quite likely to do a pretty good job on their flocks with overs that they agreed that a cease-fire might be a good idea.
By now Ed Bakker was walking along the Turkish positions with a lighted lantern emphasizing the UN presence and threatening mayhem to any Turk who fired a shot intentionally or otherwise. Meanwhile, lower down the hill, I was blowing one lantern up into a company of men and using all manner of persuasion to get rid of these unexpected visitors. By midnight, the Greeks had agreed to withdrawal provided that a suitable escort could be found for them. At the critical moment, SSGT “Duke” Connelly and his cohorts from Reconnaissance Platoon arrived to provide the needed escort and some much needed moral support.
As usual, the aftermath was as interesting as were the actual proceedings! The next reinforcements were a detail of UN Civilian Police, who made radio contact on the invaluable Motorola with those who needed it. The police net was invaluable. At about the same time, the Commanding Officer 2nd Battalion arrived with more of the Reconnaissance Platoon and news of the RCD Reconnaissance Squadron which was close behind.
By next morning there was a full-fledged cold war raging between KAMBYLI and the neighbouring Greek village of MYRTOU and the day was spent carrying peace messages (and laundry) back and forth.
During the morning the District Commander (Lt Col Robinson) had the whole area “cleansed” by the Standby Troop of the RD Reconnaissance Squadron which had practically flown from their base at Camp Maple Leaf in NICOSIA to the scene of the incident and had been held at “BEAVER LODGE” until they could move forward into the disputed area if necessary.
By Sunday night things were back to normal, Mike McKeown was again losing at cribbage.
C COMPANY IN CYPRUS
by Capt JEP Lalonde
C Compnay, “Fighting Charlie”, occupied three different company areas during its tour in Cyprus; TJIKLOS from 12 Apr to 13 Jun, ONEISHA FARM from 13 Jun to 11 Aug and KYRENIA from 11 Aug to 13 Oct.
TJIKLOS with outposts at SADDLE, HILLTOP, MOUNTAINSIDE, CLIFFSIDE and the THOMPSON FARM complex proved to be fairly quiet areas. Two incidents stand out above all others, that of the HILLTOP Stone Wall and that of the TJIKLOS Goat Line.
The Greek National Guard at HILLTOP were building a stone wall forward of the cease fire line. 2Lt FW Thornton and Cpl RG Renner, under the threatening gestures of a Greek Guardsman with a Bren Light Machine Gun, approached and proceeded to dismantle the wall. To save face (and stones) the local Greek Cypriot commander offered, after lengthy high level diplomatic efforts by Maj Bill Westfall, to have his men dismantle the wall. Surprisingly, he kept his promise and it was a few weeks before that wall was in contention again.
The TJIKLOS Goat Line is an incident of much larger proportions. After many accusations and counter-accusations, threats and counter-threats, the need became apparent to separate a local goat herder and his goats from Col Simmons and his flowers. After much consideration, assessment, negotiation and study of precedents it became apparent that the answer would be an impregnable line of white-wash “beyond which no goat shall pass”. As the Cyprus sun appeared in an otherwise clear sky, Sgt CP Devlin and a band of infiltrators armed with gallons of whitewash proceeded to transform the Cyprus landscape into a labyrinth of formidable defence work. That afternoon, over a glass of “ooze”, Sgt HFM Abson was made responsible for the new works. Keeping in mind that failure of the HINDENBURG, MAGINOT, HITLER and many other “lines”, Sgt Abson doubled his vigilance. After a month of stalking through bush, of negotiations in the typical Cyprus language – “I don’t’ understand English unless you see it my way”, of chasing and kicking goats and goat keepers, of hearing bells in the middle of the night, the valiant Abson was able to report that, except for daily violations, the TJIKLOS Goat Line had remained intact.
ONEISHA FARM area with outposts at ONEISHA LINE PALTN, TEKO LIME PLANT, MARTIN’S MOUND, HANLEY’S HILL, STAMPEDE CORRAL and BEAVER LODGE also was relatively quiet. On the operational side, the KALAMBAKI feature incident and BOGHAZ incidents stand out.
The KALAMBAKI feature is occupied by the Turkish Cypriots as a result of two mortar bombs and a “fait accompli” which occurred two years ago. The area is still disputed since it forms a salient into “no man’s land”. During our stay at ONEISHA FARM the Turk Cypriots started to build permanent structures on the feature, the Greek National Guard protested, and we decided to investigate. The explanations received were not convincing enough for Lt GO Manning and 2Lt DA Hill. They decided to investigate personally and, choosing siesta time as H-Hour, drove right on to the forbidden feature. Being considerate, as only Canadian subalterns can be, they took great care not to awaken the Turkish Cypriot sentries. Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men”, etc . . . the sentries awakened and our gallant heroes found themselves staring down the muzzles of a Sten Gun and many pistols. They parlayed long enough to take a good look at the disputed position and then, not wanting to abuse the hospitality of their itchy-fingered hosts, politely withdrew.
The BOGHAZ “plumber” incident resulted in much press coverage for our already famous 2Lt Thornton. Cpl Eckenswiller of Reconnaissance Platoon was escorting two Greek Cypriot plumbers from KYRENIA to NICOSIA through the Turkish enclave. After two unsuccessful attempts at entering the enclave, 2Lt FW Thornton was called in to assist. He chose the duty driver, Rfn BJ Moss, to accompany him and, in their trusty ¾-ton truck, went to the relief of Cpl Eckenswiller, Eckenswiller’s jeep followed the ¾-ton truck bumper to bumper as they sped by the Turkish Cypriot Police Checkpoints, the machine gun nest, the BOGHAZ information centre and the military camp across the street when…TILT…the splendid charge was brought to an abrupt halt by a car barring the road and a dozen armed Turkish Cypriot fighters pointing their weapons at our “special task force”. The Turkish Fighters tried to detain and molest the Greek Cypriot plumbers but the Canadians, at the risk of life and limb, protected these wards of UNFICYP. That night, Greek Cypriot Newspaper PATRIS ran a front page headline in red ink praising the Canadian officer who had valiantly fought “60 Turkish Terrorists to save two Greek Cypriots from a fate of worse than death”. It is rumoured that Thornton has saved the newspaper headline, and a translation of it, and is still awaiting his “Archbishop Makarios’ Commendation for Bravery” or is it an honourary membership in the Greek Cypriot plumbers’ unions “Order of a Thousand Washers?”
KYRENIA Company area included: TEMBLOS Outpost, TEMBLOS Listening Post, SNOW WHITE Outpost, TAILS END Outpost, TED’S FARM Outpost and PAQUIN’S HILL Outpost and again proved to be a relatively quiet area. One series of incidents stands out, that of the “TEMBLOS TRACK” incidents.
One of the conditions imposed on the use of the TEMBLOS track is that it may not be used by military vehicles. The Turkish Cypriots, after deep study of the fairy tale, “Cinderella”, decided that what a Fair Godmother can do, they can do better. They covered the military symbols on a dangerous war machine so as to give it the appearance of a vehicle as harmless as a pumpkin. They then tried to pass by our vigilant TRAIL’S END Outpost, commanded by Cpl C Bridger. Bridger, being familiar with the Cinderella story, was not to be duped by the ruse and sent the infiltrators on their way.
Another restriction on the use of the TEMBLOS Track is that it may not be used to introduce prohibited material into the Turkish enclave. The Turkish Cypriots do not give up easily, however, and after further research into “Fairy Tales for the Staff Officer” found another source of inspiration – to wit, “The third pig hid in a butter churn to roll past the wolf”. Well – what a pig can do a Turkish Cypriot fighter can do better. So up from TEMBLOS cam 13 wooden poles covered with sacking! Cpl Bridger, who had brushed up on the pig story the night before, looked under the sacking, recognized the very same poles which he had stopped the week before, and caused them to be unloaded. The following day, it was a load of cement covered with sawdust. But even after three different disguises, including that of the wolf in sheep’s clothing, the materials did not get through. It should be mentioned that each attempt was accompanied with four different stories, each more believable than the others, and on one occasion, a delegation from the city council of TEMBLOS.
But all was not blood, etc, for “Fighting Charlie” in Cyprus. There was the social side as well. Barbecues were held on the Regimental Birthday and on the Anniversary of the Landings in Normandy. The Company also held parties for the KYRENIA Sick Childrens’ Hospital on the Regimental Birthday and on the day following Calgary day. Canada day meant a field day in the morning for the children of the village of KRINI and a sports afternoon followed by a barbecue for the troops. The volleyball tournament was won by the Officers/Sergeants team. SSgt JW Murray and Sgt ME Lawless defeated all corners at Ping Pong. Cpls ED Descoteaux and KC Peacock defeated all challengers at “Horseshoes”, while a team consisting of Capt Lalonde, Sgt Lawless, Cpl JAD Gloux and Rfn Morton won the “equipment” race.
The Battalion held a Stampede on Calgary Day, 1 August Here, “Fighting Charlie” was in the limelight with Rfn Avery and Lachowski winning the greased pole event while our volleyball team under Cpl AJ Rowe remained undefeated.
While at ONEISHA FARM we had occasion to invite the Turkish Cypriots to a volleyball tournament and movies. We won at the movies. We also organized bridge tournaments against the Turkish leadership – a practice which B Company carried on. Two Officers/Sergeants Mess Dinners were held while the Corporals, who, under Cpls Bridger, Rowe, Daniels and Keese, had built Corporals Messes at TJIKLOS and ONEISHA FARM, held too many functions to recall. Our last function on the island consisted of nearly three weeks of free issues as a farewell to the “island of love” and a joyous welcome to 1 RHC.
While in Cyprus, we held five outpost competitions with the following results:
- Best Outpost (Class A) SADDLE – Cpl JA Cushman;
- Best Outpost (Class B) BOGHAZI FARM Gate – Cpl HL Touchette;
- Best Sentry – Rfn DR Cooney – SADDLE;
- Best Outpost (Class A) HILLTOP – Cpl ED Chaisson;
- Best Outpost (Class B) BOGHAZI FARM Gate – Cpl HL Touchette;
- Best Sentry – Rfn RJ Rogers – SADDLE.
- Best Outpost (Class A) HANLEY’S Hill – Cpl HL Touchette, MARTIN’S MOUND – Cpl JA Cushamn;
- Best outpost (Class B) ONEISHA LIME PLANT – Cpl ALJ Gauthier;
- Best Sentry (Tied) – Rfn DR Cooney of MATIN’S MOUND and Rfn WF Conick of ONEISHA FARM LIME PLANT.
- Best Outpost – TEMBLOS Outpost – Cpl HL Touchette:
- Most Improved Outpost – TED’S FARM – Cpl BV Fraser:
- Best Sentry – Rfn KM Francis – PAQUINS HILL;
- Best Welcome Preparations for 1 RHC – PAQUIN’S HILL – Cpl WJ Lytle.
For a while it appeared that the “C” in C Company might stand for “Construction”. We used more than 275 gallons of paint, one mile of lumber, 100 bags of cement and enough corrugated iron to cover a parade square. Major projects at TJIKLOS were lighting of the base camp, painting of the Sergreants’ Mess, a new ablutions area, a helipad at the SADDLE, a Corporals’ Mess, a patio and two barbecue pits. At ONEISHA FARM we completed 22 self-aid projects including a canteen complex with theatre, painting of all interiors at base camp and all outposts, sewer repairs, a new wash-up area for the kitchen, a patio for the Sergeants’ Mess, a Corporals Mess, the foundation for a shower complex, a volleyball court and a badminton court. At KYRENIA we installed the new shower and wash-up facilities, renovated the canteen, readied the base camp kitchen for operation, built a new transport complex and built a helipad at TRAILS END Outpost. Our carpentry team, consisting of Cpl HH Keese and Rfn SA Dorma, assisted by the painting team under Cpl GA Daniels, the whole under the direction of WO2 Olmstead, certainly added much to the comfort of life in Cyprus.
If we look at the animals who at one time or another found refuge with us during our stay in Cyprus we can only conclude that ONEISHA FARM should have been our permanent place of residence. The accumulated total was one donkey, five dogs, one turkey, one chicken, two tarantulas, two vampire bats, two hedgehogs, two budgies, three swallows, one snake, two scorpions, eight cats, one goat, one pig, thirty-one goldfish and four praying mantises. The donkey, SE 1967 LCpl Charlie Burro, was the official Company mascot. He had full dress including a regimental blanket, a regimental bridle, a UN hat and dog tags. At one time, it was planned to bring Charlie to Canada as a Battalion mascot but, since no economical method of effecting this plan could be found, the plan had to be abandoned. On 11 Oct, Charlie, complete with conduct sheet, service book, individual training report, personal file and confidential report, was turned over to B Company 1 RHC in a ceremony which was covered by television camera, As a parting gesture, Charlie bit the hand of both Company Commanders as they were shaking hands.
Altogether, “Fighting Charlie’s” tour in Cyprus was a pleasant one. It was frustrating at times – but we can look back upon it and be satisfied that while we were in Cyprus we did our best. That was enough to “keep the peace”.
VISIT BY COLONEL STRATHY
By Lt B.W. Ashton
The Battalion was honoured during its Cyprus tour by a visit from the Colonel of The Regiment, Col J.G.K. Strathy, OBE, ED, from July 17th to 24th.
The purpose of the visit was to familiarize the Colonel with the functioning of the Battalion in its UN Cyprus role, at all levels and in all aspects of peacekeeping. Col Strathy visited Headquarters Kyrenia District, the Company base camps, Camp Maple Leaf and all eighteen outposts, chatting with the soldiers and acquainting himself with the Battalion’s function.
All ranks of the Battalion were impressed with the Col’s endurance and stamina. His time with us was to be short and he seemed to be determined to make the most of it. Despite the high temperatures and almost unbearable humidity, Col Strathy kept on the move for sixteen to eighteen hours a day, partaking of every activity in our diversified operation.
He presented UN medals to more than 200 members of the Battalion and visited the KYRENIA Sick Childrens’ Hospital where he spent the better part of one afternoon with members of B Company in entertaining the unfortunate patients.
During his visits to the outposts and base camps, Col Strathy was well wined and dined by those in occupation. The facilities in the outposts were minimal to say the least, but each of the groups did their utmost to outdo each other in honouring our Regimental Colonel.
A wine and cheese party, held by the officers and the Coeur de Lion Hotel in honour of Col Strathy was attended by all Battalion officers, except the Company and Battalion duty officers, representatives of the UN Headquarters and all contingents, diplomatic dignitaries and officers of the Greek Cypriot National Guard. The Turkish Cypriots met and enjoyed the company of the Colonel at another function. To commemorate his visit, Col Strathy presented an oil patining of the KYRENIA Harbour to the Officers of the Battalion and a painting of the mountains to the Warrant and Senior Non-Commissioned officers.
The Senior NCO’s of the battalion also hosted the Colonel in their Mess at the Coeur de Lion Hotel.
During the week, the Colonel found time to lead a reconnaissance into a critical area and also to negotiate directly with Evvol Bey at BECHAZ Junction.
Col Strathy managed to find time for some relaxation and proved to be an adept swimmer, particularly at night when not laden with the “conventional” swimming costume.
The visit came to an end all to soon, but the memories of it shall not soon be forgotten. We of the Second Rifles felt most fortunate that the Colonel had found the time in a busy personal schedule to spend a week with us during our tour of UN peacekeeping on Cyprus.
CCASG (Canadian Contingent Administrative Support Group) CYPRUS By Maj TE Ball
The purpose of this article is to describe the functions of the Canadian Contingent Administrative Support Group (CCASG) in Cyprus during the tour there of 2 QOR of C from April to October 1967.
Prior to Nov 65, the administrative elements of the units and formations making up the Canadian Contingent United Nations Cyprus (CCUNCYP) supported and administered their own units in the normal manner. When the total Canadian contingent was reduced in size, the only administrative element of any practical size and organization left was the Support Company of the serving Infantry Battalion. Therefore, in Nov 1965, CCASG was formed to make the most efficient use of all logistic and administrative resources within CCUNCYP. CCASG was formed by placing certain elements and individual members of HQ CCUNCYP and the Canadian Reconnaissance Squadron under command of the infantry battalion Commanding Officer who in turn delegated the supervision to the Officer Commanding Support Company.
On arriving in Cyprus, members of Support Company of 2nd Battalion found that a move into a new location had been initiated. CCASG had formerly occupied the Camps of Elizabeth, Ubique and Troodos Road, collectively known as Camp Maple Leaf of “Lizard Flats”. That camp will long be remembered by occupants as being probably one of the worst collections of tin huts and tents ever occupied by Canadian Forces.
In Mar 67, the move into a new Camp Maple Leaf was started with a view to collecting all possible elements of CCUNCYP into one camp. The move had almost been completed when the Second Rifles arrived to take over the UN commitment from 1 RCR. By the end of April, all moves had been completed and Camp Maple Leaf housed HQ CCUNCYP plus the Reconnaissance Squadron and CCASG.
The new Camp Maple Leaf is located in the South Half of RAF Station Nicosia. This is a permanent campsite built by the RAF in 1951 to tropical specifications. Office blocks, quarters, messes and kitchens are all sandstone construction with double roofs and sun shutters on the windows while the quarters, messes, kitchens and some offices have built-in fans. The tree-lined roads throughout the Camp are asphalt. Included in the camp are a gymnasium, a chapel, a 250-man capacity mess hall, a permanent 10,000 gallon capacity petrol point and the sewage plant for the Camp, the RAF station and part of the Nicosia Airport complex.
A number of ad hoc arrangements had to be made upon our arrival in order to provide working and storage space for the QM, Transport, Canteen Warehouse, Pioneers, Dental Clinic, the Contingent Sick Bay and the Reconnaissance Squadron. However, by the end of April, all had been quartered and were allotted work and storage space reasonably well suited to their needs.
Insert orbat from page 155.
The function of CCASG was to provide administrative and logistic support to CCUNCYP as a whole. During our tour in Cyprus, these functions were carried very well and ably by all ranks of CCASG. It is to their credit that all tasks requested were carried out, that no one at any time went short of necessities and that equipment was kept in repair or replaced.
Under QMS (WO2) McCabe, the cooks, cook learners, food handlers and staff of the Commissary carried out their day-to-day tasks to a high standard. Bulk rations were received five times a week, broken down at the Commissary and delivered to or picked up by the forward companies. With the properly equipped butcher shop, it was possible to provide companies with pre-cut meats suitable for base camp or outpost consumption. The cooks were also involved in every official function which the Contingent, the Battalion or the companies held; most notable being the Jul 1st celebrations and the Calgary Day Stampede on 1 Aug where barbecued steaks were served to everyone present. The visits by the Colonel of The Regiment, the Minister of National Defence, the Chief of the Defence Staff and the Commander Mobile Command also meant formal functions which were catered for by this group.
The CCUNCYP Sick Bay was organized in one wing of the Officers’ Mess. From three bare rooms at the start of the tour, it was developed into a six-bed ward with air conditioner, a store-room-cum-pharmacy, reception office, consulting rooms and treatment centre. Sgt Ted Modderman, under the direction of the Senior Medical Officer CCUNCYP and the Unit Medical Officer, Capt Jaxques Demers, supervised the administration and routine of the sick bay. For the six-month period of the tour, the sick parades handled 1300 Canadian patients, 574 British and 33 of other Contingents. During the same period, the sick bay handled 101 patients hospitalized up to 72 hours, while the 98 requiring more extensive treatment were referred to either the Austrian Field Hospital, the Base Military Hospital, Dhekelia or Base Military Hospital Akrotiri.
Capt Ron Kyswaty, Lt Gary Hargrove and RQMS (WO2) Doug Jones were responsible for the QM functions. Their organization consisted of an office building and five quarters building converted to technical Stores, General Stores, Printing and Stationery Supplies, tailor shop, Bulk Stores and Bedding and Laundry. In addition to Gymnasium had to be used for storage at times. A Quonset hut was erected by the staff during the tour and pressed into service to store appliances, mainly refrigerators, awaiting repair or those which had been repaired but not as yet picked up. During the tour, a complete check of Canadian, British, UN and locally rented items were carried out. This involved nine different accounts and over $2000000 worth of stores and equipment. Lt Hargrove, as Unit Housing Officer, was responsible for contracting for, checking and ceasing contracts on all accommodation, furniture and appliances rented locally. During the entire tour, the normal QM services of receipt, issue and exchange of all items was continued for the Contingent as a whole.
The RCOC Detachment was separate from the QM function and operated as an Air Head for CCUNCYP. Everything in the way of Canadian Stores or equipment that arrived or left the island was processed through this detachment. Although the members of the Detachment worked out of a hanger near HQ UNFICYP, they lived in and were active members of CCASG and Camp Maple Leaf.
The RCEME Detachment at Camp Maple Leaf was a detachment in name only. It consisted of 39 all ranks from 2nd Battalion, the Reconnaissance Squadron and Headquarters increment and carried out repairs of all Canadian pattern vehicles and equipment at unit, field and base repair level. Everything possible was done, from replacing a spark plug to replacing an engine; from rebuilding a generator to rebuilding a vehicle from the frame up; from repairing a Coleman lantern to repairing a heavy machine gun. Over the three-month period of Jun, Jul and Aug, 505 vehicles were processed through the detachment for repair. The average daily “Vehicles off Road” was five, which considering the age and condition of the vehicles and the hard use to which they were subjected, was an enviable record. It was only accomplished by the efforts of the detachment and the full support given by the Transport Sections and drivers throughout the Contingent.
The CCASG Transport Platoon consisted of 46 all ranks. Of these, 36 were from the Battalion and ten were attached from HQ CCUNCYP. Vehicles in use totalled 58 of which 24 were heavy load carriers, and the weekly average mileage for CCASG transport was 12,000 miles. With driving on the left side of the road and operating British pattern Bedford 3 ton trucks, the 11 accidents involving CCASG drivers cannot be deemed excessive. Fortunately, none of the accidents resulted in death or serious injury. A Safe Driving Awards programme was in effect in Cyprus and the following members of the platoon received awards for 10,000 miles of accident-free driving, Rfn Donnelly, Frank Budden, James Campbell, John Belliveau, GA McCall, Art Bellefontaine and Gordon Nicholson. Fourteen others received awards for 5,000 miles of accident-free driving.
The Assault Pioneer Platoon of a battalion in Cyprus, of necessity, becomes a Trade Pioneer Platoon. Our platoon consisted of a headquarters and stores, plumbing, electrical, masonry, Carpentry and Shop Sections. At any time of the day and frequently at night, they could be seen leaving Camp Maple Leaf for a company base camp or outpost to repair a roof, clear plumbing or blow a new latrine, repair or replace electrical wiring and fixtures, or lay cement for a wash-up or shower area. One of the larger jobs carried out was combined kitchen and mess hall for KYRENIA Company area. Prefabricated in the shop at Camp Maple Leaf, the pieces were assembled on the site on a newly laid cement floor. Complete with windows, doors, metal roof, sides and wiring for both lighting and appliances, it was a fine example of the work of which the pioneers were capable.
The Welfare Section, under Lt Les Bailey and Sgt David O’Brien, operated for the benefit of the Canadian Contingent as a whole. Leaves and tours were arranged for all points on Cyprus. Leaves off Cyprus were limited to Europe for the first four months of the tour, however, Beirut, Lebanon was opened again in time for a large number of the Contingent to enjoy a short leave there. Lt Bailey, who was both Welfare Officer and Banking Officer, spent much of his time on the road checking leave facilities, paying bills and arranging for new facilities. He made sure that everything possible was done to ensure all ranks of a good time when they got away on leave. As part of Welfare, but operating separately, was the warehouse under Sgt Andrews, through which all stores and supplies for the messes and canteens were distributed. The average monthly business in canteen stocks ran to $18,000. With four helpers, Sgt Andrews kept stocks moving and accounted for all items, including free issue beer and cigarettes which were kindly donated by firms at home and flown in on the RCAF maintenance flights. As our tour drew to a close, several members of the new CANEX organization arrived with a view to arranging takeover of the warehouse business from the Battalion. As an unexpected but most useful result of the closeout of UNEF, CCUNCYP fell heir to their library of books and tapes. Rather than distribute these to subunit locations, they were centralized in the Welfare Office and a regular library service was operated where members of subunits could borrow books and tapes. For the men in the outposts, the CQMSs picked up and delivered books as requested.
The Battalion Bugles originally had been slated for duty with Headquarters Company but it was later decided to employ them as part of CCASG. They were a valuable and colourful asset to CCASG with duties which were numerous and important to the camp and to CCASG. They were first of all “bugles” and as such added to the Battalion’s reputation at many functions – including their performance at the Finnish Contingent National Day Parade. In addition to their performances, they, under Bugle Major Elliot, were responsible for providing NCOs for the Camp Maple Leaf gate guard, and Riflemen for housekeeping and maintenance duties within the camp. They also provided the loading crew for the weekly RCAF maintenance flights – where they gained an enviable reputation. Regardless of the type or weight of load on the aircraft, or the time of arrival, no aircraft was delayed in its turnaround as a result of loading or unloading difficulties.
While day-to-day duties were being carried out by all sub-units a programme of Camp improvements was also continued. Two 20′ x 40′ swimming pools were installed, complete with patios, within the Camp. The officers’ mess, Sgts’ mess and junior ranks club were refinished, repainted and refurnished to very acceptable standards and improvements to quarters and grounds were carried out by small groups.
The sports programme within CCASG included volleyball, bowling, swimming and baseball. A CCASG team was entered in the baseball league in NICOSIA, losing out to the Battalion team from KYRENIA. One of the best associations established during the tour was between CCASG and RAF Station Pergmos. Our softball team was invited to visit there early in the tour and for the remainder of the six months, the two teams exchanged visits and played at every opportunity. Individual members of the CCASG team were invited to stay over the Pergemos on weekends, either in quarters or with families. It was a welcome break from routine and many new friends were made.
A final interesting, and perhaps revealing, facet of CCASG functions was the operation of Canadian Forces Post Office 5001. In the six months of the tour, a total of 1699 bags of mail totalling 60,484 pounds were despatched. Money Orders to the value of $87,038.00 and stamps valued at $12,773.00 were sold.
CCASG is an ad hoc arrangement designed to meet the particular situation and problems found in Cyprus. Through the efforts of all ranks concerned, the Second Rifles operation appeared to be successful in performing its function of providing efficient administrative and logistic support to CCUNCYP.
THE BATTALION BUGLES IN CYPRUS BY
Bugle Maj RJ Elliot, CD
Undoubtedly, all Canadian bands were kept extremely busy during Canada’s Centennial Year and the Battalion Bugles, spreading the “Rifles Sound” throughout Cyprus, were no exception.
On 26 Apr, the Regimental Birthday, a performance was given for the children in the Turkish village of TEMBLOS which was followed on the same day by a similar performance for the Greek village of DIKIMO.
In May, we were pleased to play for the young patients at the Crippled Childrens Hospital in KYRENIA.
In June, the Bugles provided music for the Royal Canadian Dragoons at three parades – two of these were ceremonial “drive pasts” and the third a “medals parade”. During the month we also participated in the Finnish Battalion’s Ceremonial Parade and, toward the latter part of the month, played at a children’s party at PILARI.
On 2 July, our tour took us to the Canadian High Commissioner’s residence for a Retreat Ceremony, which was part of the official Canadian Centennial celebrations, in the presence of the President of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios III. The following day found us at St Hilarion’s Castle, the centre of Turkish activity, again for a Retreat ceremony, with the Vice President of Cyprus, Dr Kwachuk, and many other dignitaries in attendance.
In September, we had the sad task of participating at the funeral of a Finnish soldier in NICOSIA.
In addition to the performances described above, we performed the Retreat Ceremony for the officers at the Battalion Officers Mess at the Coeur de Lion Hotel – making similar appearances there on the occasion of the visits by the Colonel of the Regiment, and the Commander Mobile Command, Lt Gen WAB Anderson, OBE CD. Also, we played at the District Officers Mess at DHEKALIA for luncheon parties and provided buglers and drummers for the many Guards of Honour during the tour of Cyprus.
On 18 Sept it was time to pack up for our return to Canada. We had received a request to play at the NICOSIA Fair, but preparations for our departure from the island prevented us from filling that request.
In October it was farewell to Cyprus and our need for dress whites.
LANCE CORPORAL “CHARLIE” BURRO
By Maj WR Westfall
Shortly after our arrival in Cyprus, it seemed to be the “in” thing to have a company mascot. We in C Company, “Fighting Charlie”, decided we must have one and that it must be such a one as to be a booster of morale – an animal with which all could play and which was capable of humorous acts and of fending for itself. It was finally agreed that a donkey would be the answer.
After tentative approval by the Company Commander, Ssgt Jack Murray and Sgt Bob Davis, were sent on a “Burro” hunt. After much research with our friend Andreas in KYRENIA and George Pistou of AYIOS YEORGIOS Village Coffee Shop, our burro-hunters were eventually directed to the village of KARMI, nestled on the north side of the Kyrenia Mountains and overlooking the Mediterranean.
Upon arrival at KARMI, and after a search of the local bars, they ended up in a small pasture with a local farmer and, using George Pistou as interpreter, discovered that the farmer owned a seven-month-old burro (donkey) which he was reluctant to sell. After much haggling on both sides, however, the farmer agreed to sell the donkey for 11,000 pounds ($33.00). Sgt Davis made a deposit of 5.000 pounds ($15.00) for which he received a notarized bill of sale made out by the local Muktar (Mayor).
Following the transaction, of course, a celebration followed in the local bar owned by the Muktar. After beers and brandy, our two bargainers returned to the Company lines at TJIKLOS – where they stated that they had bought a donkey which was reputed to be a direct descendant of that which had carried Christ into Jerusalem.
The next day the Company’s Second-in-Command, Capt Lalonde, who controlled the Company purse strings, was pressured into giving financial backing to the burro buying. This he did, reluctantly, and final arrangements were made to pick up our mascot.
On Sunday morning, WO2 Graham Olmstead, Sgt Bob Davis, and Rfn Ray Remillard betook themselves to George Pistous’ bar to take delivery. The farmer not having appeared, the trio set off upon the trail to KARMI to find him. About halfway there, lo and behold, they met the farmer with “Charlie”, as our mascot was to be named, in tow.
Upon paying the balance of 6.000 pounds ($18.00) owing, and with a solemn vow to the farmer that “Charlie” would be well cared for, the group returned to the Company area. Upon his arrival at the Company area, it was noticed that Charlie had only half a tail – how he lost the other half remains a mystery. But, with or without a tail, he was ours and was officially named “LCpl Charlie Burro”. His loud “Hee-Haws” every morning were enough to wake the dead and were the best alarm clock the Company had.
Shortly after Charlie’s arrival at TJIKLOS area, a crisis occurred. Mrs. Stewart, the Australian owner of the area, insisted that Charlie must go, for otherwise, he would eat her wildflowers – which just “couldn’t happen”. Poor Charlie, he had to leave his new home and move to THOMPSON’S FARM where he had lots of room to roam but very little edible grass; his “Hee-Haws” there were so loud that Sgt Abson had to move him to BOREHOLE Outpost in order to be able to get some sleep, Nevertheless, it was apparent that Sgt Abson and the THOMPSON FARM boys had taken “Charlie” to their heart, “Hee-Haws” and all.
During the next few weeks, Captain Lalonde and WO2 Olmstead bought Charlie a custom-made blanket, bridle and dog tags (large size). Cpl Touchette became Charlie’s first keeper.
When the Company moved from TJIKLOS to ONEISHA FARM area, Charlie was in his glory. There, he could run at will inside the barbed wire fence. After being tied up all night he would be turned loose at reveille by his new keeper, Cpl Bridger, and would make a mad dash for the Officers’ lines to knock down the clothes line and eat the clothes. Thence to the vegetable bin and the wet garbage at the kitchen, following which he would visit the canteen to eat the cigarette butts and drain any not completely empty pop and beer bottles. Then to the base camp to spend a few happy hours with men – who fed him more cigarette butts and pop, Later, he could be found rolling in the dirt or just enjoying a snooze in the sun.
Charlie seemed to be in a constant state of feud with Cpl Bridger – in reality, however, they were the best of friends and Bridger was the only one who could control him when he took him to see the children at the Red Cross Home for Crippled Children. Charlie loved his visit to the Crippled Childrens’ Home – where he was given large quantities of pop and cake. Bridger took great care of Charlie, keeping his hooves highly polished (black) his coat curried, his halter polished and his blue UN hat cleaned and blocked – Charlie cut quite a figure. His coat was now a glossy black (from the beer? Or maybe the crushed oats) – he was one spoiled donkey!