CYPRUS 1957 - 58
1st Battalion News: (Back Badge, June 1957)
The move from Bahrain was made in Hastings aircraft of RAF Transport Command. Due to flight restrictions over Jordan the flights were made over the Taurus Mountains of Turkey and on to Cyprus. On arrival in Imjin Camp, on the outskirts of Nicosia, the Battalion was concentrated for the first time in two years. The Camp was made up of huts and electric lighting was installed. The Battalion was part of 3rd Infantry Brigade and would operate in the Troodos Mountains. But the Battalion was soon switched to 50th Independent Brigade, responsible for Internal Security in Nicosea.
Company Reports: (Back Badge, June 1957)
HQ Company: "And so to Cyprus and a bitterly cold camp and constant guards and escorts. The Drums have been out on more than one operation and the MT have suffered the Battalion's first operational casualties. The Company also provided the guard on the biggest arms dump ever found in Cyprus - a dangerous and unpleasant duty."
W.A. Wood left us to command "B" Company and was
replaced by Major E.L.T. Capel. The next to depart was Private
Richardson, our Company Storeman, who left after 23 years service.
Soon after our arrival in Cyprus Corporal Quick, our Company
Orderly Sergeant, and Corporal Darby, CQMS Clerk, both departed
for civilian life."
MT Platoon: "Captain A.E. Strange put himself on the advance party to Cyprus, leaving Lt. Gilmore to hand over the wrecks to 1st Camerons. After our airlift to Cyprus we found that we had a splendid lot of new vehicles to take over in Nicosia. We suffered our first operational casualties in Cyprus, on 10th March 1957, when a landrover, driven by Lance-Corporal Arkell and containing Lieut. Henderson, 2nd Lt. Waters (acting MTO) and Privates Knight and Lawrence, encountered an electrically-denoated bomb near Nicosia. Lance-Cpl. Arkell and Pte Knight were both wounded and the latter defeaned in addition. Both are well."
Intelligence Section: "At long last we have an Intelligence Section! Lt. J.A. Mackean, Sergt. Thorne, Cpl. Dominy, Privates Knight and Saunders. The Section runs the Unit Operations Room and busy themselves with the most alarming maps and traces. They also do a lot of other things (so they say), but they will not disclose what they are "for security reasons."
"A" Company: "Fora change, onn our arrival in Cyprus, on 5th January, we found a camp ready for us to take over. We found ourselves manning a road-block within a few days and the whole Company turned out to patrol the walled city during the fires on the night of 20th January. Since then we have been kept busy with guards and patrolling the walled city."
"B" Company: "2nd Lt. Charlton left us on arrival in Cyprus to become Mess Secretary. 2nd Lt. Bewell went to Support Company and 2nd Lt. Robinson lurks in HQ Company. 2nd Lts. Portch, Saunders and Thorne now command Platoons No. 4, 5 and 6."
"C" Company: "After being held up a day in Habbaniya with engine trouble, we arrived in Cyprus and were surprised to hear that we were to become "C" (Training) Company. Training soon got underway and the Company became a hive of activity. The permanent staff in the Company, besides doing demonstrations, also provide a guard of honour, under Sergt. Chilcott for any important guests that we have."
"D" Company: "On arrival in Nicosia we were told that there was no accommodation ready as yet and we were consigned to Waynes Keep transit camp for three days. On the 11th January we moved to St. Barbara, now renamed Imjin Camp. Our role in Nicosia was I.S. and on the 21st we were out under the command of the South Staffords to prevent a possible outbreak of rioting at the funeral of a murdered Turkish constable. The day passed off quietly, although Sergt. Boulton had to rescue a policeman from an excited crowd at one stage. A day or so later, as a result of Turkish reprisals against Greeks, for the policeman's murder, the walled city was put under curfew. We took our turn at curfew enforcement, which was not very exciting. Corpl. Rodman reacted quickly when a youth fled at the sight of his patrol. The suspect was found and arrested by the police, but was not a wanted man. We were the first Glosters to patrol the notorious "Murder Mile" and the Greek quarter. We had an interesting ten days with three bomb incidents and an attempted shooting. As the result of a scare the whole Company moved in to Luna Park and a curfew was imposed again. We found the first EOKA and AKEL leaflets to be brought in by the Glosters and even stopped a film to search a cinema when a shot was fired at a police patrol from the cinema. On 5th February we handed over to Support Company. Our next task was a series of guards, of which the most important was Ormophita police station, the main interrogation centre, and Mitsero mine. After one day the Company, less one platoon, moved out to the mine. Here we supervised blasting and the use of dynamite, did some training and some patrols. We are at the moment guarding His Excellency the Governor's residence. We hope to be allowed to get away on operations outside Nicosia soon in this beautiful, yet unhappy, island."
Hawker left us on promotion as CSM "D" Coy. and CSM
Morgan goes to the 5th Battalion soon. Colour-Sergt. Dee has
replaced Colour-Sergt. Hawker."
Assault Pioneer Platoon: "We looked forward to Cyprus, but although we took over good specialist equipment we found the Company being relegated to the role of a rifle company. The platoon took part in Operation "Whisky" which resulted in the capture of the EOKA 2nd in-command, Afxghentiou."
Company Reports: (Back Badge, December 1957)
"A" Company: "Whilst based in Imjin Camp we have taken our turn in guard duties which can become rather dull but have certainly not been without incident. The Company was on guard at K.T. Detention Camp when Archbishop Makarios was released from the Seychelles. This caused considerable excitement and hundreds of Greek Cypriots gathered at the Detention Camp demanding the release of the detainees. However, with the exception of waving flags and a few stones being thrown, the crowd did not cause any trouble and everything returned to normal within two days. We took part in an operation in the Troodos Mountains for twelve days; see report. June and July were spent on guard duties in the Nicosia area and many were able to go on leave during this period, either to Kyrenia or Famagusta. Next we took part in Operation "Tricycle" in the Paphos Mountain Range. The Company spent four weeks in the hills with Company HQ and No. 1 Platoon in the area of a forest hut, No. 2 Platoon went north, up to 4000 ft and some eight miles from HQ by forest roads, No. 3 Platoon were just over two miles from HQ. Each Platoon had to man OPs, send out ambushes and patrols, and provide road blocks. On our first day back in Imjin Camp, we were on stand-by at the funeral of a Turkish-Cypriot who had blown himself up."
"B" Company: "Had it not been for the three weeks spent on operations and in training in the Paphos Forest there would be little to report in these notes. Since April, life has been one damn guard after another. In the second week of July we moved into the Forest."
"D" Company: "We started with most of the Company on guard at Government House, then moved out to a camp in the rural areas for a week. There were compass marches and a section attack field-firing exercise. We slept in bivouacs made from ponchos, ground sheets, etc. We then spent five weeks in the moutains under 3 Brigade. We turned out on a cordon and search at Lymbia on the night after our return to Nicosia. In late August we returned to Luna Park for the first time since January. 2nd Lt. Hutchings and Lance-Cpl. Radford caught a leaflet distibutor red handed in Evagoras Avenue, and arrested him. Laterly, we have been on duty at Turkish funerals."
another move facing us at the end of the year we shall be
reorganising on the new establishment which does not allow for a
seperate Support Company. In its place we shall become No. 2
group of "HQ" Company. We continue to operate as a
rifle company. We had a month's training and operations in the
3-inch Mortar Platoon: "Many guard and internal security duties, but we did get some serious training, both mortar and rifle, in the Troodos Mountains. Lt. Hurford-Jones went to "C" Coy. and we have Lt. R.A.F. Jarman as our new Platoon Commander. We are glad to see the return of Sergt. Godwin, BEM, who has been attached to the Aden Protectotare Levies in Aden for three months."
MMG Platoon: "We have been performing guard and IS duties at places with such strange names as Perakhorio, Omorphita, Strovolos and Kokkini Trimithia. We moved for a month to the Paphos Forest for some training."
Assault Pioneer Platoon: "Mid-June training in the hills and patrolling. A lot more guard duties, including Macheras Monastery. We then moved back to Nicosia and the Mason-Dixon line."
HQ Company: "The MT have distinguished themselves in getting an excellent CIV Inspection Report, and their convoy driving impressed at least one senior officer in Cyprus."
Company Reports: (Back Badge, June 1958)
"A" Company: "During September 1957 the anniversary of the Battle of Salamis (480 BC!) afforded an opportunity for a bit of VOLKAN versus EOKA strife. To forestall any more explosions, the Battalion carried out extensive searching of waste ground, road verges, etc. The only find was made by Support Company who unearthed a small load of gun-powder and detonators on the Limassol road. At the end of the month, No. 1 Platoon (2nd Lt. Spry) and No. 3 Platoon (2nd Lt. Burges) went off for some fresh air to Sha and Dhali, country villages around Nicosia, each platoon spending a couple of days in its area. In October the move to Germany seemed imminent and four weeks of Battalion training were organised, during which everyone in the Company managed at least two courses. On 28th October was Oxi Day - yet another anniversary claimed by EOKA. "A" Company was despatched to the rural area to look after things for the Battalion. Company HQ and No. 1 Platoon got themselves established in Perahkhorio Police Station, to watch over Lythrodonia, Ayia Varvara, etc, while No. 2 and 3 Platoons led a tented existence near Laxia and Dhali. We moved into the area on Sunday 27th, and stayed to Monday night. Slogans, posters and flags came up like mushrooms eveywhere. No. 2 Platoon captured a brace of fine Greek flags. In the middle of November we went back to Nicosia, which involved a lot of guards and also control of the Walled City of Nicosia. December's thrill-packed action is described elsewhere; all returned to 'normal' by Christmas."
"B" Company: "An endless round of guards. From Omorphita to Central Prison, to Mitsero to KT and the Secreteriat, to Perahkorio Police Station, to the Detainee's Ward at the General Hospital and back again. Only the Central Prison guard offers anything worth recording. It was there that Harvey fired three rounds at an escaping prisoner."
"C" (Training) Company: "Such has been the decimation of our ranks, that we number a mere 22, but our activity has increased."
"D" Company: "The highlight of our activities was our detachment near Limassol underpinning the 43rd Light Infantry. Our tasks were to guard three police stations and patrol a hilly area. The camp site was on the beach in a really beautiful bay. After returning to Imjin Camp, a month's training followed and a new draft joined. Christmas was spent in prison guarding the detainees."
"HQ" 1 Company: "The reorganised Company now consists of the Administrative Platoon, QM's Department, the Cooks, the Unit Pay Team, Officer's and Sergt's Mess staffs, and the MT Platoon. One of our patrols, made up of the Messing Officer, MT Sergt., the Regimental Butcher, and an RAPC NCO, when moving stealthily in the darkness, caught a man in the act of pinning a terrorist slogan to a church wall. We also mounted mobile patrols into the countryside around Nicosia."
MT Platoon: "Capt. A.E. Strange left to do a course in England. He managed to get himself on the advanced party to Germany after he had taken his annual leave. Lt. (QM) Gillett took over the task of MTO from him, but he was soon evacuated to England with stomach trouble. The Platoon feels justly proud of its annual CIV inspection by the REME inspectors team. We congratulate Major Strange, Corpl. Arkell and Lce-Cpls Binding, Turner, Damsell, Evans and Whittle on their promotions."
Support/HQ 2/Command Company: "Support Company were reorgnised to become 'HQ Company Group 2'. No sooner had we resigned ourselves to this fact than we changed again to an experimental establishment for Germany by becomin Command Company, although we still call ourselves HQ 2. The MMG and AT Platoons were disbanded. We absorbed Battalion HQ, the Signal Platoon and the Drums. The Assault Pioneers were reduced to a section and integrated into the Drums."
On leaving Cyprus, the GOC Major-General Kendrew, CB, CBE, DSO, stated: "There is nothing more that any General would want than that the Glosters be in his particular command. I do not think in all my service that I have met a Battalion which has carried out its duties so quickly and efficiently."
Awards for Cyprus:
Lieutenant-Colonel C.E.B. Walwyn, DSO. - O.B.E.
M.I.D.'s to : Major A.E. Strange. Lieutenants J.B. Henderson and A.G. Bryan. Colour Sergeant C. Havelock-Allen. Sergeant W.E. Garrison. WOII's I.H. Jackson, BEM, and G. Boyes.