November 30, 2023

By Chris Elliott….

Karaolos Army School, Famagusta….from Exodus to where? – The missing camps of Cyprus?

In re-publishing my article “Exodus to where? – The missing camps of Cyprus?” on the internet, this was updated to include reference to the Karaolas Army School, Famagusta which was within the Karaolas military camp area and there has been some excellent work of researching the history of this school by the former pupils on their Facebook page and this is what they have discovered after research of the Karaolas Camp.

“British involvement in Cyprus started in 1878 when the English took over administration of the Island from Sultan Abdul Hamid 11 of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans felt they might need help from the British against the Russians, and the British wanted a base in the Ottoman/middle east area.

Karaolos in 1915 when it was used by the British Police.
Karaolos in 1915

Famagusta was the only deep water port on the Island for use by Navy warships and supply ships. Karaolos was used  initially as a storage area for supplies to Nicosia and in the summer to Troodos  where the Governor decamped to avoid the summer heat.

In 1916 the British used Karaolos as a detainee camp for Turkish POW from WW1. They were captured in the Suez and Dardanelle areas by the British and sent by ship to Famagusta numbering 2000. After the war they were released, some remained in Cyprus and the rest sent to Turkey. By 1920  the camp was empty.

Then the Russians came. The White Army and their dependants having been defeated by the Red army and fled to Crimea. They were evacuated to Istanbul and then to Cyprus. Most stayed only a year while some settled in Cyprus the remainder moved to any country that would have them. The tents were replaced by some buildings and huts and conditions were slightly better at this time.

Photo of Karaolos in 1946 from an American Jewish website
Photo of Karaolos in 1946 from an American Jewish website

The largest group of interns  of course were Jewish refugees fleeing Europe but not allowed  at that time to enter Palestine. The ships were intercepted by British warships and  everyone on board taken to Karaolos. From 1946 2000 refugees a time were taken to Haifa but in 1948 the last remaining people were shipped to Palestine and the camp was empty again. The whole episode led to a book and then a Hollywood film.

With trouble escalating in the Suez Crisis the number of British troops was increased and many billeted in Karaolos on route to the area. Many young men  were doing their national service in Cyprus. Families of these men were housed in Famagusta and their  children attended a school in Karaolos. The earliest  pupil memories are from 1953 but its not known when the school opened. It closed in 1964 and all pupils transferred to Ayios Nicholaos and King Richards in Dhekelia.

Some of the land  and buildings was used by the UN during the EOKA troubles  in 1974 and some used by the National Army as a training base. Being designated as Military, access today is prohibited. Research  into these times is limited to the internet but more is being posted as people age and want their memories recorded.”

Back now to the school which was formed to provide education for the children of British Servicemen based at the Karaolos Army Camp perhaps the most interesting aspects of the school are the memories of the pupils and some of these are shown below.


On August 13, 1946, the British began using the Cyprus Detention Camp Karaolos, near Famagusta Cyprus. Altogether, there were five camps: 55, 60, 61, 62 and Camp 63, in Karaolos, all built near the beach area. One of these camps became the British Army school Karaolos.

It was closed when caught in crossfire during the EOKA troubles and all children moved to Ayios Nicholas school at Four Mile Point. Without any other FB page I hope we can get together and reminisce here on


SHOOTING DISTURBS PEACE OF FAMAGUSTA – Cyprus Mail correspondent. Famagusta April 22 1964

A POLICE escort for a squad of Electricity Authority workers near the Karaolos camp outside Famagusta came under heavy fire this morning from a Turkish strongpoint in the area and was pinned down for some time until police reinforcements and UN troops arrived. About 150 British children at the nearby Karaolos Army School were evacuated from their classrooms. The children spent 90 minutes in the school holding a ‘sing-song’ as the firing continued, before Army lorries took them home. The Police Landrover carried Sgt. Christakis Sergiou and Pte. Demetrakis Mavromatis, the driver. They were escorting Public Works and Electricity Authority workers to the area to attend to installations for the electrification of the area.

Famagusta has been one of the quietest areas during the last four months, and it is the first time Famagusta police have had to use their guns to answer fire. Automatic fire A Turk, who is said to have been identified, fired from a sandbagged position behind a barbed wire fence, immediately afterwards several bursts were fired by another Turk hiding in the area using automatic weapons. The occupants of the police vehicle managed to get out of their bullet-riddled car and … in a ditch returned the fire. The Battle raged for about two hours at close range before U.N. troops from British and Irish contingents moved in and brought about a cease fire.

The Irish soldiers, though are due to become operational from tonight, moved into action smoothly wearing their new U.N. helmets. U.N. officers said no casualties were reported during the incident which ended when Captain Fuller arrived on the scene with a patrol of Life-guards and men of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. The Irish troops of the 40th Battalion some of whom arrived in Cyprus only the day before, helping the British troops to cordon the area and patrol streets around the Greek and Turkish sectors. Irish escort At about the same time Turks in the Sakaria-Kartanas area tried to intercept traffic on the main Salamis road. But the entire security force was … and calm returned to the town by the afternoon. At about 1p.m. Irish troops escorted Electricity Authority workers to … to installations. The sandbagged position in which the Turks had …has already been demolished.

Another Pupil

Hi Dawn.

There was a regimental bus similar to the one in the photo painted army green that would have been used to bring the children to school.

I have contacted a mate who was at Karaolos with me, he cannot remember a school there.

Good luck with your search.


Another Pupil


I only knew of the existence of this film a few years ago when it was shown on Sky one afternoon. I rang my Dad and asked if he knew about it and he said of course!!

The memories of those few years in my young life were so confused and I was set on a new course to find out more about Karaolos. 

For information click on this link

From Ralph…

I was also a pupil at Karalos School 1960. 1961 moved to King Richards in Dhekelia. I am not sure whether or not Karalos School closed down but I suspect it did because my 3 sisters followed me to King Dicks. Time does fly.

I collect my Old Age Pension this year. Anyone remember the open air cinema at Karalos? Not sure where the Army Camp was in relation to the school but I think it was probably next door. If I knew how to do it I would put a picture of my first Karalos School Report on here but I haven’t the first idea how to do it? Can anyone enlighten me?

Posting Part of Karaolos camp was given to the Swedish Peace Keepers when it closed in 1964 and renamed Camp Carl-Gustaf.


Now Karaolos is on the map. Formerly known as Gulseren Camp Area and used by the National Guard. It was declared a military camp in 1981 and used by the Turkish Cypriot Armed Forces. Unfortunately since yesterday the Wikimapia image has disappeared and I’ve replaced it with the Google Earth image.

This research project has been very successful and parts of the historical jigsaw are starting to be put together and some of the staff and pupils have been listed below.

By Dawn


Year Pupils Head Teachers Teachers
1953 Linda McManus,  Gloria Attards, Lorraine Hills
1955 Kate Campbell nee Nugent,
1956 Christine Platts nee Allen,  Judy Allen
1957 Evelyn Plater nee Calleja,  Pam Burghart,  Avril Fielding,  Kenneth Wallace,  Brian Pole,  Charlie Buttergig,  Terry Cahill,  Ian Aldous, Sandra Glee,  Ann Savage Mr Talbot…Miss Firnridge
1958 Susan Borgensen nee Bunten Tom Wilcox
1961 Julia Bunten
1962 Robbin Whittlestone,  Susan Evans, Dawn Williamson nee Shanks Robin Green M M Jackson
1963 Dawn Thompson nee Shaw,   Judy Shaw,  John Stewart, G Shepherd

It is hoped that by publishing this story of the Karaolos Army School, Famagusta more worldwide readers will become aware of its fascinating past and perhaps more information will be forthcoming so that the former pupils will be able to tell their children, grandchildren and future generations what it was like to be child in the history of Cyprus. Do please visit the Karaolos Army School, Famagusta Facebook page click here where you can see many more pictures and informative notes from the pupils.

To read our article “Exodus to where? – The missing camps of Cyprus?” which led to this joint article above, please click here

20 thoughts on “Karaolos Camp and Army School, Famagusta

  1. Another bit of exciting Cyprus history that probably has not been written before . The role played by Cyprus in welcoming different people in Famagusta Karaolos ( by the way Karakol in Turkish or Black Arm, in other words Police Station) is amazing . Thank you Cyprus Scene and Chris Elliott for bringing us the story . And good luck to all those who attended the Karaolos School in getting together and finding childhood friends.

  2. Karaolos has such history for many people including children. With the internet bringing people together we can record the past…. Dawn

  3. Next August I will travel to Cyprus just to know, Farmagusta, and Karaolos. six months ago a wached the Film Exodus and I discovered this fascinant island of Cyprus. I would like to visit also the hotel Constansa, and the Othellos tower… thanks for this information… from Cuernavaca Mexico. a brother of Karaolos place… Juan lops

    1. Thank you Ivy for your comment and I hope you will find more interesting articles on I see you have a very interesting webpage and if you would like us to publish any of your recipes with full credit and link to your website and article, we will be very happy to do so.

      1. Thank you Kyreniacommentator. At the moment I am very busy as I have undertaken to create a digital cookbook with other food bloggers and chefs for charity, but will have this in mind for the future.

  4. Very interesting I was there in 1957 en route to uk for National Service demob from Kenya I spent 8 weeks there

  5. Hi. My mum dad sister and I were at four mile point from 1956 to approx 1961 or 1962. Not sure on date. Us ladies were evacuated when the troubles were bad and dad followed 4 months later. Dad was with civil service signals etc. (Later GCHQ) Think my sister Glenda picture is in the group picture. Have emailed her to have a look. Regards. Kath Belcher ( pick)

    1. Hi Kath many thanks for you information which we have passed onto the Karalaolos Facebook group.

      If you have any further information or pictures we would be delighted to see them.

  6. Hi Kath

    would love it to be your sister in the picture. My Dad was also Civilian wing 9th Signals at 4 mile point.

  7. My Dad was the Signal regiment’s RQMS. We lived in the quarters attached to the tented camp between 54 and 58. My sister Anne is a year older than me and also went to the school on the other side of the wadi from the estate. Already posted on the FB page btw.

      1. In 1959, as a British national serviceman, I frequently noticed the word HAGANA painted in huge capital letters on the Famagusta harbour wall. It was a defiant reference to Palestine’s fledgling Jewish army a decade earlier and the internment in Cyprus of 52,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors barred from entering Palestine until the end of British rule there in May 1948 and the birth of the State of Israel.

      2. Thank you Maurice and I wonder if there is any evidence remaining on the harbour walls of these messages?

      3. I don’t know but would be very surprised if that huge slogan was still there nearly 60 years later.

      4. We found the remnants of a long welsh town name painted by the Welch Regiment on the wall of the school in Dipkarpaz.

  8. Karaolos Army Children’s School

    Hello, I attended Karaolos Secondary School from about 1958 to 1960. We were taken to school and returned in an old Bedford Bus with chicken wire over the windows and 2 armed soldiers from the Royal Ulster Regiment to guard us. Rod Webb was my best friend there.

    The headmaster when I arrived was the spitting image of Heinrich Himmler with a personality to match. I think his name was Turner or Taylor? I remember him thrashing me in front of the whole school at morning assembly for not having any knowledge of geometry (this was my 12th school!). After failing an Army Children’s School inspection he was replaced by Tom Wilcox who was an absolutely fantastic headmaster.

    I think some of the teachers names were: Mr Wilson (who took us to Jordan where we me his old Sandhurst friend King Hussein), Mr Claridge (who built his own boat) and Miss Edgingon or Ellridge? All the Nissen Huts were rebuilt while I was there.

  9. I went to the Famagusta Army School for three years from around 1957-1060. I remember the time of the shooting, sitting in the school hall, crossed legged, singing songs until I was loaded into an army truck with a load of other children and taken home. I had no idea what was going on and found it incredibly exciting. My father was in the Army Education Corps teaching English and Maths to soldiers who has missed lessons during the war. I remember him grim faced climbing on a chair to get his gun from a high cupboard – as an adult teacher he rarely wore it. I can’t remember much about the school, other pupils or teachers but I remember being very happy there, standing at easels for art and going to the beach Saturday mornings for lessons in the shade. My name then was Christine Shergold.

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