By Margaret Sheard ….
Earlier in the year we received a comment from Brian Robertson, who currently lives in Australia, about a book he had written about the Gordon Highlanders, the Regiment in which he served his UK National Service in Cyprus.
Having written many articles of “Cyprus Remembered” in conjunction with British ex-servicemen, now veterans, who served in Cyprus in the 1950s, I was very keen to obtain a copy of Brian’s book to read his account of his time here. There seemed to be a few hiccups with the launch time of the book in the UK but Brian had already received copies in Australia and put one in the post for me, which eventually arrived in North Cyprus. In the meantime I had asked one of the veterans, who was coming to the Royal British Legion, Kyrenia Branch, Remembrance Sunday event, if he could purchase a copy for me in the UK and bring it with him. So I eventually ended up with two copies, but no problem as I was able to pass one to someone else who loves reading and is also resident in North Cyprus.
I read the book and found it to be an excellent read, giving an account of the author’s earlier years before being called up for National Service and then finding himself in Cyprus – a whole different world for a 19 year old. I was able to relate to some of the places mentioned, such as Aberdeen Camp (Xeros), and others, having visited these areas while doing my own research. It seems the Gordon Highlanders in fact introduced the name Aberdeen Camp. It was interesting to note that Brian had said there were many of the servicemen who really had no idea why they were in Cyprus and what was going on and they just carried out their duties because they were ordered to do so.
In later years Brian has thought a lot about the situation in Cyprus all those years before and has been able to glean a lot more information of what was actually happening. This is also included in his book and like many others, the experience made him a lot more worldly-wise and probably helped him to understand many things that may have come across his path, as he grew older, from a different perspective.
There are certain accounts of happenings in Cyprus by British servicemen which surprised me, although I had heard of some accounts from other sources and was not sure at the time of their authenticity.
Brian’s book is dedicated to the 16 Gordon Highlanders who lost their lives in Cyprus, 13 in a forest fire in the Troodos Mountains, where 8 servicemen from other regiments also lost their lives.
For those who are interested in military history and in particular British servicemen in Cyprus in the 1950s, you will definitely like reading this book which can be obtained from Ringwood Publishing online shop, Waterstones online and is also available from Amazon, Booksource and Bokus.
Brian has supplied many photographs from his time in Cyprus and there are more to be seen on the slideshow below.
You might also like to look at a video of Brian Robertson from his home in Australia talking about his book. Click here