Introduction by Margaret Sheard …
We have received a comment from a reader who has enjoyed reading one of our oldest articles about British national servicemen in Cyprus in the late 1950’s and he has also shared some of his own memories of his time in Cyprus, when he was stationed in Famagusta from 1956 to 1958.
By Geoff Simpson ex 65th Coy RASC ….
I was one of the 65th Coy RASC stationed at Golden Sands from 1956 to 1958. I drove what we called an Ice Box delivering meat to camps all over the Island. I also did several ammo runs in a Leyland Hippo. Whilst in a convoy near Dhekelia I had a 1000 pounder which rolled back in my lorry, knocking down the tailboard and bouncing down the road. We thought the convoy would go up but later they said it wasn’t primed.
Being the only heavy general transport company on the island we delivered all over Cyprus. Ammunition chiefly went to RAF Akrotiri, Nicosia, Dhekelia, Episkopi and Limassol. When we went to Dhavlos it was to move a new regiment onto the island, I believe it was the Welch Regiment. Driving a lorry was a bit scary in those days with the rough and narrow twisting roads, as can be seen in the photo below with the lorry wheels hanging over the edge of a sharp bend and there was a sheer drop below.
I also remember Yana’s visit, when she played at our camp in Famagusta. I was on main gate guard. As her coach was leaving we stopped it and Yana dismounted, she said “did you miss the show boys”. We said “yes” and she put her arms around us and gave us a full on kiss. The lads all wanted main gate duties after that.
There were casualties in our camp. From behind the brick wall that was all around the orange groves, a terrorist threw a bomb into the back of a 3 tonner which was carrying some of the Leicester regiment who shared our camp. This resulted in several deaths and injuries. That was why the wall was bulldozed down by us all the way to Famagusta.
Unfortunately our Sergeant’s 15 year old civilian son was also killed whilst walking into the camp.