By Kate Cornwell ……
I wrote an article on Famagusta at the beginning of January and last week a gentleman emailed me as he had read it in Australia, where he now resides. It obviously brought back memories of the time he spent in Famagusta and Dhekelia when he was young.
Peter Coghlan came to Cyprus in 1957 as a teenager, due to the fact that his father worked for the UK government attached to the Royal Navy. His father worked at the Boom Defence Depot which was a naval depot responsible for deploying Famagusta harbour protection, in the event of a naval attack.
When he first arrived in Cyprus, he attended Karaolos army school and he remembers well, turning up on his first day in long grey flannel trousers and blazer fresh from his English Grammar School in Gosport. As you can guess it didn’t take this lad long to change into shorts and a short sleeve shirt.
As things worsened due to risk of exposure to EOKA attacks, he was packed off to KRS boarding school in Dhekelia. Sadly, one of his teenage acquaintances was shot and killed on his way to working part-time at a Famagusta army camp.
Having sent this photo to Peter for verification he said:
“No, it looks to me that the pupils in Miss Firmage’s class may have been a little younger than me. I had a male form teacher and I think, though not positive, that his name was Mr Talbot. I remember my first task on arrival at his class was to write him an essay on the causes of the French Revolution presumably so he could assess my capabilities.”
Peter has many memories of the British forces operating in Cyprus at that time and also of many Turkish Cypriot friends who were largely confined to the old walled city.
Cyprus, like most who have visited and/or lived here, left affectionate memories for him, albeit they were troubling times. In fact he says his whole life after leaving Cyprus was shaped by his experiences and particular a desire to live in a similar climate – that’s why he resides now in Perth, Australia!
Peter is thinking of revisiting Northern Cyprus some time this year and he was wondering if there were any expat retirees living here who were pupils at the King Richard School. Peter was in the 5th form, he is now 77 years old so most of the pupils would now be around 72-78. He believes there were approximately 430 boarders at the school and they were all sons and daughters of British forces and Government civilians working on the island.
Peter would so love to meet up with anyone who lives here and/or elsewhere, who remembers those days. At present, he only has one contact who was a fellow boarder, now retired in the UK, and it would be so great for him to expand his contacts.
Let’s try and help Peter fulfil that dream!
Pictures courtesy of Karaolos Army Children’s School Facebook page
To read more of the Karaolos Army School click here