Please choose from the following years below.
|Dear Bill, Akrotiri has great memories for me from 1959 to 1962. there was about 40 dogs on our section, and interesting things happened during those three years. I won the MEAF dog trials at Episkopi in 1959 with my dog called Luke. 3 photos included with some of the lads.
Lance Barber sent these pics
below showing how life as an Assistant
Metreorologist at Akrotiri was in
1958 – 1959. Very different from the air conditioned digital forecasting system of to-day that was noticed when lance Re-visited the Met office in Feb 2007.
My name is Michael French and I qualified for the GSM with Cyprus Clasp for my stint in Akrotiri. I was one of those National Servicemen who elected to do an extra year for the Queen and the extra money, and applied for an overseas posting but never really expecting it. After my initial training at West Kirby I was fortunate in landing a posting to Coastal Command in Northwood, just four train stops away on the Metropolitan Line from my home in Harrow on the Hill. I worked in the Orderly Room as a Typist, and just 10 months into my service I was drafted for duty in Cyprus. Another of my colleagues was also drafted, but to a fanciful place called Christmas Island. I did not know much about Cyprus in those days other than it was an island in the Mediterranean and that there was some political turmoil going on there. There were restrictions on leaving the base at Akrotiri for all service personnel living on base. For my first 10 months or so I did not bother to travel into Limassol, the near by town, to shop and sightsee, as one had to be dressed in uniform, carry a sten gun with 20 rounds of ammo, and also be in a group of 4 travelling 2 on either side of the road. Not much fun I was thinking! Instead during this time, I elected to join a
C of E group organised by the RAF Padre, for a 10 day pilgrimage to the Holy Land. We were told we did not need our Passports for entry into Israel, now just a 10 year old state, and would be admitted with just the use of our RAF 1250 ID card. Apparently this was to avoid any problems for us wanting to visit an Arab state later and having to show our passports with an Israeli stamp in it. Conflict! Conflict!
Any way... the trip to the Holy Land, as I like to think of it, was like being in Heaven after virtually being confined to base back in Akrotiri. The food was great, fresh milk and wonderful cheese for a start. The people were so bright and friendly to us. And the atmosphere was magical... steeped in biblical history, I felt transported back in time as we visited Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, Haifi, Jerusalem, and of course the Dead Sea. Floating in that dense salt water literally took my breath away... I came out looking like Lots wife (pillar of salt) and was thankful there were powerful freshwater showers for us to wash away the thick layer of salt on our bodies.
Back at the RAF Base in Akrotiri, I was first posted to work in the office of Sqn Ldr Bowrie, who was in charge of the RAF Base Police. His office was close to the main entrance and guard room, and from my window I had a good view of all the vehicles and personnel coming in and going off the base. Sqn Ldr Bowrie was also a pilot, and he would occasionally take me with him, to sit in the co-pilot seat, on a trip to Nicosia in a twin engine Pembroke filled with special deliveries and despatches. I felt very privileged!
I was next posted to Base HQ for a brief spell before being assigned to work in the RAF Regiment Orderly Room, in a Marquee, and also live under canvas in the "Rock Apes" tent lines of No. 3LAA Wing.
The ablutions block were pretty primitive, but I have only happy memories of my living among the lads in the RAF Regiment. I remember a gunner called Curly who was particularly popular in the regiment wing. We were not friends and I only knew him by sight, but he stood up for me one day when I was challenged to a fight by a much bigger fellow when I accidentally knocked into him and spilt some of his beer. Curly told him "You will have to fight me first if you want to fight Frenchee", and the big chap backed down much to my relief.
I used to baby sit for Sqn Ldr Barnard. It was such a privilege. Mrs Barnard use to make me a lovely fresh salad with cold meats, and not once did I need to look in on the baby, Peter Barnard, he just slept sweetly and was no trouble at all. My 2nd Christmas in Cyprus was my 1st on 3LAA Wing. Sqn Ldr Barnard was acting CO at the time, and 3LAA Wing raised the most funds on the Base for the right of an hour's broadcasting time on the British Forces Broadcasting Service time on the radio. An older hand known as "Mugsy", who for a time shared my tent, was chosen to be the DJ for the selection of records to be played with messages to family and loved ones back home in the UK. There was also a spot for the RAF Regiment poem "The Gunner". I applied for consideration among many others for this recitation, and was lucky enough to be chosen. I remember having to go into the BFBS Studio to record the poem. What a thrill, and I felt truly honoured. I was told someone had recorded my recitation of the poem on tape, but I never heard it other than when it was broadcasted on Christmas Day. I felt proud and yet humbled when congratulated by any one who knew me on the base. If any one knows the words of this poem "The Gunner", I would very much appreciate their sending it to me.
I taught myself to swim way back when I was 9 or 10, and it seemed only natural to do the over arm stroke, Australian Crawl, like Tarzan in the movies. Submarine Point was just perfect for deep water swimming and a group of us from the regiment tent lines would go down there in a 2 ton truck most every afternoon as it was considered too hot for work. Great life if you can get it... Now I may be slight of build, but I am very competitive in the things I love to do. When the 3LAA Wing Swimming Gala came around in 1960 I tried for representation of HQ Squadron. The other two squadrons were 37 LAA Squadron and 27 LAA Squadron. I remember Wing Commander Hunt was our new Wing CO and Sgt Salmon was my Orderly Room Sergeant and Flt Lt Wright (Lefty) was my Adjutant. Other Orderly Room LAC's were Taffy Evans, Barry Taylor, Brierley and ? (sorry, I can picture you but can't think of your name... getting old!!!
Any way I was selected to represent HQ Squadron in the 50 and 200 yards freestyle, and won both.
Wg Cdr Hunt's wife handed out the trophies. I was naturally very chuffed! Photo attached.
I took some leave in Kyrenia and Troodos Mountains and loved visiting ancient historical sites like the Roman Baths at Salamis. There is really so much to see and do and I was never bored with life on Cyprus. There is so much I could say of my experiences in RAF Akrotiri, but will call a halt for now. Congratulations on producing this wonderful web site. Any idea where Ginger is these days?
I am now a permanent resident of Australia and reside near Brisbane, Queensland.
With Best Wishes
Mike French (Frenchee)
(malo mori quam foedari)
I was a photographer stationed at RAF Episkopi, but spent many hours at Akrotiri when I was attached to the MEAF Public Information Office in 1959-60. Most of the time we were on the airfield recording the arrival and departure of various VIPs such as King Hussein, Sir Hugh Foot, Air Marshall Sir Kenneth Cross and visitors from various foreign air forces, together with the C-in-C Sir William McDonald and the Station Commander Group Captain Humphrey. We also took a lot of pictures of aircraft while we were waiting around, which in those days included Meteors, Javelins, Hunters Canberras and V-Bombers. All these photos are, of course, MOD copyright, but I do have the attached taken on my own camera on a day when my official job was shooting movie film of Jimmy Edwards touring
Akrotiri on 6 May 1960.
John Boon (ex SAC)
Thanks John, how about your email address?
Try this account of live at Akrotiri in the early days A Rock Ape Remembers by G Boam
Hi there . Just saw your site thought you would like the attached photos. They were taken between 1961 and 62 , the life guards were set up by the station commander in I think 1960 to protect families on ladies mile beech, and consisted of volunteers from all sections, The Sgt in charge was Sgt Bradbury, I wonder If any can name the people in the photos.
Regards Tommy Yates ex 73 Sqdn 1959-63
More Photos from Tommy Below
Pictures were sent by Joe Davidson of 3 Wing LAA