The Flamingo Magazine 1986

The Winter issue of Flamingo sees a
change in format from our previous magazines.
The first half of the magazine is presented as a pictorial diary of major happenings at Akrotiri since last July, while the second half contains articles of a more general nature from the various sections and clubs on the Station.

The last few months have seen us suffer a terrorist attack - fortunately with no fatalities - but also the loss of 3 of our friends tragically killed in a helicopter accident.

 However, the months have also seen us have a successful AOC's Ins­pection and a plethora of visits, including one by the AOC in C Strike Com­mand, and culminating with a Royal Visit albeit short when HRH the Prince of Wales arrived at Akrotiri.
229 OCU brought us our first squadron of Tornado aircraft as visitors, and we also saw the last of 29 Sqn as a Phan­tom squadron - they will next return with the Tornado. Also seen for the first time at Akrotiri were public tele­phones (cunningly camouflaged in combat green cabins, courtesy of CYTA) I hope you enjoy the new format magazine ­your comments and suggestions will be very welcome. It only remains for me to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


On Sunday the 3rd of August 1986 a re­laxed, sunny, RAF Akrotiri was subject to a surprise attack by a group of terrorists. That it was not more successful in its objectives must be a question of remarkably good fortune.
The station came under mortar fire. Mi­raculously no-one was killed, but. Mrs Eileen Malpass did sustain shrapnel injuries from a mortar round which landed outside her married quarter. At the same time as the mortar rounds landed on the station a group of terrorists outside the Ladies Mile gate which is be­hind the ARABS (Akrotiri Rowing And Board Sailing) beach club opened fire with small arms and a rocket launcher. They also threw grenades into the car park. Families who were on the beach ran for cover into the beach club buildings and. one dinghy sailor threw him­self into the water as his boat came under fire. By a remarkable coincidence, the children of Mrs Malpass were in the ARABS Club car park with Mrs Sandra Edwards when the firing started. Rebecca Malpass aged 8 showed great bravery and presence of mind by running out, under fire, to drag her younger brother to safety (She was subsequently awarded a CBFC's Commendation for her actions and goes to a Service in Westminster Abbey just before Christmas). Mrs Edwards sustained shrapnel injuries to her foot and leg. Some other members of the club were also in the car park at the time and they too had a lucky escape by ducking behind their cars for cover.
The whole attack was over in minutes and the attackers sped off along a packed Ladies Mile beach which at the time contained literally. thousands of tourists and local people, it was the first Sunday of the, Cypriot National summer break. To add to the confusion the escaping terrorists fired over the heads of people on Ladies Mile causing some alarm.

After the attack a Beirut based news­paper published the following claim: 

a. "In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate, the United Nasserite Organization announces that the three groups carried out their mission successfully and, according to plan, inflicted heavy damages at the British-US-Zionist bases situated on the coastal road between Limassol and Paphos. The three groups were able to destroy a number of helicopters, jetliners and transport planes. They also destroyed accommodation of the British families inside the base. This is in contrary to what was claimed by lying British sources in an attempt to play down the importance of the attack, the first of its kind, and to hide its real losses, for they have imposed strict censorship and banned en­try to their base to all media represen­tatives. The attack is' a strong blow to Margaret Thatcher. The attack was ne­ver targeted against the Government of Cyprus or to the friendly Cypriot people. The three groups returned to their bases safely. The group of the martyr Al Hilidi Ben Sarka suffered two wounded, who were slightly injured during the attack. The Unified Nasserite Organization calls on the masses of our Arab nation and on their national and progressive forces to target more strikes against US-British-Zionist interests and institutions. We stress that a series of similar operations will be carried out during the coming period.

After the attack RAF Akrotiri came in for extensive international press coverage as the world's TV crews and journal­ists interviewed the Station Commander and those who had been subjected to the attack.

Heroine of the Day  Rebecca Malpass

The heroine on the day of the terrorist attack on RAF Akrotiri was undoubtedly 8 year old Rebecca Malpass. Rebecca was down at the beach with her little brother and Mrs Edwards, their neighbour, at the onset of the attack. They had just got into their car to return home when the terrorists opened fire. Rebecca bravely protected her 2 year old brother by pushing him onto the floor of the car and then carrying him to safety once the firing had stopped. (Mrs Edwards, meantime had been injured in the foot by flying shrapnel).

Unbeknownst to Rebecca, her mother had also fallen' victim to the terrorists back in their married quarter, she was hit in the chest by fragments of a mortar shell. Fortunately both ladies have' now fully recovered.
Since the attack, Rebecca has received a commendation for bravery from the Commander British Forces Cyprus, Air Vice Marshal Hayr, and she has also been selected to receive the' 1986 Woman's Own Child of Courage Award, to be presented by the Duchess of Kent.

The picture shows AVM Hayr with the Malpass family.

RAOB Holiday of a Life-Time 86

The Holiday of a Life-Time was once again held this year, despite the at­tempts of certain groups to throw our lives into turmoil.
As in previous years, all the planning started before Christmas with the first circular letters being sent out in January.
The response was absolutely marvellous and the Fete planned for April was looking good. Then came the first set back. The Fete was unable to go ahead owing to the increased commitments for
all Service personnel. This however did not deter the fund raising and I am pleased to say that due to the hard work and additional fund raising activities of various clubs and Sections, we reached our target figures and the holi­day went ahead.
The 10 children were booked through British Airways to fly to Larnaca on 3 August returning to England 18 August. A full and interesting itinerary was organised and we were ready to go.
Once again, the resident Battalion at Episkopi was able to help our project The 1 Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was able to loan us the camp site equipment required for the 2 weeks.
Having set up the campsite all we needed were the children, due to arrive at 0100 hrs on 4 August. Then every­thing seemed to go wrong with the at­tack on Akrotiri. Those of us who had set up the camp site did not hear of the attack until 2000 hrs on the Sunday evening, by which time the children were already on their way here. After quite a few phone calls, I was able to stay at the camp site and get to Larnaca to collect the children.
From there it was a case of ad lib for an itinerary, as, because of the attack, all Service personnel were back on the shifts they had already become used to this year.
However, from what looked like a difficult situation, we suddenly found plenty to do, and in the second week were able to fit in most of the original itinerary. The first week consisted of a lot of swimming but did include trips out to Paphos, Curium, Kolossi and beautiful downtown Limassol. By the beginning of the second week the children we're quite competent swimmers:

During the second week we had an over­night stay at Ayios Nikolaos planned and. I am pleased to say that this was able to go ahead. The trip started with a visit to the BFBS and then on to Ay Nik. On arrival at Ay Nik we were fed and watered at the 4 Mile Inn and then on to the RAOB Lodge. Once at the Lodge the kids got a surprise "as the Fire Section turned up to display their vehicles. This ended up with a lot of people get­ting wet (thanks kids!) and questions being asked about a certain kid who was a little larger than the rest. The follow­ing day took in a trip to the beach and then on to Aya Napa (not the beach, the Monastery). Following lunch it was then on to Dhekelia for some Gliding. All in all a fun packed 2 days, in the ESBA. Thank you to the organisers of that part.
Friday 15 August saw a surprise for us all. At 1400 hours we had to be at Limassol New Port and there we found HMS Southampton, a Class 42 Destroyer. The Captain and Ship's Company had kindly invited us to visit while they were here and we were very well hosted. Unfortunately the holiday was now coming to an end and shopping had to be done to get the presents for the kids to go home with.
While they were here though they managed to visit: Akrotiri Saddle Club, Ca­noe Club, RAOC West Site, Youth Club, Ayios Nikolaos, Lemmings, WCSWSC, 10 Port Sqn, HMS Southampton, Fire Se­ction, Families Club and many beaches.
To finish with I would like to say thank you to all those who helped with this year's holiday. Without all your help we would not have succeeded, especially with the way things had gone this year.
Once again, thank you for your extra hard work and effort and. let' 16ok for­ward to an easier 1987.

Anthony N Roovis
Holiday of A Lifetime

Air Movements Squadron

Air Movements Squadron Life in the Air Movements Squadron at Akrotiri has continued at its usual break­neck pace over the last four months. The Joint Air Booking Centre has had its fair share of problems with the rela­tively new computer booking system, but
in between whiles has managed to get its usual quota of indulgees away- to UK and should break all records in November/December when it is hoped to transport some 75 indulgence cars back to RAF Lyneham, thanks to the amount of empty aircraft generated by Exercise Swift Sword in Oman. The Air Movements Flight, besides handling its usual 4,000 passengers and 300 tons of freight in and out of Akrotiri per month has also had to cope with some unusual air­craft due to the cancellation of the re­gular VCIOs and Hercules.


The RAF's latest fighters, the Air Defence Variant of the Tornado, known as the Tornado F2 or F3, in November visi­ted Cyprus for the first time. The air­craft are from No 229 Operational Con­version Unit based at Conningsby in Lincolnshire. 229 were the first fighter unit to be equipped with the Tornado ADV and are still the only unit flying it. They arrived at Akrotiri on Monday 10th November after flying non stop from the UK. The Tornado F2 3 has now been in service with the RAF since November 1984 when the first 2 aircrafts were delivered to Conningsby. Two RAF officers flew on the delivery flight of the first aircraft, Air Vice. Marshal Ken Hayr, the present Commander British Forces Cyprus and Wing Commander Rick Peacock Edwards the Commanding officer of No 229 OCU. Since the delivery of the first 2 aircraft, both of which are with the detachment in Cyprus, there has been a steady delivery of F2s and F3s to the RAF. 165 Tornado ADVs have been ordered by the RAF. Saudi Arabia has also ordered 24 and Oman has ordered 8.
The Tornado F2/3 will replace Phantom and Lightning Squadrons assigned to the role of Air Defence of the United Kingdom. Many of the Phantom and Light­ning Squadrons that visit Cyprus regular­ly will be re-equipping with the Tornado over the next few years. The Tornado is a highly computerised aircraft with TV screens to display information. It also has variable geometry wings, very sophisticated avionic equipment and a lot, of what modern technology has been able to offer. The crews who fly in it, most of whom have previously flown Lightnings and Phantoms, praise the working environment of the cockpit. In particular, they comment on the lack of noise from the inside; not the same as the outside I am afraid! The Tornado has been designed as a long range fight­er capable of intercepting all types and numbers of targets. It also has a good dogfight capability as many adversaries have found over the. last couple of years
229 have always been associated. with fighter aircraft and the training of fighter aircrew. For 20 years the unit was equipped with Hunters and 2 generations of RAF fighter pilots were train­ed by it between 1954 and 1974. The Tornado is likely to be in service into the next century so .it seems that sever­al more generations of fighter aircrew will pass through the hallowed doors of 229.