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1st Bn Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment
(Berkshire and Wiltshire)
Emergency Tour Aug 75 - Feb 76

 

'Farmersboys' to Cyprus

Between the  20 – 29th August, the main body arrived in the island and when complete assumed command of the western sovereign base area at Episkopi from the 1st bn Duke of Wellingtons Regiment. Soon after arrival, command and admin companies amalgamated to revert to the old Headquarter Company. The role of the Battalion was the operational security of the western sovereign base area, though one company was to be detached under the command of the eastern sovereign base battalion at Dhekelia. Cyprus was a familiar scene to many of the older officers and N.C.O.s in the battalion but now life was very much restricted to the SBAs. The Turkish Army pressed about the eastern SBA, blocking off Famagusta and in the hills about the Goshi, Pissouri and Troulli former training areas, threatened the port of Larnaca. Refugee camps dotted the SBAs, particularly the Greek Cypriot encampment in Athna Forest on the road between Dhekelia and Famagusta.

 

(Left to Right) Pte MORTON, 2nd Lt DURANT, Pte ELLIOTT, Cpl FENNELL

'WAITING FOR HIGH NOON'

The usual rounds of interminable guards, road blocks ,Ops and patrols came with the security task but the 4 – 6 weeks as a detached company in the eastern SBA, which was more ‘Sharp end’ and had a touch of Semi – independence, being under the command of a depleted D.W.R., was well enjoyed.. Time at this location included the protection of the important 9th Signal Regiment at Ayios Nicolaos as well as the occasional minor confrontation with the Turkish force.

 

Drums to the Rescue
By Mick (Smudger) Smith ‘D’ Coy Clerk 1973 – 1976

 

 During the 1975 – 1976 tour of Cyprus, The corps. of Drums led by Drum Major Bob COVENEY, with Colour Sgt Alan HOBBS 2i/c were stationed for around one month as guests of the R.A.F. at RAF Troodos, forming a rapid reaction force to protect and respond to any attack upon the ‘Golf ball’ radar instillation about two miles from the base. I was attached to the drums for this short period. 

The stay went off without incident, until on the return journey to Episkopi led by Alan HOBBS, the road was blocked on a severe bend with a drop of some 800 feet, with grape vines growing on the plateaus along the whole length of the mountainside. 

A Ford Anglia saloon driven by an elderly gentleman, accompanied by his wife and their young granddaughter had failed to negotiate the right hand bend and had plunged off the road the bottom of the mountain., according to eye witnesses, bouncing several times before coming to rest, with all three occupants being thrown from the vehicle 

Also at the scene was a small contingent of the Greek National Guard, one of their men had recovered the body of the young girl and had climbed the mountain side with her, taking her to hospital where she was announced dead on arrival. 

 

 

 

Members of the drums recover the body

Bystanders and passing senior officers observe the recovery operation

Alan HOBBS put the drums to work immediately to recover the bodies of the elderly driver and his wife, it was an arduous task, lifting the stretchers from one level to another in searing heat, the recovery took well over two hours, the only refreshments being the hand full of grapes available occasionally to quench the thirst, the lads worked extremely hard without question or complaint until the recovery was complete, and the bodies taken away by ambulance. 

The operation to recover the bodies was witnessed by senior ranking officers (Not DERR), who were also passing the scene, and they were obviously impressed with the Drums action led by Colour Sgt HOBBS, as a short while after the incident, the drums performed at Eposiski and Colour Sgt HOBBS and all those involved were commended by the Commander in chief Cyprus for the great job they had done.

 

 

Drum Major Hobbs, Briefs a Senior Officer on the recovery operation

 

Drum Major HOBBS, 1st Battalion D.E.R.R. recieves a C in C Commendation from Major General C.W.B PURDON C.B.E. M.C. for actions carried out by the Drums platoon during the incident outlined above.

 

Cyprus Walkabout

 

Whilst on this tour the Battalion were responsible for the organization for the ‘Cyprus Walkabout’ and in addition entered a number of teams. The above certificate relates to the Battalions entry the following year when they entered a team whilst stationed at Warminster, when they were placed as the top team from outside Cyprus.They finished in 1976 as follows
D.E.R.R. TEAM PLACES
PLACE TEAM Hours Mins Secs
2nd

Sgt LAWRENCE

L/Cpl MARTIN

Pte KEW

12 19 48

(Left to Right) The winning D.E.R.R. team that came 2nd overall in the competition 

Pte KEW, Sgt LAWRENCE, L/Cpl MARTIN

4th

Cpl HINE

L/Cpl DEPASS

Pte CHAPMAN

13 01 31
8th

 

L/Cpl CHAPMAN

Pte McINTYRE

Pte SCOTT

15 45 31

 

The D.E.R.R. team that came 8th overall,, LCpl CHAPMAN, Pte McINTYRE and Pte SCOTT.
 10th

Cpl DONOHUE

Pte CHARLES

Pte TUCKER

 

16 38 17
   21st

L/Cpl ARNOLD

Pte CAVANAGH

PTE BOND

 

20 05 45

Others from the Battalion completed the course including L/Cpl Cherry DEPASS who completed the last 15 miles with a broken foot

    

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The Web team would like to thank both 'Smudger SMITH, and Alan McIntyre for assisting with this page, although it must be pointed out that McIntyre's memory is fading !!
 
 
                             
 
                        
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                            Revised: 19 July 2006.