Home  -History-Gallery- Archives - Duty Padre's Piece -Welfare-Mess-Navy in the News- Contact Us






October 2012

The October ‘meeting’ was the annual Trafalgar Night Dinner at the Officers’ Mess in Episkopi which also coincided with the 10th anniversary of the formation of the Branch.

29 members and guests attended with Commander British Forces Cyprus, Air Vice Marshal

Graham Stacey CB, MBE, MA, BSc, RAF, and his partner, Dr Maria Stuttaford, as our guests of honour.






The main course was a traditional roast beef dinner, as English a meal as can be imagined which suited the theme of the evening and the whole event was very well served by the ever attentive mess staff, who were constantly ensuring that no glass remained less than half full.







Our Chairman (Bill Hellier) had sought out a ‘cakemaker’ to do the necessary honours to mark the occasion of the Branch’s 10th anniversary so a slice of birthday cake was also distributed.




Our guest of honour was well aware that he would have to say a few words once the port had been passed and toasts had been made but I don’t think that anyone present had ever been made aware of the Air Force’s contribution to Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar.

The point being made was the AVM was sure that a young lad must have been strapped to the top of the main mast (all 203 feet of it) as an early warning device . . and as this lookout was so high above mean sea level that he could well have been considered an ‘air asset’!.


Our Secretary (Gordon Redpath) was heard to mutter that this was a ‘false claim’ - my words not his - and that the lookout was in fact a forerunner of the radar fraternity.


Although not giving up on his ‘air asset’ claim for Trafalgar the AVM went on to give an overview of the role that the British Forces in Cyprus provide to the current conflict in Afghanistan and the Middle East in general. A very interesting brief indeed - we wish him well on his new appointment in December

At the end of the dinner bouquets were presented to the two ladies on the top table, Norma Hellier:


 . . . and to Dr Maria Stuttaford:

 . . . and so to the bar.

A very enjoyable evening was had by all and it is worth re-iterating that we are very lucky to be able to have such a venue made available to us . . . but whether we can ever secure the attendance of such a high profile guest of honour remains a problem for next year.


July 2012

The July ‘meeting’ took the form of a lunchtime social at Kyrenia Beach Taverna between Episkopi and Pissouri on Sunday 15th. Despite the annual mass migration to cooler climes at this time of year a dozen members still turned up.




June 2012

Celebrating the Queens Diamond Jubilee at Lemona – 2 June 2012:

The Branch President (Sir Edward Du Cann KBE) hosted over 100 members and their guests from both Branches of the Royal Naval Association here in Cyprus to an outdoor buffet at his home in Lemona to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. With a coach bringing the Larnaca members and their guests and the every one else making their own way it was inevitable that the approach road to Lemona duly became an extended car-park however Sir Edward was on hand to personally greet every individual at the front gate as they arrived.

Once everyone had assembled in the courtyard and charged their glasses Sir Edward gave a short speech of welcome for this historic occasion and raised a toast to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth to mark her Diamond Jubilee, an event that has only happened once before in all of our nations’ history, which was heartily taken up by all.

The Chairman, Bill Hellier, then made a presentation to Sir Edward for hosting this day’s event, on behalf of all RNA members on the island, of a framed photograph of Sir Edward’s former craft from his days in Coastal Command - MTB 5015.

The picture shows the craft at speed with various crew members at their respective posts and one of the two officers on the open bridge . . is Sir Edward.

Norma Hellier then presented a bouquet to Maureen as a thank you from all of those present.

The effort that went in to making the day such a success can only be imagined but Sir Edward later said that it was all down to Maureen’s hard work and not him as he was only responsible for greeting the guests at the front gate and signing the cheques.

Please view the photo’s of the event by clicking here.

June meeting -

The June meeting was held on Wednesday 13th with Bill Hellier presiding as our new Chairman and with 31 members present.

After the Padre’s Piece, the next item was for any guests to be introduced and S/M Kev Barnes presented Nic and Jane Ley from Konia who had previously expressed an interest in becoming Associate Members as Jane’s father was a WW2 and Palestine navy veteran, Nic’s father is a serving Chelsea Pensioner and, more importantly, their son is a serving CPO in the Royal Navy . . and so the branch membership was duly increased by two.

The various Branch Officers then made their reports which resulted in the final Committee vacancy (Social Secretary) being filled by Alison Kennedy. Alison was not present due to her presence being required to invigilate at her school exams but she had made her wishes known to other committee members and, as there were no other volunteers, her appointment was confirmed.

A lot of comment was made about the celebration of the Queens Diamond Jubilee at Sir Edward and Maureen’s house in Lemona on the 2nd June. All available photo’s can now be viewed via the link on the Home page. Sir Edward made mention of the framed presentation photo of his former craft (MTB 5015 - which now has a home in his study) and that the other officer on the open bridge with him got a DSC for his efforts during the Dieppe raid during WW2. Apparently he was the skipper of another MTB that day and disobeyed orders to retire from the beach area and instead took his craft back in and rescued some 50 soldiers who would otherwise have been left to be killed, wounded and/or taken prisoner.

The new batch of re-designed ‘RNA Cyprus’ plaques have now arrived and can be purchased from the Hon Secretary for €50 each, Sir Edward was the first customer.

The second part of the evening was given over to John Keenan who gave a very informative and humorous slide presentation about the time that he and his wife were caught up in last year’s earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. This then set the scene as he went on to describe a ‘work/hobby in progress’, namely about his plane building project on South Island, the reason he was there in the first place. I believe he has already booked his tickets for his next visit to NZ to continue with the project later on this year.

It is intended that July’s meeting will be in the form of a social event. The details of the date, time and venue will be emailed to all members by the Secretary when confirmed.

May 2012

The first event of the evening was the formal presentation of a donation from Branch funds to a ‘colour party’ from the 57th (Episkopi) Sea Scout Beavers (Myles Dixon, Hannah Branfoot and Kevin Reeves) and three staff members (Dr Ruth Burley, Kevin Reeves (snr) and Richard Dixon) and their Chairman; Brian Nicolle. The actual presentation was made by Sir Edward to Myles Dixon.

The various officers’ reports were then given.

A general discussion then ensued regarding various options that could be persued for recruiting new members. With Branch membership now numbered in the ‘forties’ several members came forward with some alternative propsals that will be investigated further. Eric the Cleric has a contact with the UKCA (Limassol Branch) who have their own magazine and that we could possibly use this to reach a different section of the ex-Pat community. Regarding the annual social events within the ex-Pat calendar it was agreed that there would not be another dedicated RNA stall at the 2012 Episkopi Summer Fair in Happy Valley this year due to the reduced numbers of the general public and the poor return for the effort put in during last years event. Rather than relying on the more formal approach through various parts of the media, including local redio, it was generally recognised that nothing was more effective than individual members recruiting other RN veterans within their own social circles.

S/M John Keenan brought along a very large, well made, cased, model of the ‘new’ Albion Class LPD (or Landing Platform Dock). The model was almost a metre long and even had cut-away sections in the hull to view the interior . . and it was looking for a home.

Apparently a former member of the Paphos Yacht Club (Peter Decker) had recently passed on and had left a legacy of three model craft, including an even larger one of HMS Sheffield (circa 1936: Town Class light cruiser) and a vast collection of RN themed books, a selection of which were on display and also looking for a home. Due to the available room in the Paphos YC their committee had decided that these items were available to anyone who wanted them and had asked John to bring them along tonight to see if there were any takers . . so for anyone wanting some additional reading matter about various aspects of the RN then please contact: Brian Layng on 99 279 302 who will arrange a viewing . . the LPD model was snapped up by the 57th (Episkopi) Sea Scout Group.

S/M Bill Hatfield  (a SSAFA co-ordinator) gave notice of a joint RBL (Larnaca) / SSAFA fund raising event to be held at the Beach Club in Dhekelia on 15 June, cost €15 per person. He then gave a few facts and figures about the dramatic increase in the financial costs required to support SSAFA cases in the past year or so (+ 67%), hence the need for the fund raising.

Due to circumstances beyond his control, Sir Edward’s presentation on his experiences with Coastal Forces had to be postponed so Richard Hughes stood in and gave a demonstration, with a few co-opted members, on a certain aspect of police work. Some of the relevance of the finer points of this play acting may dwindle in the memory but no-one will forget the hilarious, real-life, anecdotes of portrayed by ‘Salty’ – the sea dog.

And finally . . congratulations were in order to our oldest associate member who had made the effort to come tonight, Sylvia Tooes, who will be 100 this week!   


April 2012

The main event for this meeting was the election a new Chairman. The President gave a brief summary of the events which had necessitated the need for the election for which there were two candidates, S/M’s Gordon Redpath and Bill Hellier. The returning vote duly saw S/M Bill Hellier elected to the Chair and the first sentiment recorded was a unanimous vote of thanks to the efforts of the previous incumbent S/M David May.

S/M George Williams (Vice Chair) made the point that as the Branch membership has reduced over the past few years from over 100 to about 40 that we now need to recruit new members and that this is a responsibility that falls to all members not just the Committee.

As reported earlier, the Branch will be celebrating the QDJ at Sir Edward’s home in Lemona on Sat 2 June, this invitation has also been extended to the members of the Eastern Branch in Larnaca. It is intended that a bus be hired to transport the members from the Eastern Branch, and any of our members who live en route, to and from Lemona. 

The second part of the evening was given over to Eric the Cleric who gave a PowerPoint presentation on his recent (Jan – Mar) visit to Sri Lanka and India. To those present this was a thoroughly enjoyable kaleidoscope of photographic images including;  the local fishing industry - using locally made boats of dubious construction to individuals spending hours attached on to a vertical pole in the sea fishing by line, a three footed elephant (victim of a land mine) in a local wild life sanctuary, local temples, ethnic weddings, tea plantations, giant Hibiscus, a ‘Colonial’ meeter and greeter at a local hotel – completely attired in white jacket / shorts / long socks / topee and Sam Browne,  wood carvings, the CWG cemetery at Kandi (in which a survivor of the Battle of Waterloo had been laid to rest),  a moonstone mine where you can have bespoke jewellery made, herds of water buffalo (Eric personally vouched for them . . as making the best steaks ever!), a former tea factory that was now a very high quality hotel, the list goes on but finally, a couple of pictures of some recruits at a local army camp (2nd Batt. Gemunu Watch) who were being drilled by their immaculately turned out Sgt Maj, uniform pressed to razor sharp creases whose head dress even sported a huge red hackle (who said the Empire was dead?).


March 2012

Due to rather inclement weather only 16 members managed to make the March meeting.

The Chairman (S/M David May) started the meeting by unveiling a new acquisition for the RNA Cyprus Branch from the widow of a former shipmate and gifted model maker, Donald Hawes, namely a four foot scale model of the Destroyer HMS Saintes . . it even has it’s own propulsion unit!. It is hoped that this model will eventually be on permanent display within the mess and moves are afoot to secure and preserve it within a glass case.

S/M Richard Hughes (Welfare) gave an update on S/M Jack Philips, who is now back in the UK and recovering slowly but steadily.

S/M George Williams then announced a date for all diaries . . that the RNA Cyprus Branch will be celebrating the Queens Diamond Jubilee on Saturday 2nd June 2012 in Lemona, at the home of our President, Sir Edward Du Cann KBE, further details will be announced when known.

The second part of the evening was in the form of a PowerPoint presentation by the ‘Medal Man’ (S/M Kevin Barnes) who gave an account of a medal research project he had undertaken a few years ago concerning a triple gallantry medal winner who had served twice in both the RN and the Coastguard. This story was then linked to a follow-on account of, probably, the most decorated priest (for bravery) in the Christian church.

Next month’s presentation will be from ‘Eric the Cleric’ who will be regaling us with his recent adventures in the Indian sub-continent.


February 2012

Visit by Commander and Mrs. Alan Castle

Shipmates of the Branch were pleased to enable hospitality for Commander Alan Castle, his wife Irene and daughter Claire during their holiday in the first two weeks of February.

Now almost 80 years old, Commander Alan served as an RN pilot flying Gannets in the 1950s at Nicosia airfield which is now in Turkish Northern Cyprus. Chairman Shipmate Surgeon Commander (D) David May and wife Denise called at the Castle’s hotel in Limassol where they a good chat ‘swinging the lamp’ and hearing Alan’s reminiscences. Shipmate Lt.Gareth Turner RN also kindly arranged for the family to visit RAF Akrotiri and see how air defence in the eastern Mediterranean has changed over the years.



In a letter of thanks Alan said that he had visited the new British Cyprus Memorial which holds the names of three Gannet crew members, including his relief, who died the day after he left the island. A sad note.

It is an honour to be able to help veteran shipmates such as Alan and his family revisit their past in Cyprus.






David May presents a Branch plaque to Commander Castle


February 2012

32 members attended the February meeting which was also the AGM for the Branch.

Following ‘Apologies for absence’  the Rev Alan Hodson then gave a stirring prayer woven around the main values of the RNA: Unity, Loyalty, Patriotism and Comradeship.

The salient point of the evenings business was the implementation of the results of an internal review of the future makeup of the ‘Main Branch Committee’ to ensure compliance with RNA rules and regulations.

The Chairman then gave a summary of the main events of the previous year, from a presentation on earthquakes, followed by the reality of the Japanese disaster, to the narrow escape by the majority of the membership at the Governors Beach taverna last summer which was then devastated by the blast from the Mari naval base some 12 hours later.

The Welfare Officer next floated an idea to the members for the possibility of raising a list of ‘volunteers’ to be on the look out for ex-naval veterans in their particular area who may appreciate an occasional visit. Some shipmates have been in Cyprus for a long time and may since have lost their partner, had surgery or were just becoming elderly.

Items of a social nature came next. These included plans to join up with the Runcorn Branch to celebrate Trafalgar Night. Runcorn shipmates enjoy that event abroad it seems. Our President has offered to host the Branch at his home to celebrate HM Diamond Jubilee in June.

Following an excellent serving of sandwiches the second part of the evening was taken up by S/M Richard Hughes who gave a very interesting insight in to policing public events in London over a seven year period.


January 2012

The first meeting of 2012 got under way with 23 members present. The first item was a brief prayer from Alan Hodgson, who was standing in for Eric the Cleric who is currently taking a few months sabbatical leave. The various committee members then read their usual reports with the Social Secretary mentioning a few points of more immediate importance to the members present in that, a) sandwiches would be available at the forthcoming AGM, b) that, although we have access to the Mess bar for refreshments, coffee and tea is also available from the main dining room, and c) that VyVy was making her last call for those wanting to join her latest venture to Sri Lanka.

The second part of the meeting was taken up by SM John Hale (having just celebrated his 87th birthday two days previously) who provided a DVD presentation of the sinking of the German pocket battleship the Scharnhorst north of Norway back in December 1943 . . . an event at which he was a participant all those (68) years ago whilst serving on HMS Jamaica. The DVD itself was of a BBC TV ‘TimeWatch’ programme that was originally broadcast back in 2001 and John actually featured in it as one of the interviewed veterans. He had also brought along all sorts of memorabilia of his life and times on the Arctic Convoy routes including the 4 Russian medals that had since been awarded to him by, despite the intervening Cold War years, a grateful Russian government. Despite the current problems with the world today the personal recollections that are occasionally brought to the surface by some of our members tell of times past that were infinitely harder.


December 2011

The last meeting of 2011 was a relaxed affair where festive nibbles and the like were provided on the usual ‘bring and share’ basis however all were saddened by the news that S/M Fred Cooper, one of our (two) Honorary Life Vice Presidents had ‘crossed the bar’ on 4th December.

S/M Nobby Hall, a fellow Honorary Life Vice President, probably knew Fred the longest and wrote the following tribute which was passed on to Fred’s family the day before his funeral on the 15th December.

"Fred Cooper was a Founder Member, Vice Chairman, Welfare Representative and Life Vice President of the Cyprus Branch Royal Naval Association and he will be sorely missed by all his fellow Shipmates. From day one he threw himself whole heartedly into the running of the Branch and quickly established himself as one of the main characters. Nothing was ever to much trouble for Fred and he could always be found in the midst of any meeting or event. One of his greatest achievements was the RNA Stall at the Annual Episkopi Garrison Fete where he worked tirelessly to raise money for the Naval Charities. His wine tasting lunches at his local vineyard are the stuff of legend and were thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended.

 A man of the people he was totally at ease in any situation and in his role as Welfare Rep' he provided much assistance to Shipmates in need. As a former Royal Navy Leading Stoker and Diver nothing ever phased him and he could always be relied upon to undertake any task on behalf of the Cyprus Branch or any of the Shipmates. In later years he was plagued by ill health, which he suffered stoically, and although this forced him to slow down he continued to remain a loyal member right up until he Crossed the Bar. Throughout it all he was both totally and ably supported by his Wife Norma who, along with the rest of the Cooper Family, have our deepest condolences for their loss.

 We in the Cyprus Branch of the RNA will remember Fred with great affection and take comfort from the fact that we know he will now be looking down and keeping a watch over us from his Heavenly berth.

 Yours Aye,

 The Shipmates

 Cyprus Branch Royal Naval Association


With the various monthly reports and updates dispensed with George Williams then gave a repeat performance of a presentation about the First World War that he had initially prepared for his grandson’s benefit who was attending the American Academy during the period of Remembrance 2009.

Apparently the object of his original presentation was to assist the History teacher and give the 1st and 2nd year children an informative resume about the Great War, which was to be accompanied by personal memorabilia from some of George’s relatives who had served in the army at that time. However, having compiled his IT presentation, supported with photographical images of the time, he first handed it to the History teacher for comment, who passed it on to the Headmaster . .  the upshot of which was that George ended up giving his IT presentation to the whole school (as well as all the Greek students) – over 640 of them!

Despite the accumulated historical knowledge of the subject by the members present it was still a riveting presentation and made more personal by the effect it had on his family members.

Having lost our previous RN Rep’ (Wtr David Edgar) to Afghanistan we now have a replacement - Lt Gareth Turner RN.

November 2011

Octobers ‘meeting’ was in the form of the annual Trafalgar Dinner so the normal summary of ‘what happened’ may best be described by perusing the photo’s taken on the night which can be viewed at the next meeting.

However, the secret of the success of the night was the fact that we were allowed to hold the dinner in the Officers’ Mess and were superbly supported by the Mess Manager and his staff.





The setting was further enhanced by the six musicians from the Band of the Army Air Corps who played a comprehensive repertoire of naval tunes.




One person who was not able to make this event was S/M Richard Hughes who was back in the UK having taken up the ‘Commando Challenge’, along with his son (Nathan) and brother (Phillip), to raise funds for naval charities. To summarise his efforts would be to do him a severe injustice so his report is as follows:

“ I served in Her Majesty’s Royal Marines from 1967 to 1977 and have for quite a while fancied having a go at one of the Commando tests, the series of physical tests that have to be passed by all Royal Marine recruits, before I get too old and decrepit. At 61 years of age I thought I had better get a move on. I had thought about trying to arrange to do an individual fundraising effort to benefit RM charities. Last year while browsing the Internet I came across the Commando Challenge website and was immediately interested in taking part to raise money for charity.

The Commando Challenge is designed around the Endurance Course one of the Commando tests completed in the final week of recruit training at the Royal Marines Commando Training Centre (CTC) Lympstone and takes place on Woodbury Common, a small piece of heath land about 3.5 miles from the camp. The Endurance Course consists of a 2 mile cross country run with various water obstacles and a 4.5 mile run back to CTC followed by a rifle shoot, all to be completed in about 70 minutes carrying 21 lb of equipment and rifle.

The Commando Challenge team have taken the Endurance Course theme and built a weekend of fundraising consisting of the “4K fun” and the “10K Marine” around it. The 4k fun is the wet and muddy part of the Endurance Course with the 10k Marine being equivalent to the course completed by recruits in training at CTC, the 4k fun with a 6k run added to it. Royal Marines from CTC run the “endurance course” part of the event and provide transport in 4 ton military trucks from Bicton Arena to the start on Woodbury Common; with the rest of the event being run by the Commando Challenge team assisted by volunteers, 150 each day, from the supported charities, this year Devon Air Ambulance
http://www.daat.org/ and The C Group http://www.thecgroup.org/new-site/about-c-group-2.html based at the Bicton Arena, an equestrian centre just east of Woodbury Common and about 3 miles inland from Budleigh Salterton 2011 was the 21st running of the Commando Challenge and took place over the weekend of the 8th and 9th October with nearly 4000 people taking part raising over £260,000 for the supported charities.

Needing a team of three, I persuaded my son Nathan, aged 37 who also served in the Royal Marines and my brother Philip, 50 who spent 27 years in the Army, most of it in the PT Corps to help me:

Calling ourselves “The Old Gits” we entered the 4k fun raising between us £381.73 and surprising ourselves by coming 3rd in the male team category.







Many people from Cyprus helped me raise money including from The Cyprus Branch Royal Naval Association, The Eastern Cyprus Branch RNA, and SSAFA. I would like to thank all those who contributed to this successful fundraising event.”


September 2011

Following the summer recess, a regular meeting of the RNA (Cyprus) took place on Wednesday 14th September with 29 members in attendance.

Amidst the committee reports was the announcement that a volunteer (S/M Gordon Redpath) had come forward to take on the role of Branch Secretary now that the only serving RN member, and the current incumbent (Wtr David Edgar), is hastily updating his military skills prior to being deployed to Afghanistan next month.

After the committee reports, the chairman (S/M David May) took the opportunity to donate a cheque for  € 120, on behalf of RNA (Cyprus), to Tina Graham, who had been invited to attend this evenings meeting in her role as Chairman of SSAFA in Cyprus.

Donations from RNA (Cyprus) have also been distributed to the following service charities:

-           RBL

-           RNBT

-           RMBF

-           WRNSBT

-           RN & RM CF

The second part of the evening was taken up with a video documentary drama about the recollections of the naval surgeon (William Beatty) aboard HMS Victory at the battle of Trafalgar.



Advance Notice:     RNA (Cyprus Branch) Trafalgar Night Dinner - 2011

RNA (Cyprus) will hold their annual Trafalgar Night Dinner at the Officers’ Mess, Episkopi, on Wednesday 19th October 2011, timings: 19:00 for 19:30.

This event will be black tie for the men and the ladies are asked to dress commensurate to the occasion, miniature medals are to be worn.

Members are allowed to bring additional guests and a flat fee of €30 per person, member or guest, for the evening will include the following:

Mushroom soup

A full roast beef dinner with seasonal vegetables


Wine & Port


(Vegetarian or Celiac alternatives are available)

After dinner drinks may be purchased at the bar at Mess prices. There will also be a quintet from the band of the Army Air Corps who will play a selection of music throughout the dinner.

Please confirm numbers attending with the Social Secretary at denisemay2010@hotmail.com no later than Wednesday 5th October along with any particular dietary requirements.

A seating plan will be made. Shipmates with guests will be seated with them .Shipmates without guests are asked to state if they have a preferred dining neighbour at the time of booking. As far as possible those requests will be implemented.



Armed Forces Day – 2011


Armed Forces Day 2011 was commemorated at Episkopi Garrison on 20 June with a flag raising ceremony directed by Lt Col Bob Pickford and supported by the band of the Kings’ Division. The standards of the Cyprus Branch of the RNA, RLC Association and the RAF Association were also on parade:

The Armed Forces Day flag was raised by the Garrison RSM;

WO1 (RSM) Doug Adesile KRH



A good party has sometimes been described as a ‘blast’ but in the case of the two Cyprus branches this was almost literal.

The Eastern Cyprus Branch of the Association was commissioned in January 2007 but since then there has been no initiative to get all our island shipmates together socially. The two Chairmen, David May (Cyprus Branch) and Eric Hirst (Eastern Cyprus Branch), overseen by the President of the Eastern Branch, Reverend Shipmate Eric Freeman and with the encouragement of Sir Edward Du Cann, President of the Cyprus Branch  planned a united Banyan at the ‘Faros’ fish restaurant, Governor’s Beach on the afternoon of Sunday 10th July.

In celebration of Sea Sunday there was a meal of local mezes and other traditional dishes. Eric Freeman gave a short address followed by the two Chairmen and Sir Edward. The ‘Faros’ is very popular with Cypriots. Our organiser, ‘Mr.Fixit’, Vice-Chairman George Williams had warned us that any speeches would have to be at full volume to overcome the noise of the local fun. He was right but Eric Hirst managed to present a Branch plaque to the Cyprus Branch. Toasts to the RNA in Cyprus and the Cyprus Branch were proposed

L. to R: Sir Edward Du Cann, David May, Eric Hirst, Rev. Eric Freeman

Shipmates drifted away in a happy mood after a very warm afternoon by the beach; friendships having been made and renewed.

The end of the day could easily have been very different. Tragically about 14 hours later the Governors Beach tourist site was devastated by the munitions explosion at the Evangelis Florakis Naval Base about one kilometre away. At the time of writing 12 are reported dead including the Commander and Executive officers of the Base and there is widespread damage around the area. The main Cyprus power station was put out of action resulting in island wide power cuts.

Sir Edward Du Cann has written a letter of condolence to the President of Cyprus on behalf on the Royal Naval Association.

It remains to be seen how this serious accident will affect Cyprus in general.

The meeting on Wednesday 8th June was attended by 24 members but as the Chairman was off island it fell the George to update the members with a few parish notices before handing over to Gordon Redpath who then conducted a very successful Quiz Night . . with a naval theme, although a few Bootneck related questions were thrown in to keep everyone happy. A good evening was had by all.

The meeting for Wednesday 11th May was in the order of a ‘Curry Night’ at the Officers Mess in Episkopi, although times move on, faces and names change and we all get just that little bit more nostalgic, it seems that nothing can ever beat the occasion of a ‘Mess Curry Night’. On completion, our Chairman gave everyone an update about Branch matters. This included a cash donation from Branch funds of € 200 to the 57th Cyprus (Episkopi) Sea Scout Group, who were represented by their Chairman Brian Nicholle, their Cox’n (Rob Weatherstone) and three Sea Scouts; Keiren, Emily (standard bearer) and Josh who formed a ‘colour party’ parading their new unit Sea Scout flag that had been purchased with last years RNA donation and which had recently been officially presented to them by Nobby Hall.

John Keenan has now returned to the fold after his ‘earthquake’ adventure in Christchurch, N.Z. and George Williams has now forsaken hospital food for good and is back on his hind legs in perfect working order.

The one piece of sad news was the passing of Lucy Ronan, aged 86, on 23rd May in New Zealand following a long period of ill health. Lucy was an Associate Member of RNA Cyprus, having joined in October 2002, and wife of the late John (Jack) Ronan. Flowers and a card have been arranged for her memorial service.

A tale of Peary Land, pulks and a polar bear

The 13 April meeting began with an update by the Chairman who mentioned that our Vice-Chairman had been readmitted to hospital for an operation, we have since heard that he is making a good recovery, also that our Slops member Bill Hellier has resigned but shipmate Ron Jones has taken on the job. The shipmates thanked Bill for all his efforts while in post.

The Branch officers gave reports as necessary. It has been found that if every officer speaks the evening is too prolonged so input is kept to a minimum.

In particular Richard Hughes (Welfare) reminded everyone of the SSAFA Fete (see Home Page) and the Episkopi Fete planned for September 17th. Books, CDs, DVDs and drinks bottles (full) will be needed to stock our stalls for these events

Richard will also be asking for your support for an enterprise that he and his son (both former RM), his brother-in-law and nephew (both ex-Army) will be undertaking in October to raise funds for the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund and the Devon Air Ambulance Trust; namely taking part in the ‘Commando Challenge’. All Royal Marines recruits have to pass what is called the ‘Endurance Course’ as part of basic training, and again as they progress up to corporal and sergeant. Basically it’s a one and a half mile obstacle course over rough ground on Woodbury Common near the Commando Training Center, Devon and is usually followed by a timed 4 mile run back to CTCRM. If you want to know more log on to Commando Challenge on your internet browser and you will appreciate what he and his family members have set themselves up for. More details as they arrive.

The evening’s presentation was a remarkable tale given by Chris Shorrocks (former RAF Radio Engineer and RAF Mountain Rescue team member) who took part in a perilous four and a half month adventure in 1969 to circumnavigate and map a 750 mile route around, and into the hinterland of, ‘Peary Land’ on the northern coast of Greenland, recording any wildlife along the way. This 12 man party of intrepid explorers was made up of 4 from the RAF, 3 from the Army and Navy and 2 civilians.

The presentation was in the form of 35mm colour slides which more than adequately gave an impression of just how desolate, harsh and beautiful that part of the world is. For those of you with an atlas, try and find it.  For those with a bit more geographical knowledge it lies at 83 º 38’ N. Temperatures went down below -30 º and apart from taking the necessary technical data readings they also had to drag their equipment (up to 600lbs deadweight) on pulks (that’s a low slung, draggable sledge) across snow, ice, melt water streams and, when the snow ran out, they even had to lay a carpet of it over the rock to allow their continued passage with the pulks.

Chris’s recollections of multiple journeys to and from a base camp to create store dumps on the intended route ahead sounded all the more remarkable given the conditions described and also as a test of endurance. Notwithstanding all of the above, as they were all mountaineers of varying expertise they took the opportunity of climbing dozens of previously unclimbed peaks along the way.

On one part of their trek they awoke in their tents to find a polar bear helping itself to the contents of one of their pulks outside. Chris showed us slides of the bear enjoying this unintended picnic, as well as others taken later on. The bear was about seven and a half foot on its hind legs and appeared at different parts of their route. It thus posed a threat to the group so sadly it had to be shot (6 rounds of .303 resulted in its demise!).

All in all it was a wonderful tale which we heard also resulted in accolades from the prestigious Royal Geographic Society.


March 2011 – Wills, wakes and ‘quakes

To a backdrop of high winds and lashing rain, this month’s meeting still managed to attract some 22 intrepid members to brave the elements gather at the Officers’ Mess in Episkopi.

The Rev Eric Freeman has returned safely from his recent visit to Sri Lanka as a member of one of Vyvyan’s repeat group visits to the island, meanwhile George Williams is recovering at home from his recent operation and is gathering his strength before going back for his next one, meanwhile a bunch of flowers had been delivered to him from the membership to help aid his recovery.

Richard Hughes then went on to ask for volunteers to help him with the SSAFA ‘Party in the Park’ event in Happy Valley on the 4th June as well as for the Episkopi Fete on 17 September. Any volunteers can find Richard’s contact details on the Contact Us tab on the home page.

Jack Philips stood up and gave a summary of his recent visit to the UK where he and two other members and their wives attended a second official memorial service at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines in Devon for our recently deceased Chairman; Andrew Noyes, which was followed by a wake in the Officers’ Mess.

To say that it was well attended by the Corps is a bit of an understatement as it seems that over 150 people were there including no less than eight (8) former Commandants General Royal Marines, which shows the high regard that Andrew was held in by his fellow officers.

Our Secretary (David Edgar) then put on his other committee hat (permanent Royal Navy representative) and gave the members a summary of recent naval events and operations over the past few months. The main emphasis seems to be the ongoing situation regarding international piracy off the coast of Somalia.

A short talk was then given by S/M Lee Hinton who related that caution should be exercised when drawing up a ‘Cypriot’ will, especially if the lawyer used is also the executor. His key point being that if the remuneration wording on your policy reads:

‘ . .  the executors may be remunerated for their services in accordance with the fee guidelines of the Cyprus Bar Association . . ‘

. . . or something similar then it may be prudent to review the policy.

It would seem that the commercial norm’ on the island is for the legal profession to publish their minimum fees (even these can be quite eye-watering) for administering to your last wishes, but not their maximum fees – apparently there aren’t any!  For further information, contact Lee directly.

The main event of the evening was a presentation from two members (Alan Wagstaffe and Keith Adair with technical support from Frank Goddard) of the Paphos 3rd Age (P3A) organization on a subject that was to become all too familiar over the next two days – earthquakes.

The knowledge imparted was in-depth, authoratitive and current, especially on the seismic activity around our part of the Med’ and Cyprus in particular. I understand that this presentation will also be given in other venues around the Paphos area shortly, if you get a chance to hear it – take it.

The look forward to our next meeting on 13 April is a presentation by Chris Shorrocks about his time on a Joint Services Expedition to Greenland between the months of March and early September back in 1969.


2011 – A new year and a new man at the helm

The sad events that closed 2010 necessitated a reorganization of the Branch Committee. To this end a full committee meeting took place on 27 January followed by the AGM on 9 February, which was attended by 32 members.

The updated nominal of Branch Officers is now on the Home Page of this web-site however, one post that has now become vacant is the Associate Members Rep’ as SM Raymond ‘The Judge’ Naqvi has had to stand down due to the volume of his official duties and a decision was then taken to let this post lapse. In future, any enquiry from any shipmate (Full or Associate) can be directed to any Committee member they think appropriate for advice or resolution of a problem.

The new chairman, David May, then addressed the membership and reflected on the highs and lows of the previous year and then projected his hopes and aspirations for the year ahead. He went on to state that the RNA Cyprus web-site had had some 4521 ‘hits’ since November 2009 so it would seem that there is a lot of interest ‘out there’ in the Branch and its activities.

The President (Sir Edward Du Cann KBE) was then invited to say a few words and also took the opportunity to present SM John Hale with a commemorative medal from the Russia authorities marking his time on the Arctic Convoys during WW2.

Eric Freeman then gave a very interesting and informative talk on the arrival of the British in Cyprus back in July 1878, at a time when political allegiances had changed back and forth between Britain, Russia and the Ottoman Empire, Britain was ‘gifted’ the possession of the island by the Ottomans. Led by General Sir Garnet Wolseley, the first Governor, the first British troops arrived on 22nd July but rather than just giving a dry history lesson, Eric peppered his account with anecdotes that brought his topic to life. We may concern ourselves with the searing temperatures of last year but the arrival of the 42nd Foot (The Black Watch) on that fateful day, saw the death within 24 hours of one of its VC holders (Sgt Samuel McGaw –VC awarded 5 years earlier in Wolseley’s Ashantee campaign) who died of heat apoplexy after a short (7 mile) forced march. And if you ever wondered about the sight of eucalyptus trees around the island, apparently they were imported by Sir Garnet’s administration to drain the Larnaca swamps. You learn something new every day.

This AGM also saw the signing up of our first Cypriot shipmate – Despina Leonidou.   

Some good news from New Zealand, SM John Keenan has been in contact to say that although they have lost their camper van and all of their possessions to the earthquake, they are in fine form and are being well looked after, but that they only have the clothes they were wearing at the time.

Wednesday the 16th saw Mike ‘the Pipe’ Hasney representing the RNA at a presentation of Certificates of Appreciation by CBF to two ladies from Pissouri (Viv Taylor and Pat Gardener) who had raised several thousand euro’s for service personnel transiting through Bloodhound Camp on their ‘decompression’ stopover prior to their return to the UK from active service. The aim of the money raised was to provide recreational items for them that were not available through service sources. Although predominantly an ABF event, the RNA and RAFA were also invited to attend.


Christmas Party 2010

The Branch party was held at the Episkopi Officers Mess on Wednesday 8th December and took the form of a bring and share buffet.

 Letters of thanks to the shipmates from Jackie and Caroline Noyes were read and there was discussion on the election of Officers due at the AGM in the New Year.

Shipmates took the opportunity to chat, meet guests and enjoy a relaxing evening together. Drinks from the Bar helped to engender the Christmas spirit but were not needed to keep out the cold on going ashore as Cyprus has had a prolonged ‘Indian Summer’ this year.


Lt. Col. Andrew John Frederick Noyes RM Rtd.

Our Chairman, Shipmate Andrew, was laid to rest in a quiet glade among pine trees as the afternoon sun dappled the ground and birdsong laced the air. A Royal Marine bugler sounded the last post and the standards of RNA Cyprus, RNA Eastern Cyprus, the British Legion and SSAFA were lowered. Many of Andrew’s friends from all facets of his life attended in support of his wife Jackie and their daughter Caroline. Over one hundred and fifty people were at that graveside in Dhekelia Military Cemetery on Friday 12th November 2010.

The preceding memorial service in St.Barnabas Church was conducted by the Reverend Rod Price. An escort of Royal Marine veterans preceded the coffin down the aisle. After opening prayers the 23rd’Psalm was sung followed by a reading from Caroline. Caroline went on to give us an appreciation of her father which she delivered with great courage and no little humour. It was a testament to Andrew and wife Jackie’s character that their daughter was able to carry out such a sad task so well. Eulogies were read by Trevor Philpott representing the Commandant General, Royal Marines and Robert Bensley. Prayers, The Royal Marines collect and the naval hymn followed by The Commendation concluded the service.

A celebration of Andrew’s life was held later at the Episkopi Officers Mess. The tenor of the whole day was set by Jackie who asked that no mourning rig be worn, that the ladies should attend in summer dress, and that the men wear light suits with Service ties. After drinks and felicitations the company were entertained by a recitation of Andrew’s ‘party piece’ Rindicella. A poem from the ‘Bard of Bathgate’ was followed by a revealing and mostly hilarious speech from Major Mike Ball. It was an occasion which Andrew would have loved.

Trevor Philpott, his ‘best man’, has kindly allowed me to extract details from his Eulogy. The following includes just a few of his notes:

Andrew lived life to the full, always giving and working to help others. His personal standards of integrity and courtesy were high and seen throughout his career and life. Born on 15th.April 1948 he met his future wife Jackie at their local kindergarten. Andrew went to school in East Anglia in grew up in London. He joined the Royal Marines at ITCRM in 1966.

 Andrew served with 42 Cdo. in 1968-69 and was trained in jungle warfare. He married Jackie on 12th. August 1970. The perversity of the Service took him almost immediately to sea in HMS Tartar. Thereafter he served with 40 Cdo. during Operation Motorman in Northern Ireland and also in the USA. In 1974 Jackie accompanied her husband to Sharjah where he was on loan service to the Trucial Oman Scouts. Andrew reorganised and developed the Garrison there such that he was able to hand over to a full Colonel on completion of his tour.

Andrew went on to become an accomplished Staff Officer.  This  was evident in his appointment to serve as the RM Corps Secretary from 1992 until his retirement in 2006. In that time he administered over 67 high profile Corps and public events including Mountbatten Concerts and Beat Retreat ceremonies on Horse Guards Parade. He was central in establishing the RM Benevolent Fund which supports royal marines and their families who fall on hard times. In addition he was a Trustee of the RM Museum, the RM Association, the RM/RM Children’s Fund, Seafarers UK and was an Area Supervisor for the RN Benevolent Trust.

In Cyprus he carried his administrative skills into civilian life. There he was heavily involved with SSAFA, the RBL and the RNA. He also was prominent in the Pissouri Residents Association, the Pissouri Ramblers, and the Episkopi Hash.

Andrew Noyes was a man who accepted challenges, who had a great sense of humour and who was attractively eccentric. For him life was something to enjoy. He touched the lives and hearts of all who knew him.

There is perhaps no better summation of him than that of Mike Groves of the Cyprus Waggoners who said:

 ‘Andrew Noyes was a man who did’


                                                                              15th. Nov. 2010



Shipmates were very saddened by the news of Chairman Andrew Noyes’ sudden death on Saturday afternoon 6th.November. We gathered in the Episkopi Officers Mess on the 10th. to pay tribute to him and to say farewell to Janet Gould who was retiring as Secretary. For 4 years Janet has organised meetings, the Episkopi Fete stand at Happy Valley, Christmas parties plus sandwiches for every meeting. Janet thanked us for her gifts at Trafalgar Night and promised to return to visit Cyprus again.

Shipmate George Williams, who succeeds Andrew in post, paid tribute to his service to H.M.The Queen, to the RNA and to many other organisations of whom Andrew was a member and leader. A more comprehensive list of these is included in an appreciation of his life herein. We all joined George in expressing our sorrow and sympathies to Jackie and Andrew’s daughter Caroline.

After leading the members in a silence Shipmate Eric Freeman, Branch Chaplain, read the seafarers version of the 23rd.Psalm (Captain Rogers). Then he touched upon Andrew’s personal qualities and quoted Mike Groves of the Cyprus Waggoners saying ‘Andrew was a man who did’.

Shipmate David May read a message of condolences to Andrew’s family and the Cyprus Branch from the Branch General Secretary Paul Quinn OBE. He is to be remembered by the National Council in silence on the 4th.December 2010.

Our President Sir Edward du Cann reminded us of the analogy of a full rigged ship sailing which can be seen in the Memorial Page of this website. He lifted or spirits, as he always does, and underlined our determination that the Branch will go on.

And so the shipmates set to; looking to our future and setting the Branch up for a ‘refit’. Which started by sending the Gangway Box takings to the RM Fund and the RN Children’s Fund. Two of Andrew’s charities.



The Moniatis Hotel

39 Shipmates and guests attended the Branch’s celebration of Trafalgar Night at the Moniatis hotel in Yermasoyia Limassol on the 21st of October, the 205th Anniversary of the Battle. Shipmate George Williams, our Vice Chairman, took particular responsibility for finding this venue and arranging the details of our menu, accommodation and entertainment. George deserves a massive ’Bravo Zulu’ for all his much appreciated efforts.

Regrettably our President, Sir Edward du Cann, was unable to be with us this year as he had a previous engagement in the United Kingdom. He always raises the Branch’s moral with his particularly stirring addresses so he was much missed. However it was a wonderful surprise to welcome back Honorary Life Vice President Nobby Hall and wife Helen for the occasion.

Shipmate David May led the company in Nelson’s Grace after which a very good three course meal was served including traditional roast beef. The following Loyal Toast and a toast to The President of Cyprus were proposed by our Chairman Andrew. Andrew’s speech emphasised the vital need to have HM Ships in the English Channel as a safeguard for the United Kingdom even during the Battle of Britain.

Our long serving and stalwart Secretary Janet Gould will be leaving later this year. It was therefore timely for Andrew to present her with our gift of a silver dish and cut glass goblets accompanied by flowers as an appreciation of all her efforts over the years and in the company of her late husband Vice Chairman Ian.

Janet and Ian were among the original members of the Cyprus Branch of the RNA and Nobby added his comments to those of Andrew in outlining just how much time and effort the Goulds have given to our gatherings. Janet has not only performed secretarial duties but also organised our stand at the Episkopi Fete for many years and produced the lovely sandwiches at our meetings. We wish her all good fortune in returning to her family in England and she carries our love and happy memories with her.

The toast’ The Immortal Memory’ was proposed by Major Mike Ball a retired officer in Cyprus Joint HQ as SO2 JI (Personnel). Mike originally joined the REME and went on to commando training in the RM. After time in the Brigade Air Squadron plus HM Ships Albion and Bulwark he became a WO1 in the REME and was eventually commissioned into the Army Education Corps. Mike is a noted Toastmaster who recently won the ‘Toastmaster of the Year, Cyprus’ award. His preceding talk was peppered with amusing notes, often personal, such as how like Lord Nelson he lost (nearly) an eye in Corsica (thumped with a soup ladle!). Of special interest was his narration of the French version of the Battle. It seems political ‘spin’ was alive and well even two centuries ago. Mike highlighted Nelson’s relationship with Collingwood. These aspects of the Battle of Trafalgar will be well worth researching for those who take the time.

Mike Ball addressing the company

Janet Gould



Many thanks to SM Richard Hughes and his team of helpers at this year’s fete on Saturday 18th September. They raised the sum of 385.31 Euros which was an excellent result.

Many other stall holders said that there were less people there this year and those that did attend spent less.

Grateful thanks are due to SMs Janet Gould and Raymond Naqvi for organising and preparing donations and to those generous shipmates who contributed.





Alec Clement

40 Shipmates and guests met at the Officers Mess, Episkopi on the 15th September for the first get together after the long and extremely hot summer recess. Chairman Andrew started the proceedings with a few notes of welcome to Tania and to Alec and Mary Clement from the Hanworth Branch.

It is always good to see shipmates from other branches and the Clements are regular visitors.

Andrew noted the death of Flt.Lt Jack Blocki, a WW11 Polish VC holder who flew with RAF Bomber Command, recently interred at Dhekelia Cemetery and known to many in the Episkopi area.

There was happier news of an invitation to shipmates to visit 800 Squadron RNAS currently deployed at RAF Akrotiri.

Shipmate Padre Eric Freeman recalled WW11 Operations Avalanche and Source before leading us in the opening prayer. He reminded us that next Sunday would be Sea Sunday.

Shipmate Richard Hughes (Standard Bearer) celebrated his 60th Birthday with a tot of rum for all the shipmates. It was delicious and much appreciated. Richard is seen here with Vivvy and Peter.


Shipmate Kevin Barnes (above) gave us an overview of the world of medal collecting; in particular miniatures. Interested in the subject for 16 years he is now the Cyprus Secretary of the Orders and Medal Research Society. Listening to an expert was enlightening as Kevin outlined the history of medals (the United Kingdom was very late into the scene). The details of awards, their value in the market and rarity were all mentioned. Aspects such as the preference for miniatures to full size became obvious i.e. they are more easily obtained, cheaper and easily kept. Kevin’s thoughts on the origins of miniatures are worth a particular mention. In the 18th and 19th. centuries there were two British armies, the regular army and that of the East India Company. The latter wore thinner cotton uniforms hence use of the lighter weight decorations.

Apart from the beauty of Kevin’s collection seen in the photographs below there was, of course, the human interest behind the medals. He told us just a few of the tales of gallantry and endurance but it was enough to make us appreciate what a wide subject is this branch of numismatics.

There is an enormous data base of reference books, catalogues, periodicals available to anyone who would like to start a collection or find out about relative’s awards and service records. There are also the internet and professional organisations such as Kentigern House in Glasgow for sourcing information.

Just some of Kevin’s collection:

Email: kevinbarnesomrs@btinternet.com  for information.




The July meeting was Lt.Cdr. John Birley’s farewell meeting. During his time on the Headquarters Staff in Cyprus John and his wife Kim were great supporters of the RNA Branch where John regularly gave an update on the Royal Navy and Royal Marines at our monthly meetings. Kim meanwhile ran the monthly raffle for the Branch. At the July meeting The Chairman thanked Lt.Cdr. and Mrs. Birley for all their support to the Cyprus Branch over the past two and a half years and wished them well at John’s next appointment in FLEET HQ. John then gave an extended update on the Royal Navy and showed the most recent RN produced DVD “2-6” as a fitting end to his time in Cyprus.


John always gave his presentations in a light hearted manner holding the Shipmates attention with his particular view of the Senior Service news. John and Kim will be missed at Episkopi.



On Tuesday 22nd June shipmate David May was asked to attend at a local Paphos hotel to receive the Pingat Jasa Malaysia medal.  Shipmate Mike Hasney  was also asked to attend a similar ceremony at the RBL in Limassol to receive his medal. It is awarded for service in the Malaysian theatre during confrontation with Soekarno’s Indonesia between dates in the 1960s.

The people of Malaysia wish to express their gratitude to those who helped protect their new country at that time. However they have no record of names, formations, ships or dates of service. Therefore they have invited anyone who was involved to apply individually for the award pictured (left). Her Majesty has graciously allowed her Forces to accept the medal but there are restrictions as to wearing.

Fuller details can be obtained from several good websites entering ‘Pingat Jasa Malaysia’ in the search engine.





The 21st.June was an unusual day for the shipmates of our Branch in that two significant events were attended.

Pictured here  Richard Hughes parades our standard, with true Royal Marine flair, flanked by those of the RBL and the RAFA. The flag raising ceremony was attended by eight shipmates and was held at the Garrison in the Episkopi Sovereign Base Area.


The second event was a meeting of shipmates with a group of ex Wrens from Portugal. 9 RNA shipmates, three of whom were genuine ex WRNS, 2 Waafs, 2 husbands and 2 ‘also rans’ joined the party for drinks at the Miremar Beach hotel in Limassol at 1830. Much to our member’s great surprise and pleasure they were all invited to join the visitors for dinner when they mingled and exchanged stories.

One result was that Marjorie Thompson found herself sitting at the same table a lady who was in the same intake as herself in 1956; they even had the group photo to prove it.

The ladies will be keeping in touch so our Secretary Janet is sure that further news can be obtained from Marjory.



On Wednesday 16th. June our shipmates met at the Hideaway Taverna in Pissouri to share a good social evening in the gentle warmth of the Cyprus summer evening.

At this time of year the air at dusk can be heavy with the floral scents such as the Night Scented Jasmine. In the village square the local vendors set up their food stalls and the local expats and tourists enjoy eating in the open with views all around of the Cyprus countryside.

There is an air of fun and relaxation with many smiling faces.



Our good friend and shipmate Bill died quietly at home on 17th.June with his friend and latterly companion Tania by his side. Her devotion and care for Bill was of the highest order. She regularly saw that he attended our meetings and her company not only lightened his days but eased his struggle against a long illness.

Bill was born in Wales and left school to join the Royal Engineers. He talked little of his time in the Army but was in the D-Day assaults as a member of the 6th. Airborne Division landing by sea. That day he went on to protect Pegasus Bridge and others from further damage plus other engineering tasks.

After WWII Bill became a Clerk of Works in the Army.He was involved in building quarters and roads in the Cyprus bases. In 1959 he joined the Diplomatic Service as a Queen’s Messenger retiring as a First Secretary.


Bill settled in Cyprus and was a member of the RBL, the Air borne Forces Association and the RNA. It is as a shipmate in the latter that we remember him; a quiet kindly and self effacing man. The sort of man that our Branch attracts and for whose company we will always be grateful.


Bill is buried here at Erimi with his brother and sister in the company of other gallant Airborne soldiers.





On Thursday 13 May the Branch was priveleged to be hosted by the 2nd Battalion the Lancaster Regiment in their Officers' Mess in Episkopi Garrison. The meeting started with a presentation of 200 Euros to the Episkopi Branch of the Sea Scouts and the donation was presented to the Sea Scouts by our Chairman, Lt Col Andrew Noyes. 

After normal Branch business Major Edward Hemesley, the Second in Command of the 2 Lancs Battalion, then spoke to the Branch on life for the Battalion in Cyprus, welfare issues, preparation and training for operations in the Middle East, and recent operations in Afghanistan. 





Major Hemesley chats with the Philips.

Andrew presents
 our cheque

The presentation, aided by numerous slides, was of a high standard and members present found the evening a most revealing insight into current operations by the Army in Afghanistan, and this was followed by a long question period by Branch members.  The Branch are most thankful to 2 Lancs for their hospitality throughout a most successful evening



The Branch shipmates met in the Base Officers Mess, Episkopi in sombre mood on Thursday 8th. April at 1930. In everyone’s mind was the dear memory of Vice Chairman Ian Gould’s crossing the bar on the 30th. of March. Our Secretary Janet Gould and son Douglas were greeted with great affection and sympathy. Appreciations were read from Chairman Andrew Noyes on behalf of the branch, from former chairman and Life Vice President ‘Nobby’ Hall and Helen Hall and also Janet’s own tribute to her husband. Extracts of these follow.

Remembering Ian, (Janet and Douglas in right foreground)

‘Dear Shipmates,
I and my children would like to thank most sincerely. All of you who either by your physical presence, or by you kind words, cards and emails, gave us the strength to face our grief and to say our farewell to Ian in such a wonderful way. I can guarantee that the village would never have seen anything like it.

Ian was a great character who lived his life by a high standard. He had strong beliefs in many subjects, and if given a task to perform, did so diligently and well. He also had a wicked sense of humour and could keep us all entertained with his fund of silly jokes and stories. He was in fact many things to many people, and all have a different and special memory of him.

He was justly proud of his short time in the Royal Navy, and is still today held in very high regard by many of the ex young and nervous conscripts that he helped adjust to life away for the first time from their families. He loved the RNA and worked hard to support the Branch. He did not miss a single meeting since he became a member at the inaugural meeting.

I have never before appreciated or given much thought to what a lovely and apt expression is “Crossing The Bar”. It comforts us all greatly to know that he is not really gone from us and will always be remembered.’

Andrew Noyes:
‘Ian was an invaluable member of our Branch. A founder member, committee member and a great supporter of the Branch’s activities, he was also extremely pleasant and great fun to know socially. I, in particular, am most grateful to him during my short period as Chairman during which he provided me with such good support and useful advice to me in his role as the Vice Chairman of the Branch.

Needless to say we will miss Ian at our future meetings and social activities, but I can assure he will not be forgotten and will always be remembered as a most agreeable fellow Shipmate, most sincere member of the Royal Naval Association and a very proud former member of the Royal Navy.

All Shipmates in the Cyprus Branch offer their sincere condolences, deepest sympathy and our thoughts at this sad time for you and your family.’

Nobby Hall:
‘Ian was a great character and will be sorely missed by all who knew him. I have many fond memories of late nights in the Mess, parties at his and Janet’s home and so much more involving him, with a brandy and a cigarette clutched firmly in his hand. You can take solace from the fact that he lived a long and happy life and brought pleasure to all who knew him.

The world will be a lonelier place without the presence of the old Club Swinger.’

(As the editor of this website and not having known Ian as long as others I can fully endorse all the foregoing and add that Ian was one of the loveliest characters that I have had the good fortune to meet in 71 years.
D. May.)

Chaplain shipmate Eric Freeman then addressed the meeting. He said that although he knew Ian well he had never ever been able to find out exactly what he had done in life after leaving the RN. When he asked, Ian would only say ‘lots of things’! Eric read Captain J. Rogers paraphrasing of the 23rd.Psalm for seafarers and Tennyson’s ‘Crossing the Bar’. We then stood in silence.

36 Shipmates and guests attended. Guests Mike and Tatiana Hillier, Andy Kirby, Emma Birley and Douglas Gould were welcomed by our chairman. The Branch officers then gave their reports including an RN update by Jonathan Birley. These are always enjoyed as Jonathan has a light hearted amusing delivery. The news of RFA Largs Bay, a dramatic RN flight to the assistance of two premature babies born in Stornoway, the building of the bow sections for the new ‘carrier’ and the inspiring narratives of recent gallantry awards held our attention. We noted with regret the departure of our last grey hulls ‘Dasher’ and ‘Pursuer’ by transport for the Clyde Base.


We then stood down for ‘stand easy’ during which
Ann Hasney won the raffle for a beautiful watch.

The Birleys



Kim Birley presents Ann’s watch.


The address for the evening was by Detective Inspector Andy Kirby who was intimately involved in the investigation of the loss of the Stern Freezer Trawler MV Gaul on 9th. February 1974. She had sailed from Hull ostensibly on a routine voyage but was equipped to monitor the Russian North Sea Fleet. She was only two years old when she disappeared without warning in heavy weather off North Cape.

Andy described how he was commissioned to travel to the Bybachiy peninsula on the Barents Sea and the town of Nikel; which he described as a most awful place. There he had to oversee the exhumation of bodies found on the shore line and take DNA samples for matching to those of the families of the Gaul personnel. No matches were found but later penetration of the wreck, once located, yielded positive matches from bodies therein.

Andy described the anguish of the Gaul Families Association and their reluctance to admit that she had been lost in a severe storm (waste chutes and a door had been left open). He also related how a local Hull MP and Cabinet Minister helped fund the investigation.

Throughout his talk he described in some detail that human remains found were where they should have been in a storm situation; this was done at a depth of 1000feet by ROVs. The resulting forensic analysis was conclusive. Despite all the alternative theories of capture by the Russians, snagging by submarines etc. it was proved beyond doubt that the Gaul was overcome by freak waves in very heavy weather.

Questions about the MV Gaul

Altogether a fascinating talk by the police officer who was on the spot.


Vice Chairman Ian Gould




With deep sorrow we announce that our much loved Vice Chairman Ian Gould crossed the bar Thursday 30th March in hospital after a short illness. Our heartfelt condolences go to Janet, our Secretary, whom we hold in our thoughts and prayers.



The funeral was held at St.Nicholas Church in Agios Tychonas Church at midday on Good Friday. The service was well attended by shipmates and associate shipmates of the Branch. The Standards of the Cyprus Branch of the British Legion and the Cyprus Branch of the Royal Naval Association were paraded in salute.






While Branch Chairman Andrew Noyes and wife Jackie were on a Caribbean cruise their ship the 'MV Ventura' put into Grand Turk on the 4th. of March. They were met by ex branch Chairman and Honorary Life vice President ‘Nobby’ Hall and Helen Hall who had travelled 70 miles from their base to meet the ship.

They toured the island in a marked police car from Nobby’s Force.  So it might have been reasonable for an onlooker to question just why two visiting ‘Brits’ appeared to be having so much fun under the circumstances! We hear that all went well and a good lunch was shared.


  Nobby, Helen, Jackie and Andrew



Twenty two shipmates attended our March meeting held as usual in the Officers Mess, SBA Episkopi. As our Chairman and wife Jacquie were ‘off island’, incidentally meeting our Honorary Life Vice President Nobby on a ‘jolly’ in the Turks and Caicos Islands of which we should soon hear more, Vice Chairman Ian Gould oversaw the gathering. 

In our opening prayer shipmate Eric Freeman drew attention to the restoration of the two WW11 air-sea rescue launches now completed in Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth. Our shipmates of these coastal forces were remembered; they saved 10,000 downed aircrew.

Reports from the committee included a welfare update, an April visit to Cyprus by members of the WRNS Association (see Secretary’s telephone number for details) and a heartening word from Jonathan Birley on the latest Fleet news. Signed up members for this year are 52 so far.

Richard Hughes told us of his father’s experiences serving in air-sea rescue launches off Dover harbour in 1943; these craft had such a shallow draught that they could run over the minefields unharmed. Placed strategically in the Channel they homed in on returning aircraft from Europe who could easily locate them and ditch nearby. He also said that any crew member who noticed an attack or threat otherwise unseen was to open the throttles wide without a definite order!

The main event of the evening was shipmate Rev. Eric Freeman’s talk on the WW1 Army Chaplain Geoffrey Anketell Stoddart Kennedy known as Woodbine Willie. In France he gained this title from his custom of jumping onto the running boards of trains bound for the front. In his pocket on one side he would have copies of the New Testament and on the other packets of Woodbine cigarettes. There were no ‘atheists’ in the trenches so both were well accepted by the troops. Eric’s narration went thoroughly into the man’s background and motivation. It was a moving talk and Eric did well to keep going. As the accompanying article illustrates here was a truly exceptional character who has not received as much fame as other war poets but expressed in word and action a real love and understanding of his fellow man. Please read the whole article. CLICK HERE to download the word document article.



Eric is pictured holding a priceless first edition of Geoffrey Kennedy’s poems on his left hand



When we had finished the general opinion was that we had had one of the best evenings in recent months.






- Award for Honorary Life Vice President -



The 11th February meeting at the Officer’s Mess, Episkopi was well attended and began with our Chaplain Eric Freeman reminding us of the losses before and during the Gallipoli Campaign.

Ex ‘Schoolie’ ret. Lt. Graham Locke was welcomed as a prospective shipmate together with several other visitors. Then Chairman Andrew Noyes brought us up to date with Branch news.

Shipmates were concerned to hear of the ill health of SMs Bill Painter, George Williams and Fred Cooper. We wish them rapid recoveries and hope to see them at our meetings soon.

Andrew went on to say that all charitable donations planned at the AGM had been made and welcomed by the recipient bodies. SM Jenny Revell has agreed to organise our social events in an ex-officio capacity. We look forward to hearing reports on another ‘social event’ when our Chairman and wife Jacquie will meet up with our Honorary Life Vice President Nobby Hall and Helen while on a forthcoming cruise in the Caribbean.

Secretary Janet Gould reminded us that about now we should start to plan for the Episkopi Fete stall. Due to lower wine and spirits costs in Cyprus the lucky dip barrel was no longer a sustainable attraction. Janet said that, in fact, the market really ‘had us over a barrel’!

A good opportunity to raise extra funds has resulted from SM Mike Woods’ kind donation of a superb RN watch which is to be raffled over the next three meetings. After an update on the naval scene from SM Jonathan Birley we broke off for sandwiches and drinks.

The presentation for the evening was given by Andrew who showed us a DVD about the Royal Navy from 1939, when it was the largest navy in the world, well into WW2. At the outset the RN was well set up to fight what was then a conventional war but it was not suited for the U boat war and it lacked appropriate aircraft.

Shipmates watching HMS Barham in fleet manoeuvres on the DVD.

Sound and music to the images on the large screen made for an interesting documentary. We saw scenes and action from Malta to Hong Kong and Norway. The sequences were rare, many in colour and brought home to us the real hardships of the sea war but also the camaraderie of our fathers in the Service. Of particular interest were scenes showing the capture of the Altmark, high speed (36 knots) destroyer manoeuvres and vintage footage of liners used for trooping. Incidentally in those days a torpedo cost £1200.


Annual General Meeting 2010

The Annual General Meeting of the Branch was held in the Officer’s Mess, Episkopi Sovereign Base Area on Wednesday the 13th. of January at 1930.

Proceedings were opened by our Honorary Chaplain Rev’d. Eric Freeman leading us in prayer for our lost shipmates over the years and in particular for those lost in the HM Submarine Truculent disaster sixty years ago. We stood in silence in memory of gallant Captain Daniel Read of the Royal Logistics Corps 11 Ordnance Disposal Regiment recently killed in Afghanistan.

The only Branch Officer due for re-election was our excellent Secretary, Janet Gould, who once more kindly agreed to continue in post; no volunteer’s hand shot up to take her place!

It was with regret that we accepted George ‘Bungy’ Williams’ retirement as Welfare Officer. George’s health has not been good. We thank him for his contribution to the Branch and wish him a speedy and total recovery. Our Chairman Andrew Noyes will take over as our Welfare contact.

Visitors from the Royal Logistics Corps Association Tina and Stuart Graham, Dave Neville and Drew Elgeti (Publicity Officer for SSAFA Cyprus) were welcomed as was new shipmate L/Regulator Andy Dewsnip who will ‘arrive on board’ as our new Serving Member when Jonathan Birley departs in the summer.

Our Chairman then read his 2009 Branch report for the Association together with relevant news from our officers. We are sad to lose our local Squadron with the P 2000s HMS Dasher and HMS Pursuer. Shipmate Jonathan Birley has agreed to comment on this and his notes are below.


<------- Dave, Graham, Tina and Drew.


Interestingly, Andrew mentioned that the real ‘Man Who Never Was’ (Tom Martin) whose body was used to delude the Nazi forces in WWII was traced as a member of a previous HMS Dasher crew.

Kim Birley empties wallets for the Raffle

After our usual raffle, sandwiches and drinks, our President Sir Edward gave us a talk on the Duke of Wellington’s time as a politician after Waterloo. Like many successful people who go into politics after a dazzling career in other areas of public life the Duke met strong opposition. In those days it was fashionable to lampoon one’s opponents in caricatures and cartoons such as this one.

Sir Edward has built a collection of these prints and presented them as a slide show. He had several framed examples to show us. Sir Edward’s seat in Taunton is not far from Wellington whence Arthur Wellesley took his Title. We benefited from the former’s particular interest in Wellington’s parliamentary progress, overshadowed by the French Revolution, in economic and military terms. He also touched upon the Duke’s close relationship with Sir Robert Peel. In conclusion our President held up Wellington as a man who stood, above all, for what was right and compared his example with today’s political scene.


It was a privilege to see and hear an expert expound such an unusual perspective on the Duke.

Mike Hasney signs on Leading Regulator Andy Dewsnip:

and below

Nick and Jane Smith admire one of Sir Edward’s prints.

Jonathan Birley, in the background behind Nick, writes:

‘It will be a sad day when the two remaining RN platforms in Cyprus depart these shores for pastures new. HMS Dasher and HMS Pursuer will return to the UK sometime in February to start preparations for the next stage of their naval service. They will be moving up to the Clyde to operate in somewhat cooler waters than those to which they have been accustomed for the last few years. Losing the Royal Navy Cyprus Squadron (RNCS) from these shores was not an easy decision, but one brought about by the current harsh realities of the Defence Budget. It was no reflection on the capability, performance or potential of these sturdy little patrol boats with their dedicated and thoroughly professional crews. It is in fact quite a feather in their caps to be selected for a more operational role in Scottish waters, as they will be contributing to the defence of the submarines that operate from the Clyde. Our thoughts and prayers go with those ships and their people, as they have been excellent ambassadors for the Royal Navy during their service with British Forces Cyprus.’

We wish you ‘fair winds and following seas.’



This year we felt like having a good social evening and over 40 shipmates and guests attended at the Officer’s Mess, Episkopi Garrison on Wednesday the 8th. of December. As our Chairman was off island our vice Chairman Ian Gould (left fore ground) oversaw the party and ensured a good time for all. Eric Freeman began the celebrations with our prayer of remembrance for lost Shipmates worldwide and commented on his connection with the Southend on Sea Branch which is the only one in the UK to commemorate the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. We were concerned to learn that our Welfare Officer George ‘Bungy’ Williams was in ill health and we wish him a speedy recovery.

Janet Gould and Jenny Revell organised a finger buffet with delicious contributions from our members which lubricated from the bar got things off to a happy start.

A raffle and quiz kept our pockets and neurons active while our publicity officer felt moved to recite his experiences as the fairy on top of the Christmas tree.


Party Scran:



These pictures have been censored but show the fun that we had. It must be made clear that the hand grenade illustrated is genuine but empty of all explosive and fuse. Raymond was delighted to add it to his collection; mentioned in our last report. Not everyone gets such in his Christmas stocking!


The Fairy (Glesca Version).







Eric, Rod and their ladies. Eric claimed that that fairy wouldn’t be recognised in the Gallowgate’ barras’ (a famous Glasgow flea market).






“ If I drop this into the ‘gangway’ box will it make the party go with a bang?”

Raymond Naqvi, John Keenan and Ron Jones.





“ No. You have to take the pin out first”.

Instruction from a former Royal.






"Look what that nice man gave me Darling" Associate shipmates associate.




This year branch Shipmates attended two venues celebrating Remembrance Day, Sunday 8th November. At the Happy Valley site in the Episkopi Sovereign Base Area Vice Chairman Shipmate Ian Gould laid the wreath on behalf of the Cyprus Branch of the Royal Naval Association. After the Service shipmates adjourned to the K.B. Taverna for a refreshing lunch. This has become a pleasant Branch tradition.

The other Service was the well publicised unveiling of the British Cyprus Memorial near Kyrenia; in occupied northern Cyprus. The following are reports from two of our shipmates who attended.


Sir Edward du Cann writes:

'The ceremony in Kyrenia on the 8th.November went extremely well. The names of the 317 Servicemen who died in the Emergency are inscribed on the Memorial. Wreaths were laid by the British High Commissioner on behalf of The Queen and Senior Officers from the Navy, Army and the Air Force also laid wreaths on behalf of the 3 Services. followed by wreaths laid by representatives of all the Regiments which served in Cyprus during the Emergency. A wreath was laid on behalf of the RNA by Shipmate Jack Philips which, as one might expect, was well done. More than 50 relatives of those who died attended. In all there were more than 500 people present. The Service was conducted by the Bishop of Cyprus. It was a moving occasion'.


Shipmate Jack Philips writes:

'Last Sunday 8th.November, I attended the unveiling of the British Cyprus Memorial which commemorates the 371 British Service men who were killed during the Cyprus Emergency 1955-59.

The Memorial was instigated by the British Cyprus Memorial Trust, set up specially to raise funds and to oversee the siting of the Memorial. It was crafted in Norfolk and shipped to Kyrenia to be assembled by the stonemason who did the work; assisted by some local masons. It is beautiful; a simple but effective design, 8 vertical granite pillars on a plinth, engraved with the Regimental crests of the dead; set out in order of precedence. Thus the RN and RM crests are on the leftmost pillar.

After the unveiling, by HM High Commissioner, RN Bugle Corporal James Christopher sounded Last Post & Reveille as well as I have ever heard them played, very poignant. The 450 odd relatives, veterans and guests then watched as 31 wreaths were laid by people representing HM The Queen, The First Sea Lord and Royal Marines, laid by Lt.Gen.Sir Henry Beverley (a trustee), followed by representatives of the many units who served here at the time. Sadly many no longer exist, but at least their crests will live on, on the Memorial.

I was honoured to be asked to lay the wreath on behalf of the RNA, one of only two Associations represented, particularly as I served here during the Emergency.

The Memorial is a 'must see' for anyone visiting the North and some local veterans have been organised to maintain it and keep it tidy in future.'


For further information please visit www.britishcyprusmemorial.org 

In the interest of balanced reporting it has to be pointed out that there have been protests in the local Greek Cypriot press and English printed equivalents over the presence of the Memorial in Cyprus. This is not unexpected as many Cypriots also lost relatives in the Emergency years and of course deserve sympathy.





Our regular monthly meeting at the Officer's Mess, Episkopi SOB, fell on the 11th.November. Our thoughts were, naturally, of Remembrance and all that it means.We know too well that our sons and daughters are still 'in harm's way'. After shipmate Rev. Eric Freeman led us in prayers our publicity officer Shipmate David May read the following poem 'Sounds of War' which he wrote with Afghanistan particularly in mind.






Upon the air a wail is borne.
Another one from mother torn.
From shot or mine a life laid down
To win a freedom we should own

The vessel, home to all her crew,
Is struck and groans in protest too.
Then boiling, dies and sinks from sight
To never more see harbour's light.

High above, the pilot's plane
Shatters and falls in smoke and  flame.
A howling scream of final pain
Till earth takes her and crew again.

The sounds of war are not yet quiet.
Straight from Hell they rise and riot.
Remember where our Forces go
For they still die where poppies grow. 

(D. L May. Cyprus 2009)



Reports then followed from our branch officers. We heard that our numbers stand at 77 and the final sum raised at the Episkopi Fete was 448 Euros. Then Janet Gould, our redoubtable Secretary furnished us with delicious sandwiches. With second drinks to hand we listened to Andrew Noyes outline a few thoughts on the Great War. He said that 885,138 UK Service personnel were lost out of a total Allies loss of 5.7 million. He went on to give brief outline of the Battle of Jutland but dwelt more on the history of the 63rd. Royal Navy Division.





Andrew was followed by shipmate Raymond Naqvi who talked about the human stories behind those whom we have heard mentioned as war heroes; people such as Violette Szabo GC, Jack Cornwell VC and Cecil Lewis MC; author of 'Sagittarius Rising'. He talked very movingly of the human cost, the lost loves and the heroism which is not reported. Raymond described Cedric MacDonald Fraser's sentiments on Hiroshima while serving as an infantryman in Burma. As Judge on War Pensions in the UK he is very familiar with the heartrending injustices that can befall ex-servicemen if they are not protected.

Finally Raymond unveiled a fascinating collection of trench art and war memorabilia for our interest.



This evening was not graced by a guest speaker but put together by our shipmates. The result was a warm and poignant meeting that left us with full hearts and strengthened feelings of comradeship.




Our Trafalgar Night dinner was held at the Club Aphrodite, Erimi for the second time. 49 Shipmates and guests attended. The Guests of Honour were our President Sir Edward du Cann and Mrs. Maureen Wynne - Hope plus Colonel Trevor Brewster Retd. and Mrs. Joan Brewster from Tala.

After Nelson's Grace was said Chairman Andrew Noyes welcomed all shipmates and guests. A full five course meal was served which had been arranged by Shipmate Michael Hasney. In the best RNA tradition there had to be a few fines (bottles of port) imposed on our more exuberant shipmates in the course of dinner.

The speeches were opened by Andrew who read out a Trafalgar night message from Honorary Life Vice President 'Nobby' Hall, who has never missed a Trafalgar Night. Nobby described his determination to hold a proper Trafalgar Night dinner in the Turks and Caicos Islands this year and mentioned his success in persuading His Excellency HM Governor to propose The Immortal Memory.

Andrew then gave an overview of the political, military and social state of Great Britain in general and England in particular during the latter half of the 18th century. This served as a prelude to Trevor's fine speech dealing not only with Trafalgar's significance but also Horatio Nelson's unique character. Hailing from Northern Ireland Trevor, pictured left, was able to bring some unusual and humorous highlights to his presentation which finished by him proposing the toast to The Immortal Memory.

Sir Edward du Cann was presented with a copy of 'A Life One up on the Ocean Wave' by Charles Saxby from Shipmate Raymond Naqvi on behalf of the author. Charles has dedicated his book to Sir Edward 'with respect' knowing that he is our President.
Raymond describes the work as a wonderful mixture of East End London 1950's nostalgia with colourful descriptions of the far flung outposts of the Commonwealth. This is a result of Charles's service on HMY Britannia sailing with Her Majesty in the early years of her reign. Thereafter he was a very valued member of The Royal Green Jackets Cadet Force in the East End. Now retired he and his wife Pat live in Essex where he is restoring a former jolly boat ex. Britannia.


Authoress Faith Mortimer pictured here with Sir Edward, our Chairman and Mike Hasney (with pipe) also presented Sir Edward with a copy of her novel 'The Crossing'. This work is 'a powerfully emotive tale based on a true incident and having an approach which is normally the preserve of male authors'. Faith has dedicated the book to the WW11 Royal Navy Coastal Forces.


Sir Edward addressed our company in his inimitable stirring fashion and kindly passed around a fascinating Nelsonian artefact for our inspection.

Full attention from shipmates and guests



2009 Episkopi Fete

The 2009 Sovereign Base Area Fete was held on Saturday the 19th September. We set up our stall before 0900 and were set to go in time for the opening at 1100.

Ready for anything!

The sale of books, DVDs, other sundries plus the popular bottle bran tub raised 440 euros for our charities. This was achieved despite a steadily rising wind (Force 8?) across the Happy Valley site which necessitated tougher guys and the possibility of taking in a reef on our gazebo! Fortunately we escaped the tornado weather which caused severe damage in Nicosia the previous day.

Bravo Zulu to all the workers and sincere thanks to all contributors.

Seen right: Ian Gould patiently stringing the bottles along!






49 Shipmates and guests attended our 2nd September meeting in the Episkopi Officers Mess. After our opening prayer led by S/M Reverend Eric Freeman our Chairman Andrew Noyes welcomed back S/M our Honorary Life Vice President Fred Cooper and his wife Norma. Fred had been unable to attend due to ill health for many months and it was wonderful to see him back in action. We took great pleasure in greeting many guests including Mr. Tony Hart of Pissouri and members of the RLC Association: Drew Elgeti, Colin Garland, Joe and Ingrid Johnston and Dave Neville. There was a special welcome for Sir Edward DuCann who was our speaker for the evening.

Andrew gave a resume of the Branch committee meeting on the 5th August and explained that the Branch now had some 75 members and a programme of events and social gatherings which shipmates appear to enjoy. He explained the rational behind the reduction of minutes; reminding shipmates that minutes copies for the AGM and Committee meetings are always available from the Secretary. A summary of each event is included on the Branch website. As our RN shipmate was absent our Chairman also updated our knowledge of current Fleet activities. Other committee members addressed the meeting; in particular regarding the forthcoming Episkopi Fete on the 19 Sep. and Trafalgar Night on the 21st.Oct.

After a second 'wet' and sandwiches we settled down to hear Sir Edward give us a fascinating account of his outstanding memories of 31years as a Member of Parliament for Taunton. He gave us an insight into aspects of Westminster which we do not hear much in the press; how many MPs really do work extremely hard to improve our country. In recalling the people in The House he mentioned in particular Sir Anthony Eden and Sir Alec Douglas Home. He described his closeness to Sir Edward Heath, Sir Harold Wilson and of course Baroness Margaret Thatcher whom he still sees.


Sir Edward went on to describe how he treated his role as Chairman of the Back Bench Committee. He explained that these MPs do have 'clout' and that Parliament has duty to hold the Executive to account. Bills raised do get passed. For example Gerald Nabarro managed to introduce personalised number plates.

There were many other points that our President raised; from the magnificent oratory of Michael Foot to debates on Suez and the Falklands War when Parliament argued for the urgent need to succour our own people in danger. In conclusion he reminded us of Drake's Prayer that our Country's Heritage must be upheld and cherished also quoting Cobbett in that it is everyone's duty to leave the World a better place than they found it.

After answering questions Sir Edward sat down to a great round of applause.

Our President


The 8th July meeting at Episkopi mess was graced by a talk from our guest Chrissie Flint who was a British forces Broadcasting service presenter having long standing connections with Cyprus. Her love affair with this island began many years ago, when, as a military wife she came here nine times in two years.

Chrissie started off her career as an assistant in Marks and Spencer but soon realised that her natural bent was towards journalism. Once living in Cyprus she wrote several articles for the Cyprus Lion and Cyprus Airways Magazine. Soon her name became known in radio circles when she was approached by the BFBS. In that organisation she was responsible for four or five interviews a week over ten years in 'A Taste for Cyprus' and other programmes.

Chrissie has also written a book on the Cyprus villages and countryside. She recommends many good visits and walks.

Now in the process of remarrying into a Cypriot family Chrissie is busy polishing up her Greek language. However she still finds time to work part time at Santa Marina Retreat as well as being active in the Rainbow Guides and Turtle Watch.

It was altogether very interesting presentation from a thoroughly nice lady.

In the course of the evening our shipmates welcomed two new shipmates. Ex-Royal Ron Jones (who, it is rumoured, had a hand in sorting out aspects of training a certain young RM Officer named Noyes) and Allan Hodgson who has a history of Merchant Marine and Army service.


Expatriate Games

As the gentle Cyprus summer evenings have arrived we thought it time to have a social Summer Supper. So on Wednesday 10th June we gathered in 'banyan rig' at the K.B. (Kyrenia Beach) taverna near Avdimou.

Mike Hasney pictured left kept a thoughtful eye on diners and Bill Hellier on the right sported a worryingly bright Thai silk shirt; it was a beauty he bought in Torquay. Definitely not from his slops list.

If you are a shipmate visiting Cyprus or a resident with an RN/RM background do get in touch with us. Come along and join our fun.



We know the good places to relax and eat. You will always be welcome.


The May meeting, held at the Base Officer's Mess, Episkopi was a mixture of greeting old and new shipmates, updating items of interest and presentations. Branch shipmates were delighted to welcome back two lovely ladies. One was our senior Associate Shipmate, Sylvia Tooes, due to celebrate her 97th.Birthday on Friday 15th. May. She looks great. The other was Helen Hall, returned from the Caribbean for a summer visit. It was wonderful to see her in good form.

Notable guests Norma (pictured) and John Hudson visited the Branch. They live between Harrogate, Yorkshire and Arsos Village in Cyprus. Norma has written 'SOLE SURVIVOR', an account of her father
Norman 'Geordie' Walton experiences after the sinking of HMS Neptune from Force K in 1941. Norman's diaries and letters were found by Norma in his 'ditty box' after he died in 2005. The evidence contained in those papers was so moving and graphic that Norma felt compelled to publish them in book form. The story is well worth reading and copies may be obtained from 'The Memoir Club' T: 00 44 1913735660 or contact hudsonagenciesnorma@hotmail.co.uk

After S/M Jonathan Birley whisked us into aspects of the modern RN using a 20 minute 26TV video film (designed to attract young people to the Service) we had a second 'wet' and sandwiches. Then the Reverend Canon Marvin Bamforth outlined the work on 'The Seafarers' Mission which he heads up from Limassol, Cyprus's main port. Marvin mentioned that some say 'the bigger the Canon the bigger the bore' but that was just not true on this occasion. The work of the mission began in Bristol in 1856 helping and comforting lonely merchant seamen. It is an Anglican Church outreach. 95% of global trade (from apples to Zyvania) is carried by sea so there is plenty to do.
Marvin oversees such tasks as helping mariners with contract problems plus welfare and justice matters; up to United Nations level! In all of this he has valued support from the shipping lines, both international and Cyprus based. In December he was called to attend onboard a tanker lying off Limassol. Unfortunately it was the day of one of the worst storms to hit Cyprus in recent years. Sadly the incident involved a death but the ship's officers and crew were very appreciative of The Seafarers Mission help.

The Mission can now provide merchant seamen with full electronic communication such as Skype from the Limassol Centre. A visit is paid to all ships in harbour at Christmas and gifts are distributed. Canon Bamforth is 'watch on stop on' while in Cyprus but has charitable work to do in Kinkesi, Uganda. While he is absent from the Island our own S/M Rev. Eric Freeman 'does a sub'.


S/M Sylvia with Andrew and Rev. Canon Marvin Bamforth.




A Pair of Padres? A Brace of Bishes or Bosuns (sin)?

Marvin and Eric - too good a picture to omit.




The Caribbean Beat!

Well it's been a couple of months since my last update and a lot has happened since then. After our spree of blaggings it all went quiet on the crime front for a short while, but regrettably it has got pretty ugly again over the last few days with a series of aggravated burglaries, sexual assaults and the murder of a 16 year old Haitian boy who was shot dead. Whereas before the crime did not really effect the more affluent residents, the ex-pats and tourists, the current upsurge most definitely has, with expensive residences in areas formerly untouched now becoming the targets. This has led to a massive outcry from enraged local worthies with calls for everything from the resignation of the Governor, the sacking of the Senior Management of the Royal Turks & Caicos Islands Police Force (RT&CIPF), bringing in a Company of Royal Marines, setting up a volunteer militia, having Scotland Yard send out a full force of British Police Officers and many other weird and wonderful suggestions besides. My Blackberry has been glowing with the amount of phone calls, e-mails and texts I have received in the last few days and it doesn't look likely to settle down any time soon as we still haven't captured the thugs responsible. I am now doing my best to reassure people that the RT&CIPF is indeed doing it's upmost to get the situation under control, but I'm not sure anyone is listening to me. Rumour has it that this is now an issue under discussion in Whitehall, meanwhile I sleep with my trusty Glock 19 less than an arms length away!

The good news is that the flow of illegal migrants has slowed down. After a recent joint operation with our colleagues in the US Coast Guard where we intercepted a "sloop" with 181 illegal's onboard we haven't seen anymore sail vessels for a while. However they have now changed tactics on us and appear to be using a small fast boat, which doesn’t bring so many people but is harder to detect and intercept. So having just managed to squeeze some money out of our cash strapped budget to get a brand new state of the art radar fitted to one of the Police launches to improve our ability to detect "sloops", one of my Boat Captains then went and struck a reef and destroyed the port propeller on the same launch. My other launch is currently in the shipyard under repair after a similar incident a couple of months ago. It should have been repaired and back in the water within days, but all goodwill with regard to anything the Treasury is supposed to pay for is a thing of the past and it’s definitely cash not credit now. I have since produced a local form for investigation into maritime incidents based on the Royal Navy's Form S232 Report on Collisions and Groundings, what worries me is how often I may need it. The state of training here has always been one of my main concerns and fortunately the FCO has just appointed a Caribbean Overseas Territories (COT) Marine Training Co-ordinator to sort out the training problems of all the COT Marine Police Units, a long overdue need. I happen to know the man appointed, a former Royal Navy Officer, but the bad news is instead of coming straight out here to get a grip on the situation he is to conduct a 90 day study from the UK, talk about distance learning, but it probably saves the FCO a couple of dollars!

The USA has recently announced that it intends to deport a large number of illegal Haitians migrants and Haitians who have been convicted of criminal offences. The Haitian Gangs in the USA are a big problem, they are very well organized and very, very violent, they make MS 13, 18th Street, Cripps and Bloods look like Community Aid groups. These Gangs have already got a hold in the Bahamas and no prizes for guessing where they might come next. So on my way back to the TCI from the UK, see below, I'm stopping off in Miami to get some briefings and an up close and personal look at these Gangs with a couple of the local Law Enforcement Agencies. Should be fascinating and ties in nicely with my growing area of interest in illegal migration and its consequences. Incidentally I have been invited to give a presentation from a first hand practitioners perspective at a conference about Illegal Migration and Organised Crime at the International Police College in Germany later this year. I am also doing some very interesting work with the US Drugs Enforcement Administration (DEA) and have become very friendly with one of their Special Agents who, like me, enjoys the occasional libation!

On the political front we are still in a state of limbo here while we await the final report from Sir Robin Auld's Commission of Inquiry. Almost certainly the Constitution will be suspended and direct rule imposed from UK. What that means in reality is the Governor and a select group of advisors will run the country. The report should also indicate who/what should be subject to further investigation and possible criminal charges. A lot of people support these measures, but a few, notably the MP's who created this mess, do not and there are lots of cries of "Colonialism", "enslavement" and "loss of liberty", but in the end I think it will make little difference and hopefully all will pass off peacefully. However just to be safe I have brushed up on my Public Order training. !

So that's about it for the time being. One thing is for sure it's never dull here and I'm certainly never bored. Regardless of the problems which you really have to keep in perspective, it is after all a small place with a village mentality, it is still a beautiful place and a great holiday destination and I hope some of you will eventually make the trip out. My fondest regards to you all.

Yours Aye,
Policing the last, (latest?), outpost of Empire,
The Colonial Copper !


Shipmate The Reverend Eric Freeman leads the
Standards and wreath laying party to the Memorial.

On the 20th April the Chairman, Andrew Noyes and Vice Chairman Ian Gould, laid wreaths at Wayne's Keep British Military Cemetery in Nicosia. The ceremony commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the cessation of the Cyprus Emergency (1955-1959) leading to the Independence of Cyprus and honoured those of the Armed Forces who sacrificed their lives for the Crown in that conflict. This Cemetery lies on the 'Green Line'; the peace line border between Turkish Cypriot North Cyprus and Greek Cypriot South Cyprus. It is overlooked by a guard post in the north. It is a pity that although the cemetery is well maintained by the British War Graves Commission it is rarely visited as it is in 'no man's land'; a zone controlled by the United Nations. Shipmate the Rev. Eric Freeman conducted the wreath laying ceremony.

Andrew is also President of the Royal British Legion, Cyprus and so laid his tribute at the Memorial on behalf of that organisation.

Wreaths were also laid by the Deputy High Commissioner for Cyprus and representatives from Army regiments and the RAF. Shipmate Richard Hughes bore the RNA Standard. Andrew led the Act of Remembrance and it is telling to note that afterwards he remarked on the particular poignancy of that day when every act of remembrance was watched by the Turkish Army Observation Post. That is in an abandoned Secondary School unused as a place of learning since the Turkish invasion of 1974.

  Standards Lowered.

Ian placed his for the
Royal Naval Association.


Our April meeting held on the 8th, as usual at the Base Officer's Mess, Episkopi was a great success. We were very heartened to hear that our good Shipmate and Honorary Vice President Fred Cooper has made a spectacular recovery from severe illness and we hope to see him at our meetings very soon. The resignation of our 100th Shipmate Alison Kennedy from the post of Social Secretary was received with much appreciation of her tremendous contribution to the Branch over the last six years. We all hope that we will continue to see Alison and husband Brendan with their lovely daughters at meetings as often as they can come along. New shipmates Jack and Julie Philips from Peyia were welcomed into the Branch. Jack is an ex Royal and formerly belonged to the Eastney Branch of the RM Association.


At this time of year it is our custom to make a contribution to the Episkopi Sea Scout Group. So two Beaver Cub Scouts, Daniel Roberts (6) on the left and Logan Roberts (7) brought along their Group leader Brian Nicholle and assistant deputy leader Nicola Jones to receive our cheque from Chairman Andrew Noyes. Vice Chairman Ian Gould (right) told how he was impressed with the lads dedication and enthusiasm when he visited the Group hut a few weeks ago.

Wing Commander Nicholle described how the boys gained confidence in the Group. When a six year old goes to camp it may well be his first night away from his parents.

Daniel told us how he loved the games they play and Logan's favourite time was singing round the camp fire. Some of the boys regard a camping expedition to Dhekelia (100Km away) as a foreign trip! Our donation goes toward the purchase of new flags, flagpoles and training gear. Brian's overview of the Group's activities was comprehensive and impressive. Particularly so when we learned that two of the Cub Scouts had been given the Movement's Silver Award. That is a rare honour.

Our speaker for the evening was Mr. Rory O'Connor, the General Manager of SSAFA Forces Help in Cyprus. For those of us who remember those much respected and loved SSAFA Sisters in their grey uniforms his description of the modern services provided by SSAFA Forces Help was breathtaking. The organisation has come a very long way since the days when weighing and registering the Gibraltar Rock apes was part of the remit (do they still do that?).

SSAFA was founded in 1885 with a donation from a senior Army officer it being recognised that families often suffered if a serving husband was removed for duty elsewhere. A sea change occurred in recent years when The Ministry of Defence commenced the formation of Contracts with SSAFA to provide support services to the Armed Forces abroad. Resulting profits by the organisation are ploughed back into the Charity so that all parties benefit. This visionary approach has now been extended to the UK with SSAFA Forces Help now operating in Luton and Leicestershire. Selly Oak Hospital has also benefitted with accommodation for families of service personnel being provided.

Rory described the scope of the operation in Cyprus and Worldwide. SSAFA is present from Nepal to Canada and from Northern Ireland to Belize. Help is present for all who have given 1 day of service to the Crown. The areas of work are too numerous to list here but cover family support, midwifery, marriage counselling, family escort work, fostering and adoption, health visiting and more. These tasks are undertaken by both professional workers and volunteers.

The conclusion was that SSAFA Forces Help, like most charitable organisations is a major business, but in its own case specialises in doing a wonderful and essential job for our Servicemen, Servicewomen and their families.


Shipmates attention is drawn to the monthly Headquarters Circulars found by following the 'Links' button at the bottom of this website page (or click here).

No.582 for February describes the marking of the 50th.Anniversary of The British Cyprus Memorial (www.britishcyprusmemorial.org) .

No.583 for March mentions this again in further detail and also includes a somewhat graphic and startling letter from our Honoray Vice President Nobby Hall in the Turks and Caicos Islands. This copy also gives an obituary for Jenny BEM ; known to thousands of us for her great service to the fleet in Hong Kong.



The March meeting of 2009 was held as usual in the Base Officer’s Mess at the Episkopi Sovereign Base Area on the 11th.

Our Chairman touched on his recent visit to Headquarters. He mentioned how the move to Semaphore Tower in the Portsmouth Base will put the Association closer to the working fleet thereby encouraging more modern RN/RM involvement and serving personnel recruitment.

Our Secretary described the visit of Paul Van Hees from the Belgium Branch. There is full coverage of that event below.

Happy news was received in that one of our Honorary Life Vice Presidents, Shipmate Fred Cooper, was reported as making good recovery after a great deal of ill health in the past year.

Our paid up membership so far this year is reported at 64.

Our Royal Navy representative Shipmate Jonathan Birley gave us an amusing and uplifting report on current events in the Service. He made us aware of the large Exercise 'Cyprus Wader' in our waters. Jonathan also mentioned local areas where relaxing Royals and Sailors might be encountered!

The gallantry rewards made to the Air/Sea Rescue unit at HMS GANNET gave us real pride. Shipmate Richard Hughes (RM) was even moved to show us, as near as possible in the meeting room, a brief demo. on the finer points of 'fast roping' and 'abseiling' from helicopters. Then our Chairman remembered how important it was not to land on one’s rifle! However after hearing that more than 13 Admirals were all at sea with FOST on one occasion we were thankful that we are now retired.

The speaker for the evening was Mr. St. John Coombes BA Hons. PFS. FAIQ, (pictured right) an Independent Financial Adviser. His subject was on how recent money and stock market moves have affected life in Cyprus. This was particularly close to our hearts as expatriates here have suffered a double whammy in both the Cyprus Pound conversion to the Euro at a disadvantageous rate last year and the loss of UK source income in the poor exchange rate. The result is a real loss in income of about 30% since last year.

However, St. John put over the facts in a humorous and clear fashion and so entertained us when we might have been depressed. In particular he underlined our good fortune in having an Armed Forces Pension and the low income tax rates in Cyprus (5% for pensioners). Also of great importance was the need for sound Wills in Cyprus and the UK. It is worth noting that although much Cyprus law is derived from England; that obtaining to Property is essentially based on old Ottoman law.



We were pleased to welcome to Cyprus last week Shipmate Paul Van Hees, the Liaison Officer from the RNA Belgium Branch. This overseas branch, like us, has some 80 members, the majority of whom are retired RN together with retired international naval and military personnel with backgrounds in the many international institutions in Brussels.  It is ably run by their Chairman, Commander Gavin Short Royal Navy, a serving officer with the European Union Military Staff in Belgium, and by the rest of their committee, meeting at the Brussels Royal Yacht Club once a month excepting July and August.  They have four social lunches / dinners a year, with venues and menus organised by the Branch ladies.  Their highlight is the Trafalgar Lunch and at the last meeting they were honoured by a Spanish Admiral as their guest speaker and proposer of The Immortal Memory.

As Paul was unable to stay for our meeting on 11th March, a small welcoming committee consisting of Vice-Chairman Ian Gould, Honorary Secretary Janet Gould and Associate.


Members Representative Raymond Naqvi, who is the Resident Judge, met with him on Thursday 5th and transported him to Episkopi Base, where he was given a guided tour of the Court Rooms.
This was of particular interest as Paul works for the Justice Department in Belgium.

Ian, Raymond and Paul in Court

Paul had also asked if he could meet the local Sea Scouts as his Branch is particularly interested in motivating the youngsters and wished to make a donation towards their support. As the Scouts were holding their meeting that same afternoon, we went along to meet them all and to make a small presentation. This was most gratefully received by the boys who were totally in awe at their first sight of a €100 note. A formal thank you was given by the Sea Scout Group Chairman, Wing Cdr. Brian Nicolle and two representative Scouts, James Lloyd and Taylor Pope. This photo shows the boys holding a certificate brought from Belgium.

Paul Van Hees with the Sea Scouts and helming EUROPA in the 2006 Tall Ships Race   ------------->




On the 11th of February the Cyprus Branch meeting was, as customary, held at the Officer's Mess, Episkopi Sovereign Base Area. The meeting began in a sombre mood with the announcement of the death of Shipmate Freddie Humphreys two days earlier. Freddie was one of the first shipmates to join the branch within six months of its formation. Her funeral was held at St.Paul's Church RAF AKROTIRI on the morning of Friday 13th February.

After updates from the committee members and a stop for refreshments the meeting was presented with an overview of the history, structure and role in Cyprus since 2006, of the 2nd.Lancs.Battalion of the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment; the current incumbents at the Episkopi Garrison.

Warrant Officer1, the RSM, Jon Wilson started by outlining the history of the Battalion which was most complex; as is the case with many modern British Army formations. To the uninformed (and un-uniformed) these formation numbers, dates and strengths are a mystery. Jon, however, ran through the subject clarifying the development of this modern force. For his part Jon had served previously in Cyprus, the Balkans, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The regiment's antecedents can be traced from 1680. Battle Honours are very varied. They range from the Peninsular War through both World Wars and in almost all conflicts to the present day. During the American War of Independence one of their commanders burned down The White House!

Captain Nick Arrandale, the Operations Officer, followed with a description of the battalion structure and tasks such as the security of the Troodos area, Mt. Olympus, the salt lakes and the Base Area. He covered the success of his men in sport on the Island, particularly in football and boxing. It was interesting to note that 212 families accompany the Battalion at the moment.

RSM Jon Wilson with Captain
Nick Arrandale

The shipmates were then invited to cross the car park and visit the Battalion officer's mess where they were shown a fantastic collection of regimental memorabilia and silver which Captain Arrandale described in detail and with some humour. Like sailors; soldiers regard some things with a healthy irreverence. For example the superb oil painting of a previous 'cross dressing' Colonel!


Everyone was very impressed by the history and traditions so obviously treasured by the battalion. We felt that, despite the difficulties faced by our military, we saw a facet of the British Army getting on with the job enthusiastically and efficiently. It was much appreciated.

Incidentally these mess buildings were the ones where scenes from the television series 'Soldier Soldier' were filmed.

- Our happy Shipmates 2009 -


"A Corner of a Foreign Field, in Cyprus" by Lt Col Andrew Noyes (Retd)

During the 1950s both 40 and 45 Commando Royal Marines were involved in operations during the Cyprus Emergency, which ran from 1955 to 1959. At the end of the Emergency, Cyprus was granted independence from the United Kingdom (but not as the terrorist organisation, EOKA, had fought for, union with Greece or "Enosis").  Cyprus today remains an independent country, albeit divided between the Greek Cypriot south and Turkish Republic north. Sadly, a total of 371 British Servicemen died on active service during the 1950s’ Cyprus Emergency, 28 of whom were members of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.

The 50th Anniversary of the end of the Cyprus Emergency on 20th April 2009 saw some 110 representatives of the UK Armed Forces gather at the British Military Cemetery at Wayne's Keep, where those who died during the Emergency are buried.  The cemetery is now situated on the Peace Line between the Turkish North and Greek Cypriot South in Nicosia. The cemetery is well maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission but is sadly rarely visited because of its location in the Peace Line, a "no man's land"  zone controlled by the United Nations.

Former Royal Marines were prominent in the commemoration of the end of the Emergency. Along with the Deputy High Commissioner for Cyprus, I as President of the Royal British Legion for Cyprus, was privileged to lead the Act of Remembrance at the service and laid a wreath at Wayne's Keep Cemetery, ably assisted by the RNA Standard Bearer, former Marine Richard Hughes, who served for 9 years in the Corps before joining the Metropolitan Police. Needless to say, it was a moving service as we remembered those young men 50 plus years ago who died whilst serving during the Emergency, and the atmosphere was especially poignant as our acts of commemoration were observed by a Turkish Army Observation Post overlooking the Peace Line from the roof of an old Secondary School, unused as a place of learning since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974.

For those readers of the Globe and Laurel who served in the Cyprus during the 1950s Emergency, or who are related to those who died there, I can assure you that your fallen comrades or relations are still remembered fondly and most sincerely by those of us who now live in the island of Cyprus. And we will continue to remember them whilst we live in the island where they made the ultimate sacrifice.

 Details on the planned British Cyprus Memorial 2009 can be found at the website www.britishcyprusmemorial.org



The Annual General Meeting of the Cyprus Branch of the Royal Naval Association was held at the Officer's Mess, Episkopi Sovereign Base Area at 1930 on Wednesday the 12th. January 2009.

Vice Chairman shipmate Andrew Noyes was elected to be Chairman for the year 2009 and shipmate Jean Hall was re-elected as Treasurer, Shipmate Ian Gould was elected Vice Chairman. The election of shipmates Nobby Hall and Fred Cooper as Honorary Life Vice Presidents was ratified. Shipmate Bill Hellier was elected as the new 'slops' member of the Committee in place of shipmate Nick Smith whose efforts have been much appreciated.

Immediately following on the AGM business the regular meeting of the Branch proceeded. Reports from the Committee Officers were received. New shipmate Richard and associate shipmate Wendy Mottershead were welcomed to the Branch. Richard is a Paphos business man involved with advertising and he generously pledged to keep the Cyprus Branch in the public’s eye at every opportunity.

The Branch also welcomed shipmate Tom Brown, Standard bearer of the Eastbourne RNA Branch. Tom remembers RN service in the Cyprus Patrol boardings out of Dekhelia and Famagusta in the 50's. It is always a great pleasure to meet shipmates visiting Cyprus so please get in touch with a view to attending our meetings.

Left: Tom (right) with host Mike Banks.

Our retired Chairman, Nobby Hall, sent us a 'Haul Down' report which was read to the assembled company and is reproduced in 'Archives' on our website together with a fine photograph of him with Helen. He wished us fair winds and following seas. Nobby and Helen were founders of the Cyprus Branch and with their departure to the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force the last tie with the inception of the Branch is broken.

After our 'the other half' round of drinks and a table of delicious sandwiches shipmate Vivvy gave us a brief resume of the Branch's connections with the Sri Lankan Navy. She reminded us of their appreciation of our donations toward Tsunami relief and Tamil Tiger damage.

We look forward to a satisfying and fun filled 2009. Despite the poor performance of the pound sterling against the euro we are resolved to gather even more funds for our Charities.

RNA December Meeting  11/12/08

The Christmas meeting of the Cyprus Branch of Royal Naval Association was held on the 11th December at the Sovereign Base Officer's Mess, Episkopi. After an update from committee members the shipmates chose from a table laden with all kinds of finger food including delicious mince pies and cakes at no cost other than to their waistlines!

Following the half time break Janet and Ian Gould showed a video tape on the Royal Navy of Yesteryear and so completed a very enjoyable evening's get together.

The next meeting on the 14th of January will again be at the Mess at 1900 and will be the Annual General Meeting. Nominations for committee posts should be sent to the Secretary as soon as possible.

That evening will also include an update by shipmate Vivvy Simmonds on naval links with Sri Lanka.


RNA November Meeting

The November meeting of the Royal Naval Association was held in the Sovereign Base Area Officer's Mess, Episkopi on the evening of Thursday 13th. Shipmates had shifted into winter rig for the first meeting of the cool season and appeared very smart!

Shipmate The Reverend Eric Freeman opened with a prayer for departed shipmates and a special remembrance for our two Royal Marines killed in Afghanistan the previous day.

Chairman Andrew Noyes led us into the business of the evening with a welcome to visitor Mark Telford and new joining members Gordon and Norma Redpath. This was followed by reports from the main officers.

After second 'wets' and sandwiches our guest for the evening Mr Mike Woods addressed us on the 'Black Box' recorders now being introduced into modern shipping. They are really red and are known as VDRs, voice data recorders.

He gave us a fascinating and sometimes hilarious account of the use and misuse of these devices which were introduced in the wake of the loss of the DERBYSHIRE with all hands. They are now a legal requirement for all vessels of at least 3000Tons. Maritime Law dictates that they be used as evidence in litigation. Sadly some nations, although signing up to the international standards, fail to initiate the proper use.

                  Mike Woods

Mike left the Royal Navy in 1990 after 23 years as a Control Engineer having served in all three areas of the submarine fleet. He then qualified as a pilot and has spent the last 14 years developing and running his own Company with a Contract to the Ministry of Defence. He now lives in Cyprus but has business centres in several major ports in the West.


The meeting closed with our customary raffle which resulted in one of our most fund boosting evenings in recent months.



Richard and Andrew 

The Remembrance Day church service was held on Sunday the 9th. of November at the sports ground, Happy Valley, in the Sovereign Base area. The Cyprus Branch of the RNA was represented by 26 shipmates and our Standard was paraded by shipmate Richard Hughes. Shipmate Alison Kennedy laid a wreath for the Cyprus Branch of the Royal Naval Association and shipmate Andrew Noyes led the Act of Remembrance.

Afterwards the shipmates met for a social lunch at the Kyrenia Taverna on the beach at Evdimou.  This is our local tradition and is always enjoyed after the poignancy of the morning.

Lunch by the blue Mediterranean



The RNA Trafalgar night dinner was held at the Club Aphrodite, Erimi, on the 23rd of October. 57 Shipmates attended.

The Club Aphrodite

The Guests of Honour were our retiring Chairman Nobby Hall and his wife Helen. The other Guests of Honour were Mr. and Mrs Viney. Peter Viney retired from the manager's post in the Episkopi Garrison officer's Mess recently. All his help and hospitality to the Association was underlined by Nobby and recognised as deeply appreciated by everyone present. He oversaw the use of mess facilities by the RNA from the year of its inception. His provision of a meeting room and fine meals on special occasions like Trafalgar Night will always have the gratitude of the Cyprus Branch of the RNA.

Nobby went on to outline the formation of the Branch and gave a potted history of its growth before commenting on Nelson's life and then proposing the Immortal Memory.

All shipmates are aware of the tremendous drive which Nobby and Helen, as the Secretary in the early years, put into making the Cyprus Branch the success it is. As parting gifts Shipmate Andrew Noyes, our Chairman, presented Nobby with an engraved Armada Dish and Helen accepted a fine silver pill box. This produced the expected RN/RM quip from the shipmates!

                         Sir Edward du Cann addresses the Shipmates    (click on photo to enlarge)

In his inspiring style our President Sir Edward du Cann addressed the company reinforcing Nobby's thanks to Mr Viney and expressing the Shipmates debt to the Halls. He related how during a recent visit to England met young people belonging to the sea Cadets and how he was very impressed with their keenness and sense of patriotism.

The evening was a success despite the Branch not being able to hold the event in the Garrison officer's mess as in previous years due to rising costs.



2008 has been a year of consolidation and change for the RNA Cyprus Branch. The membership has consolidated from its original number of over 150 five years ago to around 55 members of the Branch by the end of the year. Our monthly meetings draw an average of around 40 members and, whilst therefore the Cyprus branch has reduced in size, this is as much a consolidation of core supporters who regularly attend Branch functions against a wider membership, many of whom were infrequent attenders.

Considerable effort and investment has been placed into advertising in local magazines and newspapers during the past year. The Publicity Officer has also established an excellent website detailing the Branch's history, an archive of past events, a photograph gallery, a useful contact list and a "scribe's caboosh" updating members on recent events. The website can be seen at www.rnacyprus.org.

Change in the Branch has occurred in two ways.  During the year we sadly bade farewell to the founder and Branch Chairman for the past 6 years, Shipmate Nobby Hall, and to his wife Helen, who was the first Secretary to the Branch when it began.  Nobby Hall is now the Assistant Commissioner of Police in the Turks and Caicos Islands.  As a result of our Chairman's departure Shipmate Andrew Noyes, the Vice Chairman, took over as acting Chairman of the Branch in August. A Royal Marines' officer of some 40 years standing, Andrew has recently been elected Chairman of the Cyprus Branch.

The other change has been the format of our monthly meetings. We have the privilege of being allowed to meet once a month in the Episcopi Officers' Mess where a bar is provided for members.  In addition to committee members' reports and a brief on the Navy Today by a serving Lt Cdr on the HQ BFC staff, we have this year introduced a guest speaker at our meetings. This has gone down well with members and topics have included an address by the Assistant Chief Constable of the SBA Police, a talk on Victim Support by SSAFA, a talk by a local Chairman of a Residents' Association and one on the Black Box found in Ships by a retired CPO Nuclear Submariner engineer.

In September the Branch successfully ran a stall at the Episcopi Garrison annual fete and raised over 700 Euros for the Branch accounts, the main attraction at the stall being a "pay and dip" competition for a bottle of wine or other donated beverage.  Meanwhile October saw the Branch celebrating Trafalgar Night at a formal dinner in a local sports and social Club where, in addition to toasting the "Immortal Memory", we also took the opportunity to dine out our past Chairman and his wife.  It was also a privilege to be joined by our President, Sir Edward Du Cann, on this occasion, along with some 60 others who thoroughly enjoyed both the dinner and after dinner speeches.

Overall 2008 has been a success for RNA Branch Cyprus, despite the apparent fall in membership, which all service associations in Cyprus are currently experiencing.  We enter 2009 with less members than before but, with a well designed publicity campaign planned, we intend to continue our current momentum into the following year.  The Committee is mindful, when planning events, that the majority of our members rely on UK pensions paid in £s Sterling whilst living a country which recently adopted the Euro, thereby effectively reducing our members’ purchasing power by some 30% due to the current poor exchange rate. Our future social events will reflect this new financial stringency but it is unlikely to affect the comradeship, unity and humour we see frequently displayed when a group of Matelots,  Marines, WRENs and other Naval Service supporters are gathered together, and this remains the very essence of RNA Branch Cyprus.

Andrew Noyes

RNA Cyprus Branch Chairman


Haul Down Report - 15th January 2009


After six and a half years as your Chairman of the Cyprus Branch Royal Naval Association, albeit the last six months in absentia, the time has come for me to finally stand down. It is with mixed feelings that I do so. Sad because the Cyprus Branch RNA was my idea and as a Founder Member my inception, and I will miss all the Shipmates both past and present. Happy because I know the Branch is in good hands and will continue to thrive.

Over those six and half yrs there have been so many high points I cannot begin to touch on them all. Perhaps the best was becoming the second largest Overseas Branch, a position we held for a good while. Or was it the support we offered to those Serving Naval Personnel, both British and American during those busy days of the Second Gulf War. The wonderful Trafalgar Nights we have had, and other superb socials (in particular the ones hosted by Shipmates in their homes), the effort put into the Epi' Fete each year, the annual donation to the Sea Scouts and the turn out for the Happy Valley Service of Remembrance, all of these are things you can be justly proud of. My personal favorite moment must be the Trafalgar Night in 2003 when Captain, (now Commodore), Alistair Halliday entertained us all with his accordion, a most unusual and superb rendering of the Immortal Memory.

At this the AGM I wish all of those standing for office the best of luck. The Committee is truly the backbone of the Branch and it could never operate without it. All Committee Members are volunteers and willingly give of their time for the benefit of all the Shipmates, Bravo Zulu to all Committee Members past and present. Incidentally as Helen and I are the last two Founder Members and first Committee Members, with our departure there is no longer a link to the beginning of the Branch, a true historical moment. I would also take this opportunity to personally thank our President Shipmate Sir Edward for all that he has done for the Cyprus Branch, including personally telling the Second Sea Lord to provide us with a guest speaker for Trafalgar 200, which of course he did, would he dare to have done otherwise? Without you Sir Edward the Cyprus Branch would have no link to the wartime Royal Navy, so thank you and long may you continue to Preside.

Finally, (I can hear the sighs of relief from here), let me ask you all to take a moment and remember the motto of the RNA Unity, Loyalty, Patriotism, Comradeship if you can uphold those values in this ever changing world of ours you will not go far wrong. Whatever happens in the future you can be proud to have been a Member of the Royal Naval Association and in particular the Cyprus Branch!

So farewell then Cyprus Branch Royal Naval Association, on behalf of both Helen and I, may we wish you all Fair Winds and Following Seas. God Bless you all, have one for me and remember, keep your hands on your Euros if there are any Royal Marines around!

Yours Aye,


Shipmate N J Hall




On the 17th of September the Cyprus Branch of the Royal Naval Association launched its new website at www.rnacyprus.org . The pages on this site will give any one arriving on the island an instant overview and information about the RNA in the Limassol and western Cyprus area. A list of shipmates to contact is included. Relevant contributions to the site are invited. Send material to davidmay@cytanet.com.cy  noted 'For the RNA Website'.

The following evening the Branch held its regular September meeting at the Episkopi Garrison Officer's Mess. Stella Pearson of Victim Support presented a surprising and encouraging account of the development of Victim Support in the Cyprus military sectors. Her organisation is based on the British Forces Germany model. Anyone who wishes to learn more about Victim Support and how support is provided for those affected by crime can contact Stella on 25962175 or 99316683.  Shipmates living in Cyprus as expatriates reflected that there may well be a need for Victim Support in their areas. Everyone present was grateful to Stella for highlighting aspects of a service that we hope we never have to use.

Stella Pearson

The Branch welcomed visiting Shipmates John Hamer and his partner from the Haven Branch of the RNA Haverfordwest. It is always good to have Shipmates visiting Cyprus drop in to our meetings.

Shipmate Helen Hall read the 'flash message' following this article from her husband our Chairman in absentia Nobby, now Deputy Commissioner of Police in the Turks and Caicos Islands, describing how Hurricane Ike made his first weeks in the Post somewhat busy. Helen amused us with a delivery worthy of Pam Ayres. She will be missed when she leaves next month. 

On Saturday 20th September our Shipmates ran a stall at the Episkopi Fete in Happy Valley. 728 Euros were raised by selling books, DVDs and running a bottle lucky dip. Very well done all involved. Bravo Zulu.



The RNA stall ready to go.




The Adventures of Hurricane Hall or Why I nearly ran home to Mum!

Ahoy there Shipmate and Hashers

After enjoying the delights of an upgrade to BA Club Class on the 747, I arrived in the Turks and Caicos Islands to find talk of impending doom. In my first week I was hit by Hurricane Hannah (a mere Category 1) not once, but twice. Two days to clear up - then Hurricane Ike (Category 4) arrived (Category 5 is the strongest).  Ike hit us with a vengeance, making Hannah look like a mere puff of wind.

The damage to Prov Island (although bad) was nothing like that to Grand Turk, South Caicos and Salt Cay which have been decimated. The last hurricane to wreak such havoc was 48 years ago. During the night of Hurricane Ike, I was safely installed inside the Royal West Indies Hotel where we held a Hurricane Party with other like-minded Brits. I phoned Helen on the eve of the hurricane and told her not to worry as I was drinking fine whiskys and smoking fine cigars - whilst waiting for Ike to hit.

From a personal perspective, some good did come of it.  I was quickly co-opted onto the TCI Emergency Planning Committee and met many of the senior people in the islands. I was soon advising both the Governor and Prime Minister.

We got the Royal Navy involved who dispatched HMS IRON DUKE and RFA Wave Ruler to assist.  I became Liaison Officer for the US Coast Guard who sent a flight of helicopters to aid us, thus providing me with my own air taxi.

I was then summoned to the Police Station and told I was the nominal Senior Officer for a murder enquiry.  The good news is - we caught the suspect, charged him and put him in custody (but not in the prison - as that had had its roof blown off).

This week I have tried to get some personal admin sorted out and have now moved into a waterfront condo in the Yacht Club (just yards away from the local pub and a couple of top class restaurants).  I bought a car and am wading through the local bureaucracy which is every bit as good as Cyprus!

I was driving along quite happily negotiating a roundabout (which the  locals don't understand) when I was hit by a van sized taxi which promptly sped away! I nicked her and she couldn’t believe her bad misfortune that she had hit a police officer!

Anyway, sorry if I have bored you but I am thoroughly enjoying life here. I return in a few weeks to March Out the MQ and collect my wife Helen. 

Until then, all the best to you all and have a KEO or two for me!

Yours Aye



The Cyprus Branch of the Royal Naval Association met on Thursday evening the 10th of July at the Officer's Mess Episkopi Garrison. Deputy Chief Constable David Turner of the Sovereign Base Areas Police presented a very interesting account of his Force's structure, responsibilities and activities in Cyprus. His talk was peppered with humour. Then a lively question and discussion session ensued covering subjects such as domestic issues and local law on dog control. The protection of nesting turtles, a subject about which not much is known, was highlighted.


Sadly the Branch has had to say farewell to founder members shipmates Nobby and Helen Hall. Nobby will be taking up a new appointment in September as Assistant Commissioner of Police in the Turks and Caicos Islands. All members of the Branch wish them fair winds and following seas. Until the AGM in January 2009 the Vice Chairman, shipmate Andrew Noyes, will helm the Branch.


The next meeting will be at the same venue at 1930 on the 11th of September. A Trafalgar night dinner is planned for the 28th of October.


The Cyprus Branch of the Royal Naval Association held a monthly meeting on Thursday the 12th June at the Officer's Mess Episkopi Garrison. Shipmates were addressed by Mr.Tony Hart who is the Chairman of the Pissouri Residents Association.

- Nobby chairs his last Committee Meeting on the 10th July -

Before retiring to Cyprus Tony was the Headmaster of Cranleigh School in Surrey. In his university days he was President of the Oxford University Union. Thereafter he pursued a career in the Civil Service where he became a Principal in the Ministry of Transport. Later he was the Transport Adviser to the Malawi Government and then ran HM Government's Voluntary Services Unit. In 1978 he was an Assistant Secretary in the Civil Service Department for controlling annual expenditure on public service pensions. On moving to the Treasury he was offered promotion to Under Secretary to the Cabinet Office.

With such a varied experience of government and administration Tony's address on how his Residents' Association liaise with the Pissouri Mukhtar and the Pissouri council was of great interest. He told Shipmates how the Association was set up, how they found Club premises and how cross cultural issues were handled. Bingo seems to be a good vehicle for meeting on common ground!

After his presentation a question time led to a good discussion of issues common to all ex-pats and hopefully an increased understanding of our host country.

The next RNA meeting will again be at the Episkopi Garrison Officer's Mess on the 10th.July at 1900. All who support the aims of the RNA are welcome. Contact Mike Hasney on 25934793 for details.


- Click on photo to enlarge -


Chairman of the Cyprus Branch of the Royal Naval Association, Nobby Hall, presents the last of the original pattern RNA ties to is guest David 'Hooky' Walker on the 17th.April meeting of the Branch at Episkopi Garrison Officer’s Mess.

They first met in 1975 when Nobby joined HMS SUSSEX; the RNR division at Brighton and Hove. Between '75 and '77 they served in HMS FITTLETON and HMS KELLINGTON. Nobby praised Hooky as his inspiration to join up. The old friends last met in 1991 at the decommissioning of HMS SUSSEX and the presentation of that Branch’s scrolls to Brighton and Hove. 


At their meeting on 17th April the Cyprus Branch of the Royal Naval Association presented a cheque for 200 euros to the 57th Troop of the Episkopi Sea Scouts. Scouts Daniel Marley and Ryan Murray accompanied by Scout Leader Jay O'Leary and Chairman Brian Nicholle are seen here receiving their gift from RNA Chairman Shipmate Nobby Hall.

Daniel and Ryan expressed their thanks. They gave the Branch shipmates a description of their activities throughout last year and their plans for the coming year; these are to include including an attempt to master Dragon Boat racing.

 The Scouts get a lot of fun out of leadership training and Nobby pointed out that they are a great example of well behaved modern youth.  




On the 8th of February 2007 the Arctic Emblem was presented to Shipmate John Hale by Sir Edward Du Cann at the United Kingdom Citizens Club in Paphos. In addition John was awarded the 60th Aniversary Commemoration Medal on behalf of the Russian Federation.


Mr Peter Millett, British High Commission was present as were Mr Savvas Vergas, Mayor of Paphos and representatives from the Paphos Police, the Cyprus Veterans Association, the Bishop of Cyprus, SSAFA and ex-service organisations. That so many dignitaries wished to attend is a measure of the high regard in which service such as John’s is held.


In 1943 John was a communications operator on the starboard 4inch guns of HMS Jamaica when she engaged the German battleship Scharnhorst in the Battle of North Cape. He remained in touch with old comrades through the Russian Convoy Club and the German survivors of the Scharnhorst until 2000 by which time both groups had disbanded. The HMS Jamaica Association still enables him to keep in touch with old shipmates.



<-----  John receives his awards.






'After a long break the Association gets back into the western Cyprus scene'  Sept 2008

You don't have to have first hand experience to have sympathy with the armed forces, all of Her Majesty's services are working for our protection and The Royal Navy is no exception.

It is believed that The British Royal Navy was formally created after the Union between England and Scotland in 1707 when the English Navy merged with the Royal Scots Navy, though the two began operating together from the time of the Union of the Crowns.

The English Navy had no defined moment of formation; it started out as a motley assortment of 'King's ships' during the Middle Ages and was only assembled when needed then dispersed as quickly as it was formed. It began to take shape as a standing Navy during the 16th century, and became a regular establishment during the wars of the 17th century.

The Navy grew considerably during the global struggle with France in 1690 and grew in force during the Napoleonic Wars, a time when the practice of fighting under sail was reaching its zenith. The next century of general peace saw considerable technological development, with sail giving way to steam and large shell-firing guns replacing the cannon. All this fuelled the race to construct bigger and better battleships. That race was prematurely ended as aircraft carriers and submarines came to the fore, and after the successes of World War Two.

The Royal Navy is the oldest of the British armed services (and is therefore known as the Senior Service). From the early 18th century to the middle of the 20th century, it was the largest and most powerful navy in the world, playing a key part in establishing the British Empire as the dominant power of the 19th and early 20th centuries. In World War II the Royal Navy operated almost 900 ships. During the Cold War it was transformed into a primarily anti-submarine force, hunting for Soviet submarines. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, its role for the 21st century has returned to focus on global expeditionary operations.

The Royal Navy is the second-largest navy of the NATO alliance, in terms of the combined displacement of its fleet, the U.S. Navy being the first. There are currently 90 commissioned ships in the Royal Navy, including aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, mine counter-measures and patrol vessels. There is also the support of 17 vessels of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. The Royal Navy's ability to project power globally is considered second only to the United States Navy. The Royal Navy also has the second largest carrier fleet in the world, with two carriers of the Invincible class in service (HMS Ark Royal and HMS Illustrious).

The Royal Navy is a constituent component of the Naval Service, which also comprises the Royal Marines, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Royal Naval Reserve and Royal Marines Reserve. The Royal Navy numbers 37,500 people of whom approximately 6,000 are in the Royal Marines.

The Royal Naval Association, which is a registered charity with full recognition by the Royal Navy, was founded to help ex-service members and their families to provide relief from conditions of need, hardship or distress. (There are many who have been severely traumatised or killed while defending the democracy of the country so we can live in freedom.)

Founded in 1954, membership is open to all serving and ex service men and their families. In addition, anyone who is in sympathy with the objectives of the association may join as an associate member. There are over 400 branches world wide with a membership exceeding 28,000.

Cyprus is no exception, with a steady military presence on the Island the RNA was founded in August 2002, having their first meeting in the Sergeants mess in Akrotiri. Now the meetings are held in the Garrison Officer's Mess, Episkopi and they are looking for new 'Shipmates' (there is no rank in the association.). With the emphasis being on FUN, they are looking for new ways to raise funds and all ideas are greatly welcomed. The charity is based on the ethics Unity, Loyalty, Patriotism & Comradeship, where ALL profits go directly to the people in need and is self funded. The money raised at the moment is finding its way to our troops coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan.

One function is the prestigious 'Trafalgar Night' Gala Dinner, while many other less formal functions or get-togethers can still raise plenty of funds. ''This is why we need new members with new ideas to keep the fund raising fresh'', says David May of the association, now retired and living in Kamares. 'We meet every 2nd Thursday in the month, with an annual subscription of only 17euros for the whole year, so we are looking for ex-service members or anyone with time to spend, who has sympathy with the cause, to come along to the meetings. We have interesting guest speakers, a bar, refreshments and a raffle every month. Members receive up-to-date reports on the association and functions. Currently there are over 130 members who meet in Episkopi. Since June 2003, Sir Edward DuCann KBE has been our Branch President, he also resides in Paphos.'

Take some time out to think about our men and women who put themselves on the front line in the face of danger, in the fight for our freedom. Without them, it would be a very different world in which we live.

Please contact, David May 26653323, Mike Hasney (Membership Sec.) 25934793 or Janet Brown-Gould (Hon Sec) 25314506.

Writer: Karen Roe.  Published in Cyprus Living magazine September 2008




© Royal Naval Association Cyprus Copyright 2008-2018
All rights reserved.

   Naval Links  -  Other Links  -  Privacy Policy  -  Contact Us