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First Contingent to Cyprus

Heroes Remember

First Contingent to Cyprus

We were the first contingency to leave. We went from CFB Gagetown to Windsor Park in Halifax and we waited the arrival of the HMCS Bonaventure which was Canada’s last aircraft carrier. We loaded our vehicles on there and we headed for Cyprus. Into the North Atlantic as a first time sailor, I found it very, very rough and the sailors that were on the ship turned around and told us when we get into the Azores, which was gonna be two or three days, that the sea would be much nicer. The sea wasn’t any nicer, it was worse but it was some nice to get into the Mediterranean and find that, you know, that seas do calm out and then we went on from Gibraltar on to Famagusta in Cyprus. I think the trip, if I’m not mistaken, I think the trip took us around ten days. We carried all our trucks and jeeps in our Ferret scout cars, and that’s what we had for vehicles for doing our patrols when we were in Cyprus was a Ferret scout car. Big culture shock, the temperature was the biggest thing. We left here, as I said in March and we were getting over there and it was like 90 degree weather and that’s Fahrenheit, of course, and we were in the Mediterranean swimming and the local people thought there was something wrong with us because they were freezing to death and we were cooking so it was quite a culture shock, believe me.

Mr. Beyea speaks about his voyage to Cyprus onboard the HMCS Bonaventure and the change in temperatures upon arrival to this foreign country.

Robert Beyea

Mr. Robert Beyea was born in Saint John, New Brunswick December 14, 1942. After obtaining his education, he was very anxious to join the military. Initially his preference was to become a sailor, however, with no vacancies and little patience, Mr. Beyea decided to join the army. In 1961, he became part of the Royal Dragoons Regiment and obtained basic training in Camp Borden, Ontario. Mr. Beyea chose the trade of tank driver and gunner and continued on to become an instructor training new recruits. Holding rank of corporal, he travelled to Cyprus in 1964 and was part of the first contingent to travel there on behalf of the Canadian military. Mr. Beyea later retired from the army and speaks to youth about his feelings on the importance of service in the military. Mr. Beyea now resides in Fredericton, New Brunswick with his family.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
February 10, 2009
Person Interviewed:
Robert Beyea
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Royal Canadian Dragoons
Tank Driver

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