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Cyprus - Canadian Armed Forces in Cyprus

Canadian Armed Forces

Cyprus - Canadian Armed Forces in Cyprus


Spinning world globe with text "Canadians Forces in Cyprus", map of Cyprus appears on screen

Canadian Forces Veteran Remi Lefebvre

We arrived in Cyprus; fighting had broken out between the Turks and the Greeks. The Turks were in the Kyrenia mountains

Jeep turning on mountain cliff with landscape of trees and mountains in background

and the Greeks were concentrated in Nicosia.

Canadian Forces Veteran Darcy Neepin

Cyprus was cut in, I guess, half,

Local Turks standing on side of road as military pass by

the Turkish people on the one side,

Jeep travelling through city with locals standing by their cement homes

and the Greek Cypriots on the other.

Canadian Forces Veteran Robert Beyea

Big culture shock. The temperature was the biggest thing we certainly.. We left here as I said in March and

Aircraft on runway with air traffic control personnel guideng the plane

we were getting over there and it was like 90 degree weather and we were, and that’s Fahrenheit of course.

Canadian Forces Veteran Denis Halliday

One of the first things I learned there was how cold it was at night. We used to have to put on a parka and it was not my sort of idea. I thought going over to Cyprus it would be like 90 degrees all the time, well it wasn’t.

Canadian Forces Veteran James Fraser

Living conditions in terms of where people lived, little villages, no hot water, outdoor toilets. You know the other thing as a culture

Two women doing chores of filling buckets of water

shock was women did most of the work.

Canadian Forces Veteran Steven Gasser

The difference between the two sides was just black and white

Locals standing by the roadway and looking inside a UN jeep as it stops on side of road

Canadian Forces Veteran Clifford Landry

I talked to one of them. He said, "If the Canadians leave I have about a week left to live; I’d be killed by those people."

Soldiers on side of jeep looking over maps and paperwork

We were there to maintain the status quo. We’d not fire a round and even in

Canadian Forces Veteran Tom Paterson

our own defence until we took a casualty.

Canadian Forces Veteran Robert Beyea

When we were out on patrol you know we had, they opened up fire on us.

Canadian Forces Veteran Fred Gallant

I ducked behind some cement abutments and you know, the adrenaline’s flowing and you can see the sparks as the bullets are hitting the cement.

Canadian Forces Veteran Peter VanIderstine

We had a massacre while I was there in that, where the Turks got after the Greeks and they shelled a village. And we were called out with some infantry so we went down there. It was the middle of the night and I recall seeing the red tracer bullets go over.

Jeep travelling through the street with broken down buildings and rubble along the path

After it was all over I... the people started coming out of ruins you know, when was declared ceasefire. And... this old, old woman –

Old wome dressed in black standing behind a concrete fence with cane in hand starts walking down the street

they all dressed in black over there –

Xanadian Forces Veteran Peter VanIderstine

she came, me and the sergeant were standing in front of the car there and she come over and she got on her knees and kissed my boots. She was so grateful to be alive.

Canadian Forces Veteran Robert Beyea

I’ve had kids walk up and spit in my face and that’s a hard thing to accept. I’ve seen young people running around with six guns strapped on their hips.

Canadian Forces Veteran Fred Gallant

We had an exciting tour because of the humanitarian acts we had to do, like transferring the Greek refugees back

Greek regfugees carrying their belongings and getting on bus, UN soldiers assisting them

from the Turkish side to the Greek side, and the opposite with theTurkish refugees from the Greek side to the Turkish side.

A young child waves from inside the bus while other children look out towards the street

Canadian Forces Veteran Clifford Landry

We had quite good relations with both sides. We’d go from one to the other, it didn’t bother us. Any preferences we might have had we kept to ourselves.

Jeeps on patrol alongside the roadway

We had to go on patrols,

UN soldier watches from the top of building overlooking the village, cement homes cover the landscapr

keep an eye on a particular local village,

Canadian Forces Veteran Robert Beyea

and if the people come under harm that we were there to protect them, and that was basically our typical day. And you could be assigned a Greek village today and tomorrow you could be assigned to a Turkish village. The only way you knew where you were was you had to look up at the flag in the middle of the town square.

Flag flying in town square

Canadian Forces Veteran Peter VanIdestine

Did we make a difference? Yeah. You know, a lot of people say the army is a waste of money but to that old lady we made a difference.

Collection of interviews with veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces recounting their experience of military service in Cyprus. The veterans of this video are: Rémi Lefebvre, Darcy Neepin, Robert Beyea, Denis Halliday, James Fraser, Steven Gasser, Clifford Landry, Tom Paterson, Fred Gallant et Peter VanIderstine.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
February 2, 2010

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