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A Chance for Love

Heroes Remember

My second Cyprus tour in 1982 I was there for a year at the force headquarters as one of the Canadian staff officers at the force headquarters. And while I was there I met Erica, my wife, who had previously been married to a Greek Cypriot and who was living with two young children very close to the race track in Nicosia so when the Turks invaded in 1974 she in fact, her house came under fire and she spent time sheltering the children under stair wells while mortar bombs landed in the back garden. And her husband at the time was a member of the Cypriot National Guard and was responsible for the defence of a certain part of the old wall in Nicosia so she would bring the soldiers their meals and use their petty coats to bandage up the wounded and that sort of thing so she actually has seen more action than I have in our lifetime. Erica Kelly The war in Cyprus in 1974 was of course before I met Mike and between his UN tours in Cyprus. So in 1974 the Turkish Army and Air Force invaded Cyprus. I won’t go into the politics at this point because it’s a very long complex story which is still ongoing to a certain extent. But at that time I was working at the United Nations and with two small children it was a very traumatic experience I have to admit. So the first thing we knew about it was Turkish Air Force planes flew over Nicosia and dropped bombs along the green line and the explosions shook my house and it was about dawn and they dropped parachutists. And I watched the parachutists dropping out of the sky at dawn over the Mesaoria Plain which was the other side of the racetrack basically from where I lived. And there was a long, long line of planes dropping parachutists as far as the eye could see and I have to say it was a moment of terror. During all that time I was concerned with keeping my children safe, of course, and many English people were shipped out of Cyprus by the British High Commission but Cypriot girls, British girls who had married Cypriots were considered that they made their bed they could damn well go and lay on them. So there wasn’t any help for me or my children from the British High Commission so we did the best we could. We went up to the mountains and waited it out basically. Actually Erica was working at the UN headquarters as a local employee. Even though she was British, she had been hired by the person who was the spokesman for the UN headquarters. She was his interpreter and the special representative of the secretary general of the headquarters was Javier Perez de Cuellar who later became the secretary-general. So Erica was working with these gentleman. She did press releases and so on and sent reports to New York daily. So, of course, we met and socialized and after a while we agreed on a new adventure. So when Mike came along seven years later, we had been without my first husband for seven years and they thought he was the best thing since sliced bread and he brought peanut butter home! So we became friends and one thing led to another and he actually proposed to me at a formal dining inn at the Canadian Officer’s mess one night.

Mr. Kelly shares his story of meeting Erica in Cyprus and together they tell a personal story of finding love.

Michael Kelly

Mr. Michael Kelly was born January 1940 in Sudbury, Ontario. Being active in the Cadet Program as a youngster, Mr. Kelly always held the idea that he would pursue a career in the military. Once of age, Mr. Kelly joined the Officer Candidate Plan School of Infantry at Camp Borden. Graduating as an officer, he accepted deployments overseas including Germany and Cyprus. Upon retirement from the army, Mr. Kelly held rank of major. After military service, he became quite involved in many organizations and worked with UNICEF and World Food Program in East Timor. Mr. Kelly has great pride in his membership with The Black Watch Regiment and is presently the president of the Upper Canada Branch of the Black Watch Association in Ottawa. He now resides in Ottawa with his wife Erica.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
August 2, 2017
Person Interviewed:
Michael Kelly
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces

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