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Cyprus: Roles and Responsibilities

Heroes Remember

Cyprus: Roles and Responsibilities

Our battalion really was to, remembering that there was a large Turkish enclave, the battalion had a number of missions; one was to escort the Greek convoy through from Nicosia, through the enclave to Kirinia, which was done in conjunction with other forces, the Finnish armoured cars, vehicles and outriders would accompany the, the company that was deployed to escort the people through, they also deployed through some of the villages to stand in place so the Turks wouldn't shoot at or throw rocks at the Greeks. So that was a convoy going up and going down and it was a matter of surveillance and stability in place. At one point in our career, our fellow battalion from Ireland, to the east, there was a political problem and they were withdrawn, for a month and we were assigned a larger area, which made it awkward because our Royal Reserve Company had to be deployed from the base camp, outside Nicosia, called Lizard Flats, because it was hot and full of lizards, so we had no reserve, or very little reserve, except it was the, in the case of reconnaissance platoon it was a long drive just to get there. So in addition to going through and along the tops of the mountains, where you could look across to Turkey, 44 miles away, in some instances and down into the dust ball where the Turks are. You had to make sure you got through and over to a place called Lefka, which is where the Irish battalion was there. So that was an additional work load. There was a number of incidents where the Turk Cypriots decided to pin down half of bravo company that was moving up the hill, firing over their head, we were deployed very quickly to our "RV" points for observation and observe and report. We didn't run into any problem really. As it was the commanding officer went to the Turkish battalion headquarters and sorted it out an no, no uncertain terms with the Turkish commander. And you were always conscious of the fact that it, there was only X number of months before we arrived that the slaughter houses where they were hanging kids on hooks from one side or the other and there's two houses of atrocity just outside of Nicosia. So you always knew that, that had the potential of happening, we also had, remember this was United Nations Force 1965, what they call the Saber Force, which is when there was a dust up in one of the villages, that were getting a little too big for their britches, the Saber Force would appear, this would be the Finnish armoured cars, usually the reserve company deployed in trucks where they could see a whole bunch of soldiers, the 106 recoilless rifles, would be accompanying them, in other words it was establishing a presence, in other words, you really don't want to do that because these folks are gonna make, you're gonna make these guys day, so that was an interesting tour. Interviewer: So it was a show of force to intimidate the.. The "Locals" Interviewer: The locals. Yeah.

Mr. Ethell describes the role of his battalion during the Cyprus deployment.

Donald Stewart Ethell

Donald Stewart Ethell was born in July 1937 and was raised in Victoria, BC. His father was a Veteran of both the First and Second World Wars. His mother was a nurse. He and his sister attended boarding school because of his parents' jobs and he was only home at Christmas and during the summer. His mother passed away when Mr. Ethell was 10 years old.

When he enlisted, Mr. Ethell joined the Queen's Own Rifles in Calgary. After several years of serving as an infantryman he was recommended for the officer training. Mr. Ethell graduated from the program and rose to the rank of Colonel. He went on to command Canadian, and United Nations, forces in various missions all over the world. In the mid 1990s, Col. Ethell retired with over thirty-five years of distinguished service.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Donald Stewart Ethell
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Queen's Own Rifles of Canada

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