32 Sqdn

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Stuart Campbell kindly sent us this account and photos of his time at RAF Akrotiri whilst serving on 32 Sqdn.



March 4th 1957 – Passed Ballard & Board Exams results at R.A.F. Kirkham Airframes got Posting Cyprus 


March 18th 1957 R.A.F. Kirkham Medical for Cyprus 

Q---Are you fit
Send in the next man!

Embarkation Leave

March 19th1957 Embarkation home leave 

April 4th 1957 Return to R.A.F. Kirkham


April 6th 1957 Moved to Transit Camp at R.A.F. Innsworth 

April 12th 1957 Left R.A.F. Innsworth with advance party and travelled by train to Birkenhead and where we went on board the troopship M.V. Devonshire loading officers and families kit .


April 13th 1957 Sailed at 0700hrs

Found out the meaning of expression ‘ sling your hook ‘ as we literally did so as we were below decks and our beds were slung hammocks . They were actually very comfortable once one had mastered the knack of getting in and then getting out , the main problem was when you were in was to stay in the same place regardless of what the ship was doing .

The Officers and their families all had Cabins .

We were confined to the bow of the vessel only those in the advance party had passes to enter the remainder of the ship to move goods from the holds for general usage on board , i.e. for both bars and cookhouses etc and then to redistribute the loads to keep the ships trim .

April 19th 1957 Docked in Algiers

There was some sort of emergency in the town and we were confined to the immediate dock area for exercise only no shore leave .

We were guarded by French Legionnaires all on fast motorised and well armoured jeep like vehicles with a heavy machine gun mounted in the back and the rest of the men on it were simply bristling with sub-machineguns .

They raced up and down the dock never stopping for any length of time so as to make minimal targets .

They looked and were very hard men indeed .

We sailed after refuelling and as we did so there was a massive explosion in the town and we sailed out looking back at a heavy pillar of black smoke billowing out over in the town .

April 22nd 1957 anchored in the Grand Harbour Valletta Malta

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This was a sight to see and a large part of the Mediterranean Fleet was at anchor at the time , it was a breathtaking vista . The ship was surrounded by bum boats selling the usual tat and pornography .

We went ashore in launches for four hours sightseeing and we went to the ‘ gut ‘ as it was called , I can safely say it was quite an eye-opener for me at least .We sailed out in the early evening were then on the last leg of our O.H.M.S. cruise .

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April 25th 1957 Arrived Limassol

We anchored off the bar as there was no Harbour as such there only a breakwater pier for the local fishermen as far as I could see .

The Officers and Families was ferried ashore in launches and their goods were loaded onto lighters then taken ashore , we however had to manhandle out kit and ourselves down landing nets on the side of the ship and into Whale boats where we were so low in the boats as we could barely see over the gunwales , then taken to a small dock , then shepherded onto Lorries .

From there we were driven out through the town which was very small indeed unlike today’s huge city to Akrotiri this however was not without incident as we kept meeting Tanks at almost every bend and corner on the roads .

Also plenty of locals who did not appear to be very friendly and who would saunter out onto the road disrupting our convoy many times , one even defecated in the middle of the road for our benefit .

Arrival on Station R.A.F. Akrotiri

On arrival we were taken to Admin and then to the transit huts and told to report at 10am the following day back at Admin for our internal postings .

April 26th 1957 

Arrived at Admin and was posted to 32 Squadron Canberra’s , then given our arrival on station documents and told to get someone from each section to sign or initial it and when that was done to report to the Squadron Pan to be allocated to one of the two flights when we would then be operational as they put it .

We were also allocated our billets and the group I was with were told we were in Cawood 63 and a motor lorry took us to the billet which was in Married Quarters on Kings Road , very nice indeed with terrific views back over the Akrotiri Bay towards Limassol .

May 1st 1957

We finally completed our arrival quite late as we had been unable to pin down the Padre as he seemed to have multiple duties on the Station . The result of this delay had us on a fizzer but not officially charged thank goodness .

Our Pan was just east of the main gate down a windy dirt road in the middle of scrubland to the gates into our compound which was some thirty feet above the pan & runway north end towards Limassol .

We shared this pan with 13 Squadron ( Photographic ) also Canberra’s .

Our Squadron had a compliment so I was informed of 10 Aircraft but the Squadron were awaiting replacements a change to new Canberra’s , I forget what Mark they were to be I think MK 2 , however they never arrived before I was posted back to U.K. on 13th November 1957 .

The Squadron was at that time down to seven serviceable Kites with three in the A.S.F. hangers for Major Overhauls .

For the first seven days we serviced the remaining Kites on a rota basis so that all ground crews were gainfully employed as the Chief Tec said and watched an marvelled at the last remaining contingent of the French Air Force who remained after Suez , Mirage 1’s I believe .

These guys were rude , crude and unshaven , they lived in tents alongside the opposite side of the runway from us , but how they could fly .

Their favourite trick was when they returned like birds to their nests the would buzz the runway at zero feet before doing a starburst almost straight up on the end of the runway , shades of the Red Arrows .

Another trick was the Hospital chimney on the hill at the end of our Cawood on Kings Road , they used it as a marker and buzzed it and we were sure they would one day hit it . They didn’t actually hit it but the heavy vibrations as the Aircraft flew ever closer eventually caused it to collapse , we were never sure what the chimney did , but thought it was perhaps for an incinerator for surgical waste at the Hospital .

On the day they left they did a flypast again at zero feet and then the last kite presumably the flight leader came in off the sea and at the end of the runway he flipped and proceeded with his canopy almost touching the tarmac the full length of the runway and then completed a double roll with wings flapping and powered off into the wide blue yonder .

Mad as hatters as I said but boy could they fly .

Akrotiri was at that time very much in the process of being built , their were half built buildings scattered about in a seemingly unplanned landscape , there was not a lot of tarmac on roads which were very dusty with heavy building vehicles and trucks continually moving about as well as the normal station movements .

It had some shops as I remember but don’t ask me their names . there was one on our way back from the canteen that sold the juiciest of oranges which were like half size footballs and had an inner pith about half an inch thick and it was equally edible as were the glorious innards . it sold most everything we needed to survive on out with the NAAFI .

This shop also sold electrical goods and records , I bought a record player there it was Perpetum Abner and had a beautiful rich sound to it , I also ordered some records which were on sale before the U.K. shops could get them .


The NAAFI was I imagine one of the original buildings and was quite frankly not fit for purpose mainly as regards space and ability to serve the volume of custom that was building up as the Station numbers were growing rapidly and this included an RAF regiment contingent . There was great friction between both fractions which kept the MP’s more than busy most evenings .

One of the newer buildings was to be the new NAAFI and I’m afraid the powers that be thought it would be a good idea to separate the fractions and so the old NAAFI was to be the province exclusively of the regiment and the new was to for the remainder who were by far the largest contingent .

This arrangement was one that even we ignorant AC plonks could see would lead to even further friction and that duly happened when the changeover took place , as firstly the Regiment arrived en-mass and were refused access the new NAAFI was duly trashed and our group who were there managed to escape unscathed before the worst took place .

The revolt was quelled and the new NAAFI was restored and the status quo was imposed and for a few nights it worked , but there was a sudden fire in the old NAAFI and there we were back to one NAAFI and it was duly shared by all personnel albeit with continued mistrust from all attending . 

I myself never again set foot in the building as did most of those who shared our billet , certainly until I had been repatriated .

The Regiment

Further to events regarding the NAAFI the Regiment were put on additional duties with their Ack Ack Batteries on the Cliffs at the Southern end of the Base . During my time there they had been practising and had never actually hit any of the targets . these duties were after normal working hours as set out by the M.O. of 7am to 1pm each day and that did not go down well at all . As our Squadron had what was described as spare capacity due to lack of flying time for our Pilots due to the lack of serviceable kites . So it was with some trepidation our pilots drew straws for duty towing the targets out over the cliffs . we used to smile as the designated flight crew came out of the of the office white as sheets at the thought of what was about to occur . the Regiment Gunners were not noted for their accuracy and often the old aircraft were well peppered around the tail when they landed . We used to watch from the cliffs above where we did our swimming and we squirmed as we saw the bursts very close to the aircraft . This went on for some four weeks till they actually hit a target and then it was back to normal and we all relaxed .

July 8th 1957

Very sad day on the Squadron one of our Aircraft Canberra WK114 was lost as it crashed into the sea off Akrotiri with the loss of all four lives on board .

Flight Lieutenant W. C. Ford Officer Commanding No. 2 Flight
Flying Officer R. L. Parsons
Flying Officer H. I. Whittle
LAC D. S. Thickbroom

It took some time before all the bodies were recovered 

On October 5th 1957 I was part of the Funeral Party and the burial took place in Wain’s Keep Military Cemetery in Nicosia for Flight Lieutenant Ford . I was on the Honour Guard by the grave .

We travelled to Nicosia by two Garry Motors along with our dress uniforms . We travelled by means of back windy mountain roads through bandit country .

Thirty men with rifles but no ammunition at all , two unarmed drivers and two guards one in each lorry with a Sten Gun and Thirty Rounds only . It was a hairy ride I can tell you .

That was us down to six operational kites on the Squadron.

August 6th 1957

We lost another kite as it was preparing to start engines on the pan , I was in charge of pre-flight that day , the port engine started ok and was running smoothly when I signalled to start the starboard engine , it seemed to start ok and I was about to signal chocks away when the cowling exploded and I hit the deck very hard . when I got up and the fire crew were rushing to extinguish the resultant fire I noted the top of the aircrafts canopy was sheered off at head height .

I remembered the crew as they had boarded the aircraft were of mixed heights and I knew that the pilot to be was one we called lofty and I again looked at the canopy and thought he’s dead for certain . then I saw all three leaving the kite and one had his helmet off and was showing it to the others and laughing at the sight . It was the case that Lofty was assigned to fly it but he had swopped with one we then named Shorty who was a good 6” shorter was flying it and so it all turned out well .

However I do believe both were taken up before the Squadron commander and reprimanded for countermanding orders without written permission from him , but it all worked out in the end . 

We were now down to five operational kites and ten service crews so we tended to have time on our hands .

Later I can’t remember just when but we had a jinxed kite as we called it , it had a dodgy oleo-leg which for no good reason kept loosing hydraulic pressure .

We would drain all the fluid and check all the parts and seals , then we would pump it up and let it sit overnight and it seemed fine but the moment it was on the move it would slowly settle till the kite was like a lame duck .

We repeated the operation and then to add to the fun six of us were sent out on the wing to jump up and down gently of course so as not to damage the skin and it again sat overnight and was found to be down .

We were railed at as incompetent idiots and ordered to do it once again which we did as it was needed to keep the Squadron fully operational and flying . This time it stayed up and the following day it was still up and we fitted the wing tanks and they were filled with fuel with the fire crews standing by as usual during refuelling , only this time all the fire crews were in attendance .

Four hours later it was still up but we as a ground crew refused to sign off the kite on the Aircraft Servicing Form 700/E . We got hell but we were adamant and so Chief Technician signed it and we were warned of dire consequences for ourselves .

The kite was by this time out on the runway and started its takeoff run and more half way down the runway it went and the wingtip dropped and the wing tank was scraping along the tarmac sending up a spray of sparks . It had to take off as it was to far down the runway to abort . It got off alright went out to sea and jettisoned both tanks and returned to land and just made it to the end of the runway and stopped as it couldn’t manoeuvre as the wing was on the ground , we had to tow it into the pan and then it too was sent to A.S.F. 

That was down to four kites and that was the Squadron virtually grounded with one lost totally and five in for major overhauls all at the same time .

For a few days we had an Avro Vulcan ‘ V ‘ Bomber on the pan and the security was upgraded tremendously and we were not allowed to go near it and we were further reminded that we had signed the Official Secrets Act and must not discuss it or even the Spitfire or Hurricane with anyone on or off station .

As far as I know I’m still bound by that same act as nobody rescinded it for me when I left the R.A.F. 

One day we arrived for work and found the main gate to the Pan locked and were hanging about just waiting . There were two very keen airmen who decided to climb the fence and get to work as it was well past starting time , we remonstrated with them but to no avail and over they went .

It didn’t take long before we heard the sounds of shouting and the barking of dogs , then there breasting the brow of the pan were two very frightened airmen making for the wire and quickly followed by four large Rottweiler’s gaining with every stride .

One of the men started to ascend the wire and made it to the top but the other to our complete amazement took a running leap at the fence and cleared it in one go doing what was later to become known as the Fosbery Flop , this fence was at least 7’6” or more high we cheered loudly and he became one of us again .

It then appeared that the duty sergeant had overslept and that the MP’s had no orders to open up the gates for us .

Visits to Limassol

I was only there twice , too much hassle to be in groups of three or more and being armed as well , the best bars were off limits for us of the lower ranks and I remember being removed from one after we had accidentally entered after complaints from gold braid .

We were reduced to the seedier haunts and there we were marked by the locals and we had to pay through the nose if we bought any drinks even the local beer which I have to admit I love and have partaken of it on most of the seventeen holidays I have had in southern Cyprus since that time .

Most of the problems took place when the lads tried some of the so called drinks the girl were having bought for them as they turned out to be just cold tea .

On one occasion I was there the lad threw the cold tea in the girls face well that was I knew going to be a major battle and as most of the Cypriots were armed with knifes my lot and I quickly retired to the toilets where we locked the door and smashed out the window frame as well as the window was really quite small and got out in time to see the MP’s rush the front entrance with batons flying .

There were many other fights and fortunately they were only just fights quite vicious at times and no major incidents ensued that I knew off .

There was a sort of bus service from the main gate into town run by MT section as a series of jeeps were stationed at the gate and you got a lift from there . These jeeps maintained at least for the twice I used them , a circular service into a square in the town and back till well after mid-night .

Guard Duties

Compound and Pan Guard were the normal standard twelve man double shift type . two on the gate , two patrolling the Pan as far as the edge of the runway and two in guard posts on the outer perimeter . Standard issue of one clip with five rounds picked up and signed for at the armoury and had to be returned there after duty and signed back in .

The gate duty was the easiest as there were regular visits by MPs throughout the night in jeeps , the Pan guards was quite easy as well as we were moving about on a regular basis , the duty I always seemed to get was perimeter guard post and that believe you me was totally boring as we were well out from the main compound and it was pitch black . The two men were about 100yds apart and close to the inner perimeter wire , beyond that there was an Army perimeter wire which was also guarded but we never saw them at any time , beyond that we were advised that we had a third defensive ring of Turkish Police .

Most of the time we paced approximately half way between our sentry box in either direction and then back , we sometimes heard our compatriot but we never spoke or in the middle of the night saw each other . The remainder of the time was spent fitting the clip and ejecting the five bullets and reloading and repeating the action . sometimes in ejecting the round it would get lost in the sand and we would be scrabbling about in the sand to recover it as to return minus a round was a chargeable offence 

The other fun thing was our orders as to when we could defend ourselves , we were issued with a small eight or was it ten page red instruction manual of when we could fire and what to aim for . The first thing was we could not see the supposed terrorist so how could we aim for a specific part of his or her body . Then we had to challenge the terrorist by shouting out our challenge in English , Greek and Turkish three times before loading and removing the safety . So it was Halt , Stomata , Dur three times then try to identify where the bugger was . We all knew that if that situation ever occurred if we carried out these instructions to the letter we were dead meat ourselves . So we tended to had one up the spout and the safety on for our first and I may say our only challenge before firing .

One of our guys was very unfortunate in that he issued the challenge got no response and fired blindly towards the wire . there was a short silence and then a screaming Greek appeared shouting and bawling . The sergeant of the guard was called and some light was shown on the situation and it was found that my compatriot had shot a Donkey which had somehow been able to evade the outer sentries of Turks and Army and found a way through the cut perimeter wire and now lay dead with a neat hole between its eyes . needless to say the Greek got compensation for his loss , our sentry got charged with discharging his weapon with out due cause and that he did deliberately shoot and killed a Donkey as no random shot could account for the perfectly placed shot between its eyes .

What amazed me was I was never questioned as to what had happened and the conditions prevailing at the time of the shot which I may say were a total blackout . I never saw the guy again as he was quickly posted off the island .

There was also a daily problem at least in the beginning as the locals used to be able to move their herds of Goats and Donkeys through the security perimeters onto the Runway during night hours and we had the job to disperse these animals off station before any flights could take off or land in the mornings . 

AOC’s Parade

I did all the rehearsals for this parade but never took part as I was posted on guard duty some way up the roadway to our Pan at the junction with the track to 13 Squadron Pan . The Squadron Commander had me in and issued me with my instructions that under no circumstances was I to allow any vehicular traffic past and onto the Runway under some obscure emergency rule as this was a very high profile parade with many high ranking officers in attendance . He kept emphasising the no persons what so ever shall be allowed to pass .

About two hours later and I knew the parade had commenced a Staff Car with wing Pennants flying came charging down the road , I stepped out and signalled it down . there was a lot of waving of braided arms behind the windscreen inviting me to get out of the way but I stood firm although shaking slightly .

The door opened and out came a flight lieutenant looking shining like a new pin he strode up to me and demanded I salute him , I advised him that I was on guard duty and that I could not do so because of my station at that moment . He totally lost his rag and threatened everything including I would be hung drawn and quartered if my memory serves me correctly .

Did I realise this was a staff car and it had pennants flying , I concurred but said my orders were very specific , no one was to be allowed through . he went back to the car and carried on a rather heated conversation with the occupant and then came forward again slightly deflated but still very angry .

I went forward as requested but did not move directly to the car door . I saw the uniform of an Air Commodore and he sort of smiled at me and offered me his 1250 which I took and examined and checked his face with that on the pass and then stood back and shouted Sir but again did not salute .

Air Commodore said ‘ who am I airman ‘ the aide was now smiling wickedly and I replied naming him exactly as it was on the 1250 then the aide then said acidly ‘ the Air Marshals security code airman ‘ and I did so immediately .

The Air Commodore then said ‘ please instruct the driver how we can get to the parade airman ‘ I smiled as I gave the driver the directions and he looked on me with awe . I then helped him to reverse and they were on their way . I just stood there shaking after what I had done and finished the duty .

The following day I was summoned to the Squadron leaders office expecting to be cashiered at the least . He dutifully straight faced as he looked at me and then he said ‘ yesterday went well airman and I have to congratulate you on your actions of yesterday and am pleased to advise you of no action can or will be taken following that incident . Dismiss ‘ .

Cawood Guard Duty

Cawood Guard around the married quarters for the safety of the married wives and children . We carried out these as we were living within that particular community in our own billet at No 63 Kings road . This was an easy duty as we got our cups of tea from the lads and knocked off at 2am as the MPs were always around and said they did not need our help .

Guard Duty whilst locals carried out repairs on Station

Repairs to runway lighting and runway drainage ducts both of which were the direct result of EOKA penetration of the Perimeter . This amounted to two armed guards along with six Cypriot workmen to effect the necessary repairs and replacements . These workmen were very pleased with the damage that had been inflicted on the base and were extremely cocky about it all , laughing and joking and making snide remarks like ‘ Grivas for ever ‘ and such like . Although our orders were the same as when we were on normal guard duty , I myself made a special point to let the workers that I had one up the spout and was prepared to take action if it became necessary . I have to say it had the desired effect and the repairs were carried out quite quickly and properly



I was involved in all the training and rehearsals for the three main Parades in which our Squadron took part including our new colours and consecration . However I was on sick leave when it took place but I heard it all on the station radio .

but never yet attended any one of the other two either that we had in my time on Station , I was on guard for one of them and I was sick or on sick leave on Station when the others actually took place. 

Recreation Swimming

We did a lot of swimming off the cliffs behind out Caywood billet as during my time on the base the M.O. had deemed it unhealthy for us to work beyond One O’clock in the day , a very pleasing arrangement I have to admit as it meant that we went for lunch then and then had to walk out to our billet and then it was on with the trunks , out over the back fence , over some scrubland , check to see that the red flag was not flying above the range the on down the cliff paths to our favourite pools and diving positions .

We had on our way back from lunch stopped at the shops on the way and bought drinks and some of the delicious oranges for sale there ( you could eat the piths as it was so juicy as well ) . the idea was to drop the bottles of juice into one of the pools and leave it there to cool then when you were thirsty we would dive in and swim down the twenty feet or so and retrieve the bottles .

Some of the lads were slightly naďve and had purchased clear bottles of lemonade etc and had extreme difficulty on finding their cache , it took sometimes two or three dives before they found them .

It was also dangerous as the water was so clear that you forgot just where you were and when you looked up you could be quite some distance away from the land and with the swell the island was sometimes lost from sight which could lead to a sort of panic .

The only other danger was one day we were on leave and had gone swimming rather earlier than usual and we had done the usual checks before descending the cliffs ,

We were then swimming about and having a great time when I noticed some splashes around me , then another one of the lads piped up ‘ what’s going on ‘ . Well it didn’t take long to realise what was happening . I shouted out ‘ their using the range boys lets get to …. Out of here lads ‘ 

They were spent bullets from the range , but even so they could do one a lot of damage especially out in the water . When we got to the cliff top we were confronted by an irate sergeant and corporal who said we had broken through the perimeter and that we had ignored the red flag and that we were on a charge every one of us .

There were fifteen of us and we all said the same thing and that if they proceeded we would have to tell our Squadron commander exactly what had occurred and so they slunk off and left us and we , well we did nothing more and forgot about it . 

My Health and the Hospital

It is unfortunate that for some reason my health suffered greatly at that time . I have no clear inkling as to the how and the why , well nearly none but I shall explain that with the following resume of what occurred as I had been at my fittest after square-bashing 

The first thing was that by the 16th of May there was an Epidemic of Scarlet fever going around and more than 400 had it . By the 19th this had grown to some 600 down and I was seconded to work as an orderly in a group of Cawood’s which had been taken over as isolation wards . 

This was quickly followed by a Major Dysentery Outbreak which laid low several hundred more .

By the 25th May I was feeling awful and nearly fainted in the mess . I went sick and was taken into Hospital for the first time suffering from acute Tonsillitis . 

By the 27th May I received a double whammy as I was diagnosed as have Scarlet fever as well .

1st June moved to rehab convalescent Cawood 74a alongside the Hospital .

2nd June I was quickly removed form 74a and told I should have been in 74b as 74a was for those with Dysentery . I was Cleared from Hospital and given four days sick leave so was then going to miss our Consecration and Presentation of new Colours .

6th June went sick again and I was found to have severe sweat rash to my right arm for which I was given another six days sick leave and to report three times a day for treatment . I was not at all well over the next few days and went sick again and was given pills and duty 

But on 14th June went sick again and was put in the Isolation Wards where Dysentery had been rife following the Scarlet fever outbreak . I was asked to give stools for examination but I told them I had not been to the toilet for well over a week and then on the 15th June I collapsed in the toilets and was rushed to Hospital in what was described to me as being in a bad way .

I don’t much remember what happened over the next week or so as I was so delirious from fever . The R.A.F. did remember as I had my pay deducted for breakages which seemed to have happened in my delirium .

22nd June I was x-rayed from head to foot which took about three hours in the motorised x-ray unit that was used at that time as the Hospital had no permanent department to do so . Some on the medical staff said within my hearing ‘ out by Christmas ‘ and they were so nearly right as by Christmas I was certainly back in the U.K.

I was by this time in a side ward on my own and I was still feeling terrible but some how it didn’t seem to matter to me what happened . 

On 23rd June I had my most traumatic run in with death . I still find it hard to reconcile but my mind is very clear about what happened next and much as people say it was in your delirium it is as clear today as it was then .

I was lying in the bed and I was drenched in sweat and I mean drenched in it , it was literally pouring out of me and I felt euphoric and was very happy , there was no pain or discomfort and I was looking down a sort of tunnel which was totally black and I could see a pinpoint of light at the other end which was moving slowly towards me . it was bright and it was incandescent , oh it was so slow in coming and I was wishing it on when the door of my room opened and in came a nurse and I heard her scream as the light continued getting ever bigger and more welcoming to me .

Suddenly I was being fussed over by hands and I heard the gasp of ‘ 110’ oh god its not possible , get ice lots of ice quickly ‘ I wanted to stop them as the light now almost filled the tunnel and I was now it seemed moving towards it . Then I felt as though hot water was being poured over me and then the light started to retreat and I started to struggle as I wanted to follow it . Then slowly but surely the tunnel grew dark and then faded away and I was back with all these nurses and doctors standing over me nodding and gesturing about me I supposed and I was not pleased at all .

I was immediately moved into the general ward , I was told this was so I could be supervised constantly by all the staff . I was wrapped in hair blankets till only my head was exposed and I sweated and sweated . I had an orderly posted by my bedside whose duty was to keep me awake at all times and I spent most of each night waking him up so that he would not be on a fizzer .

On the 25th June I was checked over by an Air Commodore Medic who had been flown in from U.K. especially to examine me . He seemingly at the end of his visit did not know what was wrong with me , but I do know that the Squadron and many others cursed the day I had arrived on station as for the next ten days they were required to give stools for testing and analysis .

I started to improve thereafter and I was able to get my record player and records into the ward I became the wards and other who could hear it , their D.J. and made many people very happy with my music .

During all this time I had not passed anything at all and so I was given what was laughingly called the ‘ Akrotiri Cocktail ‘ which consisted of Liquid Paraffin , Cascara and Glucose four times a day till one day when we were sitting to attention waiting for Matrons rounds I just had to go . The screens were erected and I was sat on the pot and we all waited and to my chagrin I started and at that very moment rounds began . The screen was pulled aside and the matron stood there looking at me and then she eased me up off the pot and smiled ‘ Well done airman well done ‘ then left me sitting there . 

6th July I was told I had , had Para-Typhoid a notefiable disease and that I had to be recorded in the U.K. I spent two days working in the kitchen before someone in the nursing staff realised that I was a hazard and was ordered to stop doing anything . I was also told I had to drink no less than six pints of fluid a day and that could be water , soft drinks or beer . I chose beer and I think that is where I got my taste for Keo beer .

On 16th July I was discharged from Hospital with a temperature of 105’ and weighing just six stone and that was me well on the way to recovery along with a leave pass to a Re-Hab Camp at Famagusta .

One final word for the hospital and staff that is to thank them for all they did for me over that time and to thank the designers of the nurses uniforms at that time as they were the best medicine for the lads , these thin see through dresses and the bright sunshine through the windows of the wards was one of the best tonics the lads needed.

Re-hab after Hospital , Famagusta , Golden Sands Re-hab Camp

20th July to 27th July 1957 . 

I had received a fourteen day pass to recuperate form my ordeal and it was to be at Golden Sands Rehabilitation Camp outside Famagusta . However it turned out that I was only to be allowed seven days there and no explanation was given as to why it was cut to that . On the day I was to travel the transport went early and I missed it so I had to cadge a lift on the back of a lorry to Dhekalia Base and then another on to Famagusta and the Camp .

The camp was about a mile outside the town back up from the beach areas and In some scrubland . It was a tented village to be precise and there is a photo in the list sent to you .

We slept in these with the flaps wide open and We were awakened at 0730hrs every morning on the dot with a nice cup of tea in bed and not much else . I palled up with a guy from Dhekalia , I for the life of me cannot remember much about him or even his name but we got on well together so we hired bikes as these were available at the main entrance to the Camp .

We mostly went into Famagusta old town as it was more interesting than the outer spread of the town , we drank coffee ( Turkish ) as this part of Famagusta was mostly Turkish . They were polite and I would say tolerant of us and we watched them play chess and a few other games we could not understand and they smiled at us , smoked their pipes and drank the thick black coffee .

We visited some of the temples in the town and found one dedicated to snakes we supposed as one of the priests at least we though he was covered in snakes as he sat in some sort of medication trance it was weird and we left quickly .

One day we left a bar and cycled back to the camp when I found out I had left my camera on the table we had been sitting at . I hurried back and lo and behold there was my camera sitting just as I had left it and the men looked at me knowingly , smiled and nodded then continued with their game .

One night we went to a Cabaret Club called the Ambassador which we later were advised was off limits for Military Personnel of any rank . The show was somewhat racy I have to say and it’s the first and last time I saw copulation on the high wire over the packed tables and we sneaked out without being seen I think .

We went to the beach and it was a sight to behold as it was a beautiful half mooned stretch of sand that seemed to go on for ever and it was packed with sunburnt bodies in the water and sitting on the beach . behind the beach were some what my well have been the first high-rise style buildings in Cyprus .

The other thing about the place was the continued insistence by taxi drivers to drum up business for the local ladies of the night with the call of ‘ Jig a Jig Johnny ‘ . My friend did partake of that dubious pleasure but as he said it all came to soon for his liking and cost the extortionate sum of 5/- .

When I returned I was again medically examined and I was sent back to the Squadron to carry out light duties on 31st July and assigned to the tool store where I remained apart from working on movements in and out of the pan in our depleted Squadron . 

Other incidents and duties we carried out .

Cawood Orderly

Every Tuesday one of us detailed to carry out laundry duty at our billet . This called for that person to stay behind when all the others had gone for breakfast to gather all the blankets and sheets and set them in piles for each bed and clean out the billet with a brush and shovel , put out the waste bin for collection . Then when the laundry lorry came to load on ours and pick up the clean stuff and lay it out on each bed . We then had to sign for the pick up and for the delivery in triplicate . 

As our billet was the last in this particular run I would get a lift to the laundry and then I went and got a late breakfast and had to walk the mile or so from there to our pan to start work . After my illness I found that I was being designated for this duty more than once every six weeks as would be normal , but it was a cushy number so I didn’t mind at all . 

Problems with Flight Lieutenant Wallace No 1 Flight Leader

Flight Lieutenant Wallace lived opposite our Cawood and had always maintained that we were a blight on Married Family Quarters and had kept up a continual list of our so called misdemeanours as they were in his words unacceptable to his and all the other families in the area and that we should be immediately moved to proper barracks .

I don’t think we had done anything except had a few late nights as did he himself which kept us out of our beds till late in the morning .

He was not a popular officer in the Squadron and he certainly did not enjoy us laughing at him on one particular occasion . There had been a tremendous storm and the rain was of monsoon standards which very nearly washed out our Cawood but fortunately we managed to build a sort of storm drain which diverted the water onto the road and into the storm drain which ran along his Cawood’s front garden . He had a car as most officers had for their use and for getting their children to school on the base . he was home and the car was on his driveway and he had a sort of wooden bridge over the storm drain . the water was so heavy that it eventually wore down the sides of the drain and soon his bridge was washed away and his car was stranded on the wrong side of it . when the storm had passed we all went our to see what damage had been caused . He saw that we had done to protect our billet and immediately claimed that we had done it deliberately and tried to press charges against us and I’m afraid we just laughed at him as he ranted and roared at us . I have to state that this was another of the complaints against us that did not stand up and he was once again humiliated .

The Big Small Game Hunt

We were infested with mice which at first did not bother us as it seemed to be general in all the billets . But we decided to do something about it as pest control on Station was not available and we were told it was our problem so deal with it .

Our answer was to have regular big small game hunts , we had beaters and hunters , the idea was that we used two rooms for sleeping quarters and it was the main what was used as a living room in other billets and four of us slept there and that was where the mice seemed to congregate . So first we identified where they entered the billet and to our surprise they had two entry points one of which was in fact a convenient exit point if the other was closed . We arranged our beds to allow the entry point we had identified open and had sealed the exit securely . Then we set out the bait and waited on our beds till we heard them scuffling about the bait then the beaters quickly closed of that entry point as well and moved them towards their usual exit where the hunters were all armed with one large boot would clobber them as they darted for the exit . We must have killed hundreds that way and it provided us with some excitement . Others paid good money for special bait which was poisoned and then they found the decomposing corpses all over the place . All in all I think ours was by far the best method and humane method of dealing with the problem .

Other Problems

When we first arrived we all had the usual pinups of scantly clad women and or the girl friends etc , I don’t remember seeing any of mummy or daddy amongst ours anyway . we were them plagued with bed bugs and we were covered in bite which were very aggravating . It was one of our visitors who was playing cards with us who noted our continual itching and scratching who went over to the walls above our beds and balled his fist and ran it down the pinups which immediately turned red and the blood flowed quite copiously down the walls and when we removed what was left of our pinups and found hundreds of bed bugs duly squashed to pulp in our blood . That was the last time we put up anything in our around our beds .

Another was the unmentionable between our legs of which all of us suffered in one way or another and the cure was according to the M.O. was the liberal use of Jensen’s Violet in that area . Now this was alright when one was wearing Blues but with Kaki it was fatal as every body knew what it was you had as the uniform was almost totally stained that colour . It took a lot of hard scrubbing to remove it and it never was ever quite clean thereafter .

Other Leisure Time Activities

The Astra cinema was a big attraction and we went there quite often and it was seldom not full to bursting point , some evenings we would go there and then move onto the P.U.M.B. club for more movies . We even had a World Premičre in the Middle East of that wonderful film ‘ The Amazing Shrinking Man ‘ without the red carpets or star guest appearances 

Apart from our Swimming we had Football Squadron against Squadron , Flight against Flight , A Home Country’s England , Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland in a Home Countries Tournament . There were many lads who were signed up with well known Clubs mostly English Clubs it has to be said but the rest of us were not overawed by their presence on or off the pitch .

Our Cawood played cards a lot after our days work and leisure , our game was six handed Bezique which would some times depending on our duties could and did stretch well into the night and even at one time we played for three full days and two nights with breaks for meals etc and some catnapping in between .

For all its ups and down and my prolonged series of illnesses was a great time and the Squadron was super to be in and I certainly did miss the wonderful camaraderie we managed to generate amongst us over my service with 32 Squadron.

Return to UK via Nicosia

13th November 1959

Up at 0500hrs finally cleared and left Camp at 0600hrs . Arrived 0900hrs R.A.F. Nicosia .

The had no notice of my arrival on base , I was taken to a tented area just off the runway and there I met two or three hundred others awaiting repatriation to U.K. Some of them had been there for two or more weeks awaiting flights . I was told it could take even longer for me to clear as they did not know of my arrival . Went for lunch and during this I was sought out and told I was going on a Dakota and to get my kit immediately . I can tell you I was not a popular fellow amongst all those others but I was soon on my way at 1400hrs . First stop R.A.F. Luqa Malta 1900hrs , then left at 2030hrs on to Southend arrival at 0200hrs GMT taken by Lorry to R.A.F. Hendon 0300hrs . received a pass and a voucher for a Bus to Paddington Station and caught the 1100hrs train R.A.F. Gloucester I was shunted around as they did not know what to do about me . Eventually I was given another pass and railway warrant to Glasgow and told I would be hearing from them in due course and to hold myself ready for duty . Left Gloucester at 0545hrs , Birmingham arrive 0700hrs and Change . Left Birmingham 1110hrs . Arrived Glasgow 1900hrs and home 2000hrs on 14th November 1959

It was a hectic journey home , I was later posted to R.A.F. Leuchars in Fife Scotland and to 151 Squadron flying Gloucester Javelins .to see out the rest of my service before discharge after some 18 months in the R.A.F.

Contact me kitstu@sky.com