Letters to the Editor

Hello Bill

I am Mr Michael Prendergast at RAF Benson Ground Equipment Section.
I am Benson's chief History Researcher and came across your site during my exploration.
My Father and Family were in Cyprus in 1960 - 1962 and 1969 - 1972.
My Father was a Chief Technician working on the Vulcans on Bomber Wing Servicing Squadron.
We do have some photos of Cyprus and there must be one or two of Akrotiri. I know we have a slide of the Vulcans on the Pan looking from the main road.

I have one item which may or may not be of interest.
I was walking across the Football pitches coming from Albion Street were I lived when I heard a low flying aircraft behind me.
Turning round I saw a Canberra with what looked like a target drone behind it. With in a couple of seconds I noticed it was not a drone but in fact a Practice Bomb which had come out of the bomb bay. It fell into the Shopping area and from where I was I heard it make a very loud thud.
I raced up by the Boys Club hut to the Shopping area only to find that what ever had fallen and made the sound had been collected very sharpish.

What happened to the crew on landing I never found out.

This would have been around 1970 or 1971.


Mick Prendergast

My name is Tom Feeley, another Ex Rockape & also the chairman of the Leigh RAFA branch Manchester. A friend of mine, another ex Rockape, settled down in Cyprus & once when we were over there on holiday we caught up with him & his wife. He used to live in the area of Paphos near the Tomb of the Kings, near the other RAFA branch there. I have written to them also to see if they can help as well.

He has since moved & although he sent us his address all our efforts both snail mail, email etc have not been answered, the address he sent us was Pegeia, Paphos & I was wondering if any of the members had come across him, his name is Dave Hewitt & his wife is Josie. The last event I heard he was involved with was the hospice that they were trying to build out there under the guise of “buy a brick” sort of thing. If anyone does know of him & speaks to him can they please let6them know that we are still trying to contact them.
Thanks for listening to my request, Yours Aye. Tom Feeley. feeley@easynet.co.uk

Hi Bill, 
We now have a 32 Squadron reunion organised for 2009 at RAF Northolt, weekend 26-27th September. The Squadrons has a web page at www.32sqn.org I can be contacted at rafman925@sky.com 
Stan Carpenter.

Hi Bill,
Maureen and I are now back home in the cold and wet UK. This is just a short note to thank you for your hospitality on our recent visit to Akrotiri. It was certainly the highlight of my holiday, and one that I will never forget. Akrotiri was always my favourite RAF Station, and after the visit I now know why. It may sound corny, but it almost felt as though I was coming home.
 Once again thank you for a really memorable couple of hours. 
Kind regards
Maureen and Dennis

I flew out to Akrotiri on Comet lV XR399 19 DEC 67 to visit my parents for Christmas. My father (sadly deceased 2005 - Parkinson's) was then Sqn Ldr Eric Simpson, SECO at Akrotiri (Senior Eng. Co-ord. Officer) under Air Cdre North-Lewis. Had a wonderful time; the then Station Chaplain Glenn Bowie took us over to Paphos where we 'discovered' remains of ancient glass artefacts etc. Went to Limassol and had our first Mezze? at Niazzi's. My wife and I were enchanted by it all, didn't want to go back home. Then, in 1971 I transferred to Hercules, and over the next 30 years saw another side to Akrotiri, the dreadful BB86 (No air con.) tatty accommodation generally (all transit aircrew blocks 90-92 etc, passable food in the Officer's Mess, but all this paled into insignificance with the first Gulf War and the way the base was transformed to it's former glory of 24hr ops, aircraft of all types from everywhere; morale eventually soared, team spirit was revived and then - and then I discovered the Apollo restaurant in Akrotiri 'village'. Not me personally, I was part of a Hercules crew from Lyneham, and we had all tasted kebabs before, but never this restaurant's Sheftalia or the Tahini with all the salad you could eat. Er, that enough from me, does anyone have a recipe for Sheftalia? I am retired now, but when I see a Herk over my house at night especially, (I live under the app to Lyneham at 5nm/1500ft)and I often think of night-flights to/from Akro; and do you know what? I MISS IT ALL. I also miss the camaraderie of those days, which can never be found outside of the Military. No other institution in the world can take a bunch of individuals, misfits, extroverts, timid mice, bullies, graduates, 'gypsies tramps and thieves' (Cher) and unite them in the workplace as supremely effective team-players, let them do the job, then at cease work let them seek their personal comforts, relax, have a drink or several, go astray - and be at work the next day as a loyal, proud member of Her Majesty's Armed Forces.
God Bless them all, and those of us who have BTDTGTT (Beentheredonethatgottheteeshirt)
Tony Simpson

Thank you Tony, we all feel the same about Big "A"

The 2 Batt Royal Fusilers Gathering was held at Dhekelia Barracks Cyprus not far from Larnaca town Centre.
The photo’s Depict 10 Members of the Sheldon Branch of the Association on a visit to the R.A.F. Base at Akrotiri ,
The Base is approximately 18 Sq miles and consists of an 18 Ward Hospital but only a few are in use at this time one of the Wards is dedicated to mothers and Babies.
We didn’t see any Modern aircraft how ever there where Helicopters and one Plane from the late 1950s The English Lighting, which continued to serve for an other 20 years it was primarily used during the cold war, Intercepting Russian spy planes
The English Electric Lighting also holds the Record for the Fastest vertical climb which the record it holds to this day

The second picture depicts 10 members from the Sheldon Branch after having enjoyed a very nice meal at the Sgts Mess with Bill Cundall, the R.A.F.A.  Public Relations officer .Thanks for a splendid lunch.


Lee Brannigan
Mark Smith
rrf.jpg (119473 bytes) rrf2.jpg (91442 bytes)

Richard & Daphne Harcourt

Email: reunion.103mu@ntlworld.com

Message: A short message to say thank you to Bill Cundall for showing my wife and I around Akrotiri during our holiday in November 2006. So many changes that it was hard to recognise some areas. Our bungalow at Annes Close hasn't changed except for the addition of a garden shed. Bill has now kindly added the 103MU section to the website along with a selection of photos from the 103MU Reunion Group archives. Rather than take up more of the limited space on the Akrotiri site I will look at creating a site from this end to include a greater selection of photos from my own collection and the 103MU Reunion Group archives, along with other exotic postings such as Butterworth, Singapore, Malta, Muharraq, Masirah, Salalah and Gan. This will of course take time but will post a notice when it is up and running.
Not much of 103MU remains on the ground. The HQ building has gone along with QAS. Air Radio is now a new "Anderson shelter" but Ground Radio is still intact though my little BUHF Section building has gone.
One thing that remains is the loading ramp on which the "103 Noddy train" was parked (there is a photo of me "guarding" it during a TACEVAL in 1973 in the gallery).

Our visit to the Akrotiri Museum was most interesting especially reading ones "obituary" on leaving 103MU for return to the UK and published in "Flamingo" after we had left!!!!!!!!!!! 

Many thanks again to RAFA and especially Bill and his wife for looking after us.

Hello sir, I had the honour of being with "Eagle Flight" with the U. S. Army on RAF AkrotIri between 1987 and 1989 and had a wonderful time there. Your people were absolutely great in dealing with us "yanks". Some of the most helpful people I have ever met. One of them, how I wish I could remember their names, invited me an a number of my group to their home and made a super "thanksgiving" dinner for us. We usually ate in your mess and were always treated as if we were a member of their homes. I should have said thank you to all of them many years ago, and did in person, back then. I sure miss being there and the pleasure of visiting with them at that time. God bless all of you. Jerry Miller, U. S. Army, Retired. jerry.everett.miller@us.army.mil

I hope that this gets to the right people, just to say many many thanks to everyone at RAF Akrotiri who assisted my wife and I, plus our two children during the evacuation fom Lebanon on 19/07/06. You were all so kind and thoughtful to us ( and everybody else) during a difficult time. I know that it couldn't have been easy for you also but the way that you organised and handled every thing you should be very proud of yourselves as you left us not wanting for anything. The staff ( and volunteers ) were all fantastic and made the situation a whole lot better for people who were tired and upset. Being a Police officer ( Derbyshire Constabulary) myself I know how important how we portray ourselves to the public and everyone at RAF Akrotiri did it in a perfect manner, which I mentioned to Radio one and Central news team from the U.k whilst being interviewed in the departure lounge at your base. Again I cannot thank you all enough and who ever receives this E-mail would they please pass it on to all concerned.

Yours sincerley

Sean Grainger

smgdive @hotmail.co.uk

21st July, 2006

To all those involved in the evacuation of Beirut 

I was fortunate to have been evacuated from Lebanon on Wednesday, 19 July 2006 in a 30 hour journey to my family in the United Kingdom. The effort by all involved in my safe transfer was truly remarkable. I wish to share my personal experience in order to commend both the individuals and the broader mission. 

The process was highly coordinated and efficient under the direst conditions. The approximately 750 passengers who accompanied me were distressed, anxious and exhausted. We relied upon various authorities and each came through in a highly commendable manner.

The following were instrumental in my safe return:
- the British Embassy personnel and staff in Lebanon 
- the Royal Navy officers and personnel on the HMS Gloucester 
- the army and airforce staff as well as the support and voluntary personnel at Limassol and Akrotiri base in Cyprus

Given the catastrophic and chaotic circumstances in Lebanon, we could have not have wished for a more committed and orderly effort by all those involved. They greeted passengers with nothing but smiles and the most gracious temperaments. They demonstrated an unwavering care for the sick and elderly and aided the anguished mothers by playing with hundreds of babies and small children. In doing so, they built and sustained the morale of all evacuees whilst providing every assistance. 

Once more, my deepest gratitude.

Mr N. Khairallah

Cc: HMS Gloucester, Akrotiri British Military (Cyprus), British Embassy (Beirut)

Many thanks indeed to all those at Akrotiri who helped get my wife and son back home from Lebanon . They had nothing but praise for what you did and the way you did it. A job well done!

Trevor Cook