1st Battalion

The Argyll and Sutherland



Cyprus 1959


All photographs are the property of RHQ Argylls and may not be reproduced or copied without permission from RHQ Argylls.



Jan. 1—Hogmanay celebrations.

Jan. 5—Visit by the Brigade Commander, Brigadier Baker-Baker, D.S.O. (R.H.R.).

Jan. 7—Visit by the Rt. Hon. Christopher Soames and General Sir Hugh Stockwell. The Battalion provided a Guard of Honour in No. 1 Dress.

Jan. 12—Pte. Hickenson was accidentally shot dead on patrol.

Jan. 15—Pte. Hickenson's funeral.

Jan. 16—A small operation was mounted by A and Sp. Companies in the area of Pyrga and Lymbia. Nothing was found.

Jan. 17—Battalion cross-country won by A Coy.

Jan. 19—Start of Subaltern's Cadre.

Jan. 21—Assault course competition was won by Sp. Coy.

Jan. 22—H.Q. Coy. won the .22 rifle competition.

Jan. 25—D and C Companies spent the night trying to find a Sterling stolen from a gunner. A cordon was placed round Kiti village, but nothing was found.

Click pictures to enlarge

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Feb. 1—1st A. & S.H. took over the whole of Larnaca district, less the town, B Coy., therefore, moved to Kophinou and took over three police stations.

Feb. 8—The Battalion beat a Turkish team 7-4.

Feb. 10—Raising of the Regiment celebrations.

Feb. 14—After report from B Coy. observation posts a village was searched by the police. Nothing was found.

Feb. 17—Arrival of the Colonel of the Regiment on a visit.

Feb. 18 — General Graham visited B Coy at Kophinou.

Feb. 19—A parade of 100 Men with both Bands, " Cruachan" and the Colour Party was held for General Graham.

Feb. 21—General Graham lunched with A Coy. in the field.

Feb. 24—General Graham flew home.

Feb. 25—General Darling addressed the Battalion and thanked them for their hard work during the emergency.

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March 3—Pentathlon training started.

March 5 — The Battalion won the Area football championship, defeating 40 Coy., R.A.S.C., 6-0.

March 14 — Miss Susan Stephen, the actress, was filmed for television with both Bands.

March 18—The Quartermaster-General visited the Barracks.

March 24—A Battalion T.E.W.T. on Nuclear Defence was visited by General Darling.

March 28—The Battalion defeated G.H.Q. Group, Episkopi, 5-3, thus retaining the island football championships.

March 31—C Coy. left for a week's training camp at Kyrenia.

April 4—The Battalion defeated R.A.F, Akroturi, 2-0 in the Champion Army v. Champion R.A.F. Unit final and thus won all the football cups for the second year running.

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April 6—The Operations Room moved from Larnaca to Alexander Barracks.

April 8 — The Sergeants' Mess held a dinner to which a number of Officers were invited.

April 10—The Corporals held a dance in the Dining Hall. A TEWT for subalterns was held in the area west of Larnaca.

April 11 — Captain Palmer and Lieut. Wilson took part in the Dhekelia race meeting.   Lieut. Wilson came third in one race.

April 12—The Pipe Band left for a two-day tour in Turkey where they played at Izmir and Ankara.

April 15—D Coy. started a march around Cyprus which took them approximately a fortnight.

April 20—Colonel M. A. Bell, the Highland Brigade Colonel, came to spend three days with the. Battalion.

April 21—A Guest Night was held in the Officers' Mess.

April 23—The Minister of Defence visited the new base area, accompanied by Lt.-General Sir Roger Bowen, C.-in-C., M.E.L.F., General Sir Cecil Sugden, Q.M.G., Air-Marshal  MacDonald, C.-in-C., M.E.A.F., Major-General K. T. Darling, G.O.C., Cyprus, and Major-General Lloyd, R.E. C. of S., M.E.L.F.

April 25 — Friendly Pentathlon with the Black Watch.

April 26—Visit by H.M.S. Saints.

April 27—D Coy. returned from march round island after doing 200 miles.

April 28—A Coy. won the Highland Games.

April 29—Pipes and Drums beat Retreat in moat at Nicosia.

April 30—Eliminating events for Dhekelia Garrison sports.

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May 1—D Coy. held dance in Dining Hall. Great success.

May 3—Major Graham and Major Slim started a cadre in Troodos for self-reliance and map reading.

May 4—Major Cookson left for a course, followed by a tour as Ground Liaison Officer. Night Guard withdrawn from Power House, Dhekelia.

May 5—Battalion held exercise on Goshi Range.

May 7—C Coy. out for 48-hour training camp near Boghaz.

May 8 — Battalion second in Island Pentathlon. Captain Palmer third individual.

May 9—Battalion won Garrison and Eastern Area Inter-Unit athletic meeting.

May 12 — Officers held a discussion on the re-organisation of an Infantry Battalion for nuclear war.

May 16—Battalion third in Cyprus Major Units Championships in Nicosia to 1 Devons and 1 Black Watch (2 points ahead). These two teams were first and second in the Army championships last summer.

May 18 — The Commanding Officer and Coy. Commanders visited cadre in Troodos.

May 19—General Darling visited cadre and heard briefing for final exercise.

May 20—The Pipe Band and Military Band played in the moat at Nicosia for a football match between the Turkish Army team and the Turks of Cyprus.

May 22—Battalion returned from a 24-hour exercise. 25 Officers of the Turkish Army visited Alexander Barracks. A draft of two Sergeants and 33 other ranks arrived from the Depot.

May 24—Subalterns went to cadre in Troodos.

May 27—Major Kelway Bamber arrived from U.K. and took over H.Q. Coy. The Military Bands of 1 A. & S.H. and 1 R.U.R. gave a concert in the playing fields.

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May 28 — Brigadier Sparrow, C.R.E., M.E.L.F., visited the barracks to devise means of saving water. The Commanding Officer inspected H.Q. Coy. and the hand-over was completed.

May 29 — A Coy. won the Inter-Company drill competition.

May 30—D Coy. left for a week's camp at Troodos and B Coy. returned. L./Cpl. Henderson won the piping and Cpl. McQuaid won the bugling competitions.

June 1 — The Assault Pioneers Platoon started blasting a road for the villagers at Vavatsinia.

June 4 — Four Officers required as umpires on a Brigade exercise.  Guest Night held in the Officers' Mess.  Brigade held a TEWT on nuclear .defence.

June 5—Deputy and Commissioner were feasted at Vavatsinia when they came to inspect progress on the new road.

June 6 — Commanding Officer held conference to outline the training programme for the remainder of our time in Cyprus.

June 8—First practice for Queen's Birthday Parade took place this morning. Those taking part are 152 Bty. R.A., R.A.O.C., R.A.P.C. and R.E.M.E. from Dhekelia Garrison and 20 Cyprus police. Major Kelway Bamber commanded the parade.

June 11—Final rehearsal for parade was held in the Commissioner's compound, Larnaca. Parade was held; starting with a march through the Greek quarter then through sea front and Turkish quarter.

June 15—C Coy. moved to Troodos and took over from Sp. Coy. A Coy. set up a new camp north of Kyrenia Range.

June 16—A detachment from D Coy. took over duties at Government House Guard. B and Sp. Companies concentrated on shooting and completing their classifications.

June 20—C Coy. returned from Troodos and closed down the camp there. A barbecue was held for the Officers in front of the Mess. The un-invited Officers of 12th Lancers went for an involuntary swim.

June 21—A Coy. returned, leaving a small Company to look after camp.

June 22—A fortnight's cadre started for junior Officers.   The first morning's programme included a demonstration by ALMA Bty. 29 Field Regt, R.A.

June 24—Major-General Darling visited Larnaca and  discussed  guard  problem with  the Commanding Officer.

June 26—A Commanding Officer's conference gave Coy. Commanders the opportunity to report training progress and hear preliminary plans for move.

June 28—Subalterns were taken out to camp in the Panhandle for 48 hours patrolling and endurance training.

July 2—D Coy. handed over Government House Guard to 1 R.U.R. and returned to camp.

July 4 — Subalterns' cadre ended. N.C.Os' cadre started for young N.C.Os and potential N.C.Os.


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Apart from the hand-over to The Black Watch, who once again inherit a fish pond, the last months in Cyprus were taken up with Companies having Company camps, Battalion Training, providing a demonstration of the Battalion in the attack, swimming and visits by various members of the Staffs in Cyprus. The undoubted highlight of all this was the ten-day Battalion exercise carried out in the Panhandle and Zyyi area. Particular events are hard to sort out, but perhaps these were the highlights:—A Company's charge with razor blades and Mess tins to capture a rather startled 12th Lancers Armoured Car ; D Company's left flanking march ; the disappointment over a film called " Love is My Profession " ; the Drumhead Service, and the final event, the Battalion night attack, which even J. Arthur Rank couldn't have laid on better. In almost continuous light and to the skirl of the bagpipes, A and B Companies charged up the hill on to a very determined enemy position.

On 28th September, 1959, Lt.-Colonel C. P. Anderson handed over command of the Battalion to Lt.-Colonel H. S. Spens, M.B.E., M.C., T.D. Lt.-Colonel Anderson was given a traditional farewell by the Battalion.

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 If anyone can put names to faces with companies, dates and locations.

Please e-mail to ayoung287@msn.com

            Shortly after this the advance party left in two plane loads for home and five weeks leave. The Battalion meantime started to pack! (It took two ships to get the Battalion baggage to the U.K.) Visitors to the Battalion included Lt.-General Sir Roger Bower, C.-in-C. M.E.L.F., and Major-General K. Darling, who was interested in the amount of baggage being taken home by the Battalion.

        At about 0500 hrs. on 6th October the Battalion left Dhekelia in Company groups for the Ulster’s camp at Famagusta and were very hospitably entertained until after lunch. The Battalion embarked during the afternoon on H.M.T. Dilwara, and in the evening the Governor, Sir Hugh Foot, Major-General Darling, Brigadier Baker-Baker and Lt.-Colonel Irwin, The Black Watch, boarded the ship and had dinner with the Officers. The Dilwara sailed at 2130 hrs., and this ended 18 months' stay in Cyprus, which, in spite of various trials and tribulations, had been enjoyed by all ranks.


Cruachan's travels continued.  At Famagusta he was "slung" on board ship in his travelling stall. He spent the trip on the after-deck. He then had a period of "leave" at the Depot. Next there was a train journey to Harwich and across the North Sea to the Hook. Here he was met by Cpl. Farmer with a 1 x 3 ton vehicle and was driven from the Hook to Lemgo, where he was comfortably established in a converted gas chamber.


Sources -  RHQ and Thin Red Line Magazines




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Updated: 10 October 2014