- British Forces Cyprus
British Forces Cyprus Active Country Cyprus Allegiance United Kingdom Branch Royal Navy
Royal Air Force
Part of British Armed Forces, UK Ministry of Defence Commanders CBF (Commander British Forces Cyprus) Air Vice Marshall Graham Stacey DCBF (Deputy Commander British Forces Cyprus) Brigadier Bill Kingdon
British Forces Cyprus (BFC) is the name given to the British Armed Forces stationed in the UK sovereign base areas of Dhekelia and Akrotiri on the island of Cyprus. The United Kingdom retains a military presence on the island in order to keep a strategic location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean, for use as a staging point for forces sent to locations in the Middle East and Asia. BFC is a tri-service command, with all three services based on the island reporting to it. At present, there are approximately 3,500 personnel serving in Cyprus.
Following Cyprus gaining independence in 1960, the UK retained two Sovereign Base Areas in Akrotiri and Dhekelia and an RAF air marshal was appointed as the Administrator of the Sovereign Base Areas. The following year the British Forces Near East organization was created, the command of which was then held concurrently with that of the post of Administrator. By 1962 the title British Forces in Cyprus was in official use.
Episkopi is the current command center of British Forces Cyprus. The commander of the Sovereign Base Areas/British Forces Cyprus (CBF) is either a Major General or an Air Vice Marshal, alternating every three years transferring the command between the British Army and the Royal Air Force. Consequently, the Deputy British Forces Cyprus (DBFC) is from the opposite service of the commander, either a Brigadier or an Air Commodore.
The current CBF is Air-Vice Marshall Graham Stacey and the DCBF is Brigadier Bill Kingdon. Episkopi Cantonment is home to the Sovereign Base Areas Administration, the civilian authority in the territory.
Within British Forces Cyprus are a number of permanently based units; however, the large proportion of British forces in Cyprus are on operational tours:
- Permanent Units
- HQ, British Forces Cyprus
- Joint Service Signal Unit (Cyprus)(Ayios Nikolaos Station)
- Cyprus Communications Unit, (an amalgamation of 12 Signals Unit RAF & 259 Signal Squadron, Royal Signals)
- Cyprus Service Support Unit
- No 84 Squadron, RAF
- Resident infantry battalions - two light role infantry battalions, one at Dhekelia and one at Episkopi, are permanently based on the island; the battalions are usually rotated every two years. The two battalions stationed in Cyprus are the theatre reserve for Afghanistan
- 2nd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment (14th/15th, 19th and 33rd/76th Foot) (Episkopi)
- 2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment (Dhekelia)
- Cyprus Joint Police Unit (CJPU), a Tri-Service Military Police Unit consisting of Royal Navy Police, Royal Military Police and RAF Police.
- HQ CJPU - Episkopi
- 1 Platoon CJPU - Dhekelia
- 2 Platoon CJPU - Episkopi
- 3 Platoon CJPU - Akrotiri
- SIB Cyprus
- ESBA Section SIB
Cyprus was the last location in which the Royal Armoured Corps used FV601 Alvis Saladin, Ferret armoured car and Alvis Saracen armoured vehicles, long after they had fallen out of use by the regular Army. They were still being used by the Cyprus Armoured Squadron well into the mid 1980s. An even stranger situation developed when the resident Royal Air Force Regiment Squadron was equipped with FV101 Scorpion and FV103 Spartan CVRT at RAF Akrotiri for airfield defence; this meant that the RAF had better armoured vehicles than resident Army units. The last British Army unit to train soldiers in the use of the Ferret was 1st Bn Royal Irish Regiment at Episkopi during 1992; it was finally withdrawn in 1994, being replaced by Saxon APC.
The following officers have been in command of British Forces Cyprus:
- 16 August 1960 Air Marshal Sir William MacDonald (Administrator from 1960, also Commander British Forces Near East from 1961)
- 16 July 1962 Air Chief Marshal Sir Denis Barnett
- 25 September 1964 Air Marshal T O Prickett
- 21 November 1966 Air Marshal E G Jones
- 6 May 1969 Air Marshal D G Smallwood
- 2 July 1970 Air Marshal W D Hodgkinson
- 25 June 1973 Air Vice-Marshal J A C Aiken
- 1 April 1976 Air Vice-Marshal R D Austen-Smith
- 28 April 1978 Major-General W R Taylor
- 3 October 1980 Air Vice-Marshal R L Davis
- 31 March 1983 Major-General Sir Desmond Langley
- 29 October 1985 Air Vice-Marshal K W Hayr
- 21 April 1988 Major-General J P W Friedberger
- 1990 Air Vice-Marshal A F C Hunter
- 25 March 1993 Major-General A G H Harley
- List incomplete
- ? Air Vice-Marshal Peter Millar
- 6 January 1998 Major-General A I Ramsay
- 5 September 2000 Air Vice-Marshal T W Rimmer
- 5 September 2003 Major-General P T C Pearson
- 26 April 2006 Air Vice-Marshal R Lacey
- 16 October 2008 Major-General J H Gordon
Operation TOSCA is the name given to the British contribution to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). The British Contingent (BRITCON) numbers 278, and consists of three distinct parts:
- HQ BRITCON - responsible for the administration and support of the British Contingent.
- Force Military Police Unit- the FMPU is commanded by a major of the Royal Military Police, with seven other members of the RMP as part of the multi-national unit.
- UN Roulement Regiment - the URR is usually provided by the Royal Artillery or the Royal Logistic Corps and has responsibility for patrolling Sector 2 of the Green Line in Nicosia. Between October 2008 and April 2009, this role was filled by 32 Signal Regiment Group, a composite TA unit. This was the first time a TA unit had been deployed on a UN Peacekeeping mission
One of the roles of the support units of BFC is to assist as needed the British units deployed with UNFICYP, which are not part of BFC, but are instead under the direct command of the United Nations.
- ^ Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation - Air Chief Marshal Sir William MacDonald
- ^ This unit is a British Armed Forces run Government Communications Headquarters electronic intelligence gathering station. Jeffrey T. Richelson & Desmond Ball, The Ties the Bind: Intelligence Cooperation between the UKUSA Countries, Unwin Hyman, Boston/London and others, 1990, p.194 note 145.
- ^ Regiments.org
- ^ London Gazette: . 12 August 1960. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
- ^ London Gazette: . 13 July 1962. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
- ^ London Gazette: . 25 September 1964. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
- ^ London Gazette: . 18 November 1966. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
- ^ London Gazette: . 6 May 1969. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
- ^ London Gazette: . 3 July 1970. Retrieved 2010-02-02.
- ^ London Gazette: . 17 July 1973. Retrieved 2010-02-02.
- ^ London Gazette: . 5 September 1976. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
- ^ London Gazette: . 15 May 1978. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
- ^ London Gazette: . 11 April 1983. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
- ^ London Gazette: . 28 October 1985. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
- ^ London Gazette: . 25 April 1988. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
- ^ "[07 New commander for British Bases." Cyprus Mail. 15 January 1998. Hellenic Resources Network.]
- ^ London Gazette: . 21 October 2008. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
- ^ Cyprus operation is TA's first ever UN mission - MOD News, 23/01/09
- Permanent Units
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