Photos From Pip Waller

This collection of photos comes courtesy of Pip Waller and covers his time in Cyprus in 1971/1975.

I worked for the British Government and was based at RAF Akrotitri near Limassol. My work was specifically in what were regarded as secure/secret areas. I with my family was posted from my home unit of RAF Fylingdales, the Ballistic Missile Early Warning Station (BMEWS) on the North Yorkshire Moors. We lived in a bungalow on the Tsrios estate in Limassol. The estate was mainly bungalows owned by Greek Cypriots and were dowry houses. In so far as in the tenancy agreement was the stipulation that if the daughter of the owner got married then likely as not we would have to vacate the property.

We arrived in Cyprus early May 1971 and initially were introduced to the Sgt’s Mess at Polemedhia Camp through my liaising with the Gordon Highlanders at work. They were the then resident United Nations British regiment based at the camp. Through them and using the Sgt’s Mess we were gradually introduced to the various Australian UNCIVPOL. The Sgt’s Mess is possibly the most exclusive Mess/Club in the world to enter. You have to be a SNCO from Sgt to W.O.1. Anyone else (no matter who) is an invited guest under the invitation of the RSM.

Over a period of time we as a family went to the Clinic on the Polemedhia/Berengaria Road and socialised. Over the ensuing few years we met and socialised with men from the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Contingents. We visited Paphos and Polis in the main outside of Limassol. Our main social hostelry was the Sgt’s Mess at Polemedhia camp and it seemed so for the Oz men. I tried to return the hospitality shown by UNCIVPOL men by taking some to Akrotiri’s Sgt’s Mess functions.

After the war I was seconded to the UN and transferred to Nicosia to get the runway lighting operational. This was done but sadly politics had greater power and it never reopened as civilian airport or indeed any other. Larnaca was extended and a new one built at Paphos. The Turks in the north developed what was originally Timboo airport from many, many years ago.

On our return to UK in late 1975 we hosted people en-route round the world on their way home to Oz on completion of their tour of UN duty. I then was posted to Ascension Island in the South Atlantic ocean and after there I was seconded to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and went on the Embassy circuit here and there round the world.

I attended the Canberra reunion in 1999 thanks to Ray Leister and Ken Sawkins and again in 2000 at Adelaide. The photos sadly are not of too higher a standard due to water damage when left in store whilst overseas and water damaged. To whoever views them I hope they bring back happy memories as they did for me.

Pip Waller
Scarborough England
January 2005