The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise's)

'Sans Peur'       Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders red and white dicing       'Ne Obliviscaris'

A Snapshot of Active Service in 'A' Company
Cyprus 1958 - 59

Map of Cyprus

Background Information

In 1955 the EOKA campaign of terrorism erupted under Colonel Georgios Grivas, a former officer in the Greek Army. The EOKA objective was union of the Island of Cyprus with Greece (ENOSIS). This was totally rejected by the British Government and the Turkish Cypriot community.
As the guerrilla attacks on the British Forces and British property escalated, a state of emergency was declared. Field Marshall Sir John Harding was appointed Governor and the Greek Archbishop, Makarios, was deported to the Seychelles.

In 1958 the 1st Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders was posted to Cyprus to assist in combating the escalating terrorist threat to British personnel and property. The numbers of British Forces present on the Island eventually reached 40,000 at the height of the conflict.
The EOKA terrorist campaign continued until 1959, when the Greek and Turkish Governments met in Zurich to agree a new Republican constitution for the Island.

Britain accepted the proposals for the new Constitution and gave the Island independence, with the proviso, that Britain retained sovereignty over the British military bases at Akrotiri, Episkopi and Dhekelia. This was agreed and executive power was transferred to the people of Cyprus. The Greek Cypriot, Archbishop Makarios, was appointed President and the Turkish Cypriot, Kutchuk, was appointed Vice President.

Unfortunately, the political situation in Cyprus did not remain stable for long. The Turkish Cypriot community felt they were being subjugated by the Greek Cypriot majority. This political development created so much tension that, in an attempt to re-assert the Turkish position, Forces from mainland Turkey invaded the Island in 1974, occupied the Northern Area, and declared it a separate Turkish Cypriot Republican state.

Cyprus Update

  • 1960 - Independence from UK approved
  • 1960 - Guarantees between Greek Cypriot majority and Turkish Cypriot minority on the Constitution for the Island
  • 1974 - Greek Cypriots attempt to take control of government (sponsored by Greece) - military intervention by Turkey
  • 1974 - Turkey take control of 40% of northern Cyprus
  • 1974 - Partition set-up between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities
  • 1983 - "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" declared
  • 1983 - "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" not recognised by the rest of the world
  • 2002 - United Nations talks begin in January between Greek and Turkish Cypriots to end partition. The talks were initiated as a result of Cyprus declaring its desire to join the European Union. But the EU declared that Cyprus would only be admitted if the Island removed the state of political partition which had existed since 1983.

The General Service Medal (GSM) - Cyprus

The number, rank and name of the recipient is inscribed around the edge of the medal.

The medal was awarded to everyone who did at least 6 months active service on the Island of Cyprus in 1957-59 during the Greek Cypriot EOKA terrorist campaign led by Colonel Grivas.
The GSM with Clasp Cyprus
GSM with Clasp
Cyprus 1957-59

A&SH road block in Paphos District, Cyprus
Photo © H M Aitken
The 1st Battalion A&SH had their main tented camp at Limni Mines where they carried out a variety of duties in the hilly terrain of the Paphos district. These duties included:-
  • mountain patrols
  • road blocks
  • village searches
  • observation
  • fighting the occasional forest fire

This photo shows Sgt Willie Adam of 'A' Company and a local policeman conducting road block searches in the Paphos District of Cyprus.

'A' Company were later posted to the south west of the Island to perform guard duties at Pyla Detention Centre and street patrols in the town of Ktima.

This included establishing 3-man gun observation posts in strategic positions on the roofs of buildings, setting-up road blocks and conducting random building searches.

This photo shows Jock Archibald and McLean on a rooftop gun post in Ktima.

We quickly got to know the streets, the buildings and the people of this area of the town very thoroughly. The local inhabitants and especially businesses, welcomed us and felt quite reassured by our presence.
A&SH rooftop gun post in Ktima, Paphos District, Cyprus
Photo © H M Aitken

After the stint in Ktima, 'A' Company rejoined the whole Battalion which had now moved to Alexander Barracks at the Dhekelia Garrison near Larnaca.

From Dhekelia, 'A' Company sailed to Tobruk on the 25th September 1958, for a 3 month tour of duty as guard of honour for King Idris I of Libya. Their barracks were situated in the Royal Air Force Base in Tobruk.
Shortly after 'A' Company had returned to Cyprus from Tobruk, the whole Battalion embarked on the 'HMT Dilwara' troopship bound for Southhampton, England.

After 6 weeks leave in blighty, the Battalion was posted to Stornoway Barracks, in Lemgo, Westphalia, Germany where they joined a BAOR Armoured Division.

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