The Cyprus Emergency: The Divided Island 1955 - 1974
Strategically placed for protection of the Suez Canal and as a `listening post' for the troubled Middle East and southern flank of NATO, Cyprus has been a vital British base for over 125 years.
In the post-Second World War years two serious problems emerged. First, the Greek Cypriots' desire for Enosis (union with Greece) and secondly, rivalry and open hostility between the Greek and Turkish communities.
In 1955 the former erupted into a bitter EOKA terrorist campaign led by Colonel George Grivas. The `Emergency', as it became known, resulted in the deaths of over 100 British servicemen with Nicosia's `Murder Mile' becoming the scene of many shootings. The Governor Field Marshal Harding narrowly escaped assassination in his residence. Even British families were targeted.
The next phase was the Turkish Government's military intervention in 1974 to prevent what they saw as the Greek takeover. In the aftermath of this bloody invasion, which saw widespread `ethnic cleansing' and displacement of communities, the Island was divided into two sectors policed by the United Nations. This peace-keeping operation is still in place today. There are still two British Sovereign Base areas at Dhekalia and Atrokiri/Episkopi.
The Cyprus Emergency - The Divided Island 1955-1974 is a most useful description of British and United Nations' military involvement during the most troubled years of this beautiful but strategically vital island, so well known to British servicemen, their families and holiday makers.
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