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SCRIBE'S CABOOSH

 (Please click on all images to enlarge them)

March 2017

Todays meeting was probably the quickest on record. A visitor (Duncan Wells of Castle auctions) has donated a framed ‘Trafalgar’ painting (print) to the Branch, which is destined to be auctioned off at this years Trafalgar Night Dinner. After the Padre’s monthly historical naval update and then the customary prayers the rest of the ‘official’ business was concluded in less than 5 minutes. 

So after a short comfort break everyone took their seats for a 45 minute movie made by a Cypriot film maker – Paschalis Papapetrou – a resident of Nicosia, who has made a series of films (20+) over the past 25 years extolling the cultural history of traditional Cypriot life.  Paschalis has previous given showings of his films to the Cyprus 3rd Age (C3A) and as our Secretary is a member . . he invited Pachalis along with one of his movies for the benefit of the members.

Tonight’s offering, although in Greek with English sub-titles, was a very educational narration of how one of the basics of life anywhere on the planet – bread – was traditionally made in Cyprus in the not too distant past . . from sowing the wheat or barley to its harvesting with sickles, then the threshing and grinding processes to preparing the dough and how a typical village baker was capable of producing 200 loaves in a day using their traditional stone ovens.

The fact that he used ‘real’ local people throughout gave it an air of authenticity as their mean age was somewhere upwards of 70 but they used all of the traditional tools and methods throughout the film. Plus the fact that everyone realized, from the ad lib comments passed between them on film, that this was what they actually did in the days of their youth so the choice of these ‘local extras’ could not have been bettered even by Hollywood casting.  Paschalis has quite a library of these cultural films (Olive trees and Olive oil, Wine making, to name a couple) so he has been invited back to give future presentations later in the year. 

 

February 2017

24 members and guests were present for this February meeting, which was also the AGM.    The evening started with quite a few members taking advantage of the catering facilities in the Mess (at the going rate of course) before the meeting.  For the AGM, the usual reports were made and all committee positions were filled for the coming year.  As there was no speaker this evening the monthly raffle took place with the RM contingent winning a good portion of the drawn tickets . . but they restricted themselves to one prize each to allow for a wider spread of winners. 

 

September 2016

26 members and guests were present for this September meeting. Due to the absence of Eric the Cleric prayers were led by Norma.

The first officers report was from our Hon. Secretary (Paul Joyce) who related the tale of an unfortunate incident involving our esteemed Patron (Sir Edward Du Cann) who, last week, had been ‘rear-ended’ in Paphos whilst waiting outside his solicitors office . . . unfortunately Sir Edward was not parked in his car at the time but was actually standing on the pavement when a ‘local’ driver had somehow managed to reverse into him having had to mount the pavement to do so. Luckily the police and medical services were quickly on the scene and he was taken to the Evangelismos Hospital and there were enough witnesses about to verify the event . . the consequence of which Sir Edward is now either the ‘unlucky’ or ‘proud’ owner of a titanium hip joint. Paul went on to state that he had visited Sir Edward in hospital a few days after the ‘incident’ and was able to report that Sir Edward was already able to navigate his way around his room with the use of a zimmer frame. The family requested that ‘no visitors please’ be the order of the day.

The other officers then went on to give their reports.

Reports finished, the Chairman continued with two main topics of the evening: the first was that George Williams had stepped as Vice-Chair due to medical reasons so a volunteer was now required . . Brendan Kennedy tentatively raised his hand (or was he just about scratch his nose?) . . and that was all that was needed . . hooked, seconded and appointed.

The second point was that due to the lack of take up that this years annual Trafalgar Night dinner has been cancelled. Discussion flowed about the availability of an RNA table (for 10) at the formal mess function, courtesy of the resident RN officers, on the 21st Oct. and that RMA (Cyprus) were also hosting a formal Corps birthday dinner on the 27th and seats were being made available for the RNA, numbers to be confirmed within the next fortnight. Details from the Hon. Sec. for the RMA event.

As the cancellation of the Trafalgar Night diner effectively removed a gathering in October the Hon. Sec. was asked to research the possibility of a less formal meal night sometime in October.

After a refreshment break the second half of the evening was given over to shipmate Lt Col Geoff Fryatt MBE (ex-pongo maybe but also a member of RNA Cyprus) who gave a very detailed account of his great uncle during WW1 . . .Captain Charles A. Fryatt, a merchant navy captain during WW1, who ended up a victim of the political and military extreme views of that era. Although essentially a ‘ferry’ captain employed by the Eastern Railway Company he operated between Harwich and the Hook of Holland (a neutral country) but managed to evade several attempts by the German navy to capture his ship . . who employed both surface craft and submarines to try and catch him.

During one interception Capt Fryatt attempted to ram a surfaced U-boat that was on the point of boarding him . . . an admirable attempt but the British politics of the day initially determined that submarine crews were essentially ‘pirates’ and that ‘submarine warfare’ was ‘un-British’. For his seamanship in evading capture on several occasions, bearing in mind that he was a civilian captain and not a uniformed Royal Navy officer, the Admiralty awarded him an engraved gold watch for one incident and later another one for a similar escape. The German navy were furious and wanted vengeance.

So it came to pass that his luck ran out in 1916 when his ship was intercepted by 5 German destroyers and he and his crew and passengers were taken prisoner and transported to Bruges, Belgium. German justice was short and sharp and after a one-sided ‘court martial’ , all in German, he was found guilty and sentenced to death by firing squad at 7 am the next morning. Unfortunately he never got to see the next day as he was taken out and shot by a 16-man firing squad a few hours later and buried in a local plot of land reserved for traitors.

A very emotive and gallant tale but in 1916 when the British public got the hear about it he was made a hero with his bravery being ranked alongside that of Nurse Edith Cavell, also executed by the Germans.

St Paul’s Cathedral is where, over the centuries, the national heroes of Great Britain have been commemorated, such as the Duke of Wellington, Sir Christopher Wren, Winston Churchill, Admiral Lord Nelson, etc. . . and also Captain Charles Algernon Fryatt.

In 1920 his body was exhumed and removed with great ceremony to Bruges Cathedral for a service then transported by a British destroyer to Dover where he transported by a special train to London for a full state funeral in St Paul’s.

The service at Bruges Cathedral, the destroyer departing for Dover and the full pomp and ceremony of the funeral at St Paul’s was dramatically made clear to us as Geoff had also secured original movie footage of it all.

There were also recent photo’s taken with other family members in Bruges and Canada earlier this year to mark the 100th anniversary of his death . . . apparently the Canadian authorities had even named a mountain after Capt Fryatt . . very emotive stuff indeed.

For further details go on-line and type ‘Captain Charles Fryatt’ into your search engine for a full Wikipedia account.

 

November 2015

The October event for the RNA (Cyprus) members was the annual Trafalgar Night Dinner, which was held at the Hillview Restaurant in Pissouri on Wednesday 21st October. Invitations were also extended to the recently formed Royal Marines Association (Cyprus) Branch who were represented by their Chairman Pat Chapman and his wife Sheena supported by a sprinkling of former Bootnecks amongst the 46 members and guests.

As a venue for any future RNA social events the view from this restaurant will be hard, if not impossible, to beat as it overlooks the distant Akrotiri peninsula. The owner and chef, George, produced an excellent meal and his staff made sure that everyone’s glass was never empty.

The Guest of Honour was Lt Col Geoff Fryatt MBE R.A. (Ret’d), who was accompanied by his wife Doris, and he gave an after dinner speech that took everyone by surprise. Usually this part of the evening is given over to a specific account or lesser known facts about the Battle of Trafalgar itself but Lt Col Fryatt chose to talk about his great uncle (Captain Charles Algernon Fryatt) who was a merchant navy captain who plied the route between Harwich and neutral Holland during the first half of WW1.

So what did this have to do with ‘Trafalgar’ you may ask . . the answer was that he obeyed Lord Nelson’s order to ‘Engage the enemy more closely’ at great cost to himself . . what follows is an abridged version of the events:

Submarine warfare during WW1 had yet to be ratified in any ‘rules of war’ by any nation . . and the First Lord of the Admiralty (one W.S. Churchill) put out a directive that any captured German submariners could be shot as they did not conduct naval warfare in the traditional way but snook up on our ships, shelled them, looted them then torpedoed them from a range of a couple of hundred metres then slunk under the waves again . . how un-gentlemanly.

So Charles Fryatt was employed by the Great Eastern railway Company as a merchant naval captain plying the sea-ways between Harwich and neutral Holland, bringing back nurses, wounded soldiers, etc. he did this trip some 140 times as the skipper in different vessels. His first encounter with a German surface ship had him double the stokers party to escape their pursuer and he managed to increase his top speed of 14 knots to 16 knots and so got away. For this he was presented with an engraved gold watch by his employers to record the event. His second encounter with the ‘enemy’ was with a surfaced U-boat who tried to capture his ship, so he got all of his passengers and crew to the aft end, took over the wheel and tried to ram the U-boat . . which crash dived with only a couple of yards to spare . . and so they got away again. This time he received an engraved gold watch from the Admiralty which recorded the event and date. This keepsake was to be his undoing.

His third encounter with the German Navy was on 25th June 1916 when his vessel was surrounded by five German destroyers and this time they managed to board him. The German officer who took him prisoner on the bridge noticed the two gold watches and realised that he had caught the man who had embarrassed the German Navy not once but twice so retribution was to be had.  Capt Fryatt was first taken to Berlin for interrogation then sent down to Brugges for a naval court martial. All of the proceedings were in German, he had no defence lawyer and he was deemed to be a ‘pirate’ as he didn’t wear the uniform of any armed service and had tried to murder German seamen at sea . . . this is where his engraved watch from the Admiralty damned him. Having been given the death sentence he was returned to his cell to await the proverbial dawn execution the following day but having just enough time to write a short note to his wife he was taken from his cell, stood up against a wall and shot by firing party of 16 German riflemen on 27th July 1916 . . . all within 30 minutes of being sentenced.

The rage of the British public, so soon after the Edith Cavell story, carried the story round the world. After the war the new German government apologised for the incident but Capt Fryatt’s remains were disinterred from his grave in Brugges and he was returned to the UK for a state funeral in St Paul’s Cathedral . . . which was usually for the likes of national heroes like Lord Nelson, etc. . . so it was quite an honour for a merchant sea captain. So there is the link to Nelson . . 'Engage the enemy more closely' and a funeral in St Paul’s.

Lt Col Fryatt has promised to give a more in depth presentation about his relative to the members at some point in the future . . and as he and his wife have now asked to become associate members of the RNA (Cyprus) Branch . . we shall await that presentation with great interest.

 

April 2015

There were 27 present for the meeting, including a few ‘guests’ who had heard about the subject matter of the guest speaker’s talk . . more later.

Eric the Cleric read out a few anecdotes about historic naval matters in the month of April which ranged from the Gallipoli campaign back in 1915 to the re-taking of the Falkland Islands in 1982 . . before leading those assembled for prayers.

The reports from the various committee members were then invited . . . the highlights of which were: a proposal from the Social Rep’ (Despina) for an RNA lunch at the Vineleaf tavern in Pissouri (date t.b.d.). . . . and that the Treasurer has now successfully navigated the convoluted banking system on the island (post financial crisis) and has managed to secure a bank account for the Branch accounts.

The forthcoming birthdays of members for the month of April were then read out by the Chairman, namely George Williams (Vice Chair - ), Brian Thompson (RM), Lee Hinton (our youngest member - about to reach the grand old age of 40) and finally our Welfare Rep’ Jane Joyce . . an age was mentioned but etiquette prevents me from repeating it.

A break was then called for to allow the guest speaker (Richard Sale) to prepare for his presentation.

The following story that unfolded was a revelation to all, members and guests alike, as Richard went on to detail an incident that occurred in Larnaca Airport on Sunday - 19 February 1978 following the assassination by two middle eastern gunmen of a moderate, highly placed member of the Egyptian government, a former Egyptian military officer turned respected academic and journalist, at an international convention being held in an hotel in Nicosia.

This resulted in the taking of 30 hostages from the Convention, their transfer (along with the gunmen) to Larnaca airport, the successful negotiations for the release of 19 hostages, the personal involvement of the Cyprus President (Kyprianou) who just happened to arrive from a foreign visit via Larnaca at this time . . who then assumed the role of negotiator, the assembling of a local British aircrew from a commercial airline to remove the remaining hostages (and the gunmen) from Cyprus (the gunmen didn’t even know where they wanted to go!), their passage to Djibouti for re-fuelling (after several countries en route down the Red Sea refused to let them land) then a return to Larnaca, the arrival of an Egyptian C130 crammed with 74 of their Special Forces, the resulting firefight with the Cyprus National Guard left 15 Egyptians dead, 16 seriously wounded, 41 taken prisoner - and 2 missing! . . and the C130 destroyed . . Cypriot casualties were 6 wounded with an additional civilian aircrew member dying of wounds received.  This was a catalogue of errors at all levels of the Cyprus government.

Apparently all of the Cyprus ministers (barring the Defence Minister - who knew nothing about the incident until he heard about it on his ministerial car radio network) as well as the leaders of the National Guard and the Police Force were all in attendance at the airport for the duration of the incident . . apparently the Deputy Head of the Police Force was making himself useful, by his own admission, by directing the traffic . . . and as all of this unfolded the airport continued to function with tourists arriving and departing as if nothing was untoward.

To elevate the entire incident into the international arena . . the use of the Egyptian C130 and troops was personally authorized by the Egyptian President (Anwar Saddat) to terminate the two terrorists as the Cyprus government was about to issue them with Cyprus passports to facilitate their departure. President Saddat took the entire fiasco on the ground, and the resulting Egyptian casualties, personally and almost turned the entire ‘Cyprus Problem’ on its head as he threatened to withdraw all diplomatic contacts with the Greek Cypriot authorities and recognise the occupying Turkish regime in the North of the island as the legitimate rulers.

I have glossed over a lot of detail in my precise but it was a fascinating presentation . . and no-one present this evening had even heard about it.

 

February 2015

13 members turned out on Friday 9th Jan to surprise John Hale and help him celebrate his 90th birthday at ‘The Muse’ restaurant in Paphos (see photos on the ‘Gallery’ page).

18 members attended January’s meeting with most of them also attending the themed dinner in the Mess beforehand. Apologies were received from Eric the Cleric, Vyvy, Lee Hinton and our Vice Chair (George Williams) who was languishing in hospital in Nicosia (no further details as yet).

Another prospective member was introduced to the gathering . . . further details when he’s signed on the dotted line.  

The presentation this evening was from a former Master Mariner – Jeremy Rigg – who gave us an insight into his long and varied career as an officer with the Blue Funnel Line, starting with his induction and training on the former HMS Conway (a wooden 74-gun ship of the line that saw active service at Copenhagen at the start of the 19th century), very informative and entertaining.

 

November 2014

There were 21 members present at the meeting but unfortunately as the Chairman was unable to attend due to his recent hospitalization and the Vice-Chairman was also feeling under par so the Secretary conducted the evenings business. 

In keeping with the annual period of Remembrance Eric the Cleric gave a very interesting summary on the formation and operational activities of the Royal Naval Division during WW1 (see his article on the Padre’s Piece page).

There were no officers’ reports so the evening progressed to the guest speaker – Major Dale Erhart (Ret’d) a former ‘Top Gun’ in the Royal Canadian Air Force. The thrust of his presentation was based on the movie ‘Top Gun’ and how real it was when compared to ‘real life’. Apart from the film doubling the number of prospective recruits trying to enlist in the US Navy as pilots it apparently doubled the sales of ‘Ray-Ban’ sun-glasses world wide.

His detailed analysis of the progression of air combat ranged from the combat pilots of WW1, from all sides, who became an ‘Ace’ when credited with 5 ‘kills’ . . .  to the secret emergence of the German Luftwaffe in the 1930’s. The fact that the Luftwaffe created its own ‘Air Academy’ in Russia during that period, having made a secret deal with Stalin, thus hiding its existence from the Allies was a bit ironic when the Top 10 Luftwaffe air aces in WW2 went on to shoot down some 2,568 enemy aircraft . . most of them Russian.

For the Americans during the Korean War the USAF managed a ratio of kills to losses of 8.8 to 1.

In the first few years of the Vietnam War (1965-68) this record had fallen to 2.5 to 1.

However, the statistics proved that only 4% of the total number of USAF and USN pilots combined managed to down some 40% of the total number of enemy aircraft claimed . . which raised the question of ‘What were the other 96% of the pilots doing wrong?’. . . basically with the advent of ‘fire and forget’ missiles the pilots had lost the ability to ‘dog fight’ and their favourite attack aircraft (the F4 Phantom) had no guns, was too heavy, too big and left a smoke trail that could be seen by everyone.

The solution was to set up a ‘Top Gun’ School, which produced mixed results as, between 1971-73, the USAF ratio remained at 2.5 to 1 (apparently they wouldn’t change their tactics) whereas the USN pilots managed to increase theirs to 12.5 to 1.

And all of this was the introduction to his presentation. Maj Erhart went on to become a Canadian Air Force ‘Top Gun’ Instructor before finally retiring from the military to fly commercial aircraft and finally executive jets. A very interesting presentation.
 

November 2014

There were two Trafalgar Night Dinners in October to which RNA members could attend, the first was organized by the 3 RN officers on post here in Cyprus and was held the Officers’ Mess on Friday 17th to which they extended 10 seats to the RNA. . . curiously only 6 seats of the 10 were taken up. I can confirm that most of you missed a very, very good evening. The second event was the RNA’s annual dinner held at the Club Aphrodite in Erimi on Tuesday 21st October and was attended by 30 members and guests.

The guest speaker was Lt Col Mike Groves RAOC (Ret’d) who was accompanied by his wife Pamela and a more colourful character would be hard to find on the island. The meal, wine and port was excellent and the usual naval customs were observed. At the conclusion of the dinner Mrs Groves was presented with a floral display by Jane Joyce.

It is often said that all three services are ‘small families’ in their own right but this cliché was confirmed that night as, having been introduced, I revealed that my father had also served in the RAOC . . after rolling back the years to work out where and when it transpired that Mike and my father served in the same unit in Munster, Germany some 54 years ago. He was a ‘freshly minted’ 2/Lt, designated as the new MTO, and my father was his WO2 (Q) . . small world eh!

 

May 2014

There were 23 members present for the meeting, most of whom had attended the Chinese ‘themed’ meal courtesy of the Officers’ Mess beforehand.

The evening started with the annual presentation of a cheque for €100 from the Branch to the Episkopi Scouts, to assist them in their endeavours. The Scouts were represented by the ‘flag bearers’ from all three levels of the Scouting community along with their adult leaders and nine other Beavers, Cubs and Scouts:

-           Beavers leader:           Dave West

-           Beavers flag bearer:   Lara

-           Cubs Leader:  

-           Cubs flag bearer:        Miles

-           Scout Leader:              Jason Wells    

-           Scouts flag bearer:      Carys

The cheque was presented to a nominated Scout - my apologies in not getting the name - by Sir Edward.

The Scout Leader (Jason Wells) then gave a summary of the Scouting activities that had been undertaken in the past year and a look forward to the coming year, quite a busy and fulfilling programme. Having taken a group photograph with Sir Edward outside the front of the Mess we bade them farewell.

The meeting continued with the usual reports by the various Committee members before a 10 minute recess was called and the floor was given over to Raymond Naqvi (a.k.a. - ‘The Judge’) who gave a most humorous and informative discourse on his role here in Cyprus as the resident Judge of the Sovereign Base Area’s.

To stamp his authority on the proceedings Raymond informed the assembled members how he would conduct his presentation . . . ‘ I’ll tell a joke . . and you will laugh! ’  . . .he then warmed up his audience with a clutch of ‘lawyer’ jokes . . so if we had ever wondered ‘what is black and brown and looks good on a lawyer?’, we now know that it is a slavering, rabid Rottweiler! . . and so the presentation progressed.

Raymond’s jurisdiction is purely with civil law within the SBA, as he informed us; if Private Smith punches out his Corporal then that is a purely military matter, which will be handled by the military system (i.e. via Courts Martial), however if Private Smith punches out a local Cypriot citizen within the SBA then that falls into his jurisdiction. The presentation was very enlightening about ‘the law’ and how it is applied within the SBA (both the Episkopi/Akrotiri and Dhekelia areas) but the most surprising fact was when we were asked by Raymond which law is applied within the SBA ? – current UK law? or the Law of the Republic of Cyprus? . . . the answer was neither . . it is Colonial Law, as practised 100 years ago, he even pulled out a much thumbed and updated volume to emphasis the point .

Yet again, to those who missed it – it was an excellent and very informative presentation.

 

April 2014

There were 18 members present for the meeting, most of whom had attended another ‘themed’ meal courtesy of the Officers’ Mess beforehand.

The usual reports were made by the various Committee members before the floor was given over to ‘Eric the Cleric’ who gave us a trip down (his) memory lane about his ‘love affair’ . . . with India that is.

Eric proceeded to take us through a very touching and fascinating story, supported by a wealth of slides, of how he first ended up being ‘banished’ to India by his firm some 50 years ago . . . he even took and married Vivien there as well – if you weren’t present for the story behind that little evolution then you’ll have to ask Eric to repeat it yourself. The places and personalities he met and worked with back there in the 60’s were to re-surface some 50 years later on his most recent extended visit when he and Vivien ended up staying at a particular hotel up in the hills of the Punjab which was now run by the daughter of the lady who originally ran the establishment. Tales of this hotel matriarch’s skills in procuring absolutely ‘anything’ in those days . . . even a specific single malt (given 24 hours notice) really lent to the atmosphere of the presentation . . . apparently the art of smuggling (my apologies, I meant the procurement of necessary victuals!) was taken to new heights in those days.

An excellent presentation.

 

March 2014

There were 24 members present for the meeting, most of whom had also attended another ‘themed’ meal courtesy of the Officers’ Mess beforehand.

The usual reports were made by the various Committee members before the floor was given over to S/M Paul Joyce and Lt Ben Holloway RN who took us through a very detailed slide show presentation about their varied careers whilst working with the “Silent Service’. Despite Paul’s career pre-dating Ben’s by a couple of decades the operational conditions were not too dis-similar despite the advanced level of the ‘interior design’ of the current class of submarine compared to their predecessors.

For those who missed it, it was very educational and liberally peppered with anecdotal humour. The cure for the boredom and monotony of a prolonged submerged passage was brought to startling reality when we were shown the photographic evidence of several crew members who took to growing an assortment of facial hair creations (with the Skippers permission of course) whilst they were submerged, was I the only one who thought that the style of Ben’s facial growth during this period wasn’t too far removed from that of Capt Jack Sparrow?

 

February 2014

There were 21 members present for the meeting, most of whom had also attended another ‘themed’ meal courtesy of the Officers’ Mess beforehand. The main point of the evening was that this was also the AGM.

After prayers from Eric the Cleric the minutes of the 2013 AGM were passed unanimously as a true record. The Chairman then gave a report on the Branch activities for the past year before the election, or re-election, of a number of Committee posts; namely:

-           The Honorary Treasurer – SM Jean Hall (Unanimous),

-           The Publicity Officer – SM Kev Barnes (Unanimous),

-           The Social Secretary - no volunteer (for now – watch this space),

-           The Welfare Officer – SM Jane Joyce (Unanimous)

-           The Slops Officer – no volunteer was forthcoming so due to the minimal amount of slops held it was decided to delete the post (Unanimous)

With the AGM business concluded there were a few parish notices including that the 2014 Sea Sunday service will be held on Sunday 13th July and the only members birthday in the month of February was Bill Hellier’s (8th).

 

January 2014

Over a dozen members took advantage of the ‘themed’ meal (Italian this time) that was available in the Mess prior to the meeting, with 21 members in total turning up for the actual meeting.

After prayers, the Chairman started the evening off by welcoming a new Shipmate (Stephen Crone) and then going through the list of members with a birthday this month :

-             8th      John Hale (89) and Peter Cross (82)

-             9th      John Keenan (still in N.Z. building his ‘plane) and Mike Hasney (age u/k but following the

recent excavation and interpretation of some ancient Sumerian texts in Iraq indications are that Mike was the Rum Bosun on Noah’s Ark)

-           15th      Alec Clements (81) 

-           22nd      Roy Carr (77)

The various Committee officers then gave their reports after which the Chairman appealed for volunteers for the following Committee vacancies:

-           Welfare - Richard Hughes has now stood down as the RNA Welfare Rep’ as he has now taken up additional training duties with SSAFA on the island but there was mention of an ‘undisclosed’ member currently being enticed to volunteer.

-           Slops - Bill Hellier has now relinquished the post so a volunteer is urgently required.

Annual Subs were also being taken, bearing in mind that the next meeting is the AGM.

Following on from the departure last year of our one and only resident RN officer (Lt Gareth Turner RN) who was our link to current events within the RN . . . a bit like waiting for a bus . . we now have three:

-           Commander Tim Briggs-Mould RN – now S.N.O. Eastern Mediterranean

-           Lieutenant Andy Pearson RN

-           Lieutenant Ben Holloway RN

So the second part of the meeting was given over to these ‘new arrivals’ who, once introduced collectively, took to the floor individually and described their naval careers to date in a very informal and humorous way and how they had, ultimately, ended up with a posting to Cyprus. All three are more than pleased to be here. To say that they have had varied and active careers so far is an understatement. Suffice to say that, in no particular order, one joined as an assistant Cook and made it to P.O. prior to being commissioned, another joined as a Radio Operator and made Artificer prior to his commission whilst the third was a University entrant. Between them they have served on numerous ships (and a submarine) and two of them have over 25 years service each.

Speaking for the whole assembly the Chairman and President then extended their thanks to these officers for a thoroughly enjoyable and informative evening and, hopefully, we will see them regularly at all future RNA meetings and events.

 

November 2013

The 2013 Trafalgar Night Dinner was held at the Club Aphrodite, Erimi, on Saturday 18th October and was attended by 31 members. Photos of the event are to be found on the ‘Gallery’ page of this web site.

The evening culminated in John Hale being presented with his long awaited Arctic Star by the RNA President (Sir Edward Du Cann).

The Remembrance Parade was held in Happy Valley, Episkopi on Sunday 10th November where the RNA wreath was laid by our Secretary - Paul Joyce. After the service 14 members gathered at the Kyrenia Beach Taverna for lunch.

 

August 2013

Due to my absence at July’s meeting, the following report was compiled by our Secretary (SM Paul Joyce):

"Sea Sunday was held at the Garrison Church, Episkopi on Sunday, 14 July 2013.  The Service was conducted by the Garrison Padre, Rev (Sqn Ldr) Adrian Dyer and well attended by 18 Shipmates including our Standard Bearer, Richard Hughes.  The lectern was suitably adorned with a White Ensign and there were readings by Shipmates Jean Hall and Norma Redpath.  The Merchant Navy was represented by Jeremy Rigg, a Master Mariner, who decorated a table at the front of the church with a blue ensign, binoculars and a sextant; he also gave a reading.

The Service was followed by a lunch at the seafront restaurant of the Farmagusta Nautical Club in Limassol attended by 18 Shipmates and guests.  This was a hugely successful event which went on into the late afternoon. "

 

May 2013

With quite a few members taking advantage of participating in another pre-meeting ‘themed’ dinner, courtesy of the Officers’ Mess, there were 22 members present. Tonight’s meeting started with our annual presentation of a ‘donation’ cheque, on behalf of our Branch to the 57th (Episkopi) Sea Scouts, who were represented by a ‘colour party’ of 11 uniformed members. Sir Edward handed our cheque over to their appointed representative, Sea Scout Finlay. We were then given a brief but infirmative outline of the activities of the Sea Scouts and Beavers since last year’s presentation by their Chairman, Brian Nicoll.

March off the Colour Party.

The Chairman then read a list of 5 members who will be enjoying a birthday this month. This was followed by a dip in to the ‘The Navy – Day by Day’ volume to remind members of those significant naval events of an historical note that have taken place over the past few centuries. The various reports from Committee Officers’ were then given. 

The second part of the evening was a very informative illustrated presentation given by our Honorary Secretary (Paul Joyce) on the life and times of one of the Royal Navy’s most remarkable who, somehow, seems to have been written out of our history books – Admiral Lord Thomas Cochrane (1775 – 1860). In turn he was a British naval officer, he was knighted (and had it withdrawn – and in later years had it reinstated), he was an MP but was expelled from Parliament on dubious charges and jailed for fraud, before being re-elected but forsook politics to take command of the Chilean Navy, having left that he then took command of the Brazilian Navy . . . and if the story of his on-going exploits had been made into a film it would have been dis-believed.  It is a debatable point that he was a more effective naval officer than even the much vaunted Admiral Lord Nelson but the facts spoke for themselves, not least that whilst in command of a small 14-gun Brig (HMS Speedy) in 1800 he and his crew managed to capture or destroy 54 enemy vessels in a very short space of time. Paul definitely knew his subject and went on to make comparisons with a couple of colleagues from his own naval career . . . the comparison being that even in a traditional service such as the Royal Navy there are always individual leaders who break out of the mould of the ‘traditional service’ and, to coin a modern idiom . . think outside of the box. Admiral Lord Cochrane was such a man.

 

April 2013

The normal format for a meeting was turned on its head as this was the first time that members had been able to take advantage of an evening meal in the mess beforehand. In this case the three courses on offer were of an ‘Italian’ theme and from the comments of the 19 members who took advantage of this opportunity this may well turn in to a regular monthly occurrence . . . so keep an eye on your ‘inbox’ for further details from the Honorary Secretary about next months offer.  

The second deviation from normal was that the start of the actual meeting (now 24 members present) was a guest speaker and presentation. Sir Edward had persuaded his neighbour to come and provide the membership with a bit of  ‘wine tasting’ . . the fact that the neighbour in question was Angelo Tsangarides and that Sir Edward actually lives next door to the Tsangarides Vineyard, the only organic vineyard in Cyprus, ensured that the products being tasted and described were absolutely first class. Sir Edward did eventually let slip that he is currently researching the feasibility of installing a direct pipeline from said vineyard to his house but that the problem was not in the actual engineering but in managing to pass the bill on to Maureen for payment. Just think . . five taps over the kitchen sink: Hot, Cold, . . . Red, White and Rosé.

Angelo’s presentation was very informative and he fielded many questions from the members with orders being placed (with a 10% discount) via the Chairman.

The final part of the evening was the actual meeting at 20:50 starting with an historical account of naval activities for the month of  May and prayers from Eric the Cleric. The Chairman read out a short list of those whose birthdays occur this month, no names no pack drill but a certain Vice-Chairman was reminded of a certain milestone coming up . . this month - next year and S/M Lee Hinton was confirmed as the youngest member on the books (37).

 

March 2013

There were 18 members present and a long list of apologies from those who couldn’t attend.

Eric the Cleric has returned from the Indian sub-continent and took to the floor with a few anecdotes of his recent travels and a prayer.

With a new Chairman (S/M Gordon Redpath) and a new Honorary Secretary (S/M Paul Joyce) now in place the first part of the evening was taken up by Gordon and Paul working through a fairly comprehensive agenda of items and ‘Parish notices’ concerning the Branch, the diary of events for 2013 and how we may benefit from a range of new routines currently operating in the Mess under its new management team i.e. the new Mess Manager and a new PMC:

-           Gordon had negotiated a new bar routine for the members at the rear of the room, which was manned by Ken, a friend of Gordon’s - he’s ex-RAF Regiment but was graciously forgiven that wayward career choice by virtue of his excellent bar-keeping skills.

-           The ‘dress in the mess’ rules have been relaxed and simplified by the Mess Committee, the board in the Mess foyer now either states ‘Green’ (i.e. ‘relaxed’ - polo shirts and slacks rather than blazer and tie) or ‘Red’ (i.e. formal – mess dress/black tie, etc).

The Secretary had previously emailed a questionnaire to all members about ‘what the membership want from their Branch’ and, having distributed further questionnaires to those present, went through the form item by item. Despite the views from the floor he still needs the views of those who could not make it to the meeting.

The second part of the evening was given over to our President (Sir Edward) who gave a fascinating insight into the origins of torpedo’s and showed a range of slides of MTB’s, Motor Gun Boats, long boats, short boats and ‘D’ class Fairmile boats. All of this was interwoven with his experiences as an officer in Coastal Forces during the last two years of WW2 and for a period after and went on to say that, having found a friendly publisher, he is currently working on a book about the subject.

 

February 2013

Last months AGM brought about a change to the make up of the Committee, the results of which have been emailed to the membership by the outgoing Honorary Secretary (and our new Chairman) S/M Gordon Redpath. The end result is that there is now a full committee to take the Branch forward.

In light of the Prime Ministers statement of 19 December 2012, the Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans (Mark Francois) has finally announced that the long awaited medal (The Arctic Star) is to be minted for, and issued to, those personnel who were involved in the Arctic Convoys during WW2. As it is to be awarded to both surviving veterans and next of kin of those who have crossed the bar . . . this means that one of our oldest members, John Hale, will be getting another medal for his group, hopefully within the next month. 

 

January 2013

The first meeting of 2013 was attended by 15 members with numerous apologies received from non-attendees.

As Eric the Cleric was absent on holiday and our Treasurer had sent her apologies . . and as subs had to be collected this night from the members present so that they can exercise their voting rights at next month’s AGM . . Norma Redpath rose to the occasion as both stand-in cleric for prayers and stand-in Treasurer. The Secretary will be emailing all members shortly regarding points for the forthcoming AGM and the matter of the timely paying of subs for the current (2013) membership year before the AGM starts.

Due to the reduced numbers present, the normal officers reports were given in fairly quick time. The Chairman then presented us with the sad news that our oldest Branch member Sylvia Tooes, at 100 years old, and probably the oldest female RNA member world-wide had crossed the bar on the morning of Christmas Day.

The main part of the evening was then taken up by a very informative presentation by Jeanette Truscott, a British lawyer currently practicing in Paphos, about the realities of personal wills here in Cyprus and how the Cypriot probate system differs from UK law . . . and how these matters affect ex-pats in particular. Handouts on the salient points were distributed so, for those who were absent that night, get a copy from a member who was there.

 

 

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