|British Forces Cyprus|
|Branch|| British Army |
Royal Air Force
|Size||3,500 military personnel |
|Part of||UK Ministry of Defence|
|Garrison/HQ||Akrotiri and Dhekelia, Cyprus|
|CBF (Commander British Forces Cyprus)||Air Vice-Marshal Peter Squires OBE|
|Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Wigston KCB CBE ADC|
British Forces Cyprus (BFC) is the name given to the British Armed Forces stationed in the UK Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia on the island of Cyprus and at a number of related 'retained sites' in the Republic 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.
Following the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus 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 Treaty of Establishment also provided British access to 40 'retained sites' in the republic of Cyprus; these included numerous radar stations, several ports, a range of accommodation and support facilities and a firing range. In March of the following year British Forces Near East was created, the command of which was then held concurrently with that of the post of Administrator.
On 1 March 1961, the Southern Group of Middle East Air Force became Near East Air Force and was based in Cyprus. By 1962, the title British Forces in Cyprus was in official use.In 1976, as part of a Foreign and Commonwealth Office brief in preparation for the visit of the CENTO Secretary-General to the UK, it was recorded that:
..two Vulcan medium bomber squadrons, one Lightning all-weather fighter squadron, one Hercules transport squadron and one Whirlwind helicopter squadron were stationed on the island. It would be very difficult to relocate these forces and their training facilities to a base in a CENTO member state since an agreement would have to be negotiated. Besides, the United Kingdom would also have to pay the host nation for facilities granted. The sites in Cyprus were guarded by one infantry battalion, defended by a Bloodhound anti-aircraft missile squadron and one armoured car squadron. In fact, the Vulcans based at Akrotiri were ‘the only declared nuclear force in CENTO’ and the island played a unique part in the capacity of the air route of CENTO for the transfer of forces east of Suez in times of war. The radar sites and the fighter squadron were considered an extension of the NATO air defence system."
British Forces Cyprus retains the right to use 13 retained sites with the remaining 27 having been returned to Cyprus after the Ministry of Defence no longer required them. The most recent sites to be returned were the Berengaria Married Quarters in 2011, because they had become obsolete and the firing range on the Akamas peninsula in 1999-2001. Its training value was deemed less important than the environmental damage inflicted on an ecologically important area and the consequent political liability to British Forces Cyprus.
Episkopi is the current location of Headquarters British Forces Cyprus. Commander British Forces Cyprus (CBF) and Administrator of the Sovereign Base Areas is a two-star appointment, alternating every three years between a British Army major-general and a Royal Air Force air vice-marshal. Consequently, the Chief of Staff British Forces Cyprus (COS) is a one-star appointment from the opposite service of the commander.
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 rotated between Cyprus and the UK:
The Queen's and King's Divisions continue to rotate battalions through Cyprus every three years.
The following officers have been in command of British Forces Cyprus:
General Officer Commanding Cyprus District
Commander, British Forces in Cyprus
Commander, British Forces Cyprus
Operation TOSCA is the name given to the British contribution to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). The British Contingent (BRITCON) numbers between 200 and 300, and consists of three distinct parts:
The URR is drawn from across the Field Army, and will not necessarily be a specialist combat unit (infantry or cavalry), or even part of the Regular Army, as, since 2008, units of the Territorial Army / Army Reserve have undertaken deployments to the Green Line.
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.
Listed is the unit that provided the Regimental Headquarters and the bulk of the troops. Often soldiers from a number of Territorial Army units would also deploy as part of the force.
In addition to the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, 1960 Treaty of Establishment between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Cyprus granted the UK the right to permanently make use of 40 further sites on the island for military purposes.
|Berengaria Village Married Quarters||British Forces Cyprus||Cyprus||Limassol||The Harakis Borehole and the Berengaria village pipeline are also retained to supply water.|
|British East Mediterranean Relay Station||British Forces Cyprus||Cyprus||Zygi||Used the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to broadcast BBC World Service programming to Israel and the Arab world.|
|Troodos Leave Camp||British Forces Cyprus||Cyprus||Troodos||1878||The accommodation is used by BFC, visiting troops and youth services in support of adventurous training. Site also contains married-quarters, NAAFI and Works Unit. Contiguous with RAF Troodos.|
|RAF Nicosia and Camps||British Forces Cyprus||Cyprus||Nicosia||Not currently in use because it lies in the UN Buffer Zone between Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus and the Republic of Cyprus.|
|RAF Mt Olympus Radar Station||British Forces Cyprus||Cyprus||Troodos||A British Longrange Radar Station operating on Mt Olympus' Peak.|
|RAF Troodos||British Forces Cyprus||Cyprus||Nicosia||1878||A remote Signals Station.|
|Kissousa Headwaters, Reservoir and Pumping Station||British Forces Cyprus||Cyprus||Limassol||A secure water supply for the Akrioti Sovereign Base Area|
Three retained Military facilities are located within the territory of Northern Cyprus. They are not currently in use by British Forces Cyprus because the UK does not acknowledge the Government of Northern Cyprus.
|Famagusta Joint Services Port Utility||British Forces Cyprus||Northern Cyprus||Famagusta||Lies in Northern Cyprus and therefore not currently in use.|
|Famagusta Family Shop and NAAFI HQ||British Forces Cyprus||Northern Cyprus||Famagusta||Lies in Northern Cyprus and therefore not currently in use.|
|Famagusta NAAFI Transport Yard||British Forces Cyprus||Northern Cyprus||Famagusta||Lies in Northern Cyprus and therefore not currently in use.|
The two British enclaves in the Republic of Cyprus, act as platforms for the projection of British military assets in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.The enclaves serve as centres for regional communications monitoring from the eastern Mediterranean through the Middle East to Iran. Facilities within the retained areas also support British military activities on retained sites in the Republic of Cyprus and provide unique training opportunities.
Western Sovereign Base Area
|Episkopi Cantonment||British Forces Cyprus||Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia||Western Sovereign Base Area||1960||Home to HQ British Forces Cyprus|
|Paramali North and South Quarters||British Forces Cyprus||Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia||Western Sovereign Base Area||1960|
|RAF Akrotiri||British Forces Cyprus||Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia||Western Sovereign Base Area||1960||The Largest Royal Air Force Station outside the UK.|
Eastern Sovereign Base Area
|Alexander Barracks||British Forces Cyprus||Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia||Eastern Sovereign Base Area||1960|
|Ayios Nikolaos Station||British Forces Cyprus||Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia||Eastern Sovereign Base Area||1960||The Joint Service Signal Unit (JSSU). JSSU is a static communications organisation maintaining secure links from Cyprus to the rest of the world. The station is a significant centre for GCHQ collection of signals data and intelligence from the Eastern Mediterranean Region and Middle East.|
|Dhekelia Airfield||British Forces Cyprus||Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia||Eastern Sovereign Base Area|
|Dhekelia Cantonment||British Forces Cyprus||Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia||Eastern Sovereign Base Area||1960|
|Nightingale Barracks||British Forces Cyprus||Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia||Eastern Sovereign Base Area|
This is the Operation Telic order of battle, which lists the British forces that took part in Operation Telic, including
RAF Akrotiri is a large Royal Air Force base on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. It is located in the Western Sovereign Base Area, one of two areas which comprise Akrotiri and Dhekelia, a British Overseas Territory, administered as a Sovereign Base Area.
The Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia (SBA) is a British Overseas Territory on the island of Cyprus. The areas, which include British military bases and installations, as well as other land, were retained by the British under the 1960 treaty of independence, signed by the United Kingdom, Greece, Turkey and representatives from the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities, which granted independence to the (then) Crown colony of Cyprus. The territory serves an important role as a station for signals intelligence and provides a vital strategic part of the United Kingdom surveillance-gathering network in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
The 11th Security Force Assistance Brigade is a brigade of the British Army which is intended to train and assist foreign forces. In 2021, under the Future Army changes, the brigade was redesignated, formerly being the 11th Infantry Brigade & HQ South East. Prior to the Army 2020 changes in 2013, the brigade was temporarily activated for deployment to Afghanistan, and before that engaged during the two World Wars.
Cape Zevgari, also known as İkizburun in Turkish, lies within Akrotiri and Dhekelia, a British Overseas Territory on the island of Cyprus, administered as a Sovereign Base Area. It is located in the Western Sovereign Base Area and forms the south-west point of the Akrotiri Peninsula which is the most southerly part of the island. The cape forms the southern end of Episkopi Bay.
Episkopi Cantonment is the capital of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, a British overseas territory on the island of Cyprus, administered as a military base. It is located in the northwestern part of the Western Sovereign Base Area (Akrotiri), one of the two areas which comprise the territory. Although it is not the largest of the British military bases on the island, it is home to both the civilian and military administration headquarters of the Sovereign Base Areas. Episkopi is the current command centre of British Forces Cyprus.
This is the Operation Herrick ground order of battle, which lists any British ground forces that have taken part in the duration of Operation Herrick between 2002 and 2014.
This page lists topics related to Akrotiri and Dhekelia, two British Overseas Territories on the island of Cyprus.
British Forces Aden was the name given to the British Armed Forces stationed in the Aden Protectorate during part of the 20th century. Their purpose was to preserve the security of the Protectorate from both internal threats and external aggression.
The former Royal Air Force Near East Air Force, more simply known as RAF Near East Air Force, was the Command organisation that controlled all Royal Air Force assets in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Air Chief Marshal Sir William Lawrence Mary MacDonald, was a Royal Air Force Officer who served as Commander-in-Chief of the Near East Air Force from 1958 to 1962.
Kendrew Barracks is a British Army barracks located 1.1 miles (1.8 km) north east of Cottesmore, Rutland, England. The barracks opened in 2012 on the site of RAF Cottesmore.
Dhekelia Cantonment is a military base in Akrotiri and Dhekelia, a British Overseas Territory on the island of Cyprus, administered as the Sovereign Base Areas. It is located in the Eastern Sovereign Base Area, one of the two areas which comprise the territory. It is the larger of the British military bases on the island, and it is also the location of Alexander Barracks, which is home to 2nd Battalion, The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment. In autumn 2017 the 2nd Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment deployed to Dhekelia replacing 2nd Battalion, The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment.
The structure of the British Army of the United Kingdom (UK) is currently being reorganised to the Future Soldier structure. Due to these reforms taking place gradually, it is likely that some areas will not be fully complete. The British Army is commanded by the Chief of the General Staff (CGS), with Army Headquarters which is located in Andover, Hampshire. Subordinate to that post, there is a Commander Field Army, and a personnel and UK operations command, Home Command.
Same-sex marriage in Akrotiri and Dhekelia has been legal since 3 June 2014. An Order in Council to legalise same-sex marriages was approved by the Privy Council of the United Kingdom on 28 April 2014 and came into effect on 3 June. However, this only applies if one of the parties to the marriage is a member of the British Armed Forces. The order does not apply to the local civil population residing in Akrotiri and Dhekelia as they are governed under the laws of Cyprus. Cyprus has recognised same-sex civil partnerships since 2015 but does not recognise same-sex marriage.
The following is a hierarchical outline for the British Armed Forces at the end of the Cold War. It is intended to convey the connections and relationships between units and formations.
The following is a hierarchical outline for the structure of the British Army in 1989. The most authoritative source for this type of information available is Ministry of Defence, Master Order of Battle, and United Kingdom Land Forces, HQ UKLF, UKLF ORBAT Review Action Plan, HQ UKLF, 1990.
Major-General George "Gus" Brian Sinclair was a British Army officer. After the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Sinclair joined the Royal Engineers in 1948. He served in Korea during the aftermath of the Korean War and was quickly appointed adjutant of his regiment. Sinclair served as adjutant of the British garrison on Kiritimati for the Operation Grapple thermonuclear weapon tests. From 1969 he was Commander Royal Engineers Near East Land Forces, based at the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia and was responsible for recovering buildings from a British training base abandoned in the aftermath of the 1969 Libyan coup d'état.
This is the structure of the British Armed Forces, as of October 2021.