British Forces Cyprus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
British Forces Cyprus
The British Tri-Service badge
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom Royal Navy
British Army Flag British Army
Royal Air Force Ensign Royal Air Force
Part of British Armed Forces, UK Ministry of Defence
CBF (Commander British Forces Cyprus) Major General Richard J Cripwell
DCBF (Deputy Commander British Forces Cyprus) Air Commodore Andrew Huggett
UK Sovereign Base Areas (pink)

British Forces Cyprus (BFC) is the name given to the British Armed Forces stationed in the UK sovereign base areas of Dhekelia and Akrotiri on the island 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. At present, there are approximately 3,500 personnel serving in Cyprus.


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 following year the British Forces Near East organization was created, the command of which was then held concurrently with that of the post of Administrator.[1] 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.


Episkopi is the current command center of British Forces Cyprus. The commander of the Sovereign Base Areas/British Forces Cyprus (CBF) is a two-star appointment, alternating every three years between the Army and the RAF. Consequently, the Deputy British Forces Cyprus (DBFC) is a one-star appointment from the opposite service of the commander.

The current CBF is Major-General Richard J. Cripwell and the DCBF is Air Commodore Andrew Huggett. Episkopi Cantonment is home to the Sovereign Base Areas Administration, the civilian authority in the territory.

Force structure[edit]

Within British Forces Cyprus are a number of permanently based units; however, the large proportion of British forces in Cyprus are on operational tours:


Cyprus was the last location in which the Royal Armoured Corps used FV601 Alvis Saladin, Ferret armoured car and Alvis Saracen armoured vehicles, long after they had fallen out of use by the regular Army. They were still being used by the Cyprus Armoured Squadron well into the mid 1980s. An even stranger situation developed when the resident Royal Air Force Regiment Squadron was equipped with FV101 Scorpion and FV103 Spartan CVRT at RAF Akrotiri for airfield defence; this meant that the RAF had better armoured vehicles than resident Army units. The last British Army unit to train soldiers in the use of the Ferret was 1st Bn Royal Irish Regiment at Episkopi during 1992; it was finally withdrawn in 1994, being replaced by Saxon APC.


In the future, The Queen’s and King’s Divisions will continue to move battalions through Cyprus every 3 years. The 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment will be stationed there in 2013 and the 2nd Battalion Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment will rotate into Cyprus in 2014. These are both Foxhound-mounted infantry battalions.[3]


The following officers have been in command of British Forces Cyprus:[4]

Operation TOSCA[edit]

Operation TOSCA is the name given to the British contribution to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). The British Contingent (BRITCON) numbers 278, and consists of three distinct parts:

  • HQ BRITCON - responsible for the administration and support of the British Contingent.
  • Force Military Police Unit- the FMPU is commanded by a major of the Royal Military Police, with seven other members of the RMP as part of the multi-national unit.
  • UN Roulement Regiment - the URR is usually provided by the Royal Artillery or the Royal Logistic Corps and has responsibility for patrolling Sector 2 of the Green Line in Nicosia. Between October 2008 and April 2009, this role was filled by 32 Signal Regiment Group, a composite TA unit. This was the first time a TA unit had been deployed on a UN Peacekeeping mission[21]

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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation - Air Chief Marshal Sir William MacDonald
  2. ^ This unit is a British Armed Forces run Government Communications Headquarters electronic intelligence gathering station. Jeffrey T. Richelson & Desmond Ball, The Ties the Bind: Intelligence Cooperation between the UKUSA Countries, Unwin Hyman, Boston/London and others, 1990, p.194 note 145.
  3. ^
  4. ^[dead link]
  5. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 42117. p. 5605. 12 August 1960. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
  6. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 42732. p. 5727. 13 July 1962. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
  7. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 43447. p. 8212. 25 September 1964. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
  8. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 44177. p. 12577. 18 November 1966. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
  9. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 44841. p. 4723. 6 May 1969. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
  10. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 45143. p. 7479. 3 July 1970. Retrieved 2010-02-02.
  11. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 46029. p. 8291. 17 July 1973. Retrieved 2010-02-02.
  12. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 46868. p. 5059. 5 September 1976. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
  13. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 47533. p. 5895. 15 May 1978. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
  14. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 49314. p. 4951. 11 April 1983. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
  15. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 50301. p. 15019. 28 October 1985. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
  16. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 51316. p. 4947. 25 April 1988. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
  17. ^ V: MINISTRY OF DEFENCE AND TRI-SERVICE SENIOR APPOINTMENTS : Cyprus, Commander, British Forces. page 31. Retrieved 2011-12-28.
  18. ^ {07} New commander for British Bases. Cyprus Mail. 15 January 1998. Hellenic Resources Network. Retrieved 2011-12-28.
  19. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 58857. p. 16154. 21 October 2008. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
  20. ^ Commands - Med/Mid East_P
  21. ^ Cyprus operation is TA's first ever UN mission[dead link] - MOD News, 23/01/09

External links[edit]