“Now, we landed there to be met with the lads with a bottle of moonshine that they made up in the Troodos Mountains – imagine a quick glug of that after a 6-hours trip! This Customs man standing by seemed really interested in what we were doing, but he was quite friendly. The next thing that was interesting was that we had been given pistols with real bullets to go out there. Now we had been used to flying in exercises with the pistols without bullets, but pistols and bullets – you know this was a bit new! So, we had sort of slugged this moonshine down and we then said: “OK, we need to go to the Armoury to hand the guns in. The conversation went something like this:

“Sorry Sir, the Armoury is full. You’re going to keep them with you.”

“OK, we are going to the bar. We are going to have a few drinks. If we have still got these, somebody’s going to get shot. Probably ourselves! Probably through the foot! We really would like to….”

“I see what you mean, Sir, come this way.”

So we then went and handed the guns in!”

At Akrotiri, the first tasks were to find our domestic accommodation, open up the facilities allocated to the detachment and prepare the aircraft for their intended sorties. On the following morning, the Air Commander (Air Cdr) Cyprus gave a briefing to all deployed aircrew at AHQ Episkopi. While he clearly had a firm grasp on the overall picture, the aircrew were somewhat confused by the various permutations on just who might be shooting at whom, from where and why. Worse still, details of the air scenario, and in particular the air threat, were very sparse. One issue which was very clear, however, and one which would dominate both the planning and the conduct of any operations was Rules of Engagement (ROE). There were four of them, although they would have been better described as ‘Possible Scenarios for Action.’ They were:

ROE 1* Show of Strength.

ROE 2* Reaction to Attack (Bombardment).

ROE 3 Immediate Defence.

ROE 4* Reaction to Attack on Multinational Force.

* Actions 1, 2 and 4 required Ministerial Approval.


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