2 YORKS Takes Over Cyprus Duties From 2 MERCIAN For Two-Year Posting

The two-year posting to Cyprus was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

About 540 soldiers from 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment have officially taken over from 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment in Cyprus.

The two-year posting should have started back in the summer but the coronavirus pandemic delayed the move.

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 situation, the official handover ceremony had to be scaled back with restrictions put in place.

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Grover, Commanding Officer of  2 MERCIAN, told Forces News they "would have liked to do something a bit more formal" for the handover, but it was "simply not possible in the current conditions".

Colonel James Ashworth, Commanding Officer of 2 YORKS, said the battalion "is genuinely excited" to be on the island.

He added: "It's had history here. We were here five years ago and we left with really fond and positive memories and we are delighted to be back."

On the first day of guard duty at Episkopi Garrison, 19-year-old Private Brandon Greenaway from 2 YORKS told Forces News he is glad to finally be in Cyprus.

Speaking about what he wants to achieve during the deployment, he said: "I'm looking to broaden my skills as an infantry soldier, maybe go on a course that will enable me to get promoted to a Lance Corporal."

Private James Whitton on guard duty at RAF Akrotiri 301120 CREDIT BFBS.jpg
Among 2 YORKS' responsibilities in Cyprus is guarding RAF Akrotiri.

Private Iain Harding and his wife Chloe are also on the island, getting used to their new home, preparing for Christmas and getting ready to welcome a new member of the family in February.

Discussing what it feels like for her to relocate to Cyprus, Mrs Harding said it is a "major adjustment with the COVID measures".

"It's a completely different atmosphere out here, but the weather... the weather makes up for it a lot," she added.

Private Nick Liddle and his wife Theresa spent the soldier’s birthday unpacking.

The couple told Forces News when the deployment was delayed, they worried they would not move to Cyprus.

"I think at some point we did worry that we wouldn't get here. Life was on hold for a little bit, we were just sort of waiting around and it's a long time to wait around," Mrs Liddle said.

She added they are "glad" to be on the island now.

As part of their responsibilities in Cyprus, 2 YORKS will also guard the Royal Air Force’s busiest operational air base, RAF Akrotiri.

2 YORKS will remain in Cyprus until the summer of 2022.