Geoff Hazel - Checkpoints

Running time
2 min 34 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


There were three main points. The Ledra Palace crossing point, which is in the centre of Nicosia, a place called the box factory, which used to be an old box factory, and it was now, that stage was a British army base, and that was another major crossing point; and down at the other end in the Swedish little town called Pyla, which was actually inside the buffer zone. And it was a town with both Greek separates and Turkey separates living in it. And that were the three main... And the fourth one was right down on the coast of the Eastern end, Varosha, where you had this, what would've been a magnificent city in its day, the major tourist resort. And the Greeks had evacuated from it back to a point, but the Turks didn't advance.

But it was then said, "No, it can't be touched." And so the patrol through that area, you got the hotels just falling apart. And there was one hotel that was owned by a German company that they got permission to go in every year and renovate, and make sure the building... because they figured they were going to come back at some stage… at Ledra Palace, it was easy, because you had barbed wire leading down, and you had a big fence that you could shut off, a big gate that could be shut off.

So there, if they looked like they're out of hand, you just pull back behind the gate, shut it, and that was it. The box factory... They'd run around you, but you had to be careful, because there mine fields there, plenty of them. But you tend to notice that if they got around you and started running towards the Turks, after a little while, they would slow down and they'd be looking over their shoulders just to say, "Well, when are you going to stop us?" Because the next line was the Turkish army.

And none of them actually wanted to run into the Turkish army. So the ones we had, there were no real problems, because nobody actually tried to get all the way across, which happened a few years later with one of the other groups. But we had a couple of ones where they got a bit nasty at Ledra, and their aim was to try and hurt the UN people. They definitely didn't want to get in amongst the Turks. But second tour the demonstrations would ease a bit.

Was this page helpful?
We can't respond to comments or queries via this form. Please contact us with your query instead.