Cyprus: Episkopi welcomes 2YORKS

The 2nd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment officially took over the role of Episkopi’s Resident Infantry Battalion on November 30 and are ready to get ‘straight down to business’ according to the Commanding Officer. The troops, who have replaced the outgoing 2nd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment, have endured a challenging takeover, which has seen a delayed arrival and multiple COVID tests but according to Lieutenant Colonel James Ashworth, it has not dampened the enthusiasm for the task at hand.

Arriving during a UK and Cyprus lockdown, on the cusp of the Christmas holiday season, is no mean feat, but the CO revealed his soldiers just want to get on with the job they are here to do and enjoy everything Cyprus has to offer.

Lt Col Ashworth said: “An overseas move is challenging enough but the added friction of doing it while under both a UK and Cyprus lockdown has meant extended periods of isolation, multiple COVID tests and a great deal of discipline and patience from the soldiers and families.

“It feels great to be here. Many of 2YORKS were in Cyprus five years ago and have fond memories. Those who haven’t been posted here before have heard what a brilliant place it is and the winter sun is a welcome change to the cold wind and rain that we’ve come from back in Yorkshire.”

But according to the CO, there has been very little time to enjoy the winter sunshine, he continued: “We are already delivering our commitments in Cyprus and will do so over the Christmas period.

“For those not on duty, we’re working hard to get single soldiers back to the UK to their families given most were away last Christmas in Afghanistan. However, we will still mark coming together in Cyprus with a Battalion fun run, promotions parade and Christmas lunch.”

And in discussing life beyond the Christmas period, Lt Col Ashworth said there was much for his troops to look forward to in a highly professional and operationally focussed environment.

He explained: “Everyone has been looking forward to our tour in Cyprus since returning from Afghanistan earlier this year. The change of scenery, professional focus and coming together of the Battalion and its families in a tight knit overseas community is a very special experience that few are lucky enough to experience.

And in looking at what he hopes the Battalion will experience in Cyprus on a personal level, he was equally enthusiastic: “Cyprus was my first married posting with my wife Claire back in 2011 and the island remains just as stunning, or at least what we have seen of it so far under lockdown and I hope the soldiers get the chance to not only develop new capabilities and conduct world class adventurous training but they do it while exploring and enjoying this beautiful island.”