Ripon sappers take over as UN peacekeepers in Cyprus

31 March 2022

Ripon based 21 Engineer Regiment has officially taken over from 1 Rifles to begin its deployment as part of the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping force in Cyprus.Sappers from the Regiment took up their duties earlier this week (Mon 28th Mar 22) in a ceremony in the country’s capital, Nicosia. Wearing the iconic UN blue beret, they will spend the next 6 months carrying out patrols maintaining the integrity of the Buffer Zone that runs between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

Lieutenant Colonel Perry Bishop, Commanding Officer of 21 Engineer Regiment said:

Peacekeeping poses some unique challenges that I have not experienced elsewhere in my career.

The Regiment’s soldiers understand the importance of this mission, and are eager to put the British Army’s World-Leading training to good effect.

Lt Harris

Known as Operation Tosca by the UK, the UN role requires a different skill set to what the Sappers normally train for. Instead of bridging and demolitions, they have been learning active listening and conflict resolution techniques as part of their pre-deployment training.

Sapper Morgan, who is on his first operational tour:

At the start it was tough getting my head around some of the new skills we’ve had to learn, but it’s all about getting us as prepared as possible for what we might come across when out on patrol.

It’s been great to step outside my comfort zone and be part of a UN mission. All my family back home is all proud of what I’m doing. I think it will be a unique experience and a chance to make a difference.

The deployment has also seen the inclusion of 18 reservists from the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia), an Army Reserve Engineer Regiment. Coming from all walks of life, from project managers to electricians to recruitment consultants, they have taken time out of their civilian careers to mobilise for this operational tour.

Sapper Epton, who is an aircraft technician in his civilian job:

This is completely different to what I normally do, however I think I’ll be able to use my civilian experience to bring a different perspective to the mission,” “I’ve always been interested in joining the Army, but I also really enjoy my civilian career. By joining the Army Reserves I’ve been able to get the best of both worlds.

21 Engineer Regiment has been great, and I’ve managed to integrate quickly into the team.

Spr Epton

Lieutenant Colonel Bishop said:

After our intense training, my Royal Monmouthshire Militia Army Reservists are now indistinguishable from my regular soldiers. Indeed they bring skills, outlooks, and a diversity that acts a force multiplier, and individuals can make unique contributions to our peacekeeping mission. We’re proud to have them as part of our team.

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