Thursday, 22 Aug 1974
Dearest Susan, Tonia and Cameron,
Whoopee...two letters arrived today from you. Tonia’s arrived yesterday, so the mail situation is working but a bit mixed up. Incidentally, you can use these yellow forms and it only costs 8 cents. Glad to hear you are basically all fine and keeping busy in Kelowna.
Life here is hectic for me...I have about the busiest job in the Regiment (what’s now) especially since the “cease-fire”. The problems on the island are fantastic – water shortages, electric lines down everywhere, dying cattle and livestock, thousands of refugees and the UN is expected to co-ordinate much of the reparations, and I do all the co-ordinating. Before the war this job was done part-time by one officer. Now I have Ken Smith, my driver and both padres working for me plus I task at least 10 other people each day. I spend most of my 10-hour days phoning to all sorts of people, taking problems, arranging solutions and providing many, many escorts for Greeks (primarily) who wish to go near Turk-held areas. They are all terrified. I know personally, the District Officer (acting Mayor of Nicosia), the heads of the General Hospital, Water Board, Electricity Authority of Cyprus and the Post-Master General. In fact every time I go to their offices, I get offered Greek coffee, which is terrible. I may die of coffee poisoning. It is fantastically interesting – Ken Smith is having a whale of time leading escorts between the lines with a fleet of armored cars. Today I was held up trying to take Red Cross supplies into a Turkish held town – I even got a ride in a Turk army jeep to visit the Battalion Commander, a full Colonel. Harris, my driver loves it too...all his friends want to come with us in their spare time, as do several of the officers.
But I’d much rather be home, believe me. In the evening, I wander around looking for something to do. I usually watch the movie (good ones – “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” two nights ago), then have a drink in the bar and finally pass out in bed. The weather is hot and muggy and it wears everyone out. We cannot go out at night, as if there were anywhere to go and most of the guys are going mad.
The ”war” was exciting but a bit too close at times, what with the odd stray bullet hitting the Hotel and mortar shells landing just outside, I stayed well protected whenever possible. It has been an amazing experience, to say the least, one that very few pilots in Canada have been through.
If you like, you can always send me TIME after you have finished it. We get only major news here. Also, the football standings now and then. I will write a longer letter one of these days and give you more details. I love you all and miss each of you so very much. Please write often.
All my love,