Wednesday, 11 Sep 74
I’m having a tough time deciding how to start this letter. It seems that the past two days have held only bad news, so I’d best get it over with.
Last night, as you probably know by now, we had another young soldier shot. They were on the outskirts of Nicosia in a ¾ ton truck and took a wrong branch at a traffic circle. They were approaching a Greek road block which has never been a problem. But before reaching the block, they realized they were going the wrong way, turned around and as they drove away, 7 shots were fired at them, one going into the cab. It is a stupid episode, completely inexplicable as we approach (and normally go through) both Turk and Greek roadblocks. I guess it would be easy to say that I’m in no danger, but careful though I might be, I doubt that anyone could have expected a thing like this. Believe me, darling, I am extremely cautious, informing everyone where I am going and when.
Also, today we were informed by Ottawa that our rotation date had been moved back to 1 December. Even Col. Lessard is livid and Col Beattie is leaving on Saturday to tell Ottawa what we feel. The 1 CDO guys are demoralized after working 7 days a week since July, through two rounds of fighting and then to be told they must stay 8-9 months instead of 6. One has to wonder about the sanity of our leaders, sometimes (always??)
And finally, there are many indications that the fighting may break out again, this week. We will just pull back into our bunkers and let them go at it – we have no mandate to do anything else, even though the Canadians and British are the only ones who have total respect of both sides. We have stood up to both sides countless times and usually win out. TIME (Sep 2) is a bit melodramatic but it is quite accurate.
I play softball, now, in a regular league. I thought I had broken my wrist in my first game on Monday night but X-Rays showed it was OK. I played again tonight ( we have an ex-American ball diamond with full lights) and it held up pretty good. It is a pleasant diversion.
I received another letter from you written 5 days before the one I got 4 days ago. The mail service is rather confusing. But Thank you nonetheless as a letter means more to me each day than anything. I hope the kids have settled down in Edmonton again. I will enclose two postcards for them. I miss you all, terribly. This foolishness has to stop some time.
We had a funny incident the other day. We were providing an escort for some Greeks to remove government-aid food from a warehouse very near the Green line. I just dropped in to see how it was going when I spotted a driver pilfering some food and locking it up in his tool box. I told their foreman who told me he would report it to the police but the driver realized what was happening and he drove his truck out of my sight, to remove the evidence. So I walked over before he could do this and put my own lock on his tool box. Was he ever upset...he tried to get anyone and everyone to talk me into removing it. He was fired later that day and arrested for stealing. Maj. Zuliani thought it was very funny, as did I.
Last weekend I was given the task of planning the airlift for the regiment for all of 1975. This normally takes a month of work but Ken and I worked round the clock and did a real fine job in under 2 days.
I will go shopping one of these days and send off a parcel to the kids. Not that there is anything unusual about what you can buy here, but there are a couple of big toy stores in Nicosia. I have looked into a suit and can get a real nice tailor made 3 piece flannel for under $80. Since I have already saved that much, I just may get fitted one of these days.
It’s getting late and my eyes are drooping. I plan to take a day off soon and go sailing at Dhakelia where we have special membership in the British club. I love you all and miss you.
All my love,