Hawick private’s UN patrol in Cyprus

Private Dale Henry, Royal Scots Borderers
Private Dale Henry, Royal Scots Borderers

A Hawick soldier sporting the light blue beret of a United Nations peace-keeping force, gets set for patrol on the “green line” dividing the holiday island of Cyprus.

Nineteen-year-old private Dale Henry is with the Royal Scots Borderers, who are part of the British contingent patrolling the buffer zone between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities.

The zone stretches 180 kilometres across the island, varying from the width of an alleyway in parts of Nicosia to a few kilometres in areas of the countryside where the opposing forces stood following a ceasefire just over 40 years ago.

The Borderers have been tasked with patrols which take them to eerie scenes of intimidating watchtowers and barbed wire fences, streets of derelict houses, shops with bushes and even trees growing through the doorways, and glassless windows of the shelled and bullet marked-buildings – a car’s width just separating one side from the other.

The Borderers are midway through a six-month tour of duty on the island.