Bill's Cyprus

 

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In 1951 when I was 8, we moved to the Island of Cyprus from Canada in what was to become a great adventure and very significant point in my life. I have such fond memories of the people and the country, in spite of all the turmoil we experienced and that which followed after we left in 1956.

My father, Ed Featherstone had taken a contract with Cyprus Mines Corporation, (CMC) as the Electrical Superintendent. CMC was an American cooper mine and smelting facility that had been in Cyprus at that time for the last 30 years. Seven months after my father moved to Cyprus, Merle and I followed. We lived in a small company compound in a side by side house near the village of Xeros, which was on the North coast in the middle of Morphou Bay. Our house and compound was separated from the village by a small forest, a dried up river bed and short road. It was about 0.5 km to the main road into the village. These two Google Earth images that follow show where we lived.

Click on either image for a larger view.

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Our next door neighbors were the Marr's. I believe they later had a new baby. The unit across from us in the front was the Shanko's, they had no children. Next to them was the Wilson's and they had a boy a few years younger then me, Robert. Just across the parking lot and garage area was a single house and the Sleap's lived there. Their son Peter and I became very close friends. I have recently made contact with Peter, who is now a doctor living in England with his wife and two daughters. The other closest company housing area was on the other side of Xeros, called Karavostasi. There were about 12-15 other overseas families living there. In 1955, the 1st Battalion Gordon Highlander opened a camp in the forest area around our housing complex. EOKA and the Enosis movement was in full swing by this time. I was home from school at Easter in 1956, when Theodore Bogdanovic, (CMC security) was gunned down in the village, about 0.5 km from our home. He had dog kennels in the small forest by our place and used to let us help him feed his dogs. That incident and the fact our school in Nicosia had been bombed twice, pretty much made my Dad's mind up ....we were leaving.

The CMC main office and other facilities where located South towards the Troodos mountain area, a small town about 10 km away called Skouriotissa. This is where I went to a company school, until 1953. In 1954 I started school at The Junior School in Nicosia. Peter Sleap had started there that year also. The next year, Tom Holland from Karavostasi joined Peter and I. In April 1956 my brother Craig Featherstone was born at the CMC hospital in Pendayia, about 2-3 km from Xeros and also home of the CMC golf course and it's oil and sand "greens"or "browns" as they are sometimes called. Still a very nice course as I understand from their web site.

 Click on either image for larger view.

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Some of the names of teachers and students from the Junior School in Nicosia that I've found in my files are: Geoffrey Stone, (teacher); Helen F Bevan, (teacher); P.M. Cunningham, (teacher); U.M. Kenny, (teacher); E.H. Echford, (teacher); Margaret E. Crombie, (teacher); Joyce J. Makin, (teacher); D.T. Smith, (teacher); R.Jones, (teacher); Pat Ward; Peter Harrison, (his father was Headmaster); Tom and Timothy Poston, (twins); Nicholas Douglas; John Stevens; Christopher and Michael Stylianides, (twins); Alan J. Lyme; Robert Akehurst; Michael Lewis; A.R. Harris; Morag Dunning; David Macgregor; John Twiss; Peter J. Maclaine.

As I mentioned above, we returned to Canada in the fall of 1956. Peter Sleap went to school in Scotland, Holland's left the next year I think. I lost contact with everyone after that. Soon there was quite a turnover of people as the political and violence situation continued to worsen.

By 1974 CMC had suspended all operations. It's quite depressing to see the environmental impact in the Xeros area since the pullout of CMC. The MacDonalds came back to Canada at some point after us and were living in Calgary, Alberta in the 1970's. Their son, Billy MacDonald was home at that time and we met for the first time in about 20 years. He was quite a bit younger then me and had been flying for Cyprus Airways for a number of years and got out just before he got conscripted into the Greek Airforce during the Turkish - Greek war.

 Most of the photos are my own and from our family collections. I have taken the liberty to include a few other photos taken recently around the old CMC Xeros Yard to give (hopefully) some reference to my own photos. Roger Griffiths, a recent immigrant to Cyprus from the UK and avid railway enthusiast, has given me permission for his photo contribution. A couple of other recent photos are attributed to another avid railway buff, James Waite.

(B.E. (Bill) Featherstone)

An update of some of the people that I've been in touch with through these pages: Fellow CMC'rs, Chris Conner,  Robert Wood,  Lewis Moore, Virginia Jackson, Martin Calhoun,  Peter Sleap, Lynne Gallacher,  Angela Bowie,  Susan Thompson,  Lisa Moore.

Others: John Stevens, Demetrios Kritiotis, Paul Venizelos, Ismet Lokumcu, Rifat Kazma, Phivos Hadjigeorgiou

Click here or top title  for link to photo albums

bfeatherstone@mts.net

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Revised: July 26  , 2016