Corporal Kieran Marshall (23) from Welton is a member of The Royal Lancers who are heading to Cyprus to patrol the buffer zone also known as the “Green Line,” that has divided the Turkish north and the Greek south for over 40 years.
The troops completed their training last week and swapped their regimental berets for the distinctive blue of the United Nations.
The peacekeeping mission is one of the longest running United Nations missions. The British contribution is known as Op TOSCA. Kieran is among 285 members from The Royal Lancers who are deploying. The soldiers will patrol by vehicle, foot or by mountain bike, working to maintain the peace and stability and performing an important liaison role with local people and local authorities.
The buffer zone extends approximately 180km and is divided into three Sectors. The British soldiers will be responsible for the central part of the buffer zone, known as Sector 2, covering the city of Nicosia. All have received a cultural briefing to ensure they are fully aware of the history of the tension between the north and south of the Mediterranean island.
Kieran, who is as a former William Farr School student, said: “I’ve spoken to friends who have been out on Op TOSCA and I’ve also done my own research. “I’m really looking forward to it.”
He continued: “Normally we’d be training on Salisbury Plain and then going to BATUS in Canada to practise our core role of formation reconnaissance so it’s a nice change to be doing something we haven’t done before.”
Whilst deployed, the soldiers will have the opportunity to take part in adventure training. Kieran is hoping to fit in some scuba diving. He said: “I’m quite sporty and I’ll take part in anything. I’ve heard diving is on offer and I’ve never tried that before so I’d like to give it a go.”
Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Searby, said: “For some of the 285 soldiers deploying this will be their first operational tour while others have previously deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The training has included developing skills in negotiation and mediation, observing and reporting and recognising what constitutes a violation of the existing agreements.
“The role will require tact and professionalism and it will be a unique challenge for all involved.”
The Royal Lancers will deploy next month. Their training has been overseen by members of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards who are currently deployed on the island.