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Soldier follows father's foreign footsteps three decades on

A soldier is marking Father’s Day on her first operational tour as part of the United Nations peacekeeping force after her dad served on the same mission in the 1980s.

Lance Corporal Alix Hoyle, of 6 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) Staff and Personnel Support (SPS) Detachment will be thinking of her father from her base in Nicosia, Cyprus, this Sunday.

The UN has had a presence in Cyprus since 1964, when troops were sent to the island in an attempt to keep the peace between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, after inter-communal tensions led to fighting breaking out.

Operation TOSCA, the British contribution to the UN mission, has been ongoing since 1974, the mission to keep the peace and maintain stability along the 180km long Buffer Zone that divides the island in two.

British soldiers are working alongside counterparts from Argentina and Slovakia, patrolling the Buffer Zone and providing a Quick Reaction Force to respond to incidents at short notice.

Alix’s role is Junior Military Personnel Administrator, located in Ledra Palace Hotel as part of the Regimental Headquarters.

Her main duties include the issuing of UN pay to all deployed personnel and organising the post arriving into theatre which is a massive morale boost to the troops.

She is also looking forward to stepping outside of her comfort zone and trying her hand at rock climbing on adventure training in a couple of weeks. 

I am fortunate enough to be confident in my role as Military Personnel Administrator, as it is similar to what I do at home and the opportunity to serve abroad and with new colleagues was too good to turn down.” LCpl Alix Hoyle

Her dad, David, was deployed on Op TOSCA from June to December 1987 as part of B Squadron 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards, spending the first three months in Nicosia.

His duties included driving his fellow soldiers to observation posts and guard duties, and to this day he still remembers the 40 degree-plus heat, something that Alix will soon be experiencing with summer on the horizon.

This Father’s Day, their shared experience will add to their bond, despite the distance between them.

Alix, from Wakefield, said: “Although I knew my father had been employed in the military, I had no idea I would be serving in the same place as he did more than 30 years later.

“This experience has definitely made me feel closer to him even though physically at the moment we are so far apart. I am looking forward to comparing medals when I return back to the UK.”