Major General Rob Thomson was sworn in as the new Sovereign Base Areas Administrator at Flagstaff House in Episkopi on Wednesday morning during an official ceremony.
Maj Gen Thomson, who also assumed the role of Commander British Forces Cyprus this week, is now set to get down to work as head of both the civilian and military elements within the Bases.
The new Administrator, who was based in Paris working as the Defence Attaché before coming to Cyprus, joined the Army in 1989.
His early regimental career took him all over the world, including postings to Kosovo, Afghanistan, Northern Ireland and Bosnia. In 2006, he worked closely with British Forces Cyprus (BFC) when he was based at the UK’s Standing Joint Force Headquarters where he helped in the evacuation of UK citizens from Beirut during Operation Highbrow.
Speaking about his appointment he said: “I am delighted to have been appointed the new Commander British Forces Cyprus and to have been sworn in as the Sovereign Base Area Administrator, which will be a new, exciting and slightly daunting challenge for me.”
He continued: “I absolutely get the importance of British Forces Cyprus to UK Defence and I can’t wait to get started. I am particularly keen to meet everyone in this great team who are playing such a crucial role in giving the SBAs and BFC the outstanding reputation it enjoys throughout Defence.”
“Having spoken to my predecessor and very dear friend of over 30 years, James Illingworth, I am aware of the excellent job our people are doing here in the eastern Mediterranean – military, civil servants, UK Dependants and the locally engaged workforce – and I look forward to working closely with all of them and of course, our colleagues within the Republic of Cyprus.”
Former Administrator and CBF, Maj Gen Illingworth, reflected on what had been a “highly rewarding and challenging” experience as both head of a military and civilian organization.
He said: “The combination of being the CBF and the Administrator was a great challenge and to be able to work at the coalface, dealing with both the military and civilian community, was one he will not forget.
“We have an incredible cross-section of people working within BFC and the SBAs, including military and civilian personnel, which makes it such a unique environment.
“One of the greatest contributors to what we do here and why I have had such a wonderful time, are the LECs, our wonderful Greek and Turkish Cypriot employees, some of whom occupy the most important jobs; we rely on them a great deal.”