Well, the Sea King farewell tour has just flown over Dartmouth. The formation of five Mk4's flew up the Dart (a bit late but we'll let them off!), over the Britannia Royal Naval college and then away to complete the tour over Devon. Sad. All the BRNC cadets were lining the parade ground and gave the flight a fitting send off.
The Sea King helicopter is well known as a search and rescue vehicle, protecting and rescuing people from the sea and other hostile environments, until the duties were transferred to the private sector this year. It has also been a troop carrier for over 36 years, taking the Royal Marines into action and bringing them out again. Today, five Mk4 Sea Kings are carrying out a farewell tour of the south and south west of the country. The tour will take them to venues most associated with the helicopter.
They set off from RNAS Yeovilton, where the Commando Helicopter Force is based, at 08:30. They then flew over Joint Helicopter Command in Andover, Portsmouth Naval Base, RM Poole, Portland CTCRM in Lympstone before reaching us here in Dartmouth and then on to RM Stonehouse, Plymouth Naval Base, HMS Raleigh, 42 Commando in Bickleigh, Okehampton Camp and Commando Logistics Regiment in Chivenor. After refuelling, the fleet will continue at 13.00 to 40 Commando at Norton Manor Camp near Taunton, Charlton Farm Hospice, Abbeywood, Bristol, Glastonbury Tor and Yeovil, returning to RNAS Yeovilton at 14:25.
The end of an era.