RNAS Culdrose has waved goodbye to three Royal Navy Sea King helicopters as the aircraft took off for a final flight following almost 50 years of active operation.
The retiring choppers took a farewell fly-past of the Yeovil factory where they were made before heading to HMS Sultan at Gosport in Hampshire where they will await disposal.
The helicopters played a vital role in many operational conflicts, including the Falklands, Iraq, the Balkans, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan. During the past 49 years, the Sea King helicopter has been used for anti-submarine warfare and search-and-rescue missions, carrying Royal Marine Commandos into action while providing airborne early warning and intelligence to the fleet and ground forces.
Helston shows appreciation for close links with RNAS Culdrose as Sea King departs
The Sea Kings will always hold a special place in the hearts of so many, but especially so for the people of Helston. The departure came a week after the town turned out to pay respects to our naval neighbours who celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Parade.
A huge proportion of local residents and businesses have connections with the naval base, and I find it comforting they are close-by. RNAS Culdrose is an important asset for our town and is one of the largest single-site employers in the county with 3,000 personnel and an estimated £100m flowing into the local economy each year.
Opportunities to show our appreciation of what the base brings to the town and the work they carry out on our behalf is important to both sides. I am sure personnel at the base appreciate the support given by residents.
It is a fond farewell to the Sea King, nicknamed baggers, yet they will always be remembered with the fitting tribute of the famous Ace of Clubs on display inside the fence next to the ‘Culdrose roundabout’. The magnificent aircraft serves as permanent reminder of bravery of RNAS Culdrose crews.