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Sailors on parade celebrate Culdrose’s successful 70th year

20 December 2017
Personnel from across RNAS Culdrose celebrated the achievements of the Royal Navy’s Cornish Air Station in 2017, at the ‘Ceremonial Station Divisions and Fleet Air Arm Awards’ event.

This year’s event was a particularly special one, held during the 70th anniversary year of RNAS Culdrose, and the centenary of the first ever deck landing.

On the cold December day, hundreds of Sailors from every Squadron and unit based at RNAS Culdrose, proudly lined up in their best ‘Number One’ uniforms in the Hangar of 849 Naval Air Squadron. 

The Captain had ‘mustered the Ship’s company for inspection, and all personnel were required to ensure that their ‘standard of dress was immaculate’.

They were also joined on parade by local Sea Cadets, and some school children from Helston were invited to watch the proceedings too.

As the RNAS Culdrose band played in the background, the Guest of Honour, Head of the Fleet Air Arm Rear Admiral Keith Blount OBE, inspected the Sailors and then presented a number of awards. Then the Sailors marched out of the hangar, saluting the Admiral as they passed the dais.

It is a real thrill to be back at Culdrose, because it feels as if I have come home to the place where my career in aviation started

Rear Admiral Keith Blount OBE, Head of the Fleet Air Arm

Admiral Blount said: “It is a real thrill to be back at Culdrose, because it feels as if I have come home to the place where my career in aviation started. I offer my sincere congratulations to each and every award winner, each one is very deserving. 

“2017 has been an incredible year for the Royal Navy and the Fleet Air Arm. In 1917, Edwin Dunning was the first ever human being to land an aircraft onto a ship at sea – a remarkable achievement.  If it wasn’t for him, none of the carrier aviation that followed would have occurred. 100 years later, this year’s big event has been to see HMS Queen Elizabeth sail for the first time. This is a very good thing for the Fleet Air Arm and for Culdrose.”

“You should all be incredibly proud of what you have achieved this year, from on-going operations in the Gulf, to 849 continuing to achieve in the Middle East. You should reflect on your achievements with pride; from your contribution to help flood victims in Coverack and providing disaster relief the Caribbean, to what was achieved during Exercise Kernow Flag in advancing our understanding of how we will operate the Merlin helicopter on board the new aircraft carriers.” 

“You can look forward to another exciting chapter next year. Thank you for everything that you have achieved in 2017. Remember, you are the men and women of Fleet Air Arm - we are the finest maritime Air Arm anywhere in the world. Be proud of yourselves and each other.”

Top of the list of honours was the Australia Shield, which is presented to the Front Line Squadron achieving the highest degree of Operational Capability. This year, the trophy was awarded to 849 Naval Air Squadron in recognition of the Squadron’s enduring presence in the Middle East.

Individuals were also awarded for their commitment, excellence and professionalism. For example, Lieutenant Commander Richard Lewis of 849 Squadron was given a trophy to recognise his valuable contribution to the development of tactics and training.

Richard has over 35 years of experience in Airborne Early Warning and Airborne Surveillance and Control, and was pivotal in the development of Fleet Air Arm synthetic training.

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