Farewell to the Sea King 'Junglies'

  • Author: Nichola Winstanley
  • Date: Friday 1st April 2016
Farewell to the Sea King 'Junglies' Farewell to the Sea King 'Junglies' Farewell to the Sea King 'Junglies'

On 21st March staff and Officer Cadets at Britannia Royal Naval College assembled on the parade ground and terrace to give three cheers and raise their caps to a formation of five Sea King Mark 4 helicopters.

The ‘junglies’ as they are affectionally known had taken off from their base at the Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton for a final flypast over the South West as a salute and fond farewell to the people and places they know so well. 

The route took the aircraft over Salisbury, Andover, Portsmouth, the Jurassic Coast and Dartmouth from where the formation flew on to Plymouth and then headed to the north coast of Devon and Somerset before heading south again over Bristol and onto Glastonbury Tor.  They then landed back at Yeovilton, their base for some 37 years.

Currently with 848 Naval Air Squadron and part of the Commando Helicopter Force, the iconic Sea King came out of service on 31 March 2016 following a disbandment parade at RNAS Yeovilton. The aircraft has seen service in most major theatres of operation where British forces have been deployed.  In particular it will be remembered for its work during the Falklands conflict, Sierra Leone, Iraq and latterly Afghanistan. The mighty Sea King will also be remembered by many for its work with the United Nations in Bosnia and its humanitarian support work in the Lebanon, West Africa, the Philippines and the Caribbean.

Although 848 Naval Air Squadron is to disband, the mantle and legacy of the Sea King will be picked up and carried forward by the Merlin, which is already in service with the Commando Helicopter Force.  A Merlin Mark 3 helicopter accompanied today’s flypast.

Lieutenant Tim Curnock, BRNC’s Flight Training Officer, said:  “Having served in the Mark 7 version of the Sea King since 2009, it was a real honour for me to organise BRNC’s salute to the Junglies.  The Sea King has seen service in countless operational theatres over five decades and it was a very nostalgic moment for many of the staff on parade today to be able to wave farewell.  It was particularly good for the BRNC Officer Cadets to see the Merlin Mark 3 fly through after the Sea Kings, as this is the replacement aircraft, which is filling the sizeable shoes left by the retirement of the Sea King Mark 4.  Today was a great occasion which I am sure witnesses will not forget in a hurry.”

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