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Cdr John Holroyd, Lt Jonny Balcam  and Lt Cdr Earl Kingston
820 Merlin Mk 2 and RFA Argus
820 NAS in Sierra Leone
Merlin from 820 NAS landing on HMS Illustrious


Published: 18 Mar 2016

Three Royal Navy Officers based at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose inCornwallare putting their ownYorkshireseal of approval on their Merlin Squadron.


The proud Yorkshire trio, Commander John Holroyd (40), Lieutenant Commander Earl Kingston (38) and Lieutenant Jonny Balcam (33) the squadron’s Logistics officer, all hail from Huddersfield in West Yorkshire and discovered their home town connection when Cdr Holroyd, the new Commanding Officer joined 820 Naval Air Squadron in early February.


“We’ve all met up before in the Royal Navy, but not actually in Huddersfield, which is about as ‘Land-locked’ and away from water as you could be, if you don’t count the Canals,” said Lt Cdr Earl Kingston, Senior Pilot of 820 NAS. “We all went to different Schools in the area and have had different career paths so far in the Royal Navy, but Yorkshire roots run deep, even in Cornwall!”


820 NAS are one of the Fleet Air Arm’s frontline Merlin Mk 2 Anti-Submarine helicopter squadrons that are at a high readiness for deployments around the world in support of naval operations. Their aircraft are equipped with some of the most sophisticated sonar equipment in the world, capable of hunting out submarines and monitoring potential aggressors where ever they are. 820 NAS are also well placed and will be the first Squadron to join HMS Queen Elizabeth, the first of the Royal Navy’s new Aircraft Carriers when she begins trials later this year.


“The Royal Navy is not a usual career choice for people from Huddersfield, my career over the past 15 years has been amazing. Everywhere I’ve gone my ‘Huddersfield Giants’ Rugby League top has gone with me,” continued Earl Kingston. “ I’ve worn it in the Gulf, the Falklands, Australia, off the coast of Somalia when we were chasing pirates, I’ve even stood on the Great Wall of China with it on; it’s been all over the world!”


“There’s always a little bit of Huddersfield with me.”


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