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Lt Cdr Edwin Cooper
01 Flight on HMS Illustrious over Christmas, Lt Cdr Ed Cooper far left
Merlin from 01 Flight delivering Aid to the Philippines Op Patwin
Picking up under slung loads from HMS Illustrious


Published: 03 Mar 2015

A Merlin helicopter Flight Commander from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose has been awarded a Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service (QCVS) for his contribution to Operation Patwin in thePhilippinesin 2013.


Operation Patwin was theUK’s humanitarian mission in thePhilippinesfollowing the devastating effects of Typhoon Haiyan which claimed the lives of at least 6300 people.


Lieutenant Commander Edwin Cooper, who was 01 Flight Commander for 829 Naval Air Squadron serving onboard HMS Illustrious, led a team of engineers and aircrew responsible for maintaining and operating the Flight’s Merlin helicopter. Working to an exceptionally high tempo throughout, they achieved a remarkable flying record of twice the normal rate for any other recentUKoperation and delivered over 103 tonnes of humanitarian aid as well as moving over 500 people during the relief mission.


Part of the Citation for Edwin’s QCVS stated: “Lt Cdr Cooper has achieved something no other Merlin flight has ever done, encapsulating the core ethos of the Fleet Air Arm, delivering operational capability in spades whilst remaining an empathetic and judicious leader of people. Lt Cdr Cooper is an experienced Observer and under his tutelage, 829 NAS 01 Flight was recognised as having achieved and sustained the highest Operational Capability.”


01 Flight of 829 NAS was part of HMS Illustrious’ Air Group, deployed as part of  Cougar 13 operating and exercising in the Mediterranean, Gulf region and the Indian Ocean before  the Ship was re-tasked to provide humanitarian relief in the Philippines.


“It’s a tremendous honour and I’m very proud to be awarded the QCVS”, said Lt Cdr Edwin Cooper. “But in my eyes, this award is for the Flight.  As individuals and as a team, we put in maximum effort to ensure the very capable Merlin was key to helping the people of the Philippines.”


The Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service (QCVS) can be awarded to civilian and military and recognises meritorious service during, or in support of, operations. The holders are entitled to wear the emblem of silver oak leaves.


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