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Lee Howard presenting the book to the McClachlan’s, with Lt Paul Smalley and Flt Lt Jon Owen from 77
Marcus McClachlan
Lt Cdr Andy Watts along with some of the mothers and babies who are grateful to 771 NAS
Ella, Marcus and Barney McClachlan with Lanie and Cooper Wood
Ella, Marcus and Barney McClachlan with the Sea King book


Published: 20 Dec 2014

A large number of the residents of St Martin’s in the Isles of Scilly turned out to welcome the crew of a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter which played a significant part in one of their children’s life.


The Search and Rescue aircraft from 771 Naval Air Squadron, based at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose dropped in to present Ella and Barney McLachlan with a copy of a new Sea King book that features their son Marcus. The McLachlans were being transferred from the Islands toTreliskeHospitalnearTruro, when baby Marcus decided to enter the world in the back of a Sea King aboveCornwall.


Lieutenant Paul Smalley was the pilot of the Sea King the night Marcus was born. "It was a particularly dark night and we were grubbing our way up Carrick Roads in very poor visibility. We were at about 200 feet above the surface, just below the clouds when he was born. It's not exactly the time you want a commotion in the back of the aircraft. I could hear what was going on down the back but I was busy focusing on getting to the hospital landing site".


Marcus’ part in all this was minimal and he became one of only a few babies born whilst being transferred to hospital by a Royal Navy Sea King and Ella, Marcus' mum remembers his arrival. "It was a very special moment; I was really thankful that he came out crying straight away and was healthy. They wrapped me up in a nice warm blanket because it was raining, everyone really looked after us".


Assisted by midwife Sue Merritt, baby Marcus was born at 19:24aboard Sea King - XV705 - call sign Rescue 193, to proud parents Ella and Barney, above Malpas inCornwall.


Lt Paul Smalley and Flight Lt Jon Owen, the two pilots flying that night brought the same Sea King XV705 back toSt Martin’s, along with author and photographer Lee Howard for the presentation. The book designed like a car servicing manual, highlights the crucial work of the Search and Rescue force as well as allowing the reader to see some of the behind the scenes views of the Sea King engineering at Culdrose and it’s sister station at Gannet in Scotland.


Ella’s husband Barney says the whole incident was a bit of a blur at the time and he was grateful for the chance to shake the hands of the crew and say thank you. “He was a very special man that night and the book is brilliant, something for Marcus to cherish for the rest of his life. All the crew from the squadron at Culdrose have signed the cover of the book, it really is something special”.


Lee Howard was blown away by the reception on St Martin’s and the level of regard which the islanders hold for 771 Squadron. “Everyone was so welcoming and showed a keen interest in the book. It took me just over a year to put together and it was so nice to meet Marcus and his wonderful family”.


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