Aircrewman killed in the Falklands remembered
Serving and retired Aircrewman from the Jungly world gathered on a chilly spring morning at the Royal Naval Air Station’s Memorial Avenue to pay their respects to Corporal Michael “Doc” Love DSM on the anniversary of his death during the Falklands War.
On the 19th May 1982 when a Sea King Mk 4 of 846 Naval Air Squadron crashed while moving a large group of SAS troops from HMS. Hermes to HMS Intrepid. The Sea King had taken off from Hermes at dusk. The Aircraft was slightly over loaded but because it was short fight the pilot reduced his fuel load to lighten the helicopter. At 300 ft the Sea King started it's decent towards Intrepid. Those on board heard a thump, then another from the engine above them. The Sea King dipped once then dived. Within four seconds it hit the water. Some men were killed instantly and other knocked unconscious in the initial impact. Amazingly 9 men managed to scramble out of the open side door before the helicopter slipped below the waves. One theory is at the Sea King was hit by a Black Browed Albatross which has an eight feet wing span. The SAS lost 18 men, the biggest lost to the regiment since the end of the second world war. Doc Love died in the crash, he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.
Retired Warrant Officer Aircrewman Alf Tupper DSM was serving on 846 NAS during the Falklands said, “It was a sad time when we lost Doc, coming so soon after loosing Ben Casey in another crash. Doc was always full of enthusiasm for the job, he is sorely missed.” The Chairman of the Aircrewman Association, Retired Lieutenant Commander Pete Imrie, also an aircrewman on 846 Sqn during the Falklands War laid a wreath on behalf of all the Aircrewman Association members and all serving Commando Aircrewman.
The short ceremony was also attended by the current generation of Jungly’s who took time out to pay their respects to a fallen comrade. In his memory 848 Naval Air Squadron at RNAS Yeovilton present the “Doc Love Trophy” to the best aircrewman on course. Voted for by the staff aircrewman instructors on the squadron, it exemplifies the student with the best results on course and who embodies the true Jungly aircrewman spirit.