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Families in Waiting
Alfie Chandler (3)
Owen Chandler (4), Dad Flight Commander Lieutenant Russ Chandler and Alfie Chandler (3)
Elf, AET Elizabeth McCarthy
Chief Petty Officer Ronnie Ronaldson, wife Karen, Zoe (7) and Sam (10)
Lt Chandler with Sons Owen (4) and Alfie (3)

Back home after seven months

Published: 08 Dec 2014

Helicopter crew arrive back home to be reunited with their families after their 7 month deployment on board HMS Northumberland as part of Operation Kipion

Lynx helicopter flight 215 from 815 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) returned home to an emotional reunion at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton after being embarked in HMS Somerset in the Gulf for 7 Months.

The children could hardly contain their excitement and frantic waving as their Daddies helicopter came into sight on its approach to land at 815 NAS at Yeovilton and as soon as the safety all clear was given by 815’s Commanding Officer, Commander Al Haig and the race was on to get the first hug!

The homecoming was made extra special for one young man, Sam Ronaldson who was also celebrating his tenth birthday on the day and welcoming home his Dad Chief Petty Officer Paul Ronaldson the Flights Senior Maintenance Rating (SMR). Sam said;

“It’s the best birthday and Christmas present I could have”

 Karen Ronaldson, Sam’s Mum and wife of CPO Ronaldson said;

“It has been a really tough 7 months I don’t think Paul realises how much he has been missed and he can now take back responsibility as the homework master!”

The children had an extra special surprise. One of Santa’s helpers turned up to deliver an early Christmas present adding an additional sparkle to an already emotional charged and very happy day.

Claire Farley the partner of Lieutenant (Lt) Andy Latchern said;

“I feel very emotional and have lots of tears while Andy has been away especially on my 40th birthday; it’s great to have him home for Christmas”. 

Lt Andy Latchem said;

“It’s been hard work in very high temperatures but rewarding. It’s great to be home!”

Operation Kipion in the Indian Oceanand Gulf region continues the fight against piracy, narcotics, smuggling, and criminal use of the high seas. Our embarked Lynx from RNAS Yeovilton help ensure the safe flow of trade and oil in the area, providing security at sea and protecting our economy.

Units of the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary have been on patrol in the Gulf since October 1980 and more recently operations have extended further south with the increase in piracy off the Somalia coast. Having warships present in the region is one of the main tools the UK has to show our commitment to this part of the world, protecting our nation’s interests.


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