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HMS Somerset Lynx
203 Flight return to RNAS Yeovilton
Boarding operations
Lieutenant Martin Hales and girlfriend Claire Gould – beard unveiling
Petty Officer Sean Finn and wife Suzi Finn
Leading Hand Daniel Cook, son Matthew Cook and Amy Cotterell

Drug busting Lynx called Doris returns to Yeovilton

Published: 09 Jul 2014

Flight 203 has returned to Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton following a 6 month embarkation in HMS Somerset which saw them assist in discovery of 55 kgs of Heroin, street value £8.5M

Doris is the affectionate name given to The Lynx Mark 8 as she currently the oldest Lynx in the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm! This in no way reflected on her achievement of nearly 200 flying hours in the support of protecting our nations interests in the Gulf. A true reflection on excellent serviceability, flexibility and the efforts and determination of the aircraft engineers!

The Aircrew have now been away from home for 6 months embarked in HMS Somerset a Plymouth-based Type 23 frigate, which has conduct numerous boarding’s in support of the international crack down on drugs headed up by a Command Task Force

HMS Somerset’s crew found the dhow – a type of vessel common to the Middle East and Indian Ocean – during an operation for the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) counter-terrorism Combined Task Force (CTF) 150.

203 Flight Lynx helicopter was launched from HMS Somerset to intercept the dhow and guide the boarding team to its exact location.

Lieutenant Martin Hales said “it has been good to achieve the interception of drugs during our deployment and demonstrate exactly what we do so well. It lifted spirits amongst the crew during our long deployment.” Sporting a full beard the like of which Claire Gould his girlfriend had not seen him wear before Claire said “it’s great to have him home however the beard will not be staying!”

Once on board, the Royal Navy team worked tirelessly to find the contraband’s hiding place, stashed under a false deck. The drugs were then brought on board HMS Somerset where they were tested for purity before being destroyed.”

The discovery of 55 Kgs of Heroin on one particular dhow was part of a routine surface search on 23rd May 14. This drugs bust not only boosted morale onboard quantify identified the importance of the Royal Naval presence in the region.

Commander Mike Smith, Somerset’s commanding officer, said: “HMS Somerset’s recent success at intercepting a vessel smuggling heroin is a great example of what the Royal Navy does best”.

Combined Task Force 150 is one of three international naval task forces operating under the CMF banner in the Middle East, which aim to counter terrorism and piracy across more than 2.5 million square miles of ocean.

Air Engineering Officer (AEO) for 815 Naval Air Squadron Lt Cdr Colin Maude, welcomed the Flight back into the fold “you have achieved a great deal while out there, great to have you back 203 Flight”


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