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Published: 16 Dec 2015

It was always going to be a poignant moment when the final members of 771 Naval Air Squadron gathered for a photograph to commemorate the 42 years of continuous UK helicopter Search and Rescue (SAR) responsibility based at RNAS Culdrose. 


It has been a long and, often dangerous, adventure for Squadron personnel.  Each one of the proud and dedicated team, from aircrew to engineers, support staff, contractors and cleaners has significantly contributed to the UK helicopter SAR role.


771 Naval Air Squadron will handover the UK helicopter SAR responsibility on 1st January 2016 to the the UK Maritime Coastguard Agency and Bristow helicopters, finally decommissioning on 23rd March 2016.


The Squadron which first formed on 23rd May 1939 as a trials and evaluation unit, has operated 68 different types of aircraft during its history.  It recently had an opportunity to join up with the Royal Navy Historic Flight that still operates the first aircraft that served on 771, the Fairey Swordfish.


The Commanding Officer of 771 Naval Air Squadron and the 48th to hold that position, Lt Cdr Richard “Dickie” Calhaem said: “I am immensely proud and privileged to command this outstanding Squadron and the people who serve her, upholding the finest traditions of the Fleet Air Arm and the Royal Navy throughout the last year and also those who served  during her illustrious career. I know each and everyone will be delighted to have been a member of this Squadron that forms a small but significant part of the Fleet Air Arm folklore.  The special significance that the famous ‘Ace of Clubs’ helicopters have had to the population of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will not be forgotten for your effort and the innumberable lives saved.  In the words of the 771 Naval Air Squadron motto ‘Non Noblus Solum – Not Unto us Alone’, be proud and pleased for a job, extremely well done!”


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