FLYING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS
234 Lynx Flight returned to base having been deployed for 6 months protectingUKterritories during the hurricane season and combating the illegal transportation of narcotics.
Embarked onRFALymeBayfor a 6 month deployment in theCaribbean; protecting UK Overseas territories, The Lynx Helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron has had a very busy time!
In the wake of Tropical Storm Erika – Aid toDominica saw 37 hrs flown over 10 days delivering everything from nappies to emergency medical supplies to remote and isolated villages. The unfortunate timing of the storm hit 48 hrs into the mid-deployment R&R which was immediately cancelled and the flight battled through without a stand down for the rest of the trip.
Lt Oli Brooksbank (Pilot) said;
“The mission was tremendous we did some really good work out there both humanitarian and disaster relief alongside counter narcotics. It’s been long and hard and my return is an extremely happy one as my wife Frankie is expecting our first child on Christmas Day!”
Oli’s wife Frankie Brooksbank added;
“I’m really so glad have to have him back its absolutely perfect timing. Six months is a long time but it’s not been too bad although Oli has a lot of nappy changing ahead of him to make it up to me.”
The Lynx Mk 8 Crew supported aid to theBahamasfollowing Major Hurricane Joaquin. They Delivered aid and evacuated the sick, elderly and very young from flattened villages.
Missionsuccess continued with the pursuit and destruction of drug running speed boats – preventing 2.5 metric tonnes of Cocaine reaching their destination. The cocaine had a value of 53 Million USD (United States Dollars)
Chief Petty Officer Steve Wilson the Senior Maintenance Rating on the Flight was met by wife Catherine and Daughters Natalie (7) and Lauren (14). Catherine Wilson said;
“It’s always exciting waiting for them to get home safe. I have a mixture of feeling nervous and excited. It feels like Christmas Eve, something good is coming.”
Daughter Lauren (14) added;
“I notice the length he’s gone more as I get older, it has seemed a really long time and he has missed our birthdays. Now he’s home it feels Christmassy.”
The agile Lynx was also used to locate and prosecute illegal deforestation in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and dozens of Marijuana plantations in Anguilla, Montserrat, and theBritish Virgin Islands.
Commanding Officer of 825 NAS Commander Phil Richardson welcomed his personnel back to base and said of Lynx Flight 234;
“They have delivered in every respect what was asked of them, they have done a great job, I could not have asked for more”
The aircraft – ZD268 – was brought into service in 1983, and this will be her last deployment – she goes into the Wildcat ‘donor’ programme in January (scrapped and useful parts recycled!). As a testament to the hard work of the engineers, this old lady was kept serviceable throughout our high tempo operations – the engineers often working through the night to continue flying disaster relief sorties by day.
This successful deployment is tribute to the endurance and front line capability of one of the Fleet Air Arms oldest squadrons. In 6 months Lyme Bays Lynx Flight has helped in the wake of tropical storms and hurricanes while fighting the illegal shipping of drugs, protecting our environment while looking after our nation’s interests.
Time for that well earned Christmas leave while not forgetting their colleagues that remain deployed around the globe, far from home continuing the good work that the Royal Navy does 365 days a year.