French Flyer says Au Revoir
English and French collaboration is alive and well in Helston as Commander Fabrice Dehandschoewercker completes a highly successful tour as the first French Merlin Flight Commander.
The French Naval Attache Captain Yves Le Corre visited RNAS Culdrose recently to say farewell to Commander Fabrice Dehandschoewercker who has completed a highly successful four and a half years operating with the Fleet Air Arm. Commander Dehandschoewercker arrived in Culdrose in April 2008 to convert to the Merlin aircraft, having previously flown the Agusta NH90.
On completion of training he joined 829 Squadron in July 2009. Highlights of his tour included being Flight Commander of the flight embarked on HMS SOMERSET, in which he was involved in anti piracy operations. He also led and co-ordinated a NATO Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) exercise at Hyeres in June 2010, he has successfully fired 8 “Stingray” torpedoes, and he has acted as French liaison officer for 814 Squadron while exercising in the Mediterranean near to French airspace.
Fabrice said: ”I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working with the Royal Navy in a wide range of demanding operational and training flights. I am particularly honoured to have been the first Frenchman to fly a front line Merlin from a Royal Navy ship on operational deployment. I look forward to taking that experience back to France so that our Navies can work together even more closely.”
Married and with children at Helston College and St.Michael’s School, Commander Dehandschoewercker and his family have completely integrated into the local community and will leave behind many friends. His next appointment will be at Hyeres where he will be the executive officer at the Helicopter expertise unit of the French Navy.