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Service aboard HMS Somerset
Keith Robus leads Memorial service
Two minutes silence

HMS Somerset remembers HMS Brilliant's Lynx crash

Published: 27 May 2014

HMS Somerset held a Service of Remembrance for personnel from HMS Brilliant who perished when their Lynx helicopter crashed in Mombasa, Kenya on 14 May 1989.

The ship’s company of HMS Somerset, including the embarked Lynx flight crew, took time to remember those lost from the Type 22 Broadsword-class frigate.  Even a quarter of a century later, the similarities to Somerset’s current operational deployment made the memorial even more poignant. 

Royal Navy Chaplain, Keith Robus, led the Service of Remembrance on the flight deck. The service included a reading by Lieutenant Martin Hales, the Lynx Flight Observer on HMS Somerset, and an observance of two minutes of silence.

HMS Brilliant’s Lynx was flying from the ship en route to Moi International Airport, Mombassa on 14 May 1989 when, 20 miles from its destination, it suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure and crashed, killing the aircrew of two and seven other members of the ship’s company.    

The Lynx was preceding the ship to Mombasa to meet family and friends who had flown from the UK while the Ship was on a stand down period from a patrol in the Gulf. HMS Somerset’s Flight Commander, Lieutenant Adam Rudkin Royal Navy, said: “It is fitting that the next generation of operationally deployed Royal Navy personnel remember this sad incident. HMS Somerset is proud to have commemorated nine of our own and pray for their bereaved families, friends and colleagues.” 

HMS Somerset’s current deployment involves her working in many of the same places in the Gulf as HMS Brilliant was in 1989.  HMS Somerset is undertaking Maritime Security Operations which are designed to actively deter, disrupt and suppress unlawful use of the sea in order to protect global maritime security and secure freedom of navigation for the benefit of all nations. 

The HMS Brilliant Lynx Crash Casualties:   

  • Lieutenant Commander Chris Fessey RN 
  • Lieutenant Jon Williams RN 
  • Chief Petty Officer Simon Banks-Popple 
  • Chief Petty Officer Paul James 
  • Chief Communications Yeoman Mark Potter 
  • Chief Petty Officer Colin Simpson 
  • Leading Seaman Colin Roy 
  • Leading regulator Philip Stevenson 
  • Able Seaman John Savage


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