Outstanding operational effectiveness recognised
First rate operational effectiveness of two Royal Naval Lynx helicopter Flights was recognised on Friday 12 September 2014 with the award of the prestigious Osprey Trophy and the Sopwith Pup Trophy.
The Osprey trophy was awarded to 815 Naval Air Squadron (NAS), 214 Flight, for their achievements whilst operationally embarked in HMS Montrose. Over the past year 214 Flight have successfully undertaken a demanding programme of operational activity with HMS Montrose, including a 7 month Operational deployment.
In Aug 2013, 214 Lynx was required to undertake frequent surface searches in support of operations in the Middle East, operating in conjunction with other armed forces across the region.
In Nov 2013, 214 Flt and HMS Montrose were re-tasked to support OP RECSYR, the multinational UN sanctioned operation to remove Chemical Weapon pre-cursor chemicals from Syria. During this tasking 214 Flight were relied upon to provide a flexible round-the-clock Casualty evacuation, transport and patrol capability for the mobile task group.
214 Flight returned to the UK in March 2014, however in May the Flight were immediately tasked to support an emergent Baltic patrol requirement with HMS Montrose. Through the commitment of all flight members, the aircraft remained available to command when required.
Rear Admiral Matt Parr CB, Commander Operations presented the trophy that is awarded annually to the front-line Lynx Flight that has contributed most to the ethos, reputation and standing of the Lynx Wildcat Maritime Force over the previous year. Rear Admiral Parr said:
“As Head of Operations this is a chance for me to see first hand what you do. The Syrian crisis was a world crisis and the Royal Navy and Fleet Air Arm Contribution has not gone unnoticed. A fantastic advert for what the Royal Navy does and has achieved” he added “this is a chance for me to meet the people at the front line that lift your spirits”.
The Osprey Trophy was commissioned in 2007, in memory of four members of HMS Portland’s Flight who lost their lives in a Lynx helicopter that crashed off the Lizard peninsula in December 2004. The Lynx Wildcat Maritime Force was delighted and honoured to be joined by family members of HMS Portland’s Flight.
Air Engineering Officer (AEO) on 815 NAS Lieutenant Commander (Lt Cdr) Colin Maude said:
“The Osprey Trophy stands for the foremost mark of commitment and operational achievement on 815 NAS acknowledging the sacrifice made by the crew of 229 Flight operating from HMS Portland in December 2004, Over the past year 214 Flight have completed an exceptionally demanding operational programme- facing head-on some of the harshest challenges presented by unpredictable and ever changing global political events”.
The Sopwith Pup Trophy was also awarded on the day. This trophy is awarded annually to the Ship whose flight achieves and maintains the highest degree of Operational Capability over the year from 1 Apr to 31 Mar. The trophy was presented to the Royal Navy in May 1968 by Hawker Siddeley Aviation (now part of BAE Systems) to mark the firm’s long association with the Fleet Air Arm.
For 2014, the Sopwith Pup Trophy was awarded to HMS Daring in acknowledgement of the operational efforts and exceptional aircraft availability achieved by 815 Squadron’s 200 Flight, whilst supporting HMS Daring’s 9-month global deployment in 2013.
Throughout the deployment 200 Flight achieved an exceptional availability rate, the Flight’s Lynx aircraft did not miss a single planned sortie due to hi serviceability. Through proactive maintenance planning, sagely supported by the Flight and Ship’s Command the Aircraft remained available for an unprecedented 9-month period.
HMS DARING was one of the first military units to arrive in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, in November 2013. During their time on station, the Ship’s Lynx and Flight members worked tirelessly to ferry drinking water, food and shelters to those in need of aid; they also supported the International aid effort by providing reconnaissance of the areas damaged by the Typhoon.
Lieutenant (Lt) Amy Gilmore (Observer) and Lt Oliver Brooksbank (Pilot) each received The Admiral Sir Dudley Pound Award. This prize was established in 1955 and made annually to the Pilot and Observer who achieve the greatest success during operational flying training completed during the preceding year. It is awarded in recognition of the highest written and flying grades achieved. Alongside them seemed the perfect opportunity to award Leading Airman (LA) Aircraft Handler (AH) Michael Stalker receiving a Long Service and Good conduct medal after 15 years of exemplary service.
The Order of Service on the day included an Act of Remembrance by RNAS Yeovilton Padre, The Reverend Janice Honey-Morgan, in memory of the Lynx Flight lost in December 2004 and in the presence of family members of those who lost their lives in 2004 off the Lizard peninsula.