Armed Forces Day – Commando style
Merlin Mk3 aircraft from 846 Naval Air Squadron of the Commando Helicopter Force wowed the crowds at the National Armed Forces Day event at Stoke Park, Guildford in June this year.
In front of HRH The Duke of York, The Prime Minister and a huge crowd, the Merlin appeared from behind the trees to pick up troops of the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment at the end of the dynamic display.
Landing in the smoke, the aircraft was momentarily hidden from the crowd as the troops got onboard.
Lt Cdr Alex Hampson from 846 NAS, flying the Merlin, said,
“It was a huge honour to fly in front of the crowds on such an important day for the nations Military; the support from our public was phenomenal. The Merlin is the latest helicopter to join the CHF and one that brings a huge increase in capability for use by our Royal Marines around the globe.”
In addition to the Merlin flying during the event, 846 NAS personnel manned another Merlin Mk3 on the ground for the public to look around and ask questions about its capabilities.
Lt Natalie Grainger from 846 NAS, manning the display, said,
“We had long queues and literally thousands of people looking around the aircraft all day. Everyone has been incredibly positive about the event and I expect that there will be lots of photos appearing in family albums judging by the amount that have been taken!”
Closer to home, Royal Marines from CHF’s Combat Support Squadron, aircrew from CHF HQ and Army Air Corps soldiers from the Aviation Reconnaissance Force, supported the Royal British Legion Armed Forces Day event at the Memorial Hall in Wincanton, Somerset.
The Armed Forces display consisted of three vehicles: A crane from the REME, a communications Landover from the AAC and a BV from the Royal Marine Commandos, in addition a variety of military and flying kit, and equipment was displayed.
WO2 Tim Couzens, 1 Regt AAC, said,
“The local community were very interested in the whole event. It was a fantastic opportunity to show off the Armed Forces to Wincanton. The AAC have had many families move in to the local area, so it was an ideal opportunity to give everyone a good understanding of who we are.”
“I was privileged to speak to some of Wincanton’s veterans; who were particularly interested in the advancements our ration packs have made. The Royal Marines seemed to attract a disproportionate amount of the female population; this was helped by the adjacent stand selling Go Commando calendars!”
“Overall this was an excellent day well worked by the soldiers and well supported by the local population.”