VIDEO: Frigate (1973)

PHOTEX: Sea Kings in Helmand

Two Royal Navy Sea Kings at Forward Operating Base Sangin in Afghanistan. Photographer: LA(PHOT) Nick Tyron.

Baby born aboard Sea King search-and-rescue helicopter

That’s going to make for some interesting form-filling when he gets older. Place of birth: Sea King helicopter.

Special delivery for Culdrose rescuers as baby is born mid-flight

For only the second time in the Fleet Air Arm’s history a baby was born in the back of a helicopter on a maternity mission.

Marcus Daniel McLachlan was born aboard a 771 NAS Sea King which was ferrying his mum to hospital in Truro from the Scilly Isles.

Special delivery for Culdrose rescuers as baby is born mid-flight.

Meet Marcus Daniel McLachlan, all 5lb 3oz of him, not two days old. Place of Birth: Sea King Rescue 193, two miles southeast of Truro – and 150ft above Cornish soil.

He’s thought to be only the second baby born in a Royal Navy helicopter in more than six decades of rotary wing flight – adding a bit of last-minute excitement to an otherwise fairly routine mission for the rescuers of 771 Naval Air Squadron.

The duty Sea King at the squadron’s base at Culdrose was scrambled just after 5pm on Tuesday to ferry Ella McLachlan, who’d just gone into labour on the tiny island of St Martin’s in the Scillies.

Aboard the Sea King to assist the expectant mother was midwife Sue Merritt from Helston Birthing Centre – which is standard practice for any such sorties.

Having picked up mum and dad Barney from St Martin’s (population 142), the helicopter headed for the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Treliske, near Truro.

“I gave the crew a ‘10 minutes left to run’ heads up so they could prepare for arrival,” said pilot Flt Lt Jon Owen RAF.

“The midwife shouted back that baby was preparing for his own immediate arrival and that we needed to get ready to deliver in the air. I simply looked at the other pilot, Lt Paul Smalley, and we continued to fly as Mother Nature took over.”

Rescue 193’s observer Lt Cdr ‘Chuck’ Norris and pilot Flt Lt Jon Owen in their makeshift maternity ward.

In the back of the helicopter, observer Lt Cdr ‘Chuck’ Norris – who’s trained to deal with a whole range of medical emergencies – prepared for his first birth as he and aircrewman PO Gary Kneesh helped the midwife.

“It’s pretty uncommon to announce to the coastguard that you had launched with seven persons on board, but were preparing to land with eight!” said Chuck.

On arrival mum, dad and baby were quickly whisked away to the Royal Cornwall Hospital. All are doing well after the excitement of the journey.

“We thought we’d have a relaxing day. Then at the end of the afternoon Ella started feeling some cramps,” said Barney, a baker on the small island.

“We went to see the midwife for an examination and she confirmed Ella was in labour and that she needed to call Culdrose to pick us up.

“The Culdrose boys were immense, absolutely phenomenal. At one point they had to shine a light for Sue. They were hugely caring and brilliant. They always deliver and always look after us.”

VIDEO: The Call of Blue Water – CNO SITREP 12 (1976)

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Royal Navy updates for September 2013

‘King of the Junglies’ Sea King ZA 298 immortalised on canvas

Superb painting of a true legend.

If you have an hour to watch ‘The Sea King – Britain’s Flying Past’ then you should do so.

King of the Junglies immortalised on canvas

A recently completed painting of Sea King ZA 298 by accomplished military artist and army veteran Tony Byrne from Bideford in Devon was presented to 845 Naval Air Squadron at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset.

Sea King ZA 298, or King of the Junglies as it is colloquially known is no stranger to the world of media.

It was the central focus of a BBC documentary, The Sea King – Britain’s Flying Past presented by the renowned television correspondent Jon Sergeant.

This particular aircraft, which is still fling today, has seen service in all of the major conflicts since the Falkland’s war and has been hit by enemy fire on a number of occasions.

The most recent was in Afghanistan where it was hit and badly damaged by an RPG round fired by the Taliban.

On completion of the presentation to 845 Squadron’s Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Matthew Punch, Tony explained:

“I approached 845 Squadron some time back to see if they would be happy for me to produce a painting of this iconic aircraft.

“It was a tremendous honour and privilege to be told they would be delighted for me to do so.

“The work took over 3 months to create and was an incredible challenge, especially as it was my first painting of a Junglie Sea King.

“The response to the finished product has been fantastic and at times overwhelming.”

Lt Cdr Punch added:

“In many ways ZA298 epitomises the Junglie Ethos.

“She has travelled the world, been to the frontline of most conflict regions over the past 30 years and, when at home, continued to work tirelessly for training and exercises, all this with a smile on her face. There is good reason she has become known as the King of the Junglies.

“Tony is clearly an extremely talented individual doing excellent work for many service charities. We are pleased that he has captured ZA298 in such impressive fashion. I, and 845 Naval Air Squadron, thank him for his excellent gift.

“The Squadron will be using it as a feature in our future charity auction and expect it to bring in a very good price for a good cause.”

Unlike many artists, Tony has considerable first hand experience of painting military aircraft as he had served with the Army Air Corps working on Scout, Gazelle and Lynx helicopters although he has painted a variety of aircraft from Concorde to the Vulcan bomber.

This painting along with 10 limited edition prints signed by Junglie Aviators will soon be displayed within the Squadron before being sold at auction to support a number of Service charities.

Mr Tony Byrne presenting his painting of Sea King ZA298 to 845 NAS’s Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Matthew Punch.

The Royal Navy RSPT (1987)