We’re looking forward to what comes up next and being able to commemorate the history of the Flight’s at a celebratory dinner is extra special

Lieutenant Serena Davidson

Commissioned with engineers and aircrew from 857 NAS in February 2015 Palembang has not stood still since. Within months they were conducting a fully embarked work-up on HMS Ocean, mainly involving deck landings and in-flight refuelling training.

Port visits to Sunderland and London followed where they entertained thousands to guided tours around their aircraft. By summer, the Flight was Gulf-bound, spending nearly four month ashore and embarked on RFA Fort Victoria whilst conducting surveillance operations in the region. 

The trip had many highlights which included several port visits to Djibouti.  Although embarked the Flight also organised the first ever ‘flight deck spell out’ on an RFA, commemorate the 70th anniversary of Victory in Japan. 

Since arriving back Palembang Flight has taken time out to visit a restoration project of an old 849 NAS Gannet aircraft (XL500) in Cardiff which is hoped to take to the air this year. More recently they were in Holland taking part in ‘Exercise Skinner’s Gold’, honing their Fighter Control skills with Dutch Air Force F16 jets.

Attending the Palembang dinner as guest of honour was Olympic gold medalist Dame Mary Peters CH, DBE, who holds an honorary rank as Captain in the Royal Navy Reserve. Dame Mary spoke of the honour and privilege it was to attend the celebrations and have the chance to visit 849 NAS at Culdrose.

Serena continues, “Being a small Flight, there is a close bond with everyone. We’re looking forward to what comes up next and being able to commemorate the history of the Flight’s at a celebratory dinner is extra special.”