After the Falklands, the squadron moved to Yeovilton and received Lynx armed with TOW anti-tank missiles – the two would be a mainstay of operations for the next 25 years.

3 BAS became 847 NAS in 1995 – and in that guise enjoyed arguably its finest hour during the 2003 invasion of Iraq when Lynx destroyed more than 40 enemy targets – including heavy armour – around Basra during the battle for Iraq’s second city.

The Gazelle was retired in 2005 and the Lynx followed it in 2013 when 847 became the first squadron in the UK’s armed forces to receive the new battlefield Wildcat.

Around 80 personnel from the squadron’s past and present toasted the centennial milestone at a formal evening in the Fleet Air Arm Museum, where some retired helicopters were on display – providing a talking point for older members of the 3 BAS/847 community to share the odd ‘dit’ with the younger generation of pilots.

Among the doyens of the squadron attending were Tim Donkin – the first Commanding Officer, Major Dave West RM (currently in charge of Clockwork, the annual training exercise in Norway) – the oldest 3 BAS RM pilot ever to have served and Major Peter ‘Nobby’ Clarke, 847’s Executive Officer – last of the 3 BAS RM pilots still serving with the squadron.

Guest speaker was former 847 NAS senior pilot, now Director Carrier Strike, Rear Admiral Matt Briers, who updated his audience on the future of Commando Helicopter Force, to which the squadron belongs, as well as the wider Royal Navy.

RNAS Yeovilton

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