Sea King presented to Norwegians in Arctic

A Sea King helicopter that has flown thousands of hours has been unveiled at its final resting spot.

The retired green Mk4 was officially presented to the Norwegians at a ceremony held at Bardufoss air base this week.

The helicopter made its journey from HMS Sultan in Gosport to Norway via sea and road and will now act as a ‘gate guardian’ – a giant statue to welcome visitors to the base.

The Sea King operated in Norway for years as part of Exercise Clockwork, an annual exercise that is this year marking 50 years.

Over the decades, generations of naval aviators and engineers have learned how to maintain and operate helicopters so they can support Royal Marines on the ground.

To celebrate the significant milestone, Commando Helicopter Force donated the retired warbird and it was formally handed over in front of military and civilian dignitaries in a ceremony.

The Sea King being here is a reminder of the relationship between Norway and the UK.

Richard Wood, the British ambassador for Norway

Attending the event, Richard Wood, the British ambassador for Norway, said: “Fifty years after Exercise Clockwork began, Norway remains the best place to conduct severe winter training.

“The reason we carry out this training is because we are committed to our Norway ally and the protection of NATO’s Northern Flank.

“The Sea King being here is a reminder of the relationship between Norway and the UK. It will stand guard over the entrance of this air station. It represents our thanks for Norway’s hospitality, comradeship and close relationship.”

During the ceremony, wreaths were laid at a memorial opposite the Sea King at Bardufoss in a sign of remembrance. There was a parade and the Last Post was played.

Then, those gathered moved to the Sea King for the formal handing over and speeches.

This Mk4 was delivered from Westland in 1985 and saw action in both Gulf War and the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s – it was hit by nine machine-gun rounds while heading for Sarajevo in September 1994, damaging the fuel tanks, tail and main rotor blade.

It remained part of the CHF fleet until 2016 when the Mk4s were retired in favour of the faster, more powerful and more advanced Merlins.