Merlin aircrew handed their 'wings' in parade at RNAS Culdrose

Two helicopter pilots, two observers and four aircrewmen were officially given their ‘wings’ at a parade at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose.

A small, socially-distanced ceremony was held in the hangar of 824 Naval Air Squadron, the station’s Merlin Mk2 helicopter training squadron.

It was significant moment for the new aircrew, who have each spent between three and five years in training to reach this aviation milestone.   

The successful candidates were lieutenants Matthew Ford, Samuel Cass, Emma Turner and Luke Tupholme and petty officers Oliver Brown, Nathan Allen, Aaron Adams and Lewis Boyd.

They will now go on to serve in the Royal Navy’s frontline helicopter squadrons, many operating from the UK’s new aircraft carriers.

The commanding officer of 824 NAS, Commander James Taylor said: “I’d like to congratulate all of our students on successfully completing their training and receiving their wings. This is the biggest milestone in their careers; the day that you are awarded your wings is a day that every naval aviator will always remember. 

Our graduates now join the Royal Navy’s finest frontline naval air squadrons at a really exciting time to be in the Royal Navy.

Commander James Taylor, Commanding Officer of 824 NAS

“For our graduates this is the culmination of three to five years in training. That’s an impressive period of sustained effort for them but it also required a lot of support from friends and families along the way so I’d like to take the opportunity to thank them.

“Our graduates now join the Royal Navy’s finest frontline naval air squadrons at a really exciting time to be in the Royal Navy. I know they are all desperate to get embarked and do their jobs at sea, on the frontline. I know that they will absolutely love it and wish them every success.”

Guest of honour at the parade was the commanding officer of RNAS Culdrose, Captain Stuart Finn.