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Missile hit
● Aircraft handlers secure a Harrier of 800 Naval Air Squadron to
the deck of HMS Illustrious during Exercise Neptune Warrior off
Scotland. See the centre pages for a report and more images.
Picture: SAC Paul Oldfield
847 Lynx
THE offi cial report into the
loss of a Naval Lynx over Basra
12 months ago says there was
nothing its crew could have done
to prevent the crash.
Five people were killed when
the 847 Naval Air Squadron came
down in the heart of the southern
Iraqi city on a Saturday afternoon
in May 2006.
Lt Cdr Darren Chapman –
847’s CO – Wg Cdr John Coxen,
Flt Lt Sarah Mulvihill, Capt
David Dobson and Mne Paul
Collins were killed in the crash
as their helicopter conducted the
second reconnaissance patrol of
the day.
The aircraft exploded in a ball
of fl ames before plummeting on
to the roof of a house. Troops and
crash investigators who entered
Basra to recover the crew’s bodies
and the smashed remains of the
Lynx found themselves in the
middle of a riot.
The Board of Inquiry report
into the tragedy concludes that
the Yeovilton-based Lynx was
shot down by a surface-to-air
missile which struck the aircraft’s
tail pylon, prompting it to hang
loosely and engulfi ng the rest of
the Lynx in a fi reball.
Out of control, the helicopter
plunged on to the roof of a house
and embedded itself in the upper
fl oor of the building, while its
wreckage burned for another 45
Iraqi fi re crews put the blaze
out, but British troops then had
the diffi cult task of removing the
wreckage as quickly as possible to
establish the cause of the crash,
and to remove the bodies for
The report praises an all-night
effort by an 847 NAS ‘downed
bird’ engineering team and Royal
Engineers who cut the remains
of the Lynx into smaller sections
so it could be taken out of the
building. They did so whilst
constantly subjected to sniper
and mortar fi re and bombs being
lobbed at them.
British forces fi nally abandoned
the site the afternoon after the
crash when they could no longer
defend the cordon and were
forced to leave behind some
smaller pieces of wreckage which
were promptly stolen by locals.
The families of the fi ve people
killed have been informed of the
results of the inquiry, which has
made several recommendations,
all of which have been acted upon
by the MOD.
Quorn enjoys
Scilly season
HAVING enjoyed the hospitality
of the people of Melton
Mowbray and mastered the
art of electronic charting,
HMS Quorn returned to front-
line duties to conduct fishery
protection work in the Western
Approaches and Irish Sea.
In their first eight-day
patrol, Quorn’s boarding party
inspected 13 vessels – British,
Irish, Belgian and French
trawlermen – issuing four verbal
warnings and passing details
of one apparent transgression
to fishery experts to investigate
The crew also disposed of
‘A tough job performed magnifi cently’
a bomb a scallop dredger had
hauled in its nets.
Away from fish, the Hunt-
MEN “of the very highest
operating in “bigger and Helmand, Lashkar Gah, and L/Cpl Ford was one of four men in 45
class warship stopped in the
Scilly Isles for a few days’ rest
calibre” received the warmest
better units” thanks to the even provided youngsters Cdo who made the ultimate sacrifi ce
and ‘hands to bathe’.
welcome from family and friends
advice and training his with a playground. in Helmand: also killed in action were
Operational Mentoring and As for the Royals’ front- Mnes Jonathon Wigley, Gary Wright and
The ship’s visit coincided in Arbroath as 45 Commando Liaison Team (or ‘omelette’) line mission, the bravery Jonathan Holland.
with the world-famous gig
returned from six months in
provided. was typifi ed by the rescue Lt Col Dewar hailed 45’s role in
rowing championships.
The minehunting men and
They are also supported mission launched to bring Afghanistan as “a truly signifi cant
by a fully-trained team of back L/Cpl Mathew Ford success” and said that his marines had
women didn’t partake in the
Five hundred Royal Marine of 45 Cdo’s
drivers, mechanics, logistics during a raid on a Taleban “performed magnifi cently”.
sporting event, but they did
total strength of 700 joined 3 Commando
experts and medics. stronghold. He continued: “These men are soldiers
cheer on boats from HMS
Brigade in the troubled Afghan province
“Where there was a Green berets volunteered of the very highest calibre and I am
Raleigh (Jupiter) and Britannia
of Helmand to keep Taleban insurgents
partially-complete brigade to strap themselves to immensely proud of their achievements.
Royal Naval College (Leander)...
in check.
with a crippling AWOL rate, Apache helicopters to fi nd They were given a tough job to do and
admittedly without a great deal
45 divided its energies in Afghanistan
now there is a stable brigade their comrade, who sadly they did it in the fi nest traditions of the
of success.
between training the newly-raised
with growing self-confi dence,” had been fatally wounded Royal Marines.
Raleigh’s gig came in 90th
Afghan National Army and out-and-out
Lt Col Dewar added. during the attack. Under enemy fi re, “Our sympathies, of course, are with
place (out of 103 entrants),
fi ghting with Taleban insurgents.
On a ‘hearts and minds’ level, the they recovered L/Cpl Ford’s body and the families of the fallen, but they died
while BRNC were two
Of the former, 45’s CO Lt Col Duncan
green berets helped to rebuild schools, brought it to safety – a deed which drew bravely and we will always remember
places behind the Torpoint
Dewar said Afghan troops were now
mosques and homes around the capital of worldwide admiration. them.”
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