Navy Looking For Stories From People Rescued By Culdrose Helicopter

dragonfly helicopter culdrose rescue

A Dragonfly helicopter, one of the forerunners of today’s rescue aircraft.

This year is the 60th anniversary of the Culdrose search and rescue unit and the Royal Navy is looking for stories from people who have been rescued by the helicopter over the decades.

Senior Pilot, Adam Jones, says they want to capture the work of the unit for posterity.

And it’s even more important since their work will come to an end in 2016, when private company Bristow take over the search and rescue contract.

Adam says it’s not just the big, high profile stories they’re interested in. They’re keen to hear about the small-scale rescues, like babies being born in the back of the aircraft, that people might not think are particularly important.

They also want to hear from any former crewmembers who live in the islands.

The crew regularly receives letters from people who have been helped and he says it’s nice to hear how people have got on once they leave the helicopter.

Adam says awareness of what Culdrose does is very high in Scilly because we’re so remote.

And the crew always get a warm feeling, he says, as they fly over after a long shout in the Atlantic, knowing how well they’re supported here.

Adam’s most memorable rescue was just last August, when a French, single-handed yachtsman who they were helping, decided to tie the rescue line around himself and jump into the sea in a force nine gale.

They regularly operate in some very challenging conditions, in aircraft that have been in service since 1969, but they do it because something bad has happened and someone needs help, he says.

All the recordings they collect of people’s stories will go into their archive at the Fleet Air Arm Museum.