Culdrose Helicopter Visit To St Martin’s Marks Publication Of New Book

The McLachlan family with the two pilots who were flying the Sea King when Marcus was born.

The McLachlan family with the two pilots who were flying the Sea King when Marcus was born.

A large number of St Martin’s residents turned out to welcome the crew of a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter, which landed near the Fire Station yesterday afternoon.

The men from RNAS Culdrose made the trip to mark the publication of a new book documenting the history of the aircraft, which was introduced in Britain in the 1960s.

The book, published by car manual publishers Haines, features a chapter on significant search and rescue events, and incidents in or near Scilly are included.

Lieutenant Commander Andy Watts says that chapter of Lee Howard’s book documents notable missions like the Boscastle flood and the rescue of a Spanish trawler off Scilly.

And it includes details of the birth of St Martin’s baby Marcus McLachlan last year. Ella McLachlan was evacuated to Treliske Hospital on board the Sea King in October 2013 when she went into labour. Marcus was born on board, somewhere over Malpas in Cornwall.

Ella’s husband Barney says the whole incident was a bit of a blur at the time and he was grateful for the chance yesterday to shake the hands of the crew and say thank you.

From Radio Scilly

Barney McLachlan talks to Radio Scilly about the birth of his son Marcus on board the Sea King helicopter last year

He says the work of the crew is amazing and a valuable lifeline to the mainland. It’s important to know we can get off the islands in an emergency, whatever the weather, he says.

Marcus was presented with a copy of book, signed by the crew, as a keepsake for the future.

And Barney says he warned them that Ella is pregnant again and they might be getting another call sometime in April!

Private company Bristow will take on the search and rescue contract from 2016, using a base at Newquay Airport, but Andy says the link between the Royal Navy at Culdrose and the islands won’t end with the new arrangement.

Culdrose isn’t closing down, says Andy, and military personnel will still be there to assist in the event of an emergency, if they’re called upon.

Andy says that the welcome the Royal Navy team received on St Martin’s yesterday was touching. He says islanders brought cups of tea and mince pies for the crew, who showed island schoolchildren around the aircraft.