On the 10th September 2014, HRH The Duke of York visited HMS Gannet in Prestwick to meet the ship’s company. During his own naval career, The Duke was a Royal Navy Sea King Pilot, experiencing frontline action during the Falklands Conflict in 1982. Today, HRH acts as Commodore-in-Chief of the Fleet Air Arm.
The Duke was greeted on arrival in Prestwick by the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Charles Fuller, before being introduced to unit staff, including meteorologists, engineers, air crew and support personnel. Speaking after the visit, Charles Fuller commented: “It has been an honour to have been able to welcome His Royal Highness The Duke of York to HMS Gannet. It was a pleasure to be able to talk to him about how we operate here, saving lives in Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland.”
HRH presented the Certificate of Competency to Lieutenant Mark Rose, a search and rescue pilot within the unit. The certificate marks the completion of flight training and enables Mark to operate as an aircraft commander.
HMS Gannet is the only Royal Navy aviation asset north of Somerset that provides a 24/7 search and rescue service over an operational area of 98,000 miles. As a unit, they were called out 329 times in 2013, saving a total of 327 people.