Prince of Wales visits RAF Valley
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales paid a visit to RAF Valley in Anglesey yesterday on the first day of his four-day visit to Wales.
The Prince of Wales arrived by air to take a tour of the base and see his son, Flight Lieutenant William Wales, in his place of work.
After being welcomed by Group Captain Adrian Hill, Station Commander of RAF Valley, Prince Charles, who is the Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Valley, was given an update on RAF Valley matters, after which the Prince set off for the far side of the airfield to see his son, who was on shift as part of C Flight, 22 Squadron.
However, just as the royal entourage departed from station headquarters the scramble bell sounded at C Flight. A hill walker had fallen badly on Cader Idris some 3,000 feet (900m) up in the Welsh mountains.
The RAF Valley duty Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopter and crew were tasked to find and retrieve the casualty and take him to Aberystwyth Hospital for treatment.
With the Prince of Wales only minutes away, the C Flight Commander, Squadron Leader Alex Brassington, took over as the Sea King’s Operational Captain, thereby allowing Flight Lieutenant Wales to remain behind to greet and escort his father on a short private visit.
Wing Commander Mark Dunlop told the media how Flight Lieutenant Wales fulfilled his SAR duties as a recently-qualified Operational Captain.
The benchmark for the award of Operational Captaincy is necessarily set high - everyone hoping to attain this distinction has to meet the required standards so we can deliver a 24-hours-a-day SAR service over every day of the year.
During the 30-minute visit, Flight Lieutenant Wales showed Prince Charles his ‘office’ - namely the pilot’s cockpit of another Sea King helicopter. He also learned all about RAF Valley’s area of Search and Rescue responsibility before spending some private time alone with his son.