UK Royal Navy decommissions HMS Gannet SAR flight

7 February 2016 (Last Updated February 7th, 2016 18:30)

The UK Royal Navy has decommissioned HMS Gannet, an establishment of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm at RNAS Prestwick in Scotland.

HMS Gannet

The UK Royal Navy has decommissioned HMS Gannet, an establishment of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm at RNAS Prestwick in Scotland.

The search-and-rescue (SAR) operation aircraft, along with its crew was relieved of its duty after completing three weeks of final flight around central and western Scotland.

The helicopter handed over its SAR operations to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency contractor, Bristow Helicopters.

Over the years, HMS Gannet has enjoyed immense support the length and breadth of Scotland

This marked the retirement of the service of Gannet as well as its sister unit 771 Naval Air Squadron from Culdrose, which is set to be decommissioned next month.

It had finished its lifesaving mission after serving for 44 years from Prestwick Airport.

The unit's SAR operation within the UK stretched from Ben Nevis in the north, south to the Isle of Man and Lake District, east to Edinburgh, west to Northern Ireland, and a further 200 miles west of Ireland.

HMS Gannet recorded 447 rescues in 2009 and more than 300 rescues in 2015. It reportedly was the busiest unit in the UK from 2005 to 2010.

SAR final commanding officer lieutenant commander Charlie Fuller said: "Over the years, HMS Gannet has enjoyed immense support the length and breadth of Scotland.

"This ceremony is the final piece of a rather emotional farewell jigsaw, with our official decommissioning here today."


Image: The UK Navy personnel during the decommissioning of HMS Gannet. Photo: courtesy of Royal Navy.