845 naval air squadron

On 5 November 1956 the Royal Marines’ 45 Commando performed the world’s first combat helicopter insertion during an amphibious landing as part of Operation Musketeer, during the Suez Crisis, Egypt. It involved 650 marines and 23 tons of equipment being flown in ten Westland Whirlwind Mark 2s of 845 Naval Air Squadron from the deck of HMS Theseus (above), and another six Whirlwinds, six Bristol Sycamore HC.12s and six HC.14s of HMS Ocean’s Joint Experimental Helicopter Unit (JEHU) (Royal Air Force). Fears over vulnerability to ground fire prompted their landing on the beach, where normal landing craft would put them. The nine mile journey was however made infinitely quicker, and this first attempt proved the concept.

Royal Marines from the Commando Mobile Air Operations Team conducting load lifting operations with a SeaKing Mk4 helicopter from 845 Naval Air Squadron during Exercise Pashtun Commando in Jordan.

Royal Naval personnel from 845 Naval Air Squadron normally based at the Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton in Somerset have been deployed to Aqaba, Jordan to conduct Environmental Training (ET) and Pre-Deployment Training (PDT) during Exercise Pashtun Commando 2013

Based at King Hussein International Air Base the training mostly takes place in the Jordanian desert surrounding Aqaba and provides helicopter aircrews and ground crews with essential training in preparation for future operations.

The wreckage of one of two Westland Wessex HU.5 assault helicopters (this one XT464) of 845 Naval Air Squadron operating from RFA Tidespring which crashed in severe weather on 22 April 1982. The two doomed helicopters plus a further Wessex HU.3 from HMS Antrim were evacuating a reconnaissance party of members of 22 Special Air Service Regiment from Fortuna Glacier, South Georgia when an extreme blizzard forced them off. The Wessex HU.3 was able to leave and carried the survivors, a total of sixteen people, to safety.


aka Sea King HC.4

RNAS Yeovilton Air Day - One of the most extensively modified variants of the Westland Sea King was the Westland HC.4 with a capacity for up to 28 fully equipped troops. Several Royal Naval Air Squadrons have operated the Commando variant, such as 845 Naval Air Squadron, 846 Naval Air Squadron and 848 Naval Air Squadron.


Top: The final Royal Navy Sea King HC Mk4 Commando Course, in the front rank, on parade prior to recieving their ‘Wings’ at a ceremony held at 848 Naval Air Squadron RNAS Yeovilton; 2nd row left: A flypast of 848 Naval Air Squadron Sea King Mk4 helicopters over RNAS Yeovilton; right: 848 Naval Air Squadron Sea King Mk4 helicopter role demonstration and Bottom: The Royal Navy Sea King HC Mk4 Commando Course, wearing uniform, with members of the 848 Naval Air Squadron Malaya Association [Pictures: Petty Officer Airman (Photographer) Mez Merrill, Crown copyright]

The final Sea King helicopter course of 848 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) student pilots and aircrewmen from the Royal Navy’s Commando Helicopter Force received their ‘Wings’ this week at a ceremony at RNAS Yeovilton.

848 NAS will now stand down as part of the Fleet Air Arm’s transition process, which sees the introduction of Merlin aircraft from the RAF in late 2014. 

The students have completed a gruelling 8-month course learning to fly and operate the Sea King Commando helicopter - the culmination of 3 years’ of flying training. 

In a ceremony attended by their families and friends, the 8 new naval aviators received their coveted ‘Wings’ badges from Rear Admiral Russ Harding.

A spectacular role demonstration and flypast by three 848 Naval Air Squadron Sea Kings brought the ceremony to a close.

The students now join the operational 845 Naval Air Squadron to complete further training in preparation for deployments abroad.

Young Officers Jump from Westland Sea King HC.4 Helicopter of 845 Naval Air Squadron During Royal Marine Commando Course

Commando trainee young officer (YO) jumps from a Sea King helicopter off the Man o'War Beach, Dorset. The YOs then had to swim 500 meters to the beach before going into the survival phase of the Final Exercise of their Royal Marines Commando course.