The Royal Navy has shouldered its fair share of the UK Search and Rescue Service, with 771 Naval Air Squadron, from HMS Seahawk near Helston and 819 Naval Air Squadron (since Nov 2001 as HMS Gannet SAR Flight of 771 NAS), from HMS Gannet near Prestwick.
In the past, 705 NAS and 772 NAS also contributed.
At RNAS Culdrose (HMS Seahawk), 771 NAS operated from the west side of the base, near the main road from Helston to The Lizard. Its Sea King SAR helicopters were a welcome sight in the skies over Cornwall and Devon.
What shall we do with D site now that 771 has gone ?
In the rough and in the night time
771's brave boys patrolled,
bringing safety and salvation
to those poor, imperilled souls.
They've done our Search and Rescue
'til January of sixteen.
The job's now gone to Bristows
and they all seem quite keen
to carry forth that blazing torch
(it must be quite a thrill).
Three cheers now for those Bristow crews;
they've got big boots to fill.
And so around our coast they flew
from Penzance to Lundy's Isles:
A final lap of honour, which
brought waves and beaming smiles.
The threshold of Three Six now quiet;
an engine hoist stands lone.
No sounds of tired maintainers
or the whining of those Gnomes.
The hangar's bare, the birds have flown,
no need for Sea King spares
and Westland's icon now has gone
to scrapheaps here and there.
The service lapsed, the crews have gone,
no aircraft for the role.
The training value of these flights
was worth its weight in gold.
We cannot have our Navy
doing jobs that could be paid
for from that Government Department,
that was the Board of Trade.
But Whitehall's full of Knaves and Fools
who've never known the need
to get our shot down aircrew back
from combat zones, at speed.
Let's hope our erstwhile cousins
have Jolly Greens enough to spare,
when hostile acts upon our crews
cause mayhem without care.
What shall we do with D site
now that 771 has gone ?