William Marks Official End Of Search And Rescue

18 February 2016, 15:24

The Duke of Cambridge has been described as "one of the family" on his return to RAF Valley.

William and Kate have been to a service which offically marked the end of search and rescue operations at the Anglesey base. 

The Cambridges moved to the island after the future commander-in-chief of the armed forces joined C Flight, 22 Squadron in September 2010. 

William served a three-year tour with the Search and Rescue Force (SAR) and during his time qualified as an operational captain taking overall control of the Sea King helicopters. 

The Duke - known as Flight Lieutenant Wales - undertook a total of 156 search and rescue operations, resulting in 149 people being rescued. 

Wing Commander Mark Dunlop, known by the nickname Sparky, was William's squadron commander and he welcomed the Duke's return, describing him as "one of the family''. 

He added: 

"Prince William was a model serviceman, by which I would say he was disciplined, professional, dedicated but also with a human side and was able to get on well with anyone, which is a neat trick. 

"We just don't have room for passengers aboard these aircraft, in the sense if you're part of the operating crew you need to be up to doing your job, and William was not only up to doing it, but even more than that. 

"He was Flight Lieutenant Wales, he was a search and rescue captain, he would do all the duties associated with coming on shift. "He would live and work with his crew, go on rescues with his crew, eat with his crew and he was just another one of the guys. 

"He would live and work with his crew, go on rescues with his crew, eat with his crew and he was just another one of the guys."

The service has been privatised and is now operated by civilian company Bristow Helicopters after it was awarded the contract by the Department for Transport in 2013.

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