A farewell soon to our friends at ‘E’ Flight, 202 Squadron, RAF Search and Rescue, RAF Leconfield

Tuesday 31st March 2015, next week sees the stand down of the Sea King SAR helicopter HAR Mk3 equipped SAR flight at the RAF Leconfield enclave, within the Defence School of Mechanised Transport at Normandy Barracks, near Beverley, Humberside.

The familiar bright yellow (somewhat black stained usually by the engine exhaust) Sea King helicopters of ‘E’ Flight, 202 Squadron, RAF Leconfield, are being replaced from Wednesday 1st April 2015 by the brand new Sikorsky S92 HMCG SAR helicopter flight at Humberside International Airport – the first phase of the civilianisation of the UK SAR helicopter provision, taking over the current national RAF / Royal Navy / HMCG SAR helicopter provision.

The Bolton MRT has since its formation, been within the operational area of the RAF SAR Flight provision based out of Leconfield, which for a great many years has operated as ‘E’ Flight of 202 Squadron RAF.

We in Bolton MRT have over this time forged some great training and operational links with Leconfield, our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE for example, remembers his first flight in a SAR helicopter, on an exercise at RAF Leconfield on Saturday 17th March 1984 in a Westland Wessex HAR Mk 2.

Current Call Out list members Gillian Leigh, Diane Blakeley, and Garry all recall the famous – some would say infamous, ‘Hanger parties’ hosted by RAF Leconfield in the late 1980s, the less said the better, so it was not just flying that we remember ‘E’ Flight 202 Squadron by (Memories also of some great and very well organised Emergency Services Awareness Days and Seminars hosted by ‘E’ Flight 202 Squadron RAF Leconfield during the 1990s)

So from all of us at Bolton MRT past and present, to all at ‘E’ Flight 202 Squadron RAF Leconfield, aircrew and ground crew, past and present, thanks for some great support and some great memories from joint training and operations.