HMS Argyll’s Wildcat Flight returns to Yeovilton


The unrestrained joy of being reunited with your children… Able Seaman Barry Robinson picks up his son on the standings at Yeovilton after a five-month separation.

Families were reunited as 208 Flight returned home following five months half way around the world supporting HMS Argyll on her Pacific mission.

The Wildcat flew off the frigate ahead of her return to Plymouth tomorrow – no longer required after nearly 200 hours of sorties from Argyll’s flight deck.

The ship herself – involved in a dramatic rescue of the crew of a blazing container ship earlier this week – has been away for nine months.

The flight have worked tirelessly to ensure that we were able to provide maximum output at all times over the past five months and should be proud of what they have achieved.

Commander Jamieson Stride

For the first half of the deployment she was supported by 206 Flight, also from 815 Naval Air Squadron at Yeovilton… before 208 took their place: one Wildcat, ten air and ground crew to fly, maintain and safely operate it.

They found themselves hunting submarines with the US and Japanese navies, supporting boarding operations, providing long-range protection and eyes for Argyll and flying the flag for Britain and her defence industry during port visits and trade events promoting UK industry.

With Argyll sheltering from Storm Gareth in Falmouth Bay and the Wildcat no longer needed, the helicopter made the 120-mile hop up the Channel with some of the ground crew aboard.

Waiting for them in Somerset: fellow squadron personnel, headed by Commanding Officer Commander Jamieson Stride, who said the family members gathered at a blustery Yeovilton could be “rightly proud” of their loved ones’ achievements.

"The deployment has been very successful and the tasking has been varied throughout,” said observer Lieutenant Lee Colthart.

”The flight have worked tirelessly to ensure that we were able to provide maximum output at all times over the past five months and should be proud of what they have achieved.

“They have operated professionally and with pride throughout and exemplify the high standards of frontline 815 Naval Air Squadron crews."