846 Naval Air Squadron were charged with a rather different task yesterday, helping to preserve one of Britain’s most iconic landmarks.
A Merlin helicopter and its crew lifted nearly forty tons of stone to the top of Glastonbury Tor, to help fight the erosion caused by countless visitors making the pilgrimage to St. Michael’s Tower.
The National Trust Area Ranger called on the Commando Helicopter Force to help move the stones, restoring the Somerset attraction for future enjoyment.
The task was captained by Lt Fred Durrant RN and piloted by Lt Tristan Rowan RN with Aircrew Sgt Graham Smith and Sgt Julian Marchant.
While at the base and on top of the hill, members of the CHF’s Mobile Air Operations Team worked to load and unload the stones.
Lt Cdr Tom Cackett, 846 NAS’s Executive Officer, said that it was a rare privilege to undertake such community-related tasks, especially on such an iconic site.
The Commando Helicopter Force has always had a special place for Glastonbury and its Tor, he said when they fly by for events:
“We always dip a wing in salute.”
He added it was a “real pleasure” to work on a project with the National Trust.
Though a long-term plan is in action to protect the feature, the Trust wants to ensure temporary protective measures in a preservation bid.
The Naval Air Squadrons of CHF are integrated under the command of a Headquarters and were established to operate helicopters afloat or ashore in support of the UK armed forces.
It is a combined Royal Navy and Royal Marine force that flies and specialises in amphibious warfare.