North West Wales

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit RAF Valley, Anglesey

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during the parade Image copyright PA

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have returned to the RAF base where he worked as a search and rescue pilot.

Prince William and Catherine visited RAF Valley on Anglesey to mark the end of RAF Search and Rescue (SAR) Force operations after 75 years.

The duke, who was known as Flt Lt Wales, was based on the island from 2010 to 2013.

A disbandment parade was held to formally commemorate the end of 75 years of service on Thursday.

Image copyright PA
Image copyright Getty Images

The RAF regiment's band played Auld Lang Syne as the standards of the SAR squadrons marched for the last time.

Wing Cdr Mark "Sparky" Dunlop, of 22 Squardon, said the service had enjoyed a "long and glorious history".

"We have been doing this for 75 years and I think the big point about today is the air crew, the engineers and the other support staff that have all worked together to rescue literally tens of thousands of people through the decades."

He said the duke had "good skills" as a pilot, adding he had "earnt his wings" as much as anyone else.

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Media captionWing Cdr Mark "Sparky" Dunlop said the duke was a model serviceman

The duke and duchess will also meet some of those involved in search and rescue operations over the years at a formal reception, with 300 guests present.

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

During his time at RAF Valley, the duke carried out a total of 156 search and rescue operations as an operational captain, resulting in 149 people being rescued.

Image copyright Reuters

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