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Claws and effect

702 Naval Air Squadron.

702 is the ‘feeder’ squadron for the front-line maritime Lynx formation, 815 NAS – the largest helicopter squadron in western Europe, which supports operations by RN frigates/ destroyers, plus HMS Endurance. 815’s a hungry beast. Each year

702’s 160 experienced air and ground crew provide the front- line squadron with more than a dozen aircrew and in excess of 100 maintainers. The training unit also provides ‘refresher instruction’ annually for up to 50 WAFUs who’ve spent some time away from the Lynx community. For Lynx newcomers fresh from basic helicopter training at RAF Shawbury,

Aircraft: Westland Lynx HAS3/HMA8 SRU Engines: 2 x 900hp Rolls-Royce GEM turbines Rotor Span: 12.8m (42ft) Length: 13.4m (44ft) Speed: 180kt Crew: one pilot; one observer; one aircrewman Endurance: 320 nautical miles Sensors: SATURN (Second-generation Anti- jam Tactical UHF Radio for NATO) Radio; Successor to IFF; Weapons: 4 x Sea Skua missiles; 2 x Sting Ray torpedoes or Mk 11 Mod 3 depth charge; 2 x 12.7mm machine-gun pods Motto: cave ungues felis – beware the claws of the cat

teams, search and rescue, load lifting, ferrying passengers around, providing the eyes for naval gunfire as well as the traditional roles of maritime interdiction and submarine hunting. That instruction reaches its climax with an intensive training period at sea – typically aboard HMS Ark Royal, Illustrious or Ocean. At the same time, the Lynx ground undergoing

crew are


operational training – which includes going to sea so they can learn how to maintain the helicopter in the confi nes of a warship at sea. Upon passing out of 702, newly-


fastest helicopter. All manner of instruction is required: rapid roping boarding

observer training squadron 750 NAS, there are 12 months of hard graft ahead as they learn how to fly – and fight – the world’s

or from the

IF YOU fl y Lynx at sea – as pilot, observer or aircrewman – the chances are you’ve been through

qualifi ed ground and aircrew will fi nd themselves deploying in small teams as a ship’s fl ight under 815. Typically, a Lynx on deployment is operated by two aircrew (one pilot, one observer) and supported by just seven maintainers and technicians. Besides providing the front-line with men and women, 702 provides the British public with thrills and spills.

The Black Cats (pictured here by

PO(Phot) Paul A’Barrow) are the

RN’s sole helicopter display team. The two Lynx – identical to those in which trainees learn their trade – are crewed by the squadron’s instructors and supported by 702’s maintainers. This year they’re in the skies for 20 air shows (see page 10). The squadron traces its history back to July 1936 and 702 Flight, which fl ew Walrus and Seal aircraft with 2nd Battle Squadron. After a brief dalliance with Swordfish floatplanes, the formation – now a squadron – flew Fairey Seafoxes from armed merchant cruisers during World War 2.

After disbanding in mid-1943, it stood up again towards the war’s end to support the war in the Far East... but arrived in the Pacific three weeks after the Japanese threw in the towel. The next incarnation of the squadron was as the RN’s Jet Evaluation and Training Unit flying Sea Vampires, Meteors and, latterly, Supermarine Attackers, until it was re-badged as 738 NAS in 1952. After a brief reappearance in the

late 50s as a training squadron, the most recent variant of 702 was formed in Yeovilton in 1978. It moved to Portland four years later... then back to Somerset when the Dorset air station closed in 1999.

STROLLING away from the shore at Imbros, Midshipmen George Drewry (right), Wilfrid Malleson (centre) and Greg Russell head for a picnic against a backdrop of warships and troopships. This delightful image from the immense photographic archives of the Imperial War Museum belies the horrors all three went through on the morning of April 25 1915.

The place was Cape Helles, the very tip of the ‘toe’ that was the Gallipoli peninsula.

HEROES OF THE ROYAL NAVY No.74 – The men of V Beach, Cape Helles

With a precarious ‘bridge’ from ship

On paper the plan was simple. Invade Gallipoli, march up the Dardanelles, occupy Constantinople, knock the Ottoman Empire out of the war. Tactics were no less simplistic than strategy.

be driven ashore on the beaches of Gallipoli, barges linked together would form a makeshift pontoon so troops could walk ashore without getting their feet wet.


a converted collier – a very hastily converted collier.

Just a fortnight before the invasion, holes had been cut in the side of her hull and wooden gangways attached; troops would walk down them, then on to the barges and step on to Turkish soil. The barges

remainder not – needed crews. Former merchant sailor George Drewry, just 20, was selected to take charge of the steam hopper.

– one powered, the

offshore than expected. Drewry’s steam barge lost power and also ran aground. With the hopper out of the equation, it fell to human strength and endeavour to haul the lighters ashore. River Clyde’s captain, Cdr Edward Unwin, led by example, jumping into the water with LS William Williams, hauling lines to pull the lighters on to the beach. This they did as the Turks poured

ferocious machine-gun fire down upon the invasion fleet.

Things did not begin auspiciously. The River Clyde ran aground further

At Cape Helles, designated V Beach, task fell

to HMS River Clyde, The invasion fleet would

to shore formed, River Clyde disgorged her troops... who were promptly mown down by Turkish fire. The waters of Cape Helles turned red with blood. William Williams too succumbed to this withering fire. Edward Unwin succumbed to exhaustion and was helped back on to the ship by Drewry, who was now trying to direct the faltering disembarkation. The beach was littered with dead. The sea was littered with dead. The lighters were filled with dead and dying. The enemy fire was constant and punishing. And now to add to the travails of the invaders, the elements were against them: the lighters began to drift in the current.

Again George Drewry tried to keep the craft in line, but the rope he dragged through the water was too short. It’s at this point that Wilfrid St Aubyn Malleson enters the fray. With Drewry struggling and crying for help, the 18-year-old midshipman leapt into the water, swam to the steam barge and began to haul it into line under a hail of fire. Again, the rope was too short, and an exhausted Malleson abandoned the attempt.

For their deeds this bitter day Unwin, Williams (posthumously), Malleson and Drewry earned the Victoria Cross. Unwin served with distinction for the

legendary naval photographer Ernest Brooks) – and 9,999,999 others from a century of war and peace – can be viewed or purchased at www., by emailing, or by phoning 0207 416 5333.


rest of the war in Gallipoli, Africa and South America. Malleson rose to the rank of captain, helping Malta through the Axis blockade a generation later. As for George Drewry, his end was unfitting. Given command of a trawler, he was fatally wounded when tackle from a davit struck him on the head in 1918. ■ THIS image (Q 13406,

taken by

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