British Queen celebrates


The Duke of Cambridge will fly search and rescue helicopter missions in the Falkland Islands next spring, the Ministry of Defence has announced.

William, a Flight Lieutenant with the RAF, will be posted to the remote outcrop in the South Atlantic from February to March for six weeks.

His deployment was announced in the summer but it has taken until now to work out when he could serve on the British overseas territory.

The 30th anniversary of the Falklands War will be commemorated next year and the duke's arrival may inflame relations between the British and Argentine Governments.

President Cristina Kirchner accused David Cameron in the summer of "mediocrity bordering on stupidity" when the PM said the islands should remain a British territory, if that was the wish of its inhabitants. She has insisted Argentina and Britain should negotiate over the South Atlantic islands, over which the two countries fought a 10-week war in 1982.

Based at RAF Valley in Anglesey, north Wales, the Duke of Cambridge qualified as an RAF Search and Rescue Force helicopter co-pilot last September. In recent months he has been intensifying his work with the aim of qualifying for a captaincy.



The experience he will gain in the South Atlantic and the flying hours he will notch up answering emergency call-outs will help him achieve his goal. William's dates have also been chosen to avoid clashing with the Queen's 2012 Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

The MoD said in a statement that William would "complete a routine deployment to the Falkland Islands as part of a crew of four RAF personnel during the period February-March 2012.

"This deployment forms part of a normal squadron crew rotation and will form part of Flt Lt Wales' training and career progression as a Search and Rescue pilot within the RAF."

William will be posted alone, with wife Kate remaining behind at their home at Kensington Palace.


PA, photo by Defence Images