RNAS Prestwick

(HMS Gannet)

A Royal Naval Air Station situated on the northern margin of Prestwick Airport, a half-mile (0.8 km) east of Monkton in South Ayrshire, RNAS Prestwick (also known as HMS Gannet) is responsible for military and civilian search and rescue in Western Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland, together with substantial areas of the Irish Sea and Atlantic Ocean. Chosen for its excellent weather record and good communications, the station was established here in 1971. The name HMS Gannet had previously been used by RNAS Eglinton in Northern Ireland (established 1943).

RNAS Prestwick has hosted three Naval Air Squadrons: 814, 819 and 824. The longest serving of these was 819 squadron, which transferred here from RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall in 1971, but was decommissioned in 2001.

Today, the flight comprises three Sea King helicopters and consists of 15 officers, 11 ratings, 28 civil servants and 50 civilian staff. Its role is varied and includes recovering those lost in the hills, rescuing injured seamen and evacuating medical emergencies from any of the many island communities on Scotland's West coast.

Also located here is the National Sea Cadet Engineering Training Centre (known as TS Fisgard), the lead Sea Cadet engineering school in the UK, dedicated to providing marine engineering courses for cadets and adult instructors from units around the country. The first courses took place in 1973, with the name TS Fisgard adopted in 1998 and a new purpose-built centre opened in 2002.

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