Pirate FM News

Cornwall Joins Ebola Battle

ebola RFA Argus

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 9:39am 10th October 2014

Drafted in to help stop the spread of ebola: helicopters from RNAS Culdrose.

Three Merlins from the Helston base will be on board Falmouth's RFA Argus when she sails to Sierra Leone.

That could be as soon as this weekend.

The Mark 2s will ferry doctors, experts and aid workers to hard to reach places.

After a meeting of the Government's COBRA emergency committee, chaired by Prime Minister David Cameron, to discuss the worsening virus crisis in Africa, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced that the UK armed forces were ramping up their efforts.

The helicopters and auxiliary ship will be used first and foremost to help medical efforts on land, where Britain's Armed Forces are playing a pivotal role in tackling the crisis.

Mr Fallon said more troops would be dispatched to support engineers, logisticians and planners already on the ground to support the construction of the Kerry Town Ebola Treatment Unit, while additional personnel are being sent to support an Ebola training facility run by the World Health Organisation.

With the commitment of the extra resources, more than 750 British Servicemen and women will be involved in the effort to curb the spread of the disease. Personnel from RNAS Culdrose will be joined on RFA Argus by Royal Marines of 1 Assault Group to provide protection for the ship and the personnel aboard.

Merlin helicopters from RNAS Culdrose  Merlin helicopters from RNAS Culdrose

Captain Mark Garratt, Commanding Officer of Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose said: "Culdrose will embark three Merlin Mark 2 helicopters and 80 personnel from 820 Naval Air Squadron as well as a 50 strong cadre of the Maritime Aviation Support Force on board RFA Argus as she deploys to the West coast of Africa.  

"The inherent flexibility of the Merlin, the Navy's latest Anti-Submarine helicopter, acting in a transport and utility role from afloat, will mean that medical operations ashore can be fully supported. Our people are fully committed to this vital role."

Thanks to her impressive medical facilities - including wards for up to 100 patients, an operating theatre and intensive care/high dependency units - Argus also has the capacity to support medical efforts currently provided by UK personnel ashore in Sierra Leone.

Captain David Eagles is RFA Argus' Commanding Officer.

He said: "The deployment of RFA Argus is a clear sign of the British Government's commitment to the region and will underpin operations ashore.

"We'll be embarking Culdrose-based Merlin helicopters and Royal Marine Commandos before heading down to West Africa."

A soldier from south-east Cornwall is already in Africa. 

At home, Mark Crocker from Menheniot near Liskeard is based with The Royal Engineers.

Now the 41 year old is part of a special team, building a treatment centre in Sierra Leone.

ebola mark crocker

He said: "It's a great opportunity, as the team Warrant Officer, to see the intensity and the impressive work done by the locals here."

Speaking about his first impressions of Sierra Leone, Mark said: "What took us by surprise is how beautiful the countryside is; it is really lovely."

Email Icon

Sign up for exclusive news, competitions and offers.
Proper Local News updates from Pirate FM

Suggested articles

WATCH: Minister makes pledge on pollution in Cornwall

Cornwall News: Plastic waste could be tackled through the tax system

VIDEO: Visit Cornwall stops actively promoting two beaches

Cornwall News: This is amid fears about overcrowding this summer

Trending in Cornwall

VIDEO: Visit Cornwall stops actively promoting two beaches

This is amid fears about overcrowding this summer

Taxi drivers handed licences despite convictions

Cases in Cornwall include drink-driving and speeding

Four rescued as blow-up chair drifts off Cornish coast

A broken down jet-ski was towing the inflatable

WATCH: Dolphins filmed feeding off Newquay

The footage of around 15 is lovely!

WATCH: Minister makes pledge on pollution in Cornwall

Plastic waste could be tackled through the tax system

Another comedian enters the cream tea debate

Sarah Millican does it a VERY different way

Huge spike in demand at Cornwall's biggest hospital

Some staff at A&E are working almost double shifts

Over 1,600 drivers caught speeding in one week

Devon and Cornwall Police launched a summer crackdown

Teenagers cut off by tide at Cornish harbour

The pair were angling at Marazion late on Thursday

10 things you know only if you grew up in Truro

City secrets only true locals get!

More news...

Pirate Extra Pirate 70s Escape LoveCornwall