A Royal Navy sailor from Runcorn will join the UK’s latest aircraft carrier after completing the tough training to become an aircraft handler.

Thomas Redican, aged 20, will now go on to serve on the aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales.

He has qualified to become naval airman after intensive training at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose at Helston, Cornwall.

Aircraft handlers have a dangerous job working on exposed flight decks in all weathers to manoeuvre aircraft. They also train in rescue and firefighting in case of emergencies.

Runcorn and Widnes World:

Naval Airman Redican, who is a former pupil of Sandymoor Ormiston Academy and Riverside College, added: “I joined the Royal Navy to get qualifications and travel the world. I want to be the best I can be and make a future for myself. I really enjoyed the rescue and firefighting training.”

A special ceremony was held at the air station on Friday, June 26, where 16 successful students passed into the ranks of the Aircraft Handlers’ Branch to begin their careers on front-line service.

Lieutenant Commander Billy Benton, the commanding officer of the Royal Naval School of Flight Deck Operations, said: “I’d like to congratulate all the men and women of this qualifying course who have shown the determination and qualities to become a naval airman aircraft handler. 

“Many will go on to serve on the flight decks of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth or HMS Prince of Wales. Each also passes into the prestigious Aircraft Handlers’ Branch.

“Although we have been unable to invite the students’ families and friends to witness the parade due to the coronavirus lockdown, I am confident that their nearest and dearest will share my feelings of pride at their success and join me in wishing them the very best in their future careers. Well done all.”