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Wattisham: Prince Harry to leave Apache helicopter role at Suffolk Army base

PUBLISHED: 17:38 17 January 2014 | UPDATED: 17:38 17 January 2014

Prince Harry during a visit to RAF Honington, near Bury St Edmunds, in Suffolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.

Prince Harry during a visit to RAF Honington, near Bury St Edmunds, in Suffolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.

Archant

Prince Harry is to depart Suffolk for a new role in the military where he will organise major commemorative events.

Prince Harry when he arrived in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, to begin his tour of duty. Prince Harry when he arrived in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, to begin his tour of duty.

The fourth-in-line to the throne has been based at Wattisham Airfield, near Needham Market, since moving there in April 2011.

But now, after completing his Apache helicopter pilot training and serving on the front-line in Afghanistan, the Prince will leave the county.

He is to take up a new role as a Staff Officer at HQ London District which organises ceremonial spectacles like Trooping the Colour and state visits.

Captain Wales, as he is known in the Army, will begin his new job in the next couple of weeks and there is speculation the role based in Horse Guards in central London will allow him to get in involved with the Warrior Games.

Harry flew to America last year to support competitors taking part in the Games, a paralympic style event for injured servicemen and women, and he hopes to help bring the event to the UK.

Kensington Palace said in a statement: “The Prince will take the position of SO3 (Defence Engagement). His responsibilities will include helping to co-ordinate significant projects and commemorative events involving the Army in London. Prince Harry will retain the rank of Captain and be based from Horse Guards, in Central London.

“Prince Harry spent three and a half years in training and operational service with the Apache Force during his attachment to the Army Air Corps.”

The Prince had been attached to 3 Regiment Army Air Corps during his time at Wattisham. Over the course of his 18-month Apache training course he was awarded the prize for best Co-Pilot Gunner. He completed his training in February 2012 in Wattisham after starting the course in Hampshire, in 2010.

Lieutenant Colonel Tom de la Rue, who commanded Harry in the Army Air Corps, said: “Captain Wales has reached the pinnacle of flying excellence as an Apache pilot, particularly in Afghanistan and, in the process, has proved to be a real inspiration to the many Army Air Corps officers and soldiers who have come to know him so well over the last two years.”

Harry toured Afghanistan as an Apache pilot between September 2012 and January 2013, where he worked to provide cover for forces working on the ground.

In July the Prince qualified as an Apache Aircraft Commander.

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