From Our Archive: Helicopter Search And Rescue 1963
Forget Wildcats, Chinooks or even Sea Kings, back in 1963 when the Royal Air Force commissioned a film about their Search and Rescue Command it was all about the Westland Wessex.
First commissioned into the RAF in 1962 it was quickly to become a stalwart of UK and overseas operations.
Indeed from the early 1960s Wessex helicopters were on permanent standby, responding to emergencies anywhere within 40 miles of the British coastline.
During the day they were to be airborne in just 15 minutes, while at night the response time was increased to within an hour.
Based on the Sikorsky H-34 it flew for a remarkable 41 years and saved hundreds of lives before being retired from service in 2003.
The RAF's Search and Rescue itself closed in October 2015, privatised after 74 years of serving the UK.