Navy plays key role in starting torch relay

The Russian destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov as seen from HMS Somerset in the Moray Firth

Royal Navy ship shadows a Russian destroyer

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THE ROYAL Navy will be responsible for getting the Olympic flame’s UK torch relay started.

The navy’s search and rescue squadron was picked by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) for the job.

On Friday, May 18 the flame will arrive at Royal Naval air station Culdrose in Cornwall on board a British Airways, gold-liveried aircraft from Athens.

After an overnight stay at the air station, the flame will be flown to Land’s End by 771 Naval Air Squadron in a Sea King helicopter that has been used for many life-saving missions.

On landing, one of the four aircrew will jump out of the aircraft and take the flame to the start of the London 2012 torch relay, so that its journey across the country can begin.

The Olympic flame will then travel 8,000 miles to within 10 miles of 95 per cent of the population.

The flame will come to Portsmouth on July 15 over the water from Gosport and be carried through the dockyard.