Portsmouth’s HMS Diamond puts Royal Navy’s new helicopter through its paces

Shell - James Martin with the piece of shell which hit HMS Baham during the first world war. In the background is a photograph of the ship

THIS WEEK IN 1984: Veteran finds shell that struck his ship in Southsea junk shop

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THE deck of HMS Diamond proved the perfect testing ground for the Royal Navy’s new multi-role Wildcat helicopter.

The Type 45 destroyer from Portsmouth has just completed two weeks of deck landing training drills.

Trainee pilots from 825 squadron had their wits put to the test during a series of day and night landings at sea.

The training also challenged Diamond’s bridge teams, aircraft controllers and flight deck crews.

Aircraft Controller Jonathan Laidlaw, who achieved his first live control certification during the drill, said: ‘The last two weeks have been demanding but a really exciting and rewarding experience.’

HMS Diamond’s second in command, Lieutenant Commander Hugh Botterill, added: ‘Working on board an operational warship does bring pressure, but that often brings the best from people. We’ve risen to the challenge and succeeded.’

The testing took place off the south west coast of the UK.