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The Prince of Wales and The Duchess
of Cornwall

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Prince Harry


Military Career

  • The Duke of Cambridge
  • The Duke of Cambridge
  • The Duke of Cambridge
  • The Duke of Cambridge

The Duke of Cambridge completed seven-and-a-half years of full-time military service. His Royal Highness began his career with the Household Cavalry (Blues and Royals) and later served with The Royal Air Force, with his final posting as an RAF Search and Rescue Pilot. The Duke of Cambridge left operational service in the Armed Forces in September 2013.

Early Military Career

His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge began his military career after passing his Regular Commissions Board (RCB) in October 2005. The RCB enables senior Army assessors to find those best suited for training. The Board is demanding, and consists of a number of tests and tasks designed to assess mental, physical and emotional aptitude.

The Duke then completed a 44-week training course at Sandhurst which is in Camberley, Surrey. During his training, he was known as Officer Cadet Wales.

His Royal Highness graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, known as passing out, on 15th December 2006. He took part in the Sovereign's Parade which was presided over by his grandmother The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh. The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall also attended.

On completing his training, The Duke was commissioned as an officer in the Household Cavalry.  In December 2007, His Royal Highness was promoted to Lieutenant in the Household Cavalry (Blues and Royals).

On 11th April 2008, His Royal Highness received his RAF wings from his father The Prince of Wales at RAF Cranwell after completing an intensive 12 week flying course.

The Duke became the fourth successive generation of the monarchy to become an RAF pilot.

The Duke undertook a 30-hour trip to RAF Detachments in theatre at Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan and Al Udeid, Qatar as the culmination of his attachment to the RAF.

In October 2008, The Queen appointed new Royal Air Force honorary appointments in recognition of the strong links between the Royal Air Force and the Royal Family. The Duke was appointed Honorary Air Commandant of Royal Air Force Coningsby.

Search and Rescue Pilot

The Duke began training to become a Search and Rescue pilot in January 2009.

In January 2010, His Royal Highness successfully completed a 12 month course in advanced helicopter flying training at the Defence Helicopter Flying School based at RAF Shawbury.  Flight Lieutenant Wales completed the flying aspects of the course in December 2009, including around 80 hours of training on the Griffin HT1 helicopter. His training included Advanced Handling; Night Flying; Emergency Handling and Tactical and Formation Flying.

The Duke of Cambridge then undertook the Search and Rescue Conversion Course at RAF Valley in Wales. The Duke first spent up to six weeks on the Search and Rescue Training Unit (SARTU) where he continued to train in the Griffin helicopter. He then continued his training on the Sea King Operational Conversion Unit (SKOCU), where he trained on a mixture of simulators and RAF Sea King helicopters. The course culminated with a series of exercises during the Summer designed to test the full range of the students’ skills.

The Duke of Cambridge joined C Flight, 22 Squadron at RAF Valley in Anglesey in September 2010, as a Search and Rescue pilot. The usual length of time officers serve is 30-36 months after successful completion of training.

In February 2012, Flight Lieutenant Wales began a routine six-week operational deployment in the Falkland Islands. He undertook Search and Rescue Duties as part of a four man crew, providing cover for the aviation assets based on the island as well as offering assistance to shipping vessels and those in need of mountain rescue.

On 7th June 2012 The Duke of Cambridge had qualified as an operational captain within the Search and Rescue Force.

The operational captaincy check involved ground and air based practical tests, spread over a two day period. The tests were a culmination of almost two years of flying experience and study for The Duke of Cambridge.

In September 2013, The Duke of Cambridge left operational service in the Armed Forces.

During his time at RAF Valley, The Duke undertook a total of 156 search and rescue operations, resulting in 149 people being rescued. Since joining the Royal Air Force, The Duke completed over 1,300 flying hours.


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