Wattisham: Prince Harry in Suffolk to continue training
13:59 04 May 2011
JUST a few days after playing the part of best man at one of the world’s most watched weddings, Prince Harry has now started the next stage of his military training at a Suffolk air base.
The Prince, known in the army air corps as Harry Wales, moved to his new home at Wattisham Flying Station yesterday.
The base, near Stowmarket, is home to the Army Air Corps’ Apache attack helicopters.
The Prince already has his wings and blue beret, which he received from his father, Prince Charles, last year, but is now undertaking “conversion to role” training for the Apache, one of the most lethal aircraft ever created.
He can fly the attack helicopter, which has been used in Iraq and Afghanistan, but will now learn how to use it in battle.
"The local people will certainly support him, that is for sure"
Only the most talented trainees – just two per cent of all military pilots - get the chance to fly Apaches.
The 26-year-old Captain will be at Wattisham for eight months before spending time in America where he will practice with live rounds.
And with the world’s media focusing on the young Prince and his newlywed brother, the Wattisham community has welcomed him with open arms.
Jan Wise, owner of The Veggie Red Lion pub and restaurant in nearby Great Bricett, said she would be pleased to welcome the Prince and his family in for lunch.
She said: “It will put us in the spotlight and hopefully it might bring a few more tourists to the area and they might want a vegetarian lunch.
“Prince Charles in particular might like our food – we do try to be as green as possible in every way and he’s very much into that on his duchy estate, so hopefully he would be impressed.”
Paul MacDonald, parish clerk for Wattisham, said he and his colleagues were “delighted” that the Prince had arrived in Suffolk.
He said: “Particularly as the Royal wedding went so well and everybody was very proud of being British.
“We’re delighted that he is here. Everybody is extremely positive about it.
“It will be interesting to see what they do this year at the open day - whether he will be asked to participate.
“The local people will certainly support him, that is for sure, and I don’t think they will play any part in trying to catch him out and will be very protective of him.”
A spokesman for the Prince said he had started his course yesterday while the Ministry of Defence said it could not comment on “individual movements of service personnel”.
An MoD spokesman said: “Prince Harry will now progress to the Apache ‘conversion to role’ course where he will learn to operate the aircraft and its weapons systems in a variety of challenging operational scenarios.
“The Prince will be based at Wattisham Airfield in Suffolk and undertake a section of the training in the United States of America.”