Air base could play host to both princes

PRINCES William and Harry could soon both be winging their way to Suffolk to complete their RAF training, it emerged last night.

Prince William is scheduled to finish his schooling as a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot in September and an announcement is expected later this month about which of the six stations he will be assigned to in his role as a flight lieutenant.

One of those could be Wattisham Airfield, near Stowmarket – which could also be home to his brother Harry. Last month it emerged Prince Harry had impressed during his stint learning to fly Lynx utility and could be put forward for Apache duty.

His training, if he passes exams as expected, would take him first to Middle Wallop, in Hampshire, before progressing to Wattisham Airfield, home to the Army Air Corps Apache fleet.

It means both royals could possibly be based in Suffolk and last night the local community said they would be more than welcome.

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Paul MacDonald, clerk of Wattisham Parish Council, said: “Given this is what they have chosen to do in their careers, I think everyone has been expecting it.

“I see no reason why the village wouldn’t be delighted. I have no doubt they will be given a warm welcome.”

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Babergh district councillor Desmond Keane, who represents Wattisham village, added: “It would be a huge privilege.”

Mid Suffolk district councillor Patricia Godden, whose ward covers the airfield, said: “Obviously we would be very pleased to have them here, however I think the community would want to leave them alone – as I think would be their wish.

“They are two young men who obviously want to do their bit for the country and just want to be treated like normal people.”

Last night a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said Prince William could be stationed at any of the six RAF helicopter search-and-rescue stations, which also include Boulmer in Northumberland, Leconfield in Yorkshire, Chivenor in Devon, Lossiemouth in Moray, Scotland and Valley in Anglesey, Wales.

Last month the MoD said Prince Harry could ultimately fly Apache, Lynx or Gazelle helicopters after completing his training in early summer.

“A decision on which aircraft he may fly will not be made until the operational training phase at the School of Army Aviation, towards the end of the pilots course,” a spokesman said.

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