Last week may have seen the end of one squadron at RNAS Culdrose but like a phoenix from the ashes a super-squadron has risen to become one of the largest in Royal Navy history.

The Helston naval base now has the biggest Merlin Mark 2 helicopter squadron ever seen, in the form of 814 Squadron, aka the Flying Tigers.

It follows the decommissioning of 829 Squadron, which over the last 14 years has flown from Type 23 Frigates on roles including anti-piracy, anti-submarine warfare, humanitarian aid, search and rescue, counter drugs and maritime security operations.

Members' experience will not go to waste, however, as the aircrew and engineers, along with the aircraft they fly, have joined the existing members of 814 to make sure Culdrose can provide Royal Navy defence now and in the future.

Last Thursday proud members of 829 Squadron took part in a special ceremony to recognise the achievements of the unit and to decommission it.

The last commanding officer of 829 Squadron, Commander Kay Burbidge, told the ceremony: "Today we say thank you and farewell to a squadron, but not the ethos behind our professionalism and dedication. Today’s Fleet Air Arm and tomorrow’s Royal Navy needs your genius and passion, which has been evident through our squadron history to prevail. Your legacy will continue.”

It now leaves two deployable frontline Merlin Squadrons and one training unit at Culdrose, and is the first of several changes being made at the base to help it deliver all that is required of it - including its 820 Squadron being permanently assigned to the 700-strong crew of the new HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier.

Commander Mike Currie, head of the Merlin Helicopter Force at RNAS Culdrose, said: "The Merlin Mk2 is in high demand with a number of strategic tasks to fulfil. Whilst we will continue to deliver to operations across the globe, we must also train and prepare for the future too. We have been looking at how my force is organised to create a squadron structure to not only deliver capability to the new aircraft carrier, but also sustain our current tasking.

"Reviewing and evolving the way we manage our people and aircraft will enable us to deliver the most flexible structures to fully exploit the versatility of this extremely capable aircraft.”

He added that in addition to reorganising personnel and aircraft, there would also be "significant developments" at Culdrose itself, in the form of hangar re-development and other improvements to infrastructure.

The current squadron was the fourth incarnation of a unit that can trace its history back more than 70 years. Having been recommissioned in October 2004, the squadron spent the past 14 years flying the Merlin Mk1 and Mk2 aircraft on operations in areas including the North and South Atlantic, Mediterranean, Baltic, Red and Arabian Seas and the Gulf of Oman.