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  • sierra leone Operation Gritrock

    Kerry Town, Freetown


    • Operation Gritrock

    Britains response to the West African Ebola 2014 virus outbreak was initially to despatch an Army medical team from 22 Field Hospital, with its protective clothing and CBRN equipment, to Ferry Town at the southern end of the Freetown peninsula in Sierra Leone, to build and staff a 12 bed treatment centre for healthcare workers fighting the disease in country. The British Army 3 Rifles and 1 Armoured Medical Regiment were on the ground, further inland.

    The mission was then expanded with the commitment of RFA Argus (the UKs Primary Casualty Receiving Ship) and a detachment of 539 Assault Squadron, Royal Marines, 820 Naval Air Squadron Merlins and personnel from the FAA Maritime Aviation Support Force to provide an offshore general treatment centre (ie non-Ebola-related cases) for medical staff fighting the outbreak and to transport stores to assist in the building of the first of at least 4 more onshore treatment centres at Freetown, Bo, Makeni, and Port Loko.

    The first UK built Ebola treatment hospital was handed over to Save the Children on 5 Nov and there were c 750 British military personnel in country by then.

    After a 6 month deployment, RFA Argus returned to Mounts Bay, anchoring off Porthleven, where she disembarked the 820 NAS Flight of 3 Merlin HM.2 ZH850, ZH856 and ZH864 on 6 Apr 2015, before entering Falmouth on 7 Apr. The Army team from 34 Field Hospital returned to the UK on 6 Jul.


    Royal Navy Merlin Deliver Aid in Fight Against Ebola, 26-Nov-14 : Royal Navy Merlin helicopters based aboard RFA Argus in Freetown Sierra Leone deliver aid under UN World Food Programme in the ongoing international effort against Ebola


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    DatesRotary Wing Aircraft UnitModels
        17oct14 to 06apr15 UK 820 Squadron Fleet Air Arm EH101

    Not all models shown may have taken part in the Operation

    Individual helicopters

    Model IDs
    AgustaWestland Merlin HM.1 ZH850     ZH856     ZH864    


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    Helicopter Carrier  Argus class   Royal Fleet Auxiliary A135 RFA Argus,

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