WILTSHIRE, Dorset and Hampshire residents waved goodbye to an iconic Royal Navy helicopter that has been a familiar sight in the skies for more than four decades.

The official decommissioning of the Mark 8 Lynx helicopter was marked with a farewell flypast across southern England today (March 17).

And this afternoon four of the aircraft from 815 Naval Air Squadron passed over Middle Wallop and Boscombe Down, on their way back to base at RNAS Yeovilton.

The helicopter has been mainstay of RN destroyer and frigate operations around the globe but retires at the end of the month after 41 years’ service.

The Lynx will be replaced by the more powerful Wildcat over the coming months.

Commander Phil Richardson, who is the commanding officer at RNAS Yeovilton, has paid tribute to the aircraft.

He said: "They have operated in every environment, from the oppressive mid-summer heat of the Arabian Gulf to the harsh conditions of the South Atlantic.

"Their success and experience will be transferred across to the Wildcat as 815 completes its transition to this new aircraft type."