Prince Harry gets airborne and into Australia's Outback

2015-04-18 22:02
Prince Harry. (File: AFP)

Prince Harry. (File: AFP)

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Sydney - Prince Harry completes the first two weeks of a stint with the Australian army on Sunday, training in bush survival skills, spending time on helicopter duties and playing wheelchair Aussie Rules football.

Captain Wales, as he is known in the British army, is on a month-long attachment with his Australian Army counterparts ahead of retiring from the forces.

He spent the first fortnight in Australia's remote north and west, getting airborne in an Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter Tiger.

The prince has flown Apache helicopters for Britain.

"Captain Wales undertook flight simulation training, before heading out with members of the 1st Aviation Regiment on an ARH Tiger reconnaissance flight from Robertson Barracks, Darwin," the Australian Defence Force said.

Australian diggers

He also trained in bush survival skills, including how to source food and water, before spending two nights camping out in the remote Kununurra region of Western Australia with the North-West Mobile Force.

Hundreds of well-wishers turned out to see the 30-year-old when he arrived in Canberra on April 6 at the National War Memorial - his only public appearance - before reporting for duty at Duntroon Military College.

He delivered a letter to the Australian Defence Force head, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, from Queen Elizabeth II, in which she wrote her grandson would "benefit greatly from spending time with the Australian diggers".

His movements have been off bounds to the media since then.

In an update, the defence force said Captain Wales met elders and children at the Wuggubun indigenous community in Kununurra, around 470km southwest of Darwin.

Building on his interest in veterans affairs, the prince also joined some of the army's wounded, injured and ill members to play wheelchair Australian Football League.

Live-fire exercise

He is now breaking his embed to travel to Turkey for the Anzac Day dawn service at Gallipoli, marking the centenary since that World War I campaign before returning to units in Perth and Sydney.

Once back in Australia, his mission is expected to include a live-fire exercise.

"Designed to maintain combat readiness, the exercise will include a live fire collaboration between ground and air assets," the defence force said of Exercise Thunder Observer, for which he has been training.

The Australian Army attachment comes after Harry, a graduate from the elite Sandhurst military academy who served twice in Afghanistan, announced his departure from the British Army.

"After a decade of service, moving on from the army has been a really tough decision," he said last month, revealing he will quit in June.

"The experiences I have had over the last 10 years will stay with me for the rest of my life. For that I will always be hugely grateful."

Harry earned a reputation as a wild-child in his early 20s with his party-going high jinks, but has since tried to carve out a more mature role for himself, with his devotion to military service playing a major part.

Read more on:    prince harry  |  australia
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