Harry visits UK troops in Arctic Circle

The Duke of Sussex has arrived in snow-covered Norway to meet British servicemen and women undertaking winter weather training.

Harry arrived on a private jet at the remote Bardufoss air station shortly after 11.15am local time (10.15am GMT), where he was greeted by UK ambassador to Norway Richard Wood.

Duke of Sussex visits Exercise Clockwork
The Duke of Sussex arrives for a visit to Exercise Clockwork in Bardufoss, Norway (Victoria Jones/PA)

The duke is spending his first Valentine’s Day as a married man in one of the planet’s harshest climates, although the temperature of minus 2C (28.4F) was much milder than the minus 35C (minus 31F) servicemen and women can expect.

Harry’s trip marks the 50th anniversary of Commando Helicopter Force and Joint Helicopter Command deploying to the remote base, where military personnel are taught how to survive, operate and fight in the sub-zero conditions, as well as gaining experience of operating aircraft in severe cold weather and mountainous environments.

Duke of Sussex in the Exercise Clockwork briefing
Harry is briefed on the history and context of Clockwork during the visit (Victoria Jones/PA)

The multinational Exercise Clockwork, hosted by the Norwegian armed forces, comprises environmental flying qualifications, cold weather survival, and snow and ice driving courses.

The duke, in his role as Captain General Royal Marines, will spend the afternoon meeting military personnel living and training at the base.

Duke of Sussex visits Exercise Clockwork
The Duke of Sussex (centre) was appointed Captain General Royal Marines in December 2017 (Victoria Jones/PA)

He will also see field tents, snow vehicles and a Quincey Shelter, a makeshift shelter built of snow in which the elite forces are able to camp.

Harry was appointed Captain General Royal Marines in December 2017, taking over the role from his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, who held the appointment for 64 years.

Walking with the Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge
Harry took part in ski training in Novo, Antarctica, in 2013 (Walking With The Wounded/PA)

He already has experience of colder climates, facing temperatures as low as minus 35C (minus 31F) on charity expeditions.

Harry took part in treks to the North Pole in 2011 and South Pole in 2013 with Walking With The Wounded.

Duke of Sussex visits Exercise Clockwork
Harry’s visit to Exercise Clockwork in Bardufoss, Norway, marks the 50th anniversary of the Commando Helicopter Force and Joint Helicopter Command deploying for extreme cold weather training (Victoria Jones/PA)

Lieutenant Colonel David West, officer commanding Exercise Clockwork, said: “We are celebrating 50 years of Exercise Clockwork today and are honoured to be able to welcome the Captain General of the Royal Marines to Bardufoss to mark the occasion.

“Harry is used to rigours of harsh climates and so will fully understand the dangers of trying to live and operate in such an extreme environment.

“Clockwork continues to deliver vital training for our people.

Duke of Sussex visits Exercise Clockwork
The temperature when the Duke of Sussex arrived in Norway was minus 2C (28.4F) – much milder than the minus 35C (minus 31F) servicemen and women can expect (Victoria Jones/PA)

“It provides essential experience in flying and surviving in the extreme cold hundreds of miles inside the Arctic Circle.

“For 50 years Commando Helicopter Force and its predecessors have operated in this region and the skills learnt here are more relevant than ever.”

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