TWO Royal Navy sailors from County Durham have completed tough training to become aircraft handlers.

Able rates Lucy Beha, 30, from Hartlepool, and Josh Shaw, 18, from Durham, were among 23 sailors who recently completed their training as naval airman (NA).

They were part of a class of new recruits learning emergency firefighting skills and how to operate on ships’ flight decks.

They recently joined fellow sailors from across the UK for a low-key and socially-distanced ceremony at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Culdrose in Cornwall – which nevertheless marked a significant milestone in their naval careers as they now prepare to join frontline operations.

NA Beha said: “I joined the navy after being encouraged by my cousin, who was an aircraft handler for eight years. I was very much interested in the firefighting role and really loved the idea of being able to travel the world and gain experience in order to progress further in my career by gaining promotion.

“I didn’t particularly find the course hard, however I did find certain aspects of the firefighting phase challenging – as you’re put in situations that you’ve never been in and you are well out of your comfort zone. The theory exams were quite tough, but I passed every assessment first time around.”

NA Shaw said: “They say it’s the best job in the navy I am really looking forward to being on a ship with a squadron now."