RAF Valley MRT (Mountain Rescue Team) train in Scotland for their annual RAF MRS (Mountain Rescue Service) Winter training week. Image: Crown Copyright 2023 – AS1 McGarvie 

Winter training week is conducted by all three RAF MRS (Mountain Rescue Service) MRTs (Mountain Rescue Teams) that introduces winter skills to new Troops and consolidates advanced skills for more experienced.

Since its formation in 1943, the RAF MRS has sustained a high readiness capability for Search and Rescue (SAR) and Aircraft Post Crash Management operations. Born out of wartime necessity to save the lives of downed aircrew in the mountainous regions of the UK, the modern RAF MRS now has three MRTs located at RAF Leeming, RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Valley and is supported by a dedicated Support Flight and MRS HQ at RAF Valley.

The images here show a party hiking up to Aonach air’ Chrith on the Glen Shiel south ridge, near Fort William, to conduct a winter gully scramble that improves upon Troops’ skill to move safely and competently on technical ground to reach downed Aircrew on Operations, and a full team simulated avalanche callout incident to carry out avalanche rescue techniques, specifically here; probing and using snow anchors to lower the simulated casualty to safety in Cairngorms National Park.

This year, RAF MRS celebrates its’ 80th Anniversary. Since humble beginnings in 1943 at RAF LLanwrog, North Wales, RAF MRS has rescued and saved countless lives at numerous APCIM (Aircraft Post Crash and Incident Management) callouts and by assisting Civilian MRT counterparts. Throughout the MRS’ history and until present day, although SAR operations and traditions have evolved, these like-minded and committed volunteers have always been, and will continue to operate as, Defence’s only all-weather, ground-based SAR organisation. Through maintaining a one-hour readiness state, 24/7/365 the MRTs epitomise the MRS motto, ‘Whensoever’.