A soldier from Tadcaster has been maintaining the British Army’s potent Apache attack helicopter on a ground-breaking exercise inside the Arctic Circle.
Lance Corporal James Stark, 22, is an avionics technician with 656 Squadron, 4 Regiment Army Air Corps.
The squadron is on Exercise Clockwork at Bardufoss in Norway, operating the Apache in the Arctic for the first time.
LCpl Stark is part of a team of soldiers maintaining the Apache’s electronics, weapons systems and sensors in temperatures dropping to -27C.
The former Tadcaster Grammar School pupil said: “I can’t believe how cold it is, but to me it’s just adding a different challenge on top of our job.
“You have to think about keeping warm and looking after yourself more, but we’ve still got to get the work done so the Apache can fly.”
LCpl Stark, based at Wattisham Flying Station, has been in the Army for three years.
To take part in Exercise Clockwork he had to complete the Royal Marines’ cold weather course, including sleeping in a snow hole and jumping into a frozen lake to demonstrate the ability to climb out unaided.
“The training was really tough but definitely worth doing,” he said.
“It’s important to have learnt the skills to survive in cold weather, because if you don’t treat it with respect you’ll get into difficulties.”