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Tributes left using #JollyDown hashtag – but what does it mean?

PUBLISHED: 17:21 08 January 2014 | UPDATED: 10:15 09 January 2014

The scene at Cley next the Sea after an American military helicopter crashed and another landed after the incident.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

The scene at Cley next the Sea after an American military helicopter crashed and another landed after the incident. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Archant Norfolk

Mourners have been leaving their tributes on social media sites to the four airmen killed in the Cley helicopter, using the hashtag #JollyDown, tapping into the rich history of the aircraft stretching back decades.

The term refers to the nickname of the combat search and rescue helicopters, which were affectionately christened Jolly Green Giants by the downed airmen the big green aircraft rescued in battle, from the Vietnam war onwards.

The model used in that war was the HH-3, similar to the RAF’s Sea King, and subsequent models, including the Pave Hawk HH-60G involved in yesterday’s crash, have retained the ‘Jolly’ nickname.

Second Lieutenant Keenan Kunst, of 48 Fighter Wing, based at RAF Lakenheath, said the term was “colloquial lingo” among airmen.

He added: “Jolly is a common call sign for combat search and rescue helicopters, and it’s a big part of the lore going back to Vietnam. It’s very much a tradition.”

The official RAF Lakenheath Twitter feed, @48FighterWing, has been issuing updates on the crash using the hashtag #JollyDown.

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