THE chief executive of the Army Flying Museum said she was "honoured" when it became the first museum in Europe to feature a permanent Apache AH Mk.1, after the exhibit was officially opened by King Charles III.

The formidable attack helicopter was retired in March, after more than two decades of service, marking the end of an era for the British Army. It's successor, The AH-64E, entered service in 2021 to replace the Apache Mk. 1, which had proved itself as a battle-winning asset in Afghanistan and Libya.

Lucy Johnson, 40, is the chief executive of the Army Flying Museum. She said: "We are the first museum in Europe to have an Apache, we found out. We're delighted, the Apache helicopter is the army's number one attack helicopter and it's absolutely right for this particular aircraft to have a final resting place here in the museum.

READ MORE: In pictures: King Charles and Prince William visit Test Valley

Andover Advertiser: The King unveils the plaqueThe King unveils the plaque (Image: Army Flying Museum)

"It was such an honour to be able to have the king here and to be able to join celebrating us having the Apache in there with him handing over being Colonel in Chief to William, and I'm really honoured that his last job as Colonel in Chief of the Army Air Corps was to unveil our plaque."

The grand opening of the exhibit was marked by the unveiling of a plaque by King Charles III, who had visited the Army Aviation Centre, in Middle Wallop, to officially hand over the role of Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Air Corps to Prince William.

Andover Advertiser: The King unveils the plaqueThe King unveils the plaque (Image: Army Flying Museum)

The plaque itself reads:

This plaque was unveiled by


To mark the installation of the

Apache AH MK.1 ZJ224 At the Army Flying Museum on Monday 13 May 2024

Andover Advertiser: Susan Lindsay, Museum CuratorSusan Lindsay, Museum Curator (Image: Newsquest)

Susan Lindsay, 55, is the curator of the museum. She told the Advertiser: "It's really exciting, it's been a very long time in the making, the grouping of helicopters on display is an idea that we had a long time ago, so we've been working towards it for years."

Robert Lloyd, 63, is a former flying instructor in Middle Wallop, he flew aircraft including the Gazelle.

He said: "It was quite a significant jump in technology when it came into service about 20 years ago, it replaced the Mk.7 Lynx and it's been a very capable aircraft.

Andover Advertiser: Robert LloydRobert Lloyd (Image: Newsquest)

"It was quite interesting to meet the King, I've seen him but never actually spoken to him before, and he was very engaging, it was very good of him to come down because he was Colonel in Chief and has now handed over to William because, being King, he's got a few more things on his plate."

Richard 'Lofty' Linthwaite, 56, served in the Army Air Corps for 28 years, achieving the rank of Regimental Sergeant Major.

Andover Advertiser: Richard 'Lofty' LinthwaiteRichard 'Lofty' Linthwaite (Image: Newsquest)

He told the Advertiser: "I think it's in its rightful place, this is the army aviation museum and the first Apache should be here.

"I had the opportunity to fly in an Apache once. It was groundbreaking when it came into service, and it still is with the new version.

"I'd had the pleasure of meeting His Majesty before, but this was the first time I actually got to meet him as the King, and he remembers me from seeing me at previous events."