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

17:21 08 January 2014

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

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.



  • The "Jolly" call sign was not only used for the H-3, but also the H-53 "Super Jolly Green Giant" flown by the Rescue Service.

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    Ahart Powers

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014

  • It is very sad that people have lost their lives. Ths is a rallying call to review the abusive low flying policy that is destroying the peace and beauty of North Norfolk , endangering people's health through constant noise and vibration and as this accident vividly demonstrates, putting their lives at risk. Over the last couple of years the number of miliatary jet flights and the consistency of flights over North Norfolk has increased to an untenable level, making life a misery, particularly for my wife who is unwell and is very badly affected. Surely now, in the face of such a tragedy, it is time for a rethink.

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    Greg Crowhurst

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014

  • I would like to offer my condolences to the famlies and relations to the 4 four US Airmen that had the fatal accident in Salthouse. A terrible thing to happen awful.

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    women 68

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site


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