9:43am Thursday 24th January 2013
By Melanie Vass
THE former Army major who trained Prince Harry to fly Apache helicopters has described the young Royal as “a normal bloke just trying to get on”.
Richard Youngs, inset, who is now the business development director at the Bourne Academy in Bournemouth, said that Prince Harry was “incredibly easy-going, exceptionally dedicated and hard-working”.
And he said the public perception that Prince Harry was less intelligent than his elder brother Prince William because he only achieved a B and a D in his A levels was completely incorrect: “He has common sense intelligence in abundance and is able to make difficult decisions in a timely way,” he said.
“I know he’s a bright bloke.”
The former Apache squadron commander trained Prince Harry in 2009-10, after he had finished his pilot’s course and gained his wings.
“He had the aptitude, the mental capacity and the natural flying ability to fly an Apache,” he said. “There is an incredible amount to learn, the pace is intense and the pressure is intense because you can fail within a week. But he totally got it.”
He said Prince Harry, who is known as Captain Wales in the Army, referred to his Royal role as “his other life”. And he said: “Prince Harry is how you would want him to be. People see him as fun, a normal bloke just trying to get on and that sums him up.
“He has no airs and graces and is just incredibly easy going, exceptionally dedicated and hard-working so in that respect training him was an absolute |pleasure.
“Because he’s such a normal bloke and in the Army everyone is like peas in a pod, I lost sight of who he was. Every now and then I would look at him and think ‘That’s Prince Harry’.”
Mr Youngs left the Army last summer and took up a leadership post at the rapidly improving Bourne Academy in Hadow Road.
“I just like what I see here,” he said. “The trajectory of where this place is going is phenomenal.”
The Academy is currently building a new sixth form, where all students will be allocated business mentors, known as ‘Bourne Ambassadors’, and courses are run in conjunction with business partners.
“Academic qualifications are hugely important but they are just part of producing high achieving students who are desirable to employers,” he said. “By investing in our students and drawing in business partners we know our students will leave school with the right skills to succeed in the workplace.”
Mr Youngs will feature in an ITV programme Tonight: What’s Next For Prince Harry? which will be shown at 7.30pm tonight.
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