The Olympic torch relay will celebrate the country’s military history and royal connections when it lands at the Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall for the start of the 70-day journey before arriving at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on July 27.
The Olympic flame will land at the naval base, which is where Prince William carried out his helicopter training, on the evening of 18 May on a gold-liveried British Airways Airbus 319, with the code sign BA2012 after travelling in seat 1A within a special ceremonial lantern.
Around 1,000 guests will greet the flame at the base, which is home to a substantial fleet of the Navy’s Merlin and Sea King helicopter squadrons.
Details of the 8,000-mile torch relay, which is designed to travel to within an hour of 95 per cent of the UK population and also visit the Republic of Ireland, were revealed on Tuesday.
The lighting of the flame, from the sun’s rays in a hour-long ceremony at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, will take place on May 10, after which there will be a short traditional relay around Greece.
Locog said two inspirational people from the UK will be involved in this Greek component of the relay: the second torchbearer on the first day and the penultimate carrier on the last day of the Greek leg.
The flame will then be handed over to London organisers in the Panathenaic stadium in Athens on May 17, transported by plane to the naval base on May 18 and then transferred to Land's End for the start of the relay on May 19.
Captain Willie Entwisle, RNAS Culdrose Commanding Officer said: “Our personnel, many of whom are currently supporting the Royal Navy on operations across the globe, are very excited that the build-up to the London 2012 Olympic Games will start here.”
The chairman of Locog, Sebastian Coe, said his team was looking forward to working with the Hellenic Olympic Committee, the Ministry of Defence and our commercial partners to create exciting events to mark the flame’s Greek provenance and its arrival to British shores.
By Jacquelin Magnay, Olympics Editor