Tributes flood in for two ‘bright young’ Navy aircraft engineers who died in Cornwall crash

Callum Gilbert (left) and Daniel Cox died at the scene of the crash on 7 December. Credit: Family handout

Tributes have poured in for two ‘bright young aircraft engineers’ who died in a crash in Cornwall.

Callum ‘Gilly’ Gilbert, from Helston, and Daniel ‘Coxy’ Cox, from Chichester, died after a crash on the A3083 near Culdrose on 7 December.

They both served with the ‘tight-knit’ 820 Naval Air Square, which maintains and repairs the squadron’s Merlin Mk2 helicopters.

Mr Gilbert, 23, has been described as being a "one in a million" man while 24-year-old Mr Cox's family say he was a talented man who will be remembered for his "can do" attitude.

Paying tribute to Mr Cox, his family said: “Dan was an outstanding son, brother, grandson, uncle, nephew and cousin who was devoted to his family.

“Over his years living in the Felpham, Middleton and Chichester areas we have all been exceptionally proud of the endless talents he displayed, his many achievements and his positive attitude to life.

“He was a talented musician, keen outdoorsman, swimmer and cliff-jumper, a qualified engineer and avid car enthusiast.

“He had a ‘can do’ attitude to all physical and technical challenges, trying his utmost and always achieving.

“His wide circle of amazing, young friends are all shocked at this news and much suffering his loss.

“Our special thanks must go out to the Royal Navy for their unbounded support and care given to our family at this traumatic time.

“Like his, our lives have been shattered and will never be the same again. Dan was a truly special multi-talented young man, taken from us far too soon, both loved and deeply missed by so many.”

Mr Gilbert’s family described him as a "dearly loved son, grandson, nephew, brother to Megan and partner to Ellie".

They added: “As a family, we will all miss him deeply and no words come close to explaining our grief of losing him. We have so many fond memories which we will now hold onto closely.  

“Callum was a truly remarkable, cheerful, kind, caring, thoughtful, talented and loving young man.  He had so much heart and would lighten any room with his smile, his presence and his sense of humour. We shall all miss him enormously and shall never ever forget him.

“We will all love and miss you forever Callum - you’re one in a million, sleep tightly.”

In a tribute to the leading aircraft engineers, commanding officer of RNAS Culdrose Captain Stuart Irwin said: “We are all deeply saddened by the deaths of two of our people. First and foremost, my heartfelt condolences go to the families and loved ones who have been affected by this tragic event.

“These were two bright young aircraft engineers who had already achieved so much and served with distinction.

“At 820 Naval Air Squadron, across RNAS Culdrose, and in the wider community here in the west.”

The engineers had both completed their lead engineer training earlier this year.

Warrant Officer Steven Hughes, who led their training, said their loss had been keenly felt by all on the squadron, but particularly among the engineers.

He said: “We are a close team. These are people that all share so much. We don’t just work together - we deploy together, we eat together, we share a room together and we see the world together.”

Speaking of Mr Gilbert, he added: “It’s the grin I remember. He had good manners too. That goes a long way. He had the ability to cheer everyone up with a look. Even on a cold night, coming off the deck of Queen Elizabeth, he always had a twinkle in his eye.”