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Churchill Medal Winner 2017/18

The Churchill Medal Award was held on Thursday 29 November at the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) flagship home; IET London: Savoy Place.

This prestigious medal is awarded to an individual or a small team of MOD staff, either civil service or Armed Forces, for achievement in engineering and technical advancement in support of the development and use of capability to support military operations/readiness.

This year, the Churchill Medal was awarded to RAF Chief Technician Peter Wakefield, 7 Squadron Mechanical Trade Manager for the Chinook Mk6.

Chf Tech Wakefield was directly responsible for the design and implementation of parts, tooling and policies, which have improved capability and aircraft availability on the Chinook Force, and his remarkable drive to reduce airframe corrosion saw him introduce anti-deterioration maintenance policy for pre and post-salt water operations, which greatly enhanced output.

Creating a computer-aided design drawing and model of a panel cover to protect the auxiliary power unit, Wakefield began the development of a project that could realise savings of up to £1.2M per annum, and working closely with industry, he also identified the root cause of a rescue hoist judder and developed a fix to overcome this long-term capability limitation. Continually improving maintenance work, he also designed new tooling to overcome the removal of work platform bushes, greatly reducing man-hours and improving availability.

“To receive such a prestigious award as recognition for my contribution to 7 Squadron and Defence is extremely humbling, I am in awe of the esteemed engineers like Sir Frank Whittle and Sir Christopher Cockerall that I now follow,” says Chf Tech Wakefield. “I would like to take this opportunity above all to thank Sqn Ldr Shone for the nomination, but also I would like to thank the personnel of 7 Squadron, Chinook Support Centre and the Chinook DT for their support.”

“Wakefield is much more than a Trade Manager; he is an inspiring leader and a true deliverer of change,” says nominator Squadron Leader Chris Shone. “The examples highlighted [in his nomination] only begin to scratch the surface of his outstanding contribution to the Chinook Force, for which he is highly recommended for the prestigious Churchill Medal” he continues.

VIP guest Rupert Soames OBE, Group Chief Executive of Serco and grandson of Sir Winston Churchill, presented Chief Technician Wakefield with the medal, alongside Air Marshal Julian Young CB OBE FREng, and Vice Admiral Peter Hudson CB CBE of BAE Systems, who generously sponsored the event.

The Churchill Medal is awarded jointly by the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST), the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), the Institution of Royal Engineers (InstRE), the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the Society of Operations Engineers (SOE) and the British Computer Society (BCS).

We thank all those who attended the ceremony, the evening was a huge success and we are delighted and honoured to have hosted this prestigious award ceremony and dinner. We send our sincere congratulations to all of this year's finalists on behalf of the Professional Engineering Institutions (PEIs).

To view photos from this event, you can view them on our Flickr site.