Last Thursday (29 November) the Joint Professional Engineering Institutions (PEI) Churchill Medal Award ceremony took place at IET London: Savoy Place, where RAF Chief Technician Peter Wakefield, 7 Squadron Mechanical Trade Manager for the Chinook Mk6, was awarded the prestigious industry medal.
Chf Tech Wakefield was presented with the Churchill Medal in recognition of his work for the design and implementation of parts, tooling and policies to improve the capability and availability of the Chinook Force – the RAF’s highly versatile support helicopter that can be operated from land or sea bases into a range of diverse environments. 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.
Commenting on winning, RAF Chief Technician Peter Wakefield said: “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. 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.”
Nominator Squadron Leader Chris Shone added: “Wakefield is much more than a Trade Manager; he is an inspiring leader and a true deliverer of change.
“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.”
The medal is awarded jointly by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), 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).
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.
To find out more about the Churchill Medal Award, please visit the Churchill Medal webpage.