RAF Chief Technician awarded prestigious medal – Churchill Medal awarded to RAF Chief Technician Peter Wakefield for his work on the Chinook Force

                                                  Churchill Medal awarded to RAF Chief Technician Peter Wakefield for his work on the Chinook Force

RAF Chief Technician Peter Wakefield, 7 Squadron Mechanical Trade Manager for the Chinook Mk6 has won a prestigious industry medal 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.

Chf Tech Wakefield’s 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.”

The Joint Professional Engineering Institutions (PEI) Churchill Medal Award ceremony and lunch was held at IET London: Savoy Place on Thursday 29 November, 2018.

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.

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).

The Churchill Medal, named in honour of Sir Winston Churchill, was first awarded in 1952. Sir Winston, who expressed great enthusiasm for this award, reflected on the important contribution made by engineers of all disciplines to the military needs in the Second World War. The Churchill Medal was left un-awarded for a number of years, but re-instituted in 2011 at the request of the Churchill family. Given the background of the Medal and its association with the military, it was deemed appropriate to associate the Medal with the Armed Forces.

To find out more about the Churchill Medal Award, please visit https://www.theiet.org/armed-forces/churchill-medal/