26 Oct RAF Shawbury commemorates The ARIES Round-The-World Flight with a gala awards’ evening.
His Majesty’s Deputy Lieutenant of Shropshire, Major General (Retired) John Crackett and the Honorary Colonel of 9 Regiment Army Air Corps and Colonel Tim Peake were welcomed by Station Commander Group Captain Phil Wadlow to the Officers’s Mess at RAF Shawbury for a Gala evening. The evening formally recognised the military personnel, Civil Servants and contractors who had made a significant contribution to the base and the local community during the last year.
The event also paid tribute to the aircrew that flew the first ARIES round-the-world flight. In 1944, RAF navigation training was centred at the Empire Air Navigation School at RAF Shawbury and a Lancaster bomber PD 328 named ARIES was offered to the School for research flights. In October 1944, ARIES undertook the first RAF circumnavigation of the world, under the command of Wing Commander McKinley. The trip was successful, and ARIES returned after 53 days having flown over 200 hours, setting new world records. Aries was the first British military aircraft to fly around the world, and covered almost 36,000 nautical miles on this historic flight.
The following awards were presented:
Most Outstanding Contribution to RAF Shawbury (Civilian)
Mrs J Sheffield
Most Outstanding Contribution to RAF Shawbury (Military)
Air Specialist (Class 1) J Pearsall
Sporting Achievement Award
Flight Lieutenant R Robertson
Unsung Hero Award
Flying Officer J Nicholas and Sgt G Collier
Community Spirit Award
Sergeant A Ford
Most Outstanding Team Award
RAF Shawbury Air Traffic Control Squadron
Most Outstanding Individual Award
Flight Lieutenant A Martin
The Lifetime Achievement Award
Mr P Sowerby
The Wing Commander McKinley Memorial Award
Lieutenant J Yates RN, Warrant Officer A Cracknell, Sergeant B Clasper, Corporal M Sullivan, Lance Corporal N Chapman, Private D Cansfield
At this year’s event, two new awards were also awarded – the Station Commanders Best Cadet Award and the Sliver Award. The Silver Award was presented to individuals who have provided exemplary collective service to, or under Command, of a RAF Shawbury Unit.
Station Commander’s Best Cadet
Cadet Warrant Officer B McAleese
The Silver Award
From Ascent: Mr L Calderwood, Mr B Sokhi, Mr T Nicholas, Mr A Reid
From Airbus: Mr J Hughes, Mr K Grant
From ESS: Mrs L Gillespie, Mrs L Whitelegg
From Midwest, Station Workshops and SSS respectively: Mr C Jaundrell, Mr J Harris, Mr P Murphy
Station Commander’s Commendation Awards were presented to all the nominees to recognise their excellent contribution in support of Defence and the local community.
Group Captain Wadlow said: “This event has been a very special occasion for 2 reasons: firstly, we commemorated a special event which took place in 1944, when the ARIES set off for its record breaking mission. Secondly, we celebrated the talent, commitment and achievements of all the nominated personnel. I was delighted that we were also joined by our special guests His Majesty’s Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire, Major General (Retired) John Crackett and the Honorary Colonel of 9 Regiment Army Air Corps, Colonel Tim Peake, who presented the awards. I would also like to thank 28 Squadron RAF Air Cadets, who provided the immaculate Guard of Honour. Congratulations to all the nominees and award winners.”