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Queen's Medal for Champion Shots of the Air Forces

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The Queen's Medal for Champion Shots of the Air Forces was instituted in 1953, as an Air Force version of the Queen's Medal for Champion Shots in the Military Forces. One medal each can be awarded to the champion shot of annual small arms marksmanship competitions held by the Air Forces of the United Kingdom and those member countries of the British Commonwealth whose Governments desire to take part in the grant of the award.

The Air Forces of countries that took part at some stage include the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal New Zealand Air Force and the Royal Rhodesian Air Force. Today, only the United Kingdom and New Zealand still award the medal.

Origin

The Medal for the Best Shot in the British Army, Infantry, was instituted by Queen Victoria in 1869 and was awarded from 1870 to 1882 to the best shot of the annual Army shooting competition. In 1923 the medal was re-introduced by King George V and designated the King's Medal for Champion Shots in the Military Forces. It could now be awarded to the champions of Army marksmanship competitions, held under battle conditions, at annual central meetings in the United Kingdom, the British Dominions, Colonies and India.

All contenders for the King's/Queen's Medal for Champion Shots in the Military Forces have to be actual serving members of the Regular Army, Army Emergency Reserve, Territorial Army, or Local Militia and Volunteer Forces in the countries concerned. Members of independent Naval and Air Forces, while not excluded from the competition, could therefore not be awarded the medal even though they won the championship. This happened to an Air Force shot twice, in Canada in 1938 and in Rhodesia in 1962.

Institution

The Queen's Medal for Champion Shots of the Air Forces was instituted by Queen Elizabeth II on 12 June 1953. Only one medal, or a clasp only, is granted annually in each of the Air Forces of the United Kingdom and those member countries of the British Commonwealth whose governments desire to take part in the grant of the award. Apart from the United Kingdom, the Dominions of Australia, Canada and New Zealand and the Colony Rhodesia all took part at some stage, but only the United Kingdom and New Zealand still award the medal.

Every medal is awarded with a clasp, inscribed with the year of award and attached to the medal's suspension bar. Holders of the medal who qualify for a subsequent award, are awarded a clasp only, to be worn on the ribbon of the original medal and attached to the original or previous clasp. When medals are not worn, the award of second or further clasps are denoted on the ribbon bar by a silver rosette to denote the award of each additional clasp.

Award criteria

The medal is awarded to the champion shot of the annual championship meeting of each respective Air Force, held under service rifle championship conditions. All medal contenders have to be actual serving members of the Regular Air Forces of the respective countries.

Participating countries

The tables below list the known recipients of the medal in the respective participating countries.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the first Royal Air Force championship to compete for the medal took place in 1953 and was won by Senior Technician J.E.P.P. Witts of RAF Stafford. The championship took place annually since then, except in 1991 when no competition was held as a result of the Gulf War. The record for the most wins of the Air Force medal is held by Chief Technician J.T. Prictor, who won the championship for the fourteenth time in 2009.

Year Rank Initials Surname Squadron or Formation

  • 1953 SAC (T) J.E.P.P. Witts RAF Stafford
  • 1954 Sgt C.H. Greenlee RAF Ballykelly
  • 1955 Cpl Tech B.R. Creasey RAF Wahn
  • 1956 Sqn Ldr C.C. Willott OBE RAF West Malling
  • 1957 Flt Lt M. Gill RAF Little Rissington
  • 1958 Wg Cdr P.E.H. Thomas AFC RAF Hornchurch
  • 1959 Wg Cdr P.E.H. Thomas AFC (2) RAF Hornchurch
  • 1960 Sqn Ldr D.H. Young RAF Hemswell
  • 1961 WO F. Flanaghan RAF Chigwell
  • 1962 Chf Tech B.R. Creasey (2) RAF West Raynham
  • 1963 SAC (T) D.J. Limby RAF Geilenkirchen
  • 1964 Flt Lt R.S. Hassell RAF Lindholme
*1965 	Cpl 	R.N. 	van Gelderen 	RAF Gaydon

* 1966 Cpl R.N. van Gelderen (2) RAF Gaydon

  • 1967 Chf Tech H.J. Dillon-Lee RAF Wattisham
  • 1968 Sgt R.N. van Gelderen (3) RAF Gaydon
  • 1969 Sgt R.N. van Gelderen (4) RAF Gaydon
  • 1970 Sgt R.N. van Gelderen (5) RAF Gaydon
  • 1971 Sgt R.N. van Gelderen (6) RAF Gaydon
  • 1972 Sgt R.N. van Gelderen (7) RAF Gaydon
  • 1973 Flt Lt G. Cox
  • 1974 Chf Tech D.D. Watt RAF Honington
  • 1975 Sgt P.A. Moss RAF Sealand
  • 1976 Sgt P.A. Moss (2) RAF Sealand
  • 1977 Sgt P.A. Moss (3) RAF Sealand
  • 1978 Sgt P.A. Moss (4) RAF Sealand
  • 1979 Chf Tech A.A. Thompson
  • 1980 MAE I. Wilkinson RAF Lyneham
  • 1981 Cpl P.W. Raymond RAF Abingdon
  • 1982 Cpl J.A. Wyles
  • 1983 Flt Lt D.P. Calvert
  • 1984 Cpl J.T. Prictor RAF Honington
  • 1985 Cpl P.W. Raymond (2) RAF Abingdon
  • 1986 Cpl J.T. Prictor (2) RAF Honington
  • 1987 Cpl I.L. Vosper RAF Cottesmore
  • 1988 Cpl J.T. Prictor (3) RAF Bruggen
  • 1989 SAC I.D.E. Brown RAF Catterick
  • 1990 Sgt J.T. Prictor (4) No. 9 Squadron RAF, RAF Bruggen
  • 1992 FS M.W. Silver BEM No. 19 Squadron RAF, RAF Aldergrove
  • 1993 Sgt P. Barry RAF Valley
  • 1994 Sgt D.B. Vick RAF Honington
  • 1995 Sgt J.T. Prictor (5) No. 9 Squadron RAF, RAF Bruggen
  • 1996 Flt Lt L.F. Smith No. 72 Squadron RAF, RAF Aldergrove
  • 1997 Sgt J.T. Prictor (6) No. 9 Squadron RAF, RAF Bruggen
  • 1998 Flt Lt L.F. Smith (2) Engineering Wing, RAF Coningsby
  • 1999 Sgt J.T. Prictor (7) RAF Kinloss
  • 2000 Chf Tech J.T. Prictor (8) MOD London, RAF Uxbridge
  • 2001 Chf Tech J.T. Prictor (9) MOD London, RAF Uxbridge
  • 2002 Chf Tech J.T. Prictor (10) RAF Cottesmore
  • 2003 Chf Tech J.T. Prictor (11) RAF Cottesmore
  • 2004 Flt Lt C. Allen RAF Wittering
  • 2005 Sqn Ldr L.F. Smith (3) 5001 Squadron, RAF Stafford
  • 2006 Chf Tech J.T. Prictor (12) 5131 (BD) Squadron, RAF Wittering
  • 2007 Chf Tech J.T. Prictor (13) 5131 (BD) Squadron, RAF Wittering
  • 2008 Flt Lt D.B. Vick (2) RAF Honington
  • 2009 Chf Tech J.T. Prictor (14) 5131 (BD) Squadron, RAF Wittering
  • 2010 Sqn Ldr L.F. Smith (4) HQ Air Command, RAF Halton
  • 2011 Sqn Ldr D.B. Vick (3) RAF Regiment, RAF Honington
  • 2012 Sgt P. Hunter
  • 2013 Cpl R. Jamieson RAF Regiment
  • 2014 Cpl R. Jamieson (2) RAF Regiment

Australia

The first Royal Australian Air Force championship to compete for the medal took place in 1956 and the first medal to an Australian was won by Warrant Officer C.E.P. Hawes. The championship took place annually from then until 1987, except in 1963 when no competition was held. In 1988, the Champion Shots Medal was instituted in Australia and the Queen's Medal for Champion Shots of the Air Forces ceased to be awarded.

Year Rank Initials Surname Squadron or Formation

  • 1956 WO C.E.P. Hawes
  • 1957 Cpl P.R. Beare RAAF School of Technical Training, Wagga Wagga
  • 1958 LAC D.G. Lamb No. 2 Aircraft Depot
  • 1959 AC M.J. Baxter 86 Wing
  • 1960 Cpl R.B. Cook Basic Flight Training Squadron
  • 1961 Cpl R.B. Cook (2) Basic Flight Training Squadron, Pt. Cook
  • 1962 LAC M.J. Baxter (2) 16 Army Light Aircraft Squadron
  • 1964 Sgt G. Wiles
  • 1965 Cpl J.W. Dewhurst
  • 1966 Cpl R.J. Rielly
  • 1967 Sgt T.L. Mitchell
  • 1968 Sgt M. Billett
  • 1969 Cpl J.W. Dewhurst (2)
  • 1970 FS S.R. Catts
  • 1971 FS T.L. Mitchell (2)
  • 1972 FS T.L. Mitchell (3)
  • 1973 Flt Lt C.J. Griffiths
  • 1974 LAC G. Thompson
  • 1975 Sgt P. Phillips
  • 1976 Sgt P. Phillips (2)
  • 1977 Cpl G. Thompson (2)
  • 1978 Cpl G.T. Pern
  • 1979 Cpl G. Thompson (3)
  • 1980 Sgt J.L. Hamilton 492 Squadron
  • 1981 Sgt J.L. Hamilton (2) 492 Squadron
  • 1982 Cpl G.T. Pern (2)
  • 1983 WO P. Phillips (3)
  • 1984 Sgt B.G. Hartman MOVCORDC
  • 1985 WO J.L. Hamilton (3)
  • 1986 FS N.F. Marxsen
  • 1987 Sgt B.G. Hartman (2) MOVCORDC

Canada

The first Royal Canadian Air Force championship to compete for the medal took place in 1954 and the first medal to a Canadian was won by Flight Sergeant J.V.P. Martin CD. The championship took place annually from then until 1967, when the Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force were unified into the Canadian Armed Forces. As a result, the Queen's Medal for Champion Shots of the Air Forces ceased to be awarded and, from 1968, regular Canadian Air Force members competed with regular Army and Navy members for the Queen's Medal for Champion Shots in the Military Forces.

Year Rank Initials Surname Squadron or Formation

  • 1954 FS J.V.P. Martin CD
  • 1955 Flt Lt T.W. Gregory CD
  • 1956 Cpl S. Goddard
  • 1957 LAC D.A. Green
  • 1958 LAC G.E. Sannachan
  • 1959 FS R.H. Cunnington CD
  • 1960 FS J.W. Brown CD
  • 1961 Cpl A.F. O'Brien
  • 1962 Cpl A.F. O'Brien (2)
  • 1963 Fg Off O.J. Ruckpaul CD RCAF Station Centralia
  • 1964 LAC C.R.E. Wesley
  • 1965 Cpl H.R. Peters CD
  • 1966 Flt Lt O.J. Ruckpaul CD (2) CFB Cold Lake
  • 1967 Flt Lt M.D. Phoenix CD

New Zealand

The first Royal New Zealand Air Force championship to compete for the medal took place in 1954 and the first medal to a New Zealander was won by Warrant Officer F.A. Haycock. The championship, which is restricted to members of the regular Air Force, took place annually from then, except in 1966, 1967, 1996 and from 1998 to 2003, when no competition was held. The medal is still current in New Zealand.

Year Rank Initials Surname Squadron or Formation

  • 1954 WO F.A. Haycock
  • 1955 LAC M.W.P. Godwin
  • 1956 WO F.A. Haycock (2)
  • 1957 WO F.A. Haycock (3)
  • 1958 Sgt L.P. Boyd
  • 1959 Sgt C.G. Robertson
  • 1960 LAC H.V. Childe
  • 1961 LAC H.V. Childe (2)
  • 1962 Sgt C.G. Robertson (2)
  • 1963 Flt Lt G.C. Derby
  • 1964 WO F.A. Haycock (4)
  • 1965 Sgt P.J. Sears
  • 1968 Flt Lt A.E. West
  • 1969 WO C.G. Robertson (3)
  • 1970 Sqn Ldr A.E. West (2)
  • 1971 WO R.F. Flutey
  • 1972 Cpl W.H. Wilkinson
  • 1973 FS M.J. Ross
  • 1974 Wg Cdr G.C. Derby (2)
  • 1975 Sgt G.E. Cuthbert
  • 1976 Sgt G.E. Cuthbert (2)
  • 1977 Sgt G.E. Cuthbert (3)
  • 1978 FS A.W. Schischka
  • 1979 FS A.W. Schischka (2)
  • 1980 FS J.W. Tasker
  • 1981 WO M.J. Gallagher
  • 1982 AC V.J. d'Ath
  • 1983 Fg Off M.F. Loughran
  • 1984 Sgt D.M. Craill General Service Instructor
  • 1985 Sqn Ldr R.B. Smith
  • 1986 Flt Lt D.J. Ashton
  • 1987 Sqn Ldr R.B. Smith (2)
  • 1988 Flt Lt M.F. Loughran (2)
  • 1989 Sgt S.J. Bakker
  • 1990 Wg Cdr R.B. Smith (3)
  • 1991 Cpl S.R. Meldrum
  • 1992 Cpl J.M. Kovacs
  • 1993 Cpl J.M. Kovacs (2)
  • 1994 Cpl J.M. Kovacs (3)
  • 1995 Cpl B.W. Large
  • 1997 Cpl J.M. Kovacs (4)
  • 2004 Sgt S.R. Meldrum (2)

Rhodesia

The 1962 Rhodesian Army competition for the Queen's Medal for Champion Shots in the Military Forces was won by Corporal Technician B.T. Gilpin of Thornhill Air Base, a member of the Royal Rhodesian Air Force. Despite protests from the Army commanders, the Minister of Defence presented Gilpin with the Army medal. As a result of the controversy, Rhodesia sought and was granted the Crown's permission to introduce the Queen's Medal for Champion Shots of the Air Forces. The first Royal Rhodesian Air Force championship to compete for the Air Force medal took place in 1963, but the first medal award was backdated to 1962 and the first two medals were presented in December 1963, one to Gilpin and the other to the Air Force champion for 1963, Flight Lieutenant W.J. Geeringh. Gilpin's 1962 Army medal was returned and the 1962 Army runner-up, Inspector D. Hollingworth, was awarded a second clasp to his existing medal.

The championship took place annually from then until 1968, even after Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence on 11 November 1965, until Rhodesia severed its ties with the British Crown on 2 March 1970 and, in that same year, instituted the President's Medal for Shooting of the Security Forces.

Year Rank Initials Surname Squadron or Formation

  • 1962 Cpl Tech B.T. Gilpin Thornhill Air Base
  • 1963 Flt Lt W.J. Geeringh RRAF
  • 1966 Cpl G. Dartnell Thornhill Air Base
  • 1968 Flt Lt W.J. Geeringh (3) RRAF

Description

The medal was struck in silver and is a disk, 36 millimetres (1.42 inches) in diameter, with a raised rim on each side and suspended from a straight silver bar.

Obverse

The obverse bears the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II and is circumscribed "ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA F. D.", reading around from the top. The effigy was designed by sculptor Cecil Thomas OBE and was used on a number of medals.

Reverse

The reverse shows Hermes, the mythological messenger of the gods, mounted on the back of a hawk in flight, with a javelin in his right hand and in his left a caduceus, two snakes wrapped around a winged staff. The image is circumscribed “THE QUEEN'S MEDAL FOR CHAMPION SHOTS OF THE AIR FORCES”. The reverse of the medal was designed by British sculptor Sir Bernard Sindall.

Clasp

Since the medal can be won multiple times, each subsequent award is indicated by the award of another clasp, which displays the year of the subsequent award. The clasps are designed to be attached to the suspender and to each other with rivets, in roller chain fashion. When medals are not worn, the award of second and subsequent clasps are denoted by silver rosettes on the ribbon bar. Since it is impossible to sew more than four rosettes onto a single ribbon bar and since several champions have won the award more than five times, gold rosettes were introduced to provide for situations where more than five championships have been won.

Ribbon

The ribbon is 32 millimetres wide and dark crimson with a 3 millimetres wide dark blue band, a 3 millimetres wide light blue band and a 3 millimetres wide dark blue band on each edge.