The RAF Firmin Sword of Peace Award for 2022 was presented to RAF Leeming.
The Firmin Sword of Peace Awards celebrate the most valuable humanitarian contributions by the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force, and Joint Service Units to establish friendly relations between the British Armed Forces and communities at home or overseas.
RAF Aldergrove, RAF Brize Norton, RAF Cosford, RAF High Wycombe, RAF Leeming, RAF Linton on Ouse, RAF Marham, RAF Shawbury, the RAF Search and Rescue Force, and the RAF Police have all been previous winners since 2005.
Aviators paraded through the town of Bedale, North Yorkshire, accompanied by the Band of the RAF College Cranwell, in celebration of both the win and close relationship between the local communities and station.
The salute was taken by Deputy Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Nigel Corner, who then presented the Firmin Sword to RAF Leeming Station Commander, Group Captain Gareth Prendergast.
It is an honour for RAF Leeming to be awarded the Firmin Sword of Peace, recognising the contribution and relationship that RAF Leeming has with the civil authorities and communities of North Yorkshire. The people of the region are incredible, always welcoming to RAF Leeming personnel and their families. I look forward to deepening the relationship and finding more ways that we can further this mutually supportive association.
Group Captain Prendergast
RAF Leeming Station Commander
In 2020, RAF Leeming proudly passed the RAF’s first NATO assessment of capability for 16 years. However, the world was soon hit by the COVID-19 Pandemic and the station flew to the support of the NHS.
The Aviation Task Force helped develop the Track and Trace application, while others deployed on Operation RESCRIPT.
RAF Leeming also collaborated with agencies on Operation PANTHER, a complex contamination investigation lasting six months. It saw the recovery of over 64,000 artifacts posing a serious health risk to the public across the UK.
Despite harsh terrain, treacherous weather and Coronovirus restrictions, RAF Leeming conducted themselves with great professionalism and teamwork, epitomising the RAF’s workforce spirit to pull together and deliver success amid complex challenges.
The operation formed cooperative relationships between all agencies involved, including the local joint North Yorkshire Police and MOD Police, while strengthening operating procedures for future civil-military work and showcasing a few ways the RAF defend the public in the United Kingdom.