The Royal Aeronautical Society was honoured to present the Sir Robert Hardingham Presidential Sword to Group Captain Peter Barrett OBE FRAeS at the IATA Training & Qualification Initiative on 15th February 2012. The Sir Robert Hardingham Presidential sword is a prestigious award presented annually by the President in recognition of outstanding service to the Society. 

Citation for Peter Barrett.

Alongside a very distinguished career in the Royal Air Force, Peter has been a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society for more than thirty years. Throughout that time he has been an active, and one of the most effective, members of that core group of just a few hundred members, who freely contribute their time and energy for the benefit of the Society and without whom the RAeS wouldn't exist. Peter was a long-time member, leader and past Chairman, of one of the most innovative and successful Specialist Groups in the Society. He has been an active member of the LSB and many other committees and working groups, all of which have benefited over the years from his wisdom and his determination to put the interests of the Society first and to ensure the maintenance of its leading place in the worldwide aerospace community. Specifically, he has chaired the organising committees for more than twenty very successful Society conferences. That success is measured both by the intellectual content, the quality of the speakers, and key-note speakers, that he's been able to attract from all over the world, and the way in which the output has increased the body of knowledge and been translated into action that has moved the sector forward in a practical way. In all cases, those conferences have enhanced the Society's international reputation while producing a financial surplus to invest in advancing the art and science of aerospace. In the past few years, under his leadership as conference chairman, several Specialist Groups have come together to organise and run the Society's series of hugely successful Annual International Flight Crew Training Conferences. Few, if any, in the Society have made such a significant contribution to the success of one of the Society's key outputs, both intellectual and financial, over so many years. In purely financial terms, his contribution to the 'bottom line' has been invaluable. All of this is achieved with his characteristic and unfailing thoroughness, efficiency, courtesy, good humour and above all, modesty. His contribution to the Society over many years is deserving of recognition at the highest level. 

History of the Sir Robert Hardigham Presidential Sword.

The Hardingham Sword was originally donated to the Society of Licensed Aircraft Engineers and Technologists (SLAET) by Graviner Limited to commemorate a long association between the two organisations. Following the merger of SLAET with the Royal Aeronautical Society in July 1987, the Sword – which was the SLAET President’s Award – was incorporated, in 1988, into the Awards of the merged Society as "The Presidential Sword". It was agreed that the discretionary nature of the Award "For outstanding service to the Society" would rest with the President in consultation with the Chairman of the Medals and Awards Committee. It was further agreed that the award of a statuette for permanent retention by the recipient of the Sword would be more appropriately replaced by a miniature of the Sword itself, usable as a paper knife. In May 1992 the Council, following a discussion with former Council members of SLAET, agreed to the renaming of the Sword to commemorate the life and work of Sir Robert Hardingham (1903-1991), a past president of SLAET. SLAET only awarded the Sword three times prior to the amalgamation with the Royal Aeronautical Society. It is now awarded annually.  

Bharat Dave
23 February 2012