The Royal Air Force Museum is proud to announce the delivery of the Royal Air Force American Foundation Presentation Sword.The Royal Air Force Officer’s Sword was commissioned by the Royal Air Force Museum American Foundation and kindly donated by one of its board members, Tim Manna of Kennet Aviation.
It is to be presented annually to the Royal Air Force Officer on exchange with the United States Air Force who has made the most significant contribution in that year to Anglo/American relations.
This year it will be presented on October 28th at a closed ceremony in Washington, D.C., at the home of the British ambassador.
The sword itself was transported to the United States of America on board ‘Grumpy’, the B-25D Mitchell which made its historic return journey to the US after 25 years in the UK. The journey followed the route taken by aircraft travelling to the UK during the war and represented and honoured the flight crews who were unable to complete their missions.
The aircraft was piloted by John T Sessions who started the commemorative journey from Duxford, England and ended at the Historic Flight Foundation’s collection at Paine Field, in Everett, Washington. The flight took five days, with a flight plan that included Ireland, Iceland, Greenland and the Baffin and Hudson Bays.
The Royal Air Force Museum American Foundation supports the work of the RAF Museum and promotes ties of friendship between Britain and America. In the past, it has supported exhibits in the Museum’s galleries such as the Boeing Chinook exhibition in London as well as promoting youth exchanges.
The Royal Air Force sends a number of officers to embed with the USAF each year. They share best practice and promote interoperability between the Services which is vital when on the front line.
The Presentation Sword was created by British company Pooley Swords which makes the ceremonial swords for all three Services, hand-finished at their base in Shoreham, Hants. The inscription on the sword comes from the famous American anthem The Star-Spangled Banner and reads “Oh, thus be it ever when free men shall stand”