The OA Sword
The idea of the OA Prize originated at a meeting of the OA Committee in May 2003 when the Honorary Treasurer at that time suggested that some of the OA funds should be used to ‘sponsor’ young officers within HMS COLLINGWOOD.
Following various discussions at subsequent committee meetings the Committee agreed that a prize would be awarded and that it would be either in the form of a monetary prize or as a purchased gift to the value of about £500. In conjunction with the Commodore at the time, it was decided that a telescope (with cash differential) would be awarded to the junior officer on a MWS course (of at least 6 months) who showed the most leadership potential. The prize would be awarded annually and would be presented at divisions at the end of each Summer term. The first award was scheduled for August 2004.
For various reasons and delays in 2004, it was decided to abandon the award for that year and to set up the sponsorship for the year ending August 2005. Because of the changing pattern of RN training and the shorter time that officers spent on course, the numbers of students eligible to be considered for the award was greatly reduced so it was decided that the award would be open to all junior officers either on the staff or on course. It was also agreed that the award would be changed to a sword with the necessary change in budget.
The initial 3 swords were purchased from the Imperial Sword Company but subsequent swords have been kindly donated by retired officers. Donated swords are refurbished, as necessary, before presentation to the recipient. All swords are engraved with “Presented by the HMS COLLINGWOOD Officers’ Association”.
The first sword was presented to Lt Toby Evison by Vice Admiral Sir Neville Purvis KCB on 14 October 2005 at the OA Ladies’ Trafalgar Night Dinner. Subsequent swords were presented as originally planned at divisions at the end of each Summer Term.
Details of subsequent recipients and presentations are as follows:-
2006 Lt Colin Darkins presented by OA Chairman Lieutenant Mike Draper.
2007 Lt Alexander Smith presented by OA Chairman Lieutenant Mike Draper
2008 Lt Peter Ehrahiemen presented by OA Chairman Lieutenant Mike Draper
2009 Lt Kevin Miller presented by HRH The Princess Royal
2010 Lt Rachael Smallwood presented by Admiral Sir Trevor Soar
2011 Lt Cdr Paul (Dusty) Miller presented by OA Chairman Commodore Adrian Whyntie and Lt Cdr Ken Pile (see citation and photo here).
2012 Lt Paul Gill presented by OA Chairman Commodore Adrian Whyntie and Lieutenant Clem Saull (see citation and photo here).
2013 Lt Cdr Nigel Griffiths QGM presented by OA Chairman Commodore A Whyntie and Mike Covington, the nephew of Commander R Covington Royal Navy who kindly donated his sword (see citation and photo here).
2014 Lt Jon Sutcliff presented by Lieutenant Mike Draper (see citation and photo here).
2015 Lt Mike Bray presented by Lieutenant Paul Daysh to Flt Sgt Vanessa Bray (see citation and photo here).
2016 Lt Matt Millyard presented by Commander Andrew Dent (see citation and photo here).
2017 Lt Ollie James presented by Lieutenant Commander Mike Edmunds (see citation and photo here).
2018 Lt Lucy Robus presented by HRH The Princess Royal, donated by Mrs Judith Turner (see citation, photo and a short history of the Sword here)).
2019 Lt Dave Haw presented by First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Tony Radakin CB, ADC, donated by Captain Charles Crawford, a previous Captain of HMS COLLINGWOOD (see citation and photo here)).
2020 The OA sword was awarded but details are being withheld at the request of the recipient. It was presented by Captain John McGrath RN Rtd, Chairman of the Officers' Association, at a special socially distanced ceremony at HMS COLLINGWOOD on 24 July 2020. The sword was kindly donated by Mrs G Leighton-Goodall.
2021 Lt Cdr Thomas Forbes presented by Commodore Andy Jordan RN, Deputy Director Ships at DE&S. (see citation and photo here)).
2022 Lt Ross Lyth presented by First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Ben Key KCB CBE ADC. The sword previously belonged to Cdr Jack Shirley and was kindly donated by his daughter, Mrs Pamela Nason. (see citation and photo here)).
A record of all the winners is displayed on the Honours Board in the foyer of the Wardroom. The Board is shown here with Paul Sutton who kindly constructed the Board for us.