Top award for speaker Sophy

One of our upcoming Sunday afternoon speakers has been awarded a major prize from the Royal Air Force.

Wing Commander Sophy Gardner MBE RAF (rtd) is due to give a unique, in-depth insight into the subject of The RAF and Memorials when she visits The Wing on Sunday 6 October.

This week Sophy, who is also a Trustee of the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, was awarded the Salmond Prize for an article on the development of the RAF’s culture in the period following its formation.

Her essay, which covered the pivotal relationship forged between Marshal of the Royal Air Force Hugh Trenchard and the long-serving Secretary of State for Air, Sir Samuel Hoare, was published in Air Power Review Vol 21 No 1.

The Salmond Prize is awarded in memory of Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir John Salmond, who was appointed as the fourth Chief of the Air Staff in 1930. It is awarded annually for the best essay on an air power topic by a civilian or non-RAF serviceperson. 

When she visits The Wing in October, Sophy will explore the challenges facing the RAF and Royal Navy after the first world war, when the focus was very much on the Army and the Western Front, and will discuss the functions and meanings of memorials at the site.

The talk begins at 2.30pm in the Geoffrey Page Centre, with admission free to Hurricane Members of our Friends of the Few organisation, £5 to Spitfire Members and just £10 for the public. The other attractions at the Capel-le-Ferne site, including The Scramble Experience, will also be available.

Sophy is an experienced speaker who has delivered a paper at the National Maritime Museum about the Naval Memorial. A former RAF Wing Commander, she is researching the early politics of air power and the networks of power in Whitehall and Westminster in the inter-war years.

Sophy’s 20-year RAF career included serving as the Military Aide to the UK Component Commander during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, deployments to the Congo and Afghanistan, two years working in the MOD’s media and communications department and a tour on exchange with the Royal Navy on HMS Invincible.

Her final posting was in command of Operations Wing at RAF Valley in Anglesey. She was awarded an MBE for her support to operations in Afghanistan in 2002.

Booking is recommended for all talks as seats are limited to just 50. There’s more useful information here. Tickets can be booked by ringing 01303 249292 or emailing

Sophy’s winning article can be seen here  

Sophy at the CF-N Wall

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *