The Honourable Company of Air Pilots incorporating Air Navigators

The Sword of Honour

Awarded for an outstanding contribution to General Aviation.


2018 awarded to: Gerry Hermer AFC

Sword Of Honour HermerGerry Hermer’s career in aviation has spanned more than 5 decades. He began as an Engineering Officer in the Royal Air Force before training as a Search and Rescue pilot. He flew the Wessex and the Sea King and also qualified as an instructor on Gazelles. Always at the front, he was awarded the Air Force Cross in 1977 for rescuing the crew of a sinking German ship over 70 miles off Flamborough Head. In treacherous weather conditions with gale force winds, snow and hail, he had to refuel twice offshore; on an oil platform and on the deck of a rolling tanker. Following a distinguished military career Gerry established two successful aviation businesses based in Norwich. The high standards that he insisted on made his companies respected throughout the aviation industry. Ever forward thinking, he was the driving force behind the establishment of the first Norfolk Police Helicopter Unit in 1990.

In 1996 Gerry went on to start the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA). With his experience in Search and Rescue, Gerry recognised the potential of a helicopter-based medical service. Working with a small group who shared his vision, he developed the service from scratch. The first aircraft began flying in 2001, one day a week. Gerry continued to supply aircraft and pilots for over 10 years, often flying the Air Ambulance himself. Working as both a pilot and a supplier, Gerry was acutely aware of the requirements and demands placed on the aircraft and its crew. This allowed him to develop HEMS focussed procedures and techniques as well as address safety issues at a national level. Much of his early work set the foundations for the success of the UK’s HEMS sector today.

On retiring from business life Gerry selflessly continued his relationship with EAAA as the Aviation Consultant and was central in moving the Charity forward. The EAAA now operates two aircraft, seven days a week, from two bases; in 2017 EAAA launched almost 3000 Air Ambulance missions providing vital emergency medical support of the community. Gerry’s passion, knowledge and experience enabled him to pursue continuous improvements to the safety and efficiency of the service. Innovations included the introduction of new in-flight communications and new helipad lighting, exemplifying Gerry’s innovation and professional acumen.  At a national level, Gerry’s commitment to the UK air ambulance community has been extraordinary and unequalled. It was Gerry’s expertise, energy, and tenacity which was pivotal in coordinating the inputs of the aircraft contractor and UK Civil Aviation Authority in order to introduce safely, night HEMS missions in May 2013, a new operaGerry Hermertional capability to the UK. 

Gerry has only recently retired, having worked into his 70th decade. He is well known throughout the industry, earning respect and admiration for his remarkable achievements. His tireless work ethic, utter professionalism, selfless commitment and boundless energy, throughout a lifetime of service to aviation, makes him a role model in UK aviation and an example to all who know him.  For his outstanding contribution to General Aviation, Gerry Hermer is awarded the Sword of Honour.


Previous Winners:

1972/73 J C Ward Esq

1973/74 Gatwick ATC

1974/75 Edward Day Esq 

1976 Not Awarded

1976/77 Captain E Thurston

1977/78 R D Campbell Esq

1978/79 John H Blake Esq

1980 Not Awarded

1980/81 Giles Kershaw Esq

1981/82 H G Pattison Esq

1982/83 Dick Smith Esq

1983/84 The Royal Flying Doctors Service of Australia

1984/85 John Thorpe Esq

1986 Not Awarded

1986/87 Miss Eve Jackson

1988 - 1989  Not Awarded

1989/90 Captain J G Green

1991 Not Awarded

1991/92 Frank E Young Esq

1993  Not Awarded

1993/94 Hugh M Kendall Esq

1994/95 The Royal Queensland Aero Club

1996 - 1997  Not Awarded

1997/98 (Roland) Lovat Fraser Esq

1998/99 Brian Lecomber

1999/2000 David Ogilvy OBE

2000/01 Air Vice-Marshal Bertrand 'John' Brownlow

2002  Not Awarded

2002/03 Government Flying Services of Hong Kong

2003/04 Captain David Staveley

2004/05 David William Jupp

2005/06 WO1 Ronald Jack Watkins

2007  - 2009  Not Awarded

2009/10 Paul Bonhomme

2010/11 David Hamilton

2011/12 Gerald Charles Hackemer

2012/13 Peter Moxham

2013/14  John and Martha King

2015   Not Awarded

2016  Frederick O Marsh Esq

2017  National Police Air Service

    Stephen Grey

2018  Gerry Hermer AFC