The Sword of Honour

Awarded for an outstanding contribution to General Aviation.

2021 Awarded to:  Stuart McKay

MCKAY Stuart Sword Of HonourStuart McKay was founding secretary of the de Havilland Moth Club (DHMC) and is a world acknowledged expert on the de Havilland Tiger Moth, especially with relation to its history. Stuart, having founded the DHMC in 1975, is still the club secretary in 2021, a period of 46 years’ service to the club.

Stuart learnt to fly at White Waltham in 1963. From 1966 to 1969 Stuart built a Jodel D.9. Bébé registered G-AVPD, which first flew on the 14/06/69. In 1971, Stuart purchased an ex-Tiger Moth glider bug F-BGJE from France, which was brought by road to England. However, restoration of what is now Tiger Moth G-AZZZ was not completed professionally until 1998. This was due to Stuart’s commitment to the running of the DHMC taking priority.

This commitment includes the organisation of Moth gatherings, which were previously held at Woburn Abbey and continue to this day, obviously restricted by the pandemic. These events give much pleasure to many people as a living history of aviation. Stuart goes out of his way to encourage all with an interest in the Tiger Moth, to be welcomed as members of the DHMC.

By the organisation of the charity flying weekends, Stuart enables anyone, especially young people, with an interest in flying and vintage aircraft, to have flight experience in the Tiger Moth. Many from this first flight, with the help of the DHMC, have become pilots over the years.

Stuart also encourages young engineers to learn the skills and knowledge required to keep vintage aircraft flying, as without such skills, such aircraft would cease to fly.  Stuart is editor of the Moth magazine. The magazine is circulated worldwide. It is a well-researched and informative magazine, containing a vast range of safety, maintenance, and engineering data, where to get spares for the Tiger Moth and the histories of specific aircraft. This information, the main source being Stuart, with his vast knowledge of the type, in no small way contributes to keeping Moths flying worldwide.

Stuart is very modest in his aim to keep the Tiger Moth flying as long as possible, the type first having flown in 1931. Many were the Battle of Britain pilots who trained on the type. Regardless of any question on the Tiger Moth put to Stuart, the reply is always friendly and helpful in its manner. This supports the aim of the DHMC in gathering together the pilots and owners of the Tiger Moth to promote its longevity and knowledge and enjoyment of the type.  Whilst each owner, pilot, engineer and technical advisor is essential in keeping the Tiger Moth in the air, with equal importance, none would deny Stuart’s vast contribution to this aim worldwide.

Stuart is the author of books about many de Havilland Moth types, including The de Havilland moth DH60, De Havilland Moths in Detail, Tiger the DH82 Tiger Moth and Tiger Moth, thus proving his being a world acknowledge expert on the type.

The part played by Stuart in coordinating bulk manufacture of obsolete parts for Moth aircraft can in no way be underestimated. These parts are sold on at discount rates to Moth owners, thus ensuring the Tiger Moth and other Moth types worldwide may keep flying for as many years as possible.

From organising the first Moth types’ rally on August 22nd 1976, at Little Gransden, Bedfordshire, to the Covid-cancelled 100th de Havilland gathering birthday celebration at the Shuttleworth Museum, Stuart’s effort and commitment to the cause of keeping the Tiger Moth flying has been extraordinary to say the least.

This effort has been helped by all the other DHMC members to make the events a success. These other members have nothing but appreciation for all he has done for their particular field of aviation. There are too many instances to recount with regard to Stuart’s help to Club members, always done in a helpful and friendly personal manner, and with genuine modesty toward his own expertise.

During the current pandemic restrictions Stuart has kept members enthused, owners and pilots of all Moth types worldwide, with history of aircraft, latest restorations of type, attempted parts scams and safety information etc. This in no small way gives vintage aircraft owners and pilots the information required to operate in a safe and knowledgeable way to the benefit of all.

There can be no doubt about Stuart’s contribution over many years to the field of aviation. Stuart is a true gentleman, whose enthusiasm toward aviation is infectious.  In recognition of his work, he 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  AVM 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  awarded twice:
      National Police Air Service
      Stephen Grey

2018   Gerry Hermer AFC

2019   not awarded

2020   General Aviation Safety Council (GASCo) Regional Safety Officers

2021   Stuart McKay