HMS Seahawk Sports Medal

In 1947 RNAS Culdrose had been in operation for five years and she was commissioned as a full naval base as HMS Seahawk. The base was used to test the first jets for the Royal Navy, as a home base for the RN’s carrier squadrons when not aboard ship and to train crews in various aspects of flying.

As well as the aircrews that came and went, the base also had a large number of other naval personnel such as mechanics, clerks, medical staff etc. and the usual rounds of training, sports and leisure took place on the base including regular competitive sporting events where the winning teams would be presented with small metal medallions bearing the ship’s crest (in the RN a base is still a ship, even if its on land). Appropriately enough the badge for HMS Seahawk features a hawk wearing the leather cowl used on such birds for falconry:

The reverse of the medal shows it was awarded for a football (soccer) competition in 1956:

Team sports have always been highly regarded in the military as they foster the same sorts of competiveness and teamwork that is needed on military operations. A 1955 Army publication explained:

Team and individual games enable us to do rather than learn things and they provide splendid opportunities to apply bodily strength and mental alertness, to take a chance, to be constructive and bold, and to receive hard knocks without flinching. They develop our powers not only for enjoyment but for action, and these qualities are required on the battlefield.

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