As we all know the Peregrine Trophy is the competition for navy phots. to show their creative skills at taking great pictures! As you will read here it has a rich history. So, for those that don’t know too much about it, here’s a few paragraphs to give you some background.
How Did The Peregrine Trophy Get Its Name?
The Peregrine trophy was so named because Royal Naval Photographic training had taken place at HMS Peregrine, the Royal Naval Air Station at Ford in Sussex, during the early days of the branch.
Aerial Photographic Training
Aerial photographic training was taking place at HMS Peregrine before the start of the second world war and continued after the RAF took control on 30th September 1940. In 1943 the Royal Naval School of Photography moved from Tipner (HMS Excellent) to Felpham near Bognor Regis and the RAF handed Ford back to the Navy on 31 July 1945. Aerial phot. training continued there and was joined by all other photographic training in 1947 when the School moved from Felpham to RNAS Ford. The School of Photography remained at HMS Peregrine until after the Air Station closed in 1961, and then moved to a temporary home at Whitecroft House in HMS Daedalus, Lee on Solent.
Practical Photography Magazine – A Little Background Info.
The trophy was presented to the Royal Navy in 1962 by Practical Photography magazine whose editor Alex J Surgenor was an ex-RN photographer who had joined the branch soon after it was formed in 1939 and qualified as a Petty Officer Photographer in 1944.
From 1962 the competition was held at the RN School of Photography, HMS Daedalus, Lee on Solent,
and then HMS Fulmar at RNAS Lossiemouth. In 1971, when Joint training started at RAF Cosford, the competition moved to the Fleet Photographic Unit, and through its various names to the present SFPU (E)
In 1962 the trophy was presented to an individual photographer judged to have taken the best photograph during the preceding year. Six classes (HM Ships, RN Aircraft, Trade Activities, Ceremonial, Recreational Activities, and Free Subject) were introduced in 1963. In 1974 the rules were changed, individual entries were judged in classes and points awarded in order of merit. The Trophy was awarded to the section gaining the most number of points awarded to the individual entries of people serving in that section.
The First Winner
The first winner of the Trophy was Naval Airman (Phot) Nick Gosney. His winning entry was a close up of a Wren with puffed-out cheeks playing in the volunteer band at RNAS Culdrose. The subject of the photo, entitled “Wren at Play” according to the magazine, was twenty-year old Wren Air Mechanic Rosemary Toy, of School Hill, Portleven. It is believed the photograph was taken inside one of the hangars at Culdrose with the 5×4 Peckham Wray camera, probably on FP3 cut film using the Courtney Courier flash gun that used to weigh a ton!
The Trophy was presented by Vice-Admiral JG Hamilton CB CBE, who was the Flag-Officer Air (Home) at the time. The judges for that year were AJ ‘Alex’ Surgenor (Editor of Practical Photography magazine), Lt-Cdr J W Hanman o-i-c RNSOP and TWT Pearse, representing the Chief of Naval Information. Tom Pearse was the man we sent possible newsworthy material to for possible publication in the UK press.
The Peregrine trophy attracted the attention of the photographic trade and quite attractive prizes for the various classes were introduced.
In 1967 RF Hunter Ltd, importers of the Rolleiflex camera range at the time, undertook an annual presentation of a Rolleiflex T to the best entry by a junior rating.
The 1980 Competition was suspended due to a moratorium on Defence spending.
Change of Rules
In 1985 the format was changed so that photographic sections entering the best portfolio of six pictures competed for the trophy and, at the same time, British Aerospace presented a new trophy in the shape of a Peregrine Falcon with wings outstretched. This as a result of the FPUs work on the filming of the British Aerospace Sea Eagle missile trials.
In 1987 the presentation of the Trophy and prizes was moved to the MOD in London.
Until 2001 the Judging normally took place toward the end of the year but the next competition (2002/3) took place in February 2003 and the 2003/4 in January 2004. Since then the Judging has gradually moved toward the middle of the year and includes entries from roughly half of the previous year up to just before judging date. However the winners tallies on the current trophy continue to show a single year so the 2009/10 competition is shown as 2009.