Not sure if your aware of the Pilot's Story who flew AZ-D in 1940 have attached details below for your reading pleasure.
BIOGRAPHY - Paterson Clarence Hughes - RAAF and RAF
Enlisted RAAF 20 Jan 1936 Served with 234 RAF Squadron, awarded Distinguished Flying Cross 1940.
B19 Sept 1917 - KIA 7 Sept 1940
Born in Cooma NSW, Australia,Pat was the youngest of five boys in a family that also boasted seven girls. In 1935 aged 17, Pat had applied to join the air force and navy and was accepted for both services; he chose the former and began his Royal Australian Air Force career in 1936 by reporting to Point Cook in Victoria for Cadet training. He graduated in January 1937 and was selected for a scheme to transfer to the Royal Air Force with a Short Service Commission and upon arrival in England he was sent to 2 Flying Training School at RAF Digby in Lincolnshire to assess his flying ability.
Flying Officer Hughes was posted to 64 RAF Squadron at RAF Church Fenton in North Yorkshire to fly Bristol Blenheim heavy-fighters. Still wearing his dark blue RAAF uniform with RAF insignia, in which he cut quite a dashing figure, he was serving with the unit when war was declared in September 1939.
At the end of the following month, Pat was posted to RAF Leconfield in neighbouring East Yorkshire to join the newly reformed 234 RAF Squadron (Aircraft marked as AZ) as a Flight Commander and in November 1939 was made an Acting Flight Lieutenant. The squadron had a mixed-bag of aircraft types with Blenheims,Fairey Battles and Gloster Gauntlets in use initially.
The ultimate joy for the pilots came in March 1940 when the Squadron re-equipped with Supermarine Spitfires and after a short tenure at RAF Church Fenton, Pat and the Squadron were sent to RAF St Eval in Cornwall during mid-June 1940 where he continued to hone his skill flying the best the RAF had to offer.
With Great Britain standing alone against the Nazi threat, action for Pat against the much-vaunted Luftwaffe came just before the Battle of Britain began, when during the early evening of Monday 8 July 1940, Pat's Section engaged a reconnaissance Ju88 off Lands End. Pat and his two wingmen returned to claim the first victory for the Squadron as they each had a share in the destruction of the lone enemy raider. Pat repeated this success on two further occasions in late July 1940.
A high point at this time outside the theatre of war was his marriage to his English sweetheart Kay on Thursday 1 August 1940, whom he had met in Beverley when he was stationed at RAF Leconfield earlier in the year.
As the Battle of Britain grew in intensity, Pat like any keen fighter pilot was eager to join the air battles raging over South-east England and on Wednesday 14 August 1940, the day after the Luftwaffe launched "Adler Tag" - Eagle Day -, 234 RAF Squadron were sent to RAF Middle Wallop in Hampshire.
The very next day they were soon in the thick of the action against large Luftwaffe formations and Pat shot down a Me110 and shared in the destruction of another 'Zerstörer'. At the end of August 1940 after constant action, the Australian was an 'ace' with claims for about a dozen enemy aircraft.
Pat had earned a reputation for his leadership, fighting style and success and was renowned for closing in to very short range when attacking his chosen target. During the first week of September 1940, Pat made claims for another eight enemy aircraft, all of which were Messerschmitt fighters including a Me109 destroyed on the morning of 6 September 1940 near Dover with two more probably destroyed.
However the strain of combat since arriving at RAF Middle Wallop was beginning to show on the face of the gallant Australian as he was evidently reaching the end of his endurance.
Saturday 7 September 1940 marked a new phase of the Battle of Britain when the Luftwaffe turned its main attention from RAF airfields to the City of London. In a new development to win air superiority, the Luftwaffe embarked upon a massive daylight raid hoping to bring about a decisive clash with RAF fighters.
At about 1600 Hrs, the first of around 350 enemy bombers and 620 escorting fighters of an almost continual stream began crossing over The English Channel towards the Kent coastline. RAF controllers expected the massed enemy formations to split up and attack various airfields etc, but the realisation almost came too late that the target was in fact London. The many RAF fighter squadrons already positioned in the air on their patrol lines were re-vectored towards the huge numbers of Luftwaffe aircraft heading for London.
234 RAF Squadron were sent on their way at 1735 for an interception 'scramble' and were vectored to patrol RAF Kenley and RAF Biggin Hill Areas at 'Angels 20' [20 000 feet]. Soon enough the 12 Spitfires were facing large numbers of enemy bombers and fighters returning from London and flying south to make good their escape back to bases in France. On this early Saturday evening Pat led his Flight to attack a formation of Dornier Do17's near Sevenoaks.
Tragically for the RAF Squadron their Commanding Officer, Squadron Leader Joseph 'Spike' O'Brien RAF was shot down and killed when his Spitfire P9466 crashed near RAF Biggin Hill at about 1825. In the moments that followed even more tragedy for the Spitfires of 234 RAF Squadron was about to occur.
A Dornier Do17Z from the Stab Flight of Kampfgeschwader 76 that was returning from the raid,was struggling onwards after having conducted a photo-reconnaissance mission over London. It had already been reportedly hit by machine-gun fire from the Spitfires of 602 RAuxAF Squadron and possibly a Hawker Hurricane from 79 RAF Squadron flown by Flying Officer George Peters RAF.
Precisely what happened next has been subject to a number of different accounts,but one report suggests that as F/L Pat Hughes attacked this particular Dornier,it exploded and parts of the bomber struck his Spitfire X4009 (AZ-D)causing it to fall away. A further account says that due to the damage inflicted from the earlier fighter attacks,the Dornier suddenly went out of control and collided with Pat's Spitfire.
To add to the confusion regarding what happened,other accounts state that the Australian was shot down by a Me109,or that his aircraft was caught in the hail of machine-gun fire from another attacking RAF fighter.
An eyewitness account from the ground however throws up another version of events. According to the eyewitness, the Spitfire was seen to deliberately collide with the Dornier. This could be reckoned to tally with yet another account that records F/L Hughes being so infuriated at seeing his CO, S/L O'Brien shot down,that he climbed up under the formation of Dorniers and smashed into the leading bomber!
Whatever the truth,the attempt to successfully bale-out from his stricken Spitfire proved tragic as the body of Pat was found in a garden at Sundridge about one mile to the west of Sevenoaks. His Spitfire came to earth at Dark's Farm just outside Sevenoaks at Bessels Green.
The Dornier crashed in pieces across Sundridge with the crew of Lt G Schneider,Oberfeldwebel K Schneider and Unteroffizier W Rupprecht being killed. Feldwebel E Rosche was the only survivor having managed to bale-out slightly wounded.
Flight Lieutenant Paterson Clarence Hughes was laid to rest on Friday 13 September 1940 at Sutton-in-Holderness in St James Churchyard near Hull,the hometown of his wife who so sadly was a bride for only 5 short weeks of that momentous summer..
On 22 October 1940 the announcement appeared in The London Gazette that a Distinguished Flying Cross was being posthumously awarded to F/L Hughes, the citation stating:-
"This officer has led his flight with skill and determination. He has displayed gallantry in his attacks on the enemy and has destroyed seven of their aircraft."
(When the Dornier that Pat Hughes collided with was excavated many years ago,fragments of Spitfire wreckage were found to be embedded in the structure of the German bomber..)
Memorial to Pat:
In England, the Shoreham Aircraft Museum has a Pilot Memorials Project that aims to honour fallen brave Battle of Britain pilots who lost their lives locally to the museum. On a dry and bright Saturday 23 August 2008, the museum honoured Flight Lieutenant Pat Hughes DFC RAF,when they unveiled a memorial stone at Sundridge near Sevenoaks in Kent close to where Pat was tragically killed.
Unfortunately it was not possible for any Hughes family representatives to attend the unveiling, but the occasion was blessed by the attendance of Wing Commander Bob Doe DSO DFC Bar RAF,a squadron colleague of Pat Hughes and Group Captain Peter Norford RAAF,UK Air Attaché of the present day Royal Australian Air Force.
However, a message received from Malcolm Booth, a great-nephew of Pat Hughes was read out during the dedication service:-
"My name is Malcolm Booth and Paterson Clarence Hughes was my Great Uncle. I would have given the world to be with you caring and kind English folk on this very special day but it is not meant to be at this time. Although I never met this fantastic man, as I wasn't born until 1954 I listened to so many stories about Uncle Pat from my late mother. I came to know him as a very kind and warm hearted person who would go out of his way to lend a helping hand to anyone that needed it. Words cannot explain the feeling that I have when I think of the way you people there in England think of my great uncle and want everyone to know what this Aussie did for you and your country. I am sure he will be looking down on this service today saying to himself "I don't deserve this". But let me tell you Uncle Pat you sure do. Your family here in Australia is so very proud of you for who you are and for what you did for your fellow man. God be with you Uncle Pat."
Bob Doe gave a eulogy in tribute to his ex-Flight Commander and speaking with admiration and affection, Bob remembered well how as a raw young pilot it was Pat who guided him and gave him confidence to face the enemy and the overwhelming odds. He stated that he owed a great deal to his survival on the skill and leadership of Pat and as he closed his speech, it was all too evident that the memories of a lost dear and respected friend, was still keenly felt as his voice cracked.
With great timing whilst poppy wreaths were being placed on the unveiled memorial,the RAF Biggin Hill based 'Spirit of Kent' Spitfire performed an aerial salute to a gallant 'ace' pilot. In the 'pocket' of the pilot at the controls of the 'Spirit of Kent' was a piston head from the Merlin engine of Pat's Spitfire to symbolically allow X4009 to fly again on the day its brave Aussie pilot was being remembered by a gathered group of grateful Poms.
Final Tally according to post war research was - 14 Confirmed plus 3 Shared 5 Prob and 0 Damaged. All were only on the Spitfire.
Mate, had a flick through your gallery and you've got incredible painting skills. I've always been a fan of the Spitfire and Hurricane so I just love this. Great background details as well, the flak bursts and formations of Heinkels below them is a great touch. I mean, everyone loves a pretty plane, but it's so much better if you can get that sense of context as well.
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`anmari has been spreading her infectious positivity throughout our community for over 6 years. Throughout this time Ana has been at the core of all things devious, passionately developing an eclectic gallery, helping organise devmeets, participating in chat events and also recently completed dedicating her time as a Community Volunteer. We are absolutely delighted to bestow the Deviousness Award for May 2013 to `anmari, congratulations! Read More