LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant Henry Francis HUGHES

Service No: 559
Born: Prahran VIC, February 1890
Enlisted in the Army: 21 August 1916
Unit: No. 3 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
Died: Air Operations, France, 17 December 1917, Aged 27 Years
Buried: St Pol Communal Cemetery Extension, St Pol-sur-Ternoise, Nord Pas de Calais, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Terence and Henrietta Hughes, of 25, Argo St., South Yarra, Victoria, Australia. Native of Prahran, Victoria
Place of Association: Prahran VIC
Remembered: Panel 188, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

From a stationary hospital near St. Pol came a telegram to the effect that the dead bodies of Sandy and Hughes had been found in a wrecked RE.8 (1) in a neighbouring field.  The report of a subsequent examination by officers of the squadron states: From a post-mortem on the bodies at the hospital, and an examination of the scene of the crash, it would appear that both pilot and observer were killed in the aerial combat, and that the machine flew itself in wide left-hand circles until the petrol supply ran out.  An armour-piercing bullet had passed through the observer’s left lung and thence into the base of the pilot’s skull.  Medical opinion was that the pilot had been killed instantly.  It was apparent that the observer had made no attempt to ship the auxiliary joy-stick, and that the throttle was open when the machine crashed.  The theory that the machine flew itself in wide circles is supported by the fact that the wind that day was north-east, which would cause a south-west drift. The place where the machine was found is on an air-line distant fifty miles south-west from the scene of the combat.  The bodies of neither pilot nor observer were further injured in the crash.” While still missing, Sandy had been recommended for immediate award of the Military Cross in recognition of his gallant fight, and Sergeant Hughes for the Distinguished Conduct Medal

(1) RE8 aircraft A3816

Extract from Cutlack, F.M. (Frederic Morley) The Australian Flying Corps in the Western and Eastern Theatres of War 1914-8, Angus and Robertson Ltd Sydney, 1941 – Pages 204-5

There is no record of the Sergeant Hughes being awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record B2455, HUGHES H F 559
National Archives UK RAF Casualty Book AIR 1/968 page 444, 140741

Bibliography:;

Muller, P. (Peter) and Hutchinson, J. (John) Secrets Revealed: a brief history of No. 3 Squadron RAAF, Lutheran Publishing House Adelaide SA 5000, 1991
Wrigley, H.N. (Henry Neilsen) (6) The Battle Below: Being the history of No. 3 Squadron AFC, Errol G. Knox Sydney NSW, 1935

© Copyright Highgate RSL. All rights reserved.