Battle of Britain ace P.C. Hughes killed in action

07 Sep 1940

Roughly halfway through the four-month period designated as the Battle of Britain, Flight Lieutenant P.C. (‘Pat’) Hughes was killed in action. He was attacking a Dornier Do-17 bomber at close range when the German aircraft blew up in front of him, causing such severe damage to his Spitfire that he lost control and crashed. Having already been credited with 15 combat victories, Hughes was the third-highest-scoring ace of the battle (although sharing this total with four other pilots, none of them Australians) and had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on 18 August. Before the war he received his pilot’s wings with the RAAF at Point Cook, but on graduating in December 1936 had elected to accept a short service commission in the RAF. Although flying with British squadrons, Hughes remained proud of his Australian links and wore his dark-blue RAAF service uniform to the end.

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