Period: The war years

Group Captain Hughie Edwards Group Captain Hughie Edwards
painted in Binbrook, Lincolnshire, England, 1944
oil on board 50.6 x 40 cm
signed l.r., pencil “STELLA BOWEN”, not dated
Australian War Memorial
acquired under official war art scheme, 1944
ART26264

The child of Welsh immigrants, Hugh Idwal Edwards (1914–1982) was born in Fremantle, Western Australia. Although at the time he had never even seen an aeroplane up close, he was accepted into the Royal Australian Air Force as a cadet. On graduating as a pilot, he transferred to Royal Air Force (RAF).

In 1938, Edwards suffered a badly broken leg in a flying accident that threatened to end his career, but by 1941 he was leading his own squadron on daylight bombing raids on Germany. He became the first airman to win the Victoria Cross, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Distinguished Service Order, and in 1943 he took command of the RAF station at Binbrook. In later life, he served as Governor of Western Australia.