Distinguished Flying Cross : Flight Lieutenant P C Hughes, 234 Squadron RAF

Place Europe: United Kingdom, England
Accession Number REL/17986.001
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Award
Physical description Silver
Location Anzac Hall: Mezzanine Level: Courage Column
Maker Royal Mint
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1940
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Distinguished Flying Cross (Geo VI). Engraved reverse lower arm with year of award.

History / Summary

Posthumously awarded to Flight Lieutenant Paterson (Pat) Clarence Hughes. The citation for the award reads 'This officer has led his flight with skill and determination. He has displayed gallantry in his attacks on the enemy and has destroyed seven aircraft'. Hughes was born on 19 September 1917 at Cooma, NSW. Having served his cadetship with the RAAF at Point Cook, Hughes applied for and received a short service commission with the Royal Air Force in early 1937 as a Pilot Officer. When the Second World War broke out, Hughes had already served with 64 Squadron, and had transferred to 234 Squadron as a flight commander, flying Spitfires. Hughes married in England on 7 August 1940. Between 8 July and 7 September 1940, at the height of the Battle of Britain, Hughes was responsible for shooting down 15 German aircraft and shared the destruction of three others. He died when shooting down his fifteenth victim, a Dornier Do 17. Whether the exploding Dornier fatally damaged his Spitfire, or he flew into the firing line of a fellow pilot is unclear. He was 22. The top-scoring Australian ace of the Battle of Britain, Hughes has been described as the 'real driving force behind 234 Squadron'.