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The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. D P Hughes

 

David Price Hughes, from St. Annes-on-Sea, Lancashire was born on 27th September 1917, one of eight children of Reverend AP Hughes. He was educated at Kingswood Methodist boarding school in Bath.

 

Above: with his dog Judy.

 

He joined the RAF in February 1936 on a short service commission. He was posted to 2 FTS Digby on 2nd May and joined 16 (Army Co-operation) Squadron at Old Sarum on 1st May 1937.

 

Above: it hasn't been possible to identify the date or location though the uniforms are prewar.

 

He moved to 53 Squadron at Farnborough on 28th June and in June 1938 he was posted to the staff at the School of Army Co-operation.

 

 

 

He married Joan Lloyd on 4th September 1939 (below).

 

 

Hughes arrived at 6 OTU Sutton Bridge on 11th July 1940 and after converting to Hurricanes he joined 238 Squadron at Middle Wallop on 4th August.


He claimed a Me110 destroyed on the 8th, a Me109 on the 11th and a Do17 and two Me110's destroyed and a Me109 probably destroyed on the 13th.

Hughes failed to return from the interception of Ju88's south of Tunbridge Wells on 11th September and was reported 'Missing' in Hurricane V7240.


He was 22 and is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, panel 4.

Hughes was awarded the DFC (gazetted 9th May 1941, with effect from 21st August 1940).

His four brothers all served in the RAF during the war and survived.

 

 

Above image courtesy of Dean Sumner

 

In January 2017 his sister-in-law, Wendy Hughes, kindly forwarded a letter recently discovered, it had been written by David on 21st August 1940 (transcript at bottom).

 

 

 

 

 

R.A.F. St. Eval
NR. Newquay
Cornwall
21.8.40

My darlings,

It is a very long time since last I wrote (and) many many things have happened.

I have shot and been shot at. I have killed, but not been killed. I have had my life saved by a comrade, (and) have saved another in return.

I am now what is termed as an 'ace', in that I have over 5 Jerries to my credit, namely 6 machines have been destroyed through my pressing a little button. For the boys information I have shot down 3 ME 110's, 2 ME 109's (and) a Dornier 17.

I arrived in my new squadron on Sunday August 4th. There were three officers senior to me in the Squadron then. By August 11th I was the C.O.

We lost twelve pilots in 4 days. After I took over we only lost one in a week, (and) had even greater odds against us. One day we were the first Squadron to make contact with the enemy, (and) I led my Squadron, twelve of us, against 350 bombers escorted by 400 enemy fighters. It was one HELL of a scrap. When I landed I had 150 bullet holes in my machine, one was ½" from my head. I said a quick prayer before we dived to the attack, I think my guardian angel was working overtime !!

On the 18th August our Squadron was sent down here for a rest (and) we needed it. I'd lost a stone in under a fortnight. We had been flying for 6 or seven hours a day, missing meals, (and) averaging 5 hours sleep a day !

When we got here I had a Telegram which read "Congratulations 238 Squadron for the great part you have played", from Cyril Newall, Air Chief Marshal.

Up to today we have had a quiet time here, but the Nazis gave us their attention today (and) bombed us here. I was in the Mess when the bombs came, (and) rushed down to the machines, as I took off the Jerries machine gunned me (and) then dodged into the clouds (and) got away.

I don't know when we shall return to Wallop, but I expect it will be soon.

I flew over to Cardiff last Monday (and) saw Joan for a couple of hours. She has had a bad time recently, poor darling, her throat was bad again. I do love her so !

I am writing this in flying kit (and) waiting for the word to take off.

Take care darlings,
All my love
David

All images courtesy of Wendy Hughes


 

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