Air Commodore Hughes led a number of attacks by Coastal Commands’s Beaufighter strike aircraft against enemy convoys sailing along the coasts of Norway and the Netherlands carrying essential raw materials for German industry. On his 27th operation he led a torpedo attack against a large merchant ship off the island of Borkum. The ship caught fire but as he turned away from a second attack using his cannons, his aircraft hit the cable of a balloon flying from an escort vessel. Despite the damage to his aircraft he managed to return to base. He was awarded an immediate DFC. On 8 August 1944 he led his flight in the anti-flak role in support of a torpedo attack by other Beaufighter squadrons. After the attack, his aircraft caught fire and he baled out at a perilously low height. He paddled ashore in Norway but was captured. He had a long and successful peacetime career in the RAF. He died in Scotland aged 99.
This photo shows Hughes (left centre) about to land in the sea in his parachute as his Beaufighter crashes off the Norwegian cost.
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