Bomber Command veteran turns 100

World War II Bomber Command veteran Angus Hughes recently celebrated his 100th birthday at RAAF Base Edinburgh.

CAPTIONCentenarian and Bomber Command Veteran Angus Hughes cuts his birthday cake with veterans, Group Captain Greg Weller and members of 462 Squadron at RAAF Base Edinburgh. Story by Pilot Officer Shanea Zeegers. by Sergeant David Cotton.

Mr Hughes received a 100th birthday cake decorated with the RAAF badge and an image of the 467 Squadron Lancaster ‘S for Sugar’ – the aircraft he piloted on his first combat mission.

At the celebration in Edinburgh officers’ mess, Deputy Senior Australian Defence Force Officer Group Captain Greg Weller presented Angus with a 100 Squadron gift which including an image of the iconic 467 Squadron Lancaster and a 100 Squadron coin.

“It was an honour for RAAF Edinburgh to host one of our few remaining Bomber Command veterans – particularly somebody like Angus, whose experiences and stories are something that our young serving aviators can learn so much from,” Group Captain Weller said.

CAPTIONGroup Captain Greg Weller makes a presentation on behalf of 100 Squadron to veteran Angus Hughes during his birthday celebration.

Born in Adelaide in 1923, Angus joined the RAAF in July 1942, aged 19, and completed navigation training at several South Australian RAAF bases, including Mt Gambier and Port Pirie. In July 1943, he deployed to the UK, where he completed heavy bomber conversion training at 27 Operational Training Unit before joining 467 Squadron, stationed at RAAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.

On his 32nd mission in late September 1944, his aircraft was hit by enemy flak over Germany, forcing the crew to bail out, with one not surviving. Mr Hughes managed to evade German forces for three days before they caught him just weeks before his 21st birthday.

Mr Hughes spent three months as a prisoner of war at Stalag Luft 7 in Baykau, Germany. In January 1945, he and 1500 other prisoners were forced to march for 21 days over a distance of 200 kilometres due to advancing Russian forces, ultimately arriving at Stalag II. The march took place during bitterly cold conditions, with the road covered in ice and snow.

Mr Hughes remained at Stalag 3A for four months until released by Russian forces in April 1945. In late May, following Victory in Europe, he was repatriated to the UK and returned to Australia in October 1945. He was demobilised in December with the rank of flying officer.

CAPTIONOne of the mementos given to Bomber Command veteran Angus Hughes at his 100th birthday celebrations at RAAF Base Edinburgh.

As one of the few remaining Bomber Command veterans in South Australia, he continues to actively participate in Air Force ceremonies in Adelaide.

Mr Hughes’ visit to RAAF Edinburgh was an unforgettable occasion for all involved. He shared his survival stories with junior aviators, who would have only ever read about them. The visit also allowed him to meet serving members of the Air Force that he served in 80 years ago.

The day was part of RAAF Edinburgh’s initiative to honour Air Force centenarians, preserving their legacy and connecting them with current serving aviators.


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