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Thread: Hughie Edwarsds VC - Australian Archives Search

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    Default Hughie Edwarsds VC - Australian Archives Search

    Hi,

    I have been trying to search the National Archives of Australia for details/files on Hughie I. Edwards VC but although the file is open it doesn't appear to be digitised, is this correct? or am I looking in the wrong place. My search criteria is for "EDWARDS Hughie Idwal"

    Many thanks in advance,

    Russ

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    Russ, Hi,

    You can find a great deal of info on H I Edwards (he became an Air Commodore) on Malcolm Barrass' excellent site at RAFWEB. I can tell a few stories about him!! He was my first Station Commander (ex-Square Bashing) at Wattisham as a NSA in the early 50's

    HTH

    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Thanks Peter,

    I was particularly interested in an example of his signature, hence I was hoping his original files had been digitised.

    Cheers,

    Russ

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    I would be interested in any background info. He survived a quite horrific Blenheim crash in 1938 not far from where I live.

    Jim
    Jim Corbett

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    I have some info on this man - he served at least part of his time in WW2 with 1 Group. I'm in the middle of a run of 12 hour nighshifts at work, but if nothing has been posted back at the weekend, I'll see what sort of general information I can find.

    To the OP, unfortunately I'm pretty certain I don't have any examples of his signature though....

    L/O

    Greg
    "You can take the boy out of Wales,
    But you can't take Wales out of the boy!!"

    Greg Harrison
    100 Squadron and 100 Squadron Association Historian
    100 Squadron Researcher 1917 - present day
    1 Group Researcher 1940 - 1945

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    Russ
    Pretty sure, that the files have not yet been digitised. A search on "Hughie Edwards" gives two hits

    NAA: B4717, EDWARDS/HI
    NAA: K1129, 1427650

    The latter is the obituary, that would not include a signature. The former a record within the series "B4717 Army Militia records, dossiers of PMF (Permanent Military Forces) and Army Militia personnel, alphabetical series." This would include the signature, I guess. Depending on the level of your interest you could order it to be digitised for a fee.

    Mikkel
    Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom. Danish Volunteers in Allied Air Forces During the Second World War
    fb.me/britainsvictorydenmarksfreedom
    danishww2pilots.dk - a resource on Danish aircrew during the Second World War

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    Jim

    As a pre-war Caterpillar incident he is in my database


    Date: August 30, 1938 Name: F/O Hughie Idwal Edwards Organisation: RAF Serial: K7067 Type: Bristol Blenheim Mk.I
    Place of Decent: Redesdale, Northumberland

    Notes:

    Bristol Blenheim Mk.1 RAF 90 Sqn.
    Dour Hill, Cottonshope Farm, Cottonhopehead Moor, 5 to 6 miles north of Redesdale Camp, Northumberland
    Sqn code 90-B) Crashed & DBF after crew baled out due to severe icing. The pilot on baling got his parachute snagged on radio mast & finally got free at low altitude opening his chute. but suffered serious leg injuries, he later won the Victoria Cross for other actions during WWII.
    Crew:
    Pilot:F/O #39005 Hughie Idwal Edwards RAF seriously injured.
    Nav/Obs:Sgt #359695 Walter Frank Nash RAF injured.
    Wop/AG:AC #525690 John Aubrey Theophilus RAF injured
    In August 1938, Edwards was piloting a Blenheim near the Scottish border when he flew into a storm at 2,300 metres. When the ailerons froze, the aircraft was forced down to 1,600 metres and Edwards ordered the navigator and rear gunner to bale out of the aircraft. Down to 230 metres, he made an effort to jump clear, but his parachute became entangled with the bomber's radio mast pylon. In the ensuing crash, he sustained head injuries and a badly broken leg, which was only saved after extensive surgery. Due to the accident, he was declared unfit for flying duties until April 1940, when he was posted to No. 139 Squadron for active service due to the outbreak of war.
    Bomber Barons by Chas Bowyer
    Leading the Mosquito formations on this raid was Hughie Idwal Edwards, holder already of a Victoria Cross and a Distinguished Flying Cross, and commander of No, 105 Squadron. The Eindhoven sortie led directly to the further award of a Distinguished Service Order only weeks later, thereby making Edwards the most-decorated Australian airman of the 1939-45 war. Born in Fremantle. Western Australia on 1 August 1914, Hughie Edwards was the son of Welsh parents who had emigrated to Australia four years before. Educated locally, Edwards worked in a shipping agent's office after leaving school, but in 1934. he joined the Fremantle Garrison Artillery as a private soldier, then in July 1935 transferred to the R.AAF for training as a pilot at Point Cook, being awarded his 'wings' in June 1936, On 21 August that same year Edwards was transferred and commissioned in the Royal Air Force, and in the following month joined No. 15 Squadron RAF at Abingdon, England, to fly Hawker Hind biplane bombers. Six months later he moved again, this time to No. 90 Squadron at Bicester, taking up the duties of squadron adjutant.
    90 Squadron at that time had been selected as the second RAF unit to be re-equipped with the new Bristol Blenheim I monoplane bomber, and began receiving its first examples in May 1937. Though his duties as unit adjutant meant that Edwards spent many hours sifting paper, he was expected to take a full part in all normal flying programmes undertaken by the squadron, and in March (sic) 1938 was at the controls of a Blenheim when it became uncontrollable. Forced to take to his parachute — no easy task in any Blenheim — his 'chute tangled with the aircraft radio mast and the subsequent crash left Edwards with his right leg severely injured. A main nerve had heal severed and later the leg became paralysed below the knee. It meant a spell of nine months' hospitalisation, then non-flying duties until April 1940 before he was declared medically fit to fly again.
    A four months' armament specialist course until August 1940 followed, but in September he crashed again, though without further serious injury. Finally, in February 1941, Edwards achieved his main wish to return to first line flying when he was posted to No. 139 Squadron, based at Horsham St Faiths (now, Norwich Airport), Norfolk to fly Blenheim IV bombers

    Wednesday 31 August 1938 , Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette , Tyne and Wear, England

    PLANE CRASHES NORTH MOORS
    AMAZING ESCAPES OF THREE R.A.F. MEN
    PARACHUTE LEAPS IN STORM Three R.A.F. men had amazing escapes from death in a thunderstorm on the Redesdale moors, Northumberland, yesterday afternoon, when their machine, making a forced landing, crashed into the hillside, burst into flames and exploded. The men were Flying Officer Edwards (pilot), who suffered from fractured leg. head, and shock. Sergeant Nish (sic), uninjured: and Aircraftman Theophilus, concussion and head injuries.
    The men had been stationed at the R.A.F. Depot, Bicester, Oxfordshire. The men were in a medium bomber, which appeared to be having engine trouble during the storm. Two of the men descended by parachute, and the pilot, who was the last to attempt to leave, was caught by the tail the machine as he dropped. He was found to be unconscious. When the plane crashed on the hillside it broke down about yards of stone walling, and burst into flames before blowing up.
    TREMENDOUS CRASH
    Mr William B. Rogerson, shepherd, of Cottonshopehead Farm, said there was a tremendous crash the machine struck the walling and afterwards exploded. This accounted for the for the wreckage which extended for a radius of 500 yards.
    One part of the engine was found 120 yards away from the wreckage. The falling plane, said Mr Rogerson, was about 500 feet from the ground,
    when the men jumped. Mr Rogerson said things moved very quickly. He heard a tremendous crash and noticed parts of the plane being
    scattered about. A son of Mr Rogerson, working with him, rushed to render assistance, followed by others.
    A Newcastle woman, Nora Morris, of Cresswell Road, Walker, saw the crash from distance. She ran across bog and moorland to the telephone. She informed officials of the Ministry of Labour at the Training Centre at Redesdale, who in turn got into communication with the Otterburn police. The men were taken to Redesdale Camp, and later conveyed to Catterick Camp, Yorkshire."

    article about Theophilus (which contains a photo of him)

    THE DAILY MIRROR - Thursday, December 1, 1938 Photo of Theophilus,
    Aircraftman John Aubrey Theophilus, of Cosmeston-street, Cathays Cardiff, jumped from an R.A.F. plane which crashed from a height of 17,000ft, His neck was broken in two places, his spine fractured and his arms partially paralysed. That was four months ago.
    Now, as you see in this picture, he's brushing up his uniform in the hope of rejoining his unit—despite the fact that he's still encased in plaster of Paris—while his brother Geoffrey admires his caterpillar badge, gold emblem awarded to those who make a forced descent by parachute and live


    Both Nash and Theophilus survived WW2, both were commissioned and Nash ended up Sgn Ldr, Theophilus a Group Captain with OBE


    Jim I know you have previously identified the crash site, can you add anything else to what I have?

    Thanks

    Paul

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    Hi

    Sorry for the late entry to this discussion.

    It is doubtful you will find his signature as he was one among many RAAF Point Cook pre-war cadet pilots to be selected, on graduation, for transfer to the RAF on an RAF commission under the RAAF/RAF Exchange Scheme - in mid-1936 in his case. From 1936 on, the only records of his service will be those of the RAF in UK.

    I seriously doubt the 1935 B4717 sheets for him will include a signature (eg attestation form): in an identical case from the same period, the folder had only the (brief) RAAF Record of Service proforma, 2 sheets (and hence no signature).

    Between 1926 and 1938, the RAAF/RAF Exchange Scheme resulted in at least 149 young RAAF cadet pilots transferring to the RAF, their Cadet year at Point Cook counting as the first of a four or five year RAF short service commission. Their RAF Service numbers are in the form 39nnn to 40nnn. On the conclusion of their RAF SSC, in war-time most were then taken into the Reserve of Air Force Officers (RAFO). Some few did return to RAAF service - for which some further NAA record will exist.

    Another 30-odd men were directly accepted via RAAF selection for RAF service from mid-38 into mid-39 (ie, not from among RAAF Point Cook cadet pilots).

    Edwards' RAF records will not include a signature as they are purely a resume of his career compiled from other documentation and certainly will not include his attestation papers. His signature might appear in the ORB of 105 Sqn (downloadable from NA) or RAF Binbrook as he would probably have signed them off at the end of each month.

    Malcolm
    Last edited by malcolm_raf; 23rd January 2015 at 09:00. Reason: extra suggestion

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    Hello

    Following Malcolm's interesting post, I can have a look into No. 105 Squadron.

    Russ, drop me an e-mail and I'll have a look for you. But I'll be away from home from Saturday, so it may take a while, unless I don't forget tonight and put a copy on my laptop.

    Regards

    Joss

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    There are examples of Edwards signature in the 105 ORB. If you let me know your email address I will send it one you.
    Cheers
    Dave

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