Hughie Edwards statue

Hughie Edwards statue, Fremantle, Western Australia

Public Art : Hughie Edwards statue

Sculptor : © Andrew Kay

Date Unveiled : 2002

Description of the Hughie Edwards statue: A life size bronze statue of a young Hughie Edwards dressed in his flying gear. Chest out, with his right thumb tucked into his harness and his left hand holding his gloves, hughie looks proudly skywards waiting for the safe return of his squadron (looking a tad like a superhero).

Location : Outside St John's Church, Kings Square, Fremantle, Western Australia.

Inscription :

Air Commodore
Sir Hughie Idwal Edwards


VC, KCMG, CB, DSO, QBE, DFC, KStJ

August 1, 1914 - August 5, 1982

AN AUSTRALIAN HERO

Born in White Gum Valley and educated at
Fremantle Boys School, Hughie Edwards
trained as a pilot in the R.A.A.F. and
transferred to the R.A.F. in 1935.

In July 1941, he won the distinguished Flying
Cross for a low-level attack on enemy
shipping. In the same month, he earned the
Victoria Cross for the "Highest possible
standard of gallantry and determination"
in leading a low level daylight raid on
Bremen, Germany. In 1942, he won the
distinguished Service Order for leading an
attack by 92 aircraft on an industrial
target in Holland. During 1943/1944 he was
based at Binbrook, Lincolnshire and carried
out operational flying with 460 R.A.A.F.
Lancaster Squadron.

Appointed Governor of Western Australia in
1974, Sir Hughie Edwards retired in 1975
because of ill health.

"Per Ardua Ad Astra"

This memorial sculpture was unveiled by
The Governor of Western Australia
LT. General John Sanderson AC
on Tuesday 26th November, 2002.

The artwork was funded by private donors
with support from the WA Lotteries
Commission, The Department of Veterans
Affairs and the City of Fremantle

Artist : Andrew Kay
Year 2002


History of the Hughie Edwards statue : The statue of Hughie Edwards was the brainchild of former 460 Squadron rear gunner and retired Australian military historian, Peter Firkins, who seved under Hughie Edwards. Mr Firkin's set up the Hughie Edwards VC Foundation and held a series of fundraisers in order to raise money for the statue. His passion for the project stemmed from the fact that  'Despite being the most highly decorated Australian in World War II, his bravery and great contribution to helping maintain our freedoms have gone largely unrecognised in his home State of Western Australia,'. With money from private donors, WA Lotteries, The Department of Veteran Affairs and the City of Fremantle the statue was unveiled in 2002.

Things You May Not Know About Hughie Edwards : Hughie was the most highly decorated Australian in World War II.

The 460 Squadron lost 1018 aircrew in action and 188 aircraft on operations. 

Despite being a war hero, Hughie was had quite a few mishaps in his career. He had a reputation for damaging and crashing planes. Arthur Hoyle in his book about Hughie Edwards wrote 'As a pilot Hughie was certainly below average, as was demonstrated by the quite large number of aircraft which he damaged or destroyed. He always had some difficulty landing, especially heavy bombers'. In 1938 he spent a good 9 months in hospital due to serious leg injuries he received after crashing his plane.

During his raid on Bremen, Hughie's team of 16 bombers flew less than 16m above the sea for a surprise attack. Unfortunately they were spotted before reaching their target and had to dodge a mass of balloons and anti-aircraft gunfire before completing their mission. Four planes were lost during the raid. When the planes were later inspected they found telegraph wire hanging from various parts of the planes.

LEST WE FORGET

Hughie Edwards statue, Fremantle, Western Australia Hughie Edwards statue, Fremantle, Western Australia

Hughie Edwards statue, Fremantle, Western AustraliaHughie Edwards statue, Fremantle, Western AustraliaHughie Edwards statue, Fremantle, Western Australia

Hughie Edwards statue, Fremantle, Western AustraliaHughie Edwards statue, Fremantle, Western AustraliaHughie Edwards statue, Fremantle, Western Australia

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