Softer landing this time

Doug Arrowsmith and Jack Edwards at the new location of Hughie Edwards’ statue. Photo by Steve Grant

THE brother of WWII flying ace and former WA governor Hughie Edwards says he’s happy with the new location in Walyalup Koort chosen for a statue in his honour.

The life-size statue of Australia’s most-decorated war hero was moved to make way for a new port-themed children’s playground as part of a $220 million revamp of the city’s cultural centre.

Wearing his own brace of medals from his time in the merchant navy, Jack Edwards visited Fremantle on Wednesday to check out the new location, which sees Sir Hughie looking a little more towards the sea.

Mr Edwards said while his older brother used to dob him in to their mother for things he hadn’t done, they developed a strong relationship later in life, particularly after the war.

Meticulous memory

“He had a meticulous memory and he got on very well with everyone,” Mr Edwards recalled.

He said Sir Hughie took up the governorship despite suffering serious health issues; their eldest brother desperately tried talking him out of accepting the post, but he considered it his duty to his state.

Doug Arrowsmith served under Sir Hughie, and while also recalling his phenomenal recall says the ace was actually a bit notorious for bumpy landings.

“But he had something about him, he was a born leader,” he said.

Mr Arrowsmith said the squadron’s respect rose when Sir Hughie disobeyed orders grounding him; he would take command of a Lancaster bomber for a mission and simply omit his own name from the logbook.

However, sometimes his crews found his dedication a bit worrying: “After a bombing run he would circle around the target to see what happened; normally you would drop your bombs and get out of there,” Mr Arrowsmith said.

Air Vie Marshal Hughie Edwards was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1941 for leading a daring daylight bombing raid against the German port of Bremen.

by STEVE GRANT

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