Pat Hughes is today perhaps the greatest unsung hero of the Battle of Britain. Ranked sixth in the 'ace of aces' of the aerial campaign of summer 1940, he shot down 17 enemy aircraft, mostly the Spitfire's closely matched rival the Messerschmitt Bf 109. As a flight commander in 234 Squadron he advocated bold, close-in tactics and during July 1940 scored the squadron's first victories of the epic battle for air supremacy. The burden of command fell on his shoulders before the squadron transferred to the heart of the Battle in the south east of England where he endured the heaviest and most sustained period of fighting of the Battle of Britain. Revered by his fellow pilots, Hughes began a shooting spree on 15 August that only ended when he was killed during the first huge daylight attack on London on 7 September. In his last three days alone he contributed at least six kills. His death in mysterious circumstances, left his bride of just six weeks, Kathleen, a war widow.
Dennis Newton is an aviation journalist and author of six books including 'A Few of the Few', 'Clash of Eagles', 'Australian Air Aces' & 'First Impact'. He edited the Battle of Britain memoir of Gordon Olive, 'Spitfire Ace', also published by Amberley & serialised in the Daily Mail: 'Ever wonder what it was like to fly a Spitfire in the Battle of Britain? No account captures it quite so nerve shredding as this new book'. He lives in New South Wales, Australia.