Was This Lethal Spitfire Ace Killed by His Own Tactics?

Was This Lethal Spitfire Ace Killed by His Own Tactics? | World War Wings Videos

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This follows the story of Paterson “Pat” Hughes, a famous RAF Spitfire Ace during the Battle of Britain.

As we uncover the details of his final mission, there’s one crucial question – what caused the demise of this famous ace, and what happened to his Spitfire? 

Joining The RAF

Pat Hughes was born and raised in Australia but later joined the RAF in England.

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By 1939, he moved up the ranks and became the 234 Squadron’s Flight Commander, becoming one of the few lucky ones to fly the Supermarine Spitfire.

A Deadly Strategy?

Looking at the squadron’s combat report on July 8, 1940, it was revealed that Pat fired at a Ju-88 from as close as 50 yards. This would be one of the first hints of Pat’s deadly strategy.

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This sort of distance is unheard of – especially considering that this would be Pat’s very first kill. 

Becoming a Top Ace

Hughes managed to earn his 7thand 8th kills in the Battle of Britain, making him one of the top aces of the conflict. 

September 7th marked one of the most significant days in the Battle of Britain, with the Luftwaffe bombing London in broad daylight.

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As soon as the radar picked up the massive formation of German bombers, every available squadron was sent out to intercept.

An Unfateful Day

As the 234 squadron got into position, they came across a large number of Do 17 bombers escorted by Bf 109s.

In the next couple of moments, Pat opened fire on the enemy from close range and hit the bomber hard.

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According to Keith Lawrence, Pat’s longtime wingman, he saw Pat hit the bomber and a Spitfire went down with it.

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A few minutes later, two aircraft crashed into the ground near an English village. One of those planes would be a Do 17 while the other would be Pat Hughes’ Spitfire.

What Really Happened?

As villagers gathered around the crash site, a few things were clear. Hughes wasn’t in the wreckage of the Spitfire – he had made it out and had been found in a garden with no bullet holes.

However, his parachute either failed to open or he was too low to pull the rip cord.

But what happened in the air? Well, it’s likely that Pat, was hit by a 109 while he was pursuing the bomber. 

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A second theory was that he was hit by debris from the Do 17, which is backed by his deadly strategy of extreme close-range attack, making him high risk for debris strikes.

The final theory is that Hughes either unintentionally or intentionally rammed the Do 17. 

What theory do you think is the most likely cause of his death?

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