William Robert Kent Hughes joined the RAFVR in 1939 and received a call up on 27th August 1939.
During early 1940 Bob undertook wireless & gunnery courses as a WOp/AG, and was posted to 5 OTU Aston Down on 20th July to convert to Bristol Blenheims.
On 17th August 1940 he joined 23 Squadron at Wittering, taking part in night-fighter Operations during the Battle of Britain.
He then went on to complete two full operational tours on bombers – first posted with 9 Squadron on 16th November, but went instead to 149 Squadron based at Mildenhall, Suffolk to fly in Wellingtons. On 11th March 1941, Bob like many colleagues had a stint out in the Middle East via Malta with 148 Squadron, based at Luqa, and then posted on to Egypt with 70 Squadron at Kabrit.
On completion of this tour and returning to the UK in 1942 he joined 12 Squadron at Binbrook on 27th July. Commissioned from Warrant Officer in November 1942, he completed his full second tour and was awarded a well deserved Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), gazetted on 12th March 1943.
He became an instructor and was posted to CGS Sutton Bridge for a Gunnery Leaders course on 15th June after which he moved to 7 AGS Bishopscourt, Northern Ireland as Gunnery Leader.
On 18th January 1944 Hughes went to 50 Squadron at Skellingthorpe on liason duties before he was released from the RAF in March 1946 as a Flight Lieutenant.
I’ve been lucky to meet Bob at various signing events over the past years – he always had a great sense of humour and was one of the final ‘Few’ still able to attend public events and signings. Both Bob along with Terry Clark put a totally different perspective on the Battle having been aircrew rather than traditional fighter pilots – and deserve just as much recognition for their bravery and heroism.
Sadly Bob passed away on the 3rd December 2018 aged 97 – another hero to the skies. Rest in peace Bob.