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Air Commodore Sir Hughie Idwal Edwards 1974-1975

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Alternate image text Sir Hughie was born in Fremantle in 1914 and went to Fremantle Boys' School.

At 20 years of age he joined the regular army and became a cadet in the RAAF in 1935. He transferred to the Royal Air Force in 1936. He was awarded the Victoria Cross, the second Australian and first officer so honoured, for his leadership during a daylight attack on Bremen in Germany on July 4, 1941. Sir Hughie served in World War II in Europe, the Middle East and the Far East.

He retired from the army in 1963 after service in Ceylon and Malaya (as it was then called) for which he was appointed OBE in 1947, and then postings in the United Kingdom. He was Aide-de-Camp to Queen Elizabeth from 1959 to 1963. His wife Cherry died in 1966 and he remarried Dorothy Caren in 1972, two years before his appointment as Governor by Premier John Tonkin.

It is reported that the couple complimented each other very well - for an unusual reason - Dorothy limped on her left leg after being knocked over on a crosswalk in Sydney in 1970 and Sir Hughie limped with his right after it was paralysed in a flying accident in Scotland in 1938!

He was knighted in 1974 upon his appointment as Governor of WA. His first appointment was to christen Alan Bond's Americas Cup challenger Southern Cross. One of the couple's first visitors was Thomas Dunhill who had consumed 10 beers and wanted to see the house. Apparently Lady Edwards found him in the pantry. He was arrested by the police but no charges were laid.

Probably the most notable event in Sir Hughie's tenure was the near-riotous greeting of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam by farmers in Forrest Place. The farmers were protesting at the removal of a $12 super phosphate bounty and ended up throwing missiles at the PM while he attempted to address the crowd. Shortly afterwards, Sir Hughie's federal counterpart, Governor-General Sir John Kerr, sacked Whitlam and his government in one of the most controversial events in Australian politics.

Sir Hughie retired from the post due to ill health in 1975 just weeks before the arrival of Princess Anne and her then husband Captain Mark Phillips. He and Lady Edwards went to live in Sydney where he continued in semi-retirement with commercial interests. He died seven years later.

Reviewed 2012 - 2013


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