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38407 Corgi   Blenheim MkIV - 105 Sqn RAF, Hughie Edwards VC (1,000) £
      Out of stock
  Bristol Blenheim MkIV as flown by Hughie Idwal Edwards VC. Limited edition of only 1,000 pieces

Edwards was born in Fremantle, Western Australia on 1 August 1914, the third of five children to Welsh parents Hugh, a blacksmith and farrier, and his wife Jane (née Watkins), who had emigrated to Australia in 1909. Named after his father, he was always referred to by his middle name of Idwal in his family. Edwards received his initial education at White Gum Valley School, before attending the Fremantle Boy's School where he achieved well academically, although he later claimed this was due to a good memory rather than high intelligence. However, Edwards was reluctantly forced to leave school at the age of fourteen as the family finances could no longer support him. Described as a "shy, under-confident, introspective and imaginative lad" at this stage in his life, he gained employment as a shipping office clerk.

With the onset of the Great Depression, Edwards found himself unemployed, before gaining a job with a horse racing stable in Fremantle. His position entailed him taking the horses to the beach each morning for a swim, grooming them, and attending the twice weekly race meetings; a lifelong interest in horse racing consequently emerged at this time. After later working for a brief period in a factory, he enlisted in the Australian Army in March 1933 and was posted to the 6th Heavy Battery, Royal Australian Artillery, with the rank of private. During this period, Edwards was an active sportsman, excelling in Australian rules football—where he played six matches with leading Western Australian Football League (WAFL) club South Fremantle—and cricket with the Fremantle garrison team.

In 1935, he was selected for flying training with the Royal Australian Air Force at RAAF Point Cook, after which he transferred to the RAF, being granted a short service commission as a pilot officer on 21 August 1936. Posted to No. 15 Bomber Squadron, he was appointed adjutant of No. 90 Squadron in March 1937, flying Blenheim bombers. He received a promotion to flying officer on 21 May 1938.

In August 1938, Edwards was piloting a Blenheim near the Scottish border when he flew into a storm at 2,300 metres. When the ailerons froze, the aircraft was forced down to 1,600 metres and Edwards ordered the navigator and rear gunner to bale out of the aircraft. Down to 230 metres, he made an effort to jump clear, but his parachute became entangled with the bomber's radio mast pylon. In the ensuing crash, he sustained head injuries and a badly broken leg, which was only saved after extensive surgery, which left that leg shorter than the other. After the accident, he was declared unfit for flying duties until April 1940, when he was posted to No. 139 Squadron for active service due to the outbreak of war. He was promoted to flight lieutenant on 21 May 1940.

In May 1941, Edwards was made Commanding Officer of No. 105 Squadron replacing their squadron commander who had been killed in an anti-shipping raid on Stavanger. At that time, the Squadron was engaged in a series of daylight operations against Germany and the occupied countries, with its principal targets being enemy shipping, power installiations, shipbuilding yards, locomotives, steelworks and marshalling yards. On 15 June, by now an acting wing commander, Edwards led six Blenheim bombers on a search for enemy shipping and soon sighted a convoy of eight merchantmen anchored near The Hague. He launched an attack at low level, his bombs striking a 4,000 ton ship. He was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for this action.

On 4 July 1941, Edwards led a daylight attack ("Operation Wreckage") against the port of Bremen, one of the most heavily defended towns in Germany. Edwards' force of twelve Blenheims attacked at a height of about 50 feet through telephone wires and high voltage power lines. The bombers successfully penetrated fierce anti-aircraft fire and a dense balloon barrage, but further fire over the port itself resulted in the loss of four of the attacking force. Edwards brought his remaining aircraft safely back, although all had been hit and his own Blenheim (serial V6028) had been hit over 20 times. His actions in the raid earned him the Victoria Cross.

In July 1941, Edwards took the Squadron to Malta, in order to conduct operations against Axis shipping carrying reinforcements from Italy to Tripoli and Benghazi. The unit remained in the area until October, when they returned to Britain. Participating in a goodwill mission to the United States, he was appointed chief flying instructor at an operational training unit in January 1942, before re-assuming command of No. 105 Squadron on 3 August. During this time, Edwards married Cherry Kyrle "Pat" Beresford; the pair were later to have a son, Anthony, and a daughter, Sarah. He was promoted to temporary wing commander on 1 September.

On 6 December 1942, Edwards participated in a daylight bombing raid on the Philips Factory at Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Despite heavy opposition, the bombers successfully damaged or destroyed many of their targets, with two gun posts being silenced. Several members of the raid were decorated, including Edwards, who was awarded the Distinguished Service Order; becoming the first airman to receive the Victoria Cross, Distinguished Service Order and Distinguished Flying Cross in the Second World War. Promoted to acting group captain, he assumed command of the bomber station at Binbrook in February 1943, where, despite his senior position, he continued to participate in operations. On 18 August, he was promoted to war substantive wing commander.

With the end of the European campaigns in sight, Edwards was transferred to the Pacific theatre, first to Ceylon as Group Captain, Bomber Operations. In January 1945, he was Mentioned in Despatches, and appointed the senior administrative staff officer at Headquarters, South East Asia Command; serving in this position until the conclusion of the war.

Edwards continued his career in the post-war RAF, and was granted the substantive rank of squadron leader from 1 September 1945. Posted as a staff officer at Air Headquarters, Malaya, from November 1945 until February 1946, he served with the Netherlands East Indies Forces for a short period before returning to Malaya as air adviser to the General Officer Commanding. In September 1945, he was posted as station commander at the RAF Base in Kuala Lumpur; he remained there until May 1947, and was awarded an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services in south-east Asia.

Returning to Britain in June 1947, he undertook a six-month course at the Staff College, before receiving a two-year posting as senior personnel staff officer of No. 21 Group, Flying Training Command. Promoted to wing commander on 1 July 1947, his next posting was as the senior instructor on the leadership course at Digby, Lincolnshire. Subsequently, he was appointed station commander at Wattisham, Suffolk. He was promoted to group captain on 1 January 1954. Edwards was the Station Commander of the RAF base RAF Habbaniya in Iraq during the Suez Crisis of 1956, and also the critical time of the Iraqi Revolution of 14 July 1958. He returned to Britain on 21 October 1958 to command the Central Fighter Establishment, West Raynham, with the acting rank of air commodore.

Awarded a Companion of the Order of the Bath in the 1959 New Year Honours, he was promoted to the substantive rank of air commodore on 1 July 1959, and appointed as an aide-de-camp to Queen Elizabeth II in March 1960. His final appointment with the RAF was as Director of Establishments at the Air Ministry, London, from January 1962 until his retirement on 30 September 1963.

Returning to Australia, Edwards became the Australian Representative for Selection Trust. In 1966 his wife, Cherry, died; he married Dorothy Carew Berrick in 1972. The pair were said to complement each other well, as Dorothy limped on her left leg after being knocked over by a car on a crosswalk in Sydney in 1970, while Edwards limped with his right after his flying accident in 1938. In 1974, Edwards relinquished his position as the Australian Representative for Selection Trust and was appointed Governor of Western Australia. He was sworn in on 7 January 1974, and knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) the following October.

His knighthood involved some controversy, following his wife's public comment that he was the only Australian state governor without such an honour. As knighthoods were then conferred by the Queen on the recommendation of her Federal and State governments, and the Governor was the Queen's representative in the state, this was seen as highly inappropriate, especially given the Western Australian ALP State government of the day, led by John Tonkin had a policy of not recommending Imperial Honours. However, the Tonkin Government was defeated in April 1974 and the incoming Liberal Premier, Sir Charles Court, was happy to make the necessary recommendation.

While Governor, Edwards' first official role was to christen Alan Bond's America Cup challenger, Southern Cross. One of the couple's first visitors to the Governor's estate was a man by the name of Thomas Dunhill, who had consumed ten beers and wanted to see the house. Lady Edwards apparently found him in the pantry; he was arrested by the police but no charges were laid. Ill health forced Edwards to resign his vice-regal appointment on 2 April 1975, and he and Lady Edwards went to live in Sydney, where he continued in semi-retirement with commercial interests.

On 5 August 1982, while on his way to attend a Test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Edwards unexpectedly collapsed and died; his ashes were buried in the Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth, after a State Funeral and cremation at Northern Suburbs Crematorium in Sydney. His Victoria Cross is on display at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, and on 26 November 2002 a life-size bronze statue depicting Edwards was unveiled by then Governor of Western Australia, John Sanderson, in Kings Square, Fremantle. The Hugh Edwards Ward at Hollywood Private Hospital has been named in his honour.

The Bristol Blenheim was a British light bomber aircraft designed and built by the Bristol Aeroplane Company that was used extensively in the early days of the Second World War.

It was adapted as an interim long-range and night fighter, pending the availability of the Beaufighter. It was one of the first British aircraft to have all-metal stressed-skin construction, to utilise retractable landing gear, flaps, a powered gun turret and variable pitch propellers. A Canadian-built variant named the Bolingbroke was used as an anti-submarine and training aircraft.

The Blenheim Mk I outshone most biplane fighters in the late 1930s but stood little chance against the German Messerschmitt Bf 109 during daylight operations, though it proved successful as a night fighter. The Mark IV variant was equally unsuccessful in its daylight bombing role, suffering major losses in the early stages of the war.

The Mark 1V was an improved version over the Mark 1, fitted with protective armour and a longer nose, powered by two 905 hp (675 kW) Bristol Mercury XV radial piston engines, armed with a 0.303 in (7.7 mm) machine gun in the port wing, plus two 0.303 in (7.7 mm) machine-guns in a powered operated dorsal turret, and two remotely controlled rearward-firing 0.303 in (7.7 mm) machine gun mounted beneath the nose, maximum bombload 1,000 lb (450 kg) internally and 320 lb (150 kg) externally. 3,307 built.
Picture of model:-

Corgi aviation archive general information

(note not all this information will apply to the above model)

The Corgi Aviation Archive features a vast selection of diecast model airplanes in 1:144, 1:72, 1:48 and 1:32 scales and has become the standard by which all other ranges are judged. Each Corgi model is based on a specific aircraft from an important historical or modern era of flight, and has been authentically detailed from original documents and archival material. Subject aircraft in the Aviation Archive appeal to all aviation enthusiasts and every diecast model airplane includes such features as:

  • Realistic panel lines, antennas, access panels and surface details.
  • Pad printed markings and placards that won't fade or peel like decals.
  • Interchangeable landing gear with rotating wheels.
  • Poseable presention stand to display the aircraft "in flight".
  • Many limited editions with numbered certificate of authenticity.
  • Detailed pilots and crew members (1:72/1:32).
  • Authentic detachable ordnance loads complete with placards (1:72/1:32).
  • Selected interchangeable features such as airbrakes, opened canopies and access panels (1:72/1:32).
  • Selected moving parts such as gun turrets, control surfaces and swing-wings (1:72/1:32).
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