Gordon 'Taffy' Hughes's story
Born in Tylorstown in Wales in 1925, Taffy Hughes worked at an electric power station before he enlisted in the Royal Navy. He served as an aviator with No. 848 Naval Air Squadron aboard HMS Formidable during World War II, taking part in operations over Japan.
In 1948, Taffy joined the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in London.
Arriving in Korea in August 1951, Taffy served with No. 817 Squadron aboard HMAS Sydney. As a navigator in a Fairey Firefly aircraft, Taffy undertook a variety of operations, including dive bombing, reconnaissance and bombardment spotting.
On one operation, Taffy's aircraft was damaged and suffered engine problems, forcing the pilot to land at Seoul. He recalled that during some winter operations some of the bombs they dropped 'bounced along, keeping pace with the aircraft'.
Taffy was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal for his service in Korea.
Taffy was aboard HMAS Sydney when the ship and its crew sailed through Typhoon Ruth, in October 1951. The typhoon produced winds of up 150 km/hour and waves estimated to be up to 13.5 metres high. Five aircraft were damaged beyond repair and at least one was washed overboard. Fires broke out from damaged electrical equipment and many of the ship's small boats were damaged.
Taffy returned to Korea aboard HMAS Sydney during the post-armistice period. Following his Korean War service, he continued his career in the RAN, retiring in 1980. He is a member of the Ex-Naval Men's Association.