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Hughes, Geoffrey Forrest (1895–1951)

Mr. Geoffrey Forrest Hughes, of Rose Bay, who died on 13th September, aged 56, was a member of a distinguished Catholic family, a leading figure in legal and commercial circles, and a pioneer in the Australian flying movement.

In 1929 he was made a Privy Chamberlain of Sword and Cape by Pope Pius XI.

Born in 1895, he was the youngest son of the late Sir Thomas Hughes, K.C.S.G., M.L.C., and the late Lady Hughes. He married Margaret, daughter of the late Rev. G. S. S. Vidal and Mrs. Vidal, of Barnsley Rectory, England, and is survived by his widow and children, Thomas, Constance, Geoffrey and Robert.

He was educated at St. Ignatius' College, Riverview, from 1907 to 1913. In 1911 he travelled with his parents in England and Europe, and was received with them in private audience by His Holiness the Pope. In that year he attended with his parents the Coronation of King George V.

In 1915 he applied to enlist in the Australian Flying Corps, but as he was not accepted he travelled to England and joined the Royal Flying Corps. He served with distinction both as combat pilot and as an officer in France and as an officer in charge of flying instructors in the 21st Wing at Oxford. He was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry.

He returned to Australia in 1919, and in 1923 gained his LL.B. degree with first class honours at Sydney University, having previously graduated as a Bachelor of Arts. He then joined his father in the firm of Hughes and Hughes, as solicitors.

His public work was mainly in connection with flying. Feeling that in the event of a second world war Australia would need a reserve of trained pilots, he became actively associated with the Royal Aero Club of N.S.W. as a member of its committee from the time of its inception. He was president of the Royal Aero Club of N.S.W. from 1925 to 1934. Pilots trained by the Aero Club movement played a most important part in Australia's contribution to the Empire Air Training Scheme when war came in 1939.

At the personal request of the then Chief of Staff of the R.A.A.F., he joined that service in 1940, and again took up the work of training pilots by founding and commanding No. 8 Elementary Flying Training School at Narrandera. His ability as an organiser was responsible for the founding of the Elementary Flying Training School here on a sound basis, and many of those trained under his supervision will have kindly memories of their contact with him.

He later became second in command of No. 2 Training Group, which controlled all training in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. Upon returning to civil life he took an active interest in ex-servicemen's organisations and rehabilitation.

He became a Councillor of Sancta Sophia College in 1948.

At the time of his death he was senior partner in the firm of Hughes, Hughes and Garvifi, solicitors; chairman of directors of Tooheys Ltd.; deputy chairman of the Commercial [Banking Company of Sydney Ltd., and a director of the United Insurance Company Ltd., and the Australia Hotel Company Ltd.

Requiem Mass was celebrated at St. Mary Magdalene's Church, Rose Bay, by the Rev. Father M. Scott, S.J., and the burial rites were performed by the Right Rev. Monsignor R. J. O'Regan, P.P. His Grace Archbishop Eris O'Brien attended the Requiem Mass, representing His Eminence Cardinal Gilroy.

Original publication

  • Narandera Argus and Riverina Advertiser (NSW), 4 October 1951, p 1 (view original)

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Hughes, Geoffrey Forrest (1895–1951)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/hughes-geoffrey-forrest-6759/text29071, accessed 23 November 2017.

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