Sheffield Air Force veteran was ‘a true gentleman’

Frank Tyson Hughes, who died on December 15, 2014, aged 92
Frank Tyson Hughes, who died on December 15, 2014, aged 92
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A ‘true gentleman’ who volunteered for decades with the Royal Air Force Association has died in Sheffield at the age of 92.

Frank Hughes was born in 1922 and lived his early life in North Wales.

His family moved to Wakefield and in 1941 he joined the Scottish Widows Life Assurance Society, for whom he would eventually work for 41 years.

In 1942 he was called up into the RAF and was posted to a station in Nigeria as an engine fitter with the ground crew.

His son, Richard, said: “On the way there the troopship was bombed and the order given to abandon ship.

“The lifeboats had gone so Frank went over the side, down ropes.

“He swam to a raft and was picked up by another ship which was then also bombed the next night. He had to jump across to another ship which came alongside.”

When he eventually arrived in Nigeria, he spent 18 months there and encountered a poisonous Mamba snake in a toilet bowl among other adventures.

He returned to the UK in 1944 and met his wife, Nancy, in 1946.

On ‘demob’ in 1947 he returned to Scottish Widows in Leeds and he and Nancy married in 1949. They had two children - Richard and Lindsay.

In 1969, Frank’s job brought him to Sheffield. Fulwood became his home for 45 years.

Having already been heavily involved with the RAFA in Leeds, he continued in Sheffield as Branch Secretary and Membership Secretary.

He was also involved with Christchurch in Fulwood and a committee member of Sheffield Talking News.

Frank retired in 1982 aged 60 and enjoyed five years of retirement until his sight started failing. By 1988 he was completely blind.

Richard said: “He overcame this setback with a great deal of fortitude and much care and encouragement from Nancy.

“He learnt to read Braille and also learnt to touch type so was able to correspond with people.

“Unless unavoidably prevented, he was always present at RAFA meetings and was able to give full reports on Membership matters.

“He was true gentleman and always thinking of others.”

Frank leaves four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.