Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Edward Arthur Hudson (1921–1980)

by Alan Fraser

This article was published:

Edward Arthur Hudson (1921-1980), airman and office supervisor, was born on 17 April 1921 at Rockhampton, Queensland, fifth child of native-born parents Samuel George Hudson, tram conductor, and his wife Susan Catherine, née Holmes. Educated at state schools, Eddie worked as a clerk for the Rockhampton City Council. On 13 September 1940 he joined the Royal Australian Air Force under the Empire Air Training Scheme; he completed courses in Australia and Canada, qualified as a pilot and was promoted sergeant in June 1941. Having finished his advanced training in England, in September Hudson was posted to No.57 Squadron, Royal Air Force, with which he flew Wellington bombers. He was commissioned in April 1942. Two months later he completed a full tour of thirty operations; he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for pressing home attacks at low altitudes.

In April 1943 he began a second tour, with No.460 Squadron, R.A.A.F., flying Lancasters mostly against heavily defended targets in Europe. Next month he took part in a raid over Czechoslovakia which involved 327 heavy bombers. The Pathfinders mistook a large lunatic asylum near Dobrany for the Skoda armament works at Pilsen and only Hudson's aircraft—through careful navigation and determined flying at low level and against the bomber stream—managed to hit the target, returning to base with an excellent photograph. He subsequently completed the required twenty missions and was awarded a Bar to his D.F.C.

Assigned to instructional duties in July, Hudson was promoted acting squadron leader in November and mentioned in dispatches. In 1944 he was selected to fly 'G for George' (a veteran Lancaster from No.460 Squadron) via North America to Australia. The aircraft reached Amberley, Queensland, in November and was to make many flights around Australia promoting the Third Victory Loan. Before that, Hudson took the plane to his home town where he and the crew received a great welcome from his family and friends, and were accorded a civic reception.

Although popular and respected, Hudson was so quiet and unassuming that his successful wartime career came as a surprise to those who had known him earlier, but his comrades in the air force recognized his courage, skill and determination. With dark, curly hair and brown eyes, he was 5 ft 7 ins (170 cm) tall and slightly built, weighing only 8 st. 10 lb. (55 kg). While posted to No.38 and No.34 squadrons in 1945-46, he flew transports in Australia, the South-West Pacific Area and Japan. He was demobilized on 22 August 1946 and returned to his civilian job. In the early 1950s he moved to Brisbane where he became office supervisor with U.K. Motors Pty Ltd. At St Patrick's Catholic Church, Rockhampton, on 28 April 1952 he married Mavis Johnston; they were to adopt two children.

Hudson's health deteriorated after the war, obliging him to decline an offer to fly for an international airline. He attributed his disabilities to his R.A.A.F. service, including the effects of exposure to radiation at Hiroshima, Japan, in February 1946. Survived by his wife, son and daughter, he died of histiocytic lymphoma on 7 April 1980 in South Brisbane and was cremated with Anglican rites.

Select Bibliography

  • C. Webster and N. Frankland, The Strategic Air Offensive Against Germany, 1939-1945, vol 2 (Lond, 1961)
  • Operations record-book, 460 Squadron, RAAF, 1939-45 (Australian War Memorial)
  • newsclippings from Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton), no date, including typed extract from 11 Nov 1944 (held in ADB file)
  • private information.

Citation details

Alan Fraser, 'Hudson, Edward Arthur (1921–1980)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1996, accessed online 13 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (Melbourne University Press), 1996

View the front pages for Volume 14

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


17 April, 1921
Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia


7 April, 1980 (aged 58)
South Brisbane, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.