Operations in Afghanistan

Senior Aircraftman Scott Hughes dies in Cyprus

It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Senior Aircraftman Scott 'Scotty' Hughes, serving with Number 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, died in Cyprus on Sunday 7 November 2010 following injuries sustained in an accident.

Senior Aircraftman Scott Hughes (All rights reserved.)
Senior Aircraftman Scott Hughes (All rights reserved.)

Senior Aircraftman (SAC) Hughes was returning from operations in Afghanistan and died from injuries suffered in a boating accident that took place on Friday 5 November as his unit was undertaking decompression activities. He was due to return home to the UK the following day.

While swimming in the sea he was struck by a power boat operated by the Military Training Wing, British Forces Cyprus. An investigation into the accident is taking place.

Senior Aircraftman Scott ‘Scotty’ Hughes

SAC Scott ‘Scotty’ Hughes was born on 5 June 1990 and grew up in North Wales. He joined the Royal Air Force on 4 January 2009 as a Gunner in the Royal Air Force Regiment. He graduated from basic training in June of that year and was posted to Number 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment.

SAC Hughes developed quickly on the squadron. His sense of humour endeared him to all and he quickly earned the respect and trust of his colleagues and peers alike.

His eagerness and aptitude to enhance his professional skills saw him achieve top student on a squadron mortar cadre in November 2009 and he was immensely proud to wear his mortar badge.

On operations in Afghanistan, he was employed as top cover on the lead patrol vehicle as well as a signaller on the Medical Emergency Response Team helicopter when he took part in numerous casualty evacuation tasks. His calm professionalism and willingness to be involved at all times bore testament to his courage, determination and dedication to duty.

On completion of his tour in Afghanistan, SAC Hughes planned to remain in 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, putting his name forward for selection as a squadron sniper. He also intended to complete the pre-parachute selection course with a view to eventually serving with the UK Special Forces Support Group.

SAC Hughes was relaxing with his friends and colleagues on the island of Cyprus, having safely completed an arduous and demanding six-month tour in Afghanistan, when he was tragically involved in a fatal accident.

The thoughts and prayers of his squadron, his wing and the Royal Air Force Regiment family are with his loved ones, in particular his parents Emma and Michael and younger brother Adam, during this very difficult time.

The Royal Air Force Regiment has lost a dedicated young man with a very promising future ahead of him, but our loss is insignificant next to his family’s. SAC Hughes will always be remembered for the proud and professional Gunner he was and will always be.

Per Ardua.

SAC Hughes’s family made the following statement:

It is extremely hard for us as a family to put into words the grief we are feeling at this time.

It is any parent’s worst nightmare to lose their child and now we are faced with that nightmare.

Our beautiful, brave, fun loving son has been cruelly taken away from us, but we know that Scott fulfilled his dreams by serving his Regiment and his Country.”Words cannot express the loss we as a family are feeling at this time and a huge void will be in our lives without Scott for ever more.

Wing Commander Paul Weaver Smith, Officer Commanding No 4 RAF Force Protection Wing, said:

Scott Hughes was a highly respected and utterly professional young man with a very promising career ahead of him in the Royal Air Force Regiment. His tragic death has hit the wing hard; our thoughts and prayers are with his family in this very difficult time. Per Ardua.

Squadron Leader David Crook, Officer Commanding 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, said:

Scott was an extremely professional and brave young man who spent his last six months risking his life to protect and save others. His death is a tragedy and words cannot express our sense of loss and shock. Scott was fiercely proud of his regiment and we are fiercely proud of him. He will be deeply missed and never forgotten. Per Ardua.

Flying Officer Christopher Taylor, Officer Commanding C Flight, 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, said:

Scott Hughes was a young, energetic and popular Gunner who was utterly committed to his career in the Royal Air Force Regiment. It was a job that he loved and he was an immensely professional and capable man.

During his tour in Afghanistan his skill and dedication helped to protect the lives of countless ISAF personnel and Afghan civilians. It is a great tragedy that, having safely completed this tour, he should be killed in an environment designed to help him recover from the pressures of operations.

My lasting memory of Scott will be that he was the most professional of Gunners, who would never complain and always wanted to be at the front looking after his mates. He will be greatly missed by all on the flight and our deepest sympathy goes out to his family at this most difficult time.

Corporal Christopher Sheehan, C Flight, 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, said:

I had the pleasure of working with Scott during our tour of Afghanistan. He was the top cover (machine gunner) in my vehicle and we were in the lead for every patrol. Throughout our time on tour, Scott was always full of morale and practical jokes, making life a little easier for everyone.

Scott stayed switched on and professional throughout the whole time, and I knew that he could always be relied upon to do any job, no matter how tough. I am proud to say that I knew and worked alongside Scott. His death is a huge loss and he will be sorely missed. My thoughts go out to his family and friends at home.

SAC James Carpenter, B Flight, 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, said:

Scotty Hughes was one of the most professional soldiers I have ever had the honour to work with.

He excelled at everything he did and he will be dearly missed. Scotty and I went through pre-deployment training together, and we were in the same vehicle on operations. Even through the darkest times, he could always lift morale with his sarcastic wit. I will miss him every day and my heart goes out to his family and friends at home in Wales.

SAC Ross Merison, B Flight, 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, said:

It was a great honour to work with Scotty, especially alongside him in Afghanistan over the past six months. He was always lifting the morale of the boys by cracking jokes and having us in fits of laughter.

He was such a professional Gunner and would be the first to volunteer if a job needed doing. Our relationship grew stronger in Afghanistan and I’ll always remember his cheeky grin. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and the rest of the squadron.

SAC James Cartledge, B Flight, 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, said:

Scott was one of my closest friends in and out of work. I first met Scott on basic training when he was the senior man on the course. Scott was genuinely one of the best soldiers I have had the pleasure of working with. I will miss him so much, and my heart goes out to his family and friends who he was so proud of. Rest in peace mate.

Secretary of State for Defence, Dr Liam Fox, said:

I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Senior Aircraftman Hughes in a tragic accident in Cyprus. He was returning home from what I understand to be a highly successful tour in Afghanistan where he demonstrated to his colleagues and senior officers utter professionalism, courage and natural ability for his role as Gunner. My thoughts go to his family and friends at this extremely sad time.