The First 8 Women Pilots
Pauline and All Eight Arranged Alphabetically
Her father was a G.P. Dr. Ernest Henry Harrisson and they lived at 'The Priory' and/or 'The Shrubbery', St Neots. He was famous for bringing the St Neots [Miles] quadruplets into the world in 1935.
She had an older brother [John Ernest McRae], a twin sister [Daphne Louisa], a younger brother George Granville, and a younger sister Muriel (b. 1912).
Educated at Burchett House, Dorking
m. Sep 1926 James Francis 'Frank' Crossley. In 1930 they lived in Mallowry, Riseley, N. Beds.
They had 1 child, John James, b. 1929 (he apparently "often flew with her.") **
The Tatler, 1935
prev. exp 1866 hrs on 'most single engine types; slight knowledge of twins'.
Owned a DH Gyspy Moth I in 1935. Learnt to fly at the Norfolk and Norwich Aero Club.
prev. performed aerobatics with CWA Scott's 'Flying for All' Aerial Circus:
Mrs. Crossley, the Display's lady aerobatic pilot, with Master Rice (whose father deals with the publicity) and the Hillson-Praga Baby monoplane. [Flight, Apr 1936)
3 Sep 1936: (Flying for All) "Mrs. Winifred Crossley provides one of the most amazing features of the display. She is the first woman acrobatic pilot, and although she has only been flying for two years she has reached a surprisingly high standard."
... then the only woman pilot for Air Publicity Ltd, Heston from 1936, towing advertising banners; for example, in July 1937 she flew over Whitehall towing a banner reading "Give All Civil Servants Pensions".
Lived in Gamlingay, Beds from 1932-39. Represented Bedfordshire at lawn tennis.
Address in 1940: Newhaven Court Hotel, Cromer, Norfolk
4-engine (Class 5) pilot
Postings: Hatfield, 5FPP, 9FPP, 6FPP, 4FPP
1942 caricature by 'Sammy' Clayton
"General Conduct: Average. Qualities of Leadership: Not markedly good. A pleasant and amiable person who is friendly and helpful to her less experienced colleagues."
"Has now cultivated a sense of responsibility. Very reliable pilot."
with Joan Hughes in 1940
In 1944 Norman Whitehurst wrote: "A smooth and polished pilot. She is apprehensive of poor weather to an extraordinary degree for such an experienced and good pilot. Discipline is fair and her influence, which is considerable, is not perhaps always in the best interests of the unit. She has lately shown improvement in this respect. She is at all times an amiable person of great charm and is extremely kind-hearted."
Separated from her first husband Frank; in 1943 she married Canadian airline captain Peter Cleugh Fair, later General Manager of BOAC-owned Bahamas Airways in Nassau.
Daily Record - Thursday 09 September 1943: "FLYING ROMANCE. Mrs. WINIFRED CROSSLEY, one of Britain’s finest women fliers, is spending a golfing holiday in Ayrshire with her fiance, Captain P. C. Fair, of British Airways. Slim, dark-haired, she is the daughter of the late Dr. E H Harrison, who brought the St. Neots quads into the world. She flew milk for the quads from London daily during the first weeks of their life. Captain Fair, who has been flying for 18 years, says that his bride-to-be is a better pilot than himself. She has done 4,000 flying hours, probably far more than any other woman in the world."
Peter Cleugh Fair (b. 18 May 1906 in Ontario) had travelled to England in 1927 and joined the RAF. He was promoted to Flying Officer in Dec 1928, was stationed at Uxbridge in 1934, and eventually was placed on the retired list at his own request in April 1937.
Andy Pickering tells me that "Peter Fair was an Imperial Airways pilot who lost a Lockheed model 14 Super Electra in the Mediterranean on Dec 21st 1939, G-AFYU. It seems it was the first ever BOAC loss, the company having only being formed a few weeks before. There were 6 survivors from a complement of 11, Fair being injured and rescued by a French ship off Sicily after a RN search."
In January 1955, when 'fun-loving royal' Princess Margaret flew from London to Trinidad for an official visit, she was piloted by "Captain Peter Cleugh Fair, 48-year old Canadian who has flown the Atlantic nearly 400 times.
Captain Fair is one of BOAC's senior commanders and has logged more than 13,000 flying hours."
** Sadly, her son died in 1950: "On November 18, 1950, at Bovey Tracey. John James Crossley, only son of Mr. Frank Crossley and Mrs. Winifred Fair" Western Morning News
Western Times - Friday 24 November 1950: "LOSS TO PARISH.—The death of Mr. John Crossley has cast a gloom over local cricketing circles. Deceased was only about 22, and had been a playing member of the Bovey Tracey Cricket Club for some years. He lived at Harbertonford. His death came with tragic suddenness. He was at Bovey Tracey on Thursday night last, and, not feeling very well, went to bed. Returning to his home, he became worse, and on Saturday was removed to Bovey hospital, where he died soon after admission. Only a fortnight ago he received the president's bat for being the best all-rounder for last season. Mr. Crossley was a nephew of Dr. John Harrison, the president of Bovey Tracey Cricket Club. There was a large attendance at the funeral service held in Bovey Tracey parish church. The Rev. G. O. C. Duxbury, M.A.. vicar, officiated. Members of the club acted as bearers."
l to r Ann Wood-Kelly, Lettice Curtis, Ruth Ballard and Winnie, Nassau 1957 (ELC)
They came back to the UK to visit Alan and Lois Butler in Studham in 1960.
Peter died in 1961, and was buried with his mother [Sophia Meiklejohn Cleugh Fair] and brother [Howard Cleugh Fair] in Pennsylvania.
Winnie moved back to the UK and d. 1984 in Aylesbury, Bucks.
[Ultimate trivia fact: Winifred's younger sister Muriel married Peter Fair's brother Alfred!]
Ed. Laurel Bank School, Glasgow.
Father: Professor James Cunnison, of 19 Montrose Gardens, Milngavie, Dumbartonshire.
5 foot 2, eyes of, er, hazel. Veronica Inness described her as "a rather dour little Scotswoman"
From May 1937, Chief Flying Instructor with the Strathtay Aero Club, Perth (the one in Scotland). She was only the second woman in Scotland to gain a commercial pilot’s licence, and the first to become a flying instructor.
Jun 1937, with quite tall members of Strathtay Aero Club
"Miss Margaret Cunnison, flying instructress of Strathtay Aero Club, Perth, giving some wrinkles to a pupil" - The Courier and Advertiser, 13 Jul 1937
She married Major Geoffrey Bruce Ebbage, an ophthalmic surgeon with the RAMC, in 1941.
She then became one of the 'First 8' women ATA pilots, joining on the 1st January 1940 as a Second Officer.
1942 caricature by 'Sammy' Clayton
After couple of years at Hatfield, she was posted to Luton as an instructor; her report at the time said she "is a steady and reliable pilot. She works extremely hard and has proved invaluable as an instructor on light types".
She was promoted to Flight Captain in Feb 1942, but suffered a bout of appendicitis from July to October, and then went off sick again on the 19th December 1942 and never returned to the ATA; her contract was terminated in March 1943.
She did, indeed, only work on 'light types'; her log book shows 'Moth, Magister, Courier, Master, Oxford, Hart, Proctor, Rapide, Anson and Piper Cub'.
d: 4 January, 2004, in Haddington, aged 89
4-engine (Class 5) pilot
Mrs King-Farlow from 1925 to 1936;
Mrs Fairweather from 1938.
The eldest daughter of Lord Walter and Lady Hilda Runciman.
Her brother Walter (co-Director, with Connie Leathart (q.v.), of Cramlington Aircraft, First Director-General of BOAC, Commodore of the Royal Yacht Squadron, OBE, etc, etc) became the 2nd Viscount Runciman of Doxford, and her sister Katherine ('Kitty') was adjutant for the Women's Section of the ATA from March 1941.
I sometimes feel that Margie gets a bad press; she was, apparently, quiet and rather withdrawn, (nicknamed 'Mrs Cold Front') and, in photos, always seems to have that far-away look in her (green, btw) eyes. But, her ability, and her devotion to duty and to her friends, were never in doubt.
She got her RAeC certificate in 1937. In fact, she acquired her first aeroplane from her brother Walter; a 1931-reg D.H. Puss Moth G-ABLG, which he had flown in two King's Cup races.
She had married Roderick Nettleton King-Farlow in July 1925. Their daughter Ann was born in 1931, but they divorced in 1936, and she then married Douglas Keith Fairweather in March 1938. He was a businessman from Glasgow, and her complete opposite - outgoing, irreverent, and very eccentric.
Margie then sold her aeroplane, and she and Douglas re-registered his Puss Moth G-ABYP in their joint names. Later they also bought a Leopard Moth, G-ACXH.
She had a horrible experience in 1939 when her friend, Dr. Elizabeth Cook, was killed by walking into the propeller of the aeroplane Margaret was about to pilot; they were going to fly to Paris for a holiday, and the plane was standing with the engine ticking over.
So, prior to WWII she was one of the most experienced women pilots in the country, with 1,050 hours of civilian flying, and (from late 1937) was an instructor with the Scottish Flying Club. She had flown Miles Whitney Straights, D.H. Moths, Puss Moths, Tiger Moths, Fox Moths, Leopard Moths, Hornet Moths, Dart Kitten, Taylor Cub, Potez, and Percival Vega Gull, in Belgium, Holland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, France Switzerland and Austria.
Not surprisingly then, she was one of the 'First Eight' Women ATA pilots at Hatfield, starting in January 1940. Her training went well: "The handling characteristics of the Service trainer were entirely novel to Mrs. Fairweather, but having once mastered the take-off, she had no further difficulty, and is now able to fly both Master and Oxford satisfactorily. Her cockpit drill is excellent'"
Douglas also joined the ATA as a pilot. He was devoted to Margie; as Lettice Curtis says in Forgotten Pilots: he was once heard to say, "I love Margie, better than any dog I ever had," and then more thoughtfully, "or even a pig or a cat."
[For more about Douglas, I can recommend 'Brief Glory - the Story of the ATA']
On the 3rd March 1941 she was one of the four women especially praised by Pauline Gower: "The following pilots during the past year have been outstanding from the point of view of hard work and have set an example to others:- Mrs M Wilberforce [exceptional devotion to duty], Miss M Cunnison [great devotion to duty], Hon Mrs M Fairweather [has shown great devotion to duty, and worked hard and conscientiously as a taxi pilot], and Miss J Hughes [has shown devotion to duty]."
[Mona Friedlander, Rosemary Rees, Lois Butler, Gabrielle Patterson and Winifred Crossley also get a mention [they have 'worked hard and conscientiously'], and Pauline added that "had Miss Amy Johnson still been with us [she had died on the 5th January], her name would have been particularly mentioned".]
In May 1941 Margie requested extra leave:
"Dear Commander Whitehurst,
As you know I have a daughter of twelve years of age. She is at boarding school during the term time, but for half of the period of each holidays I am responsible for her care. With the assistance of my family I have managed up to now fairly well without interfering with my work, but I now, owing to reasons of health and occupation I can no longer count on this help and paid help is almost impossible to come by.
In these circumstances I am writing to enquire whether ATA would consider granting me an extra week's leave in the summer, and a fortnight's extra leave at both Xmas and Easter, it being understood that any leave so granted would be without pay."
The request was granted, and Margie and Douglas took Ann for a holiday in a small farmhouse in Western Scotland [where they acquired a baby goat, which Douglas later took with him on at least one ferry flight.]
She and Douglas were both posted to Prestwick (4b Ferry Pool, Northern Area) in November 1941.
On the 14th December, she wrote to Pauline Gower:
I was hampered in talking to you the other day by the crowd around the telephone, amongst which were persons about whom I wanted to speak.
I am not sure we can make good use of the lady in question at this moment. We need a second ground person in this office but he or she must, as well as doing adjutant duties, be a good shorthand typist. Unless we combine the jobs there isn't sufficient to do. The lady's counterpart is doing 'ops' just now with only moderate success. It would be a pity to get her up here if that falls through. She is too 'choosy' for our mixed bag of aeroplanes to come only as a pilot. I am sorry we raised her hopes so high. Perhaps in a week or two the matter might be reconsidered if you have no other plans in view for her.
I have at last caught a Wellington for myself. I flew it with great pleasure from Prestwick to Sherburne today and am now here on my way back with a Hurricane. I found it very like a big Anson, & I can see no reason why any of the normally hefty of us should find them too heavy. It was tough today & at slow speeds as when coming in to land you have to heave and push but forewarned there is no difficulty. I wonder who of the others have had one and what they think.
We have had a tragedy already in no. 4b FPP. A charming American called Wiley who was posted to us left Speke on Wednesday afternoon & has not been heard of since. It is strange (or perhaps just a matter of psychology) how it always seems to be the nice ones that go and the toughs who remain.
Living in the … hotel as we are doing amongst all the over-night ATA one gets a bit of a … about humanity. I was almost pleased to see Mary H[unter], & Veronica [Volkersz] yesterday by contrast! Douglas is in his element entertaining his visiting pilots; clearly our post war job must be public house proprietors with Douglas as 'mine host'.
Please make Kitty write to me again soon. I loved getting your letters. When are you coming to inspect me? I wish you would.
I would love to have a talk. Are you likely to be at W[hite] W[altham] without warning if I cadge an aeroplane to that point?
with love, Margie."
She was promoted to Flight Captain in February 1942, in charge of the Women's Flight at Prestwick. Her Commanding Officer said that she was a "very reliable and steady ferry pilot ... she has been a very real help to me." Shortly after that, she had her spat with Irene Arckless (q.v.)
She also had an 'incident' on the 24th March 1943 - flying a Halifax (she was one of only 11 women cleared for 4-engine aircraft), the bolts securing an engine cowling broke away and fouled a propeller. Luckily, she was uninjured.
However, she was in big trouble in May 1943 - some Flight Captain or other (I can't make out the signature) wrote to Pauline:
"It is observed that F/Capt Mrs Fairweather is not complying with Standing Orders re. her hair. Also, this pilot still persists in wearing grey coloured stockings, whereas black is the order. Will you please be good enough to point out to this pilot that the Commanding Officer's Instructions in regard to 'Dress Regulations' must be complied with."
There is a scribbled note "Is anything ever done?", but, indeed, no sign of anything else happening ...
And then, on the 14th September 1943, (so, when Margie was nearly 42), and rather out of the blue , came this:
"Flight Captain Mrs Fairweather is pregnant and I recommend that her contract is terminated with three months' pay in lieu of notice."
[The ATA policy was that women who became pregnant would have their contracts terminated, to give them 3 months salary. However, Pauline soon discovered that Margie was "not interested in the financial aspect, but would rather have her contract suspended" and added,"I think we might well meet her wishes in this case."]
So, her contract was suspended, and she duly returned back to work on the 15th June 1944. By then, sadly, Douglas was dead; he and ATA Nurse Kathleen Kershaw had crashed in the Irish Sea, on a mercy flight to Prestwick. Douglas and Margie's daughter Elizabeth was born a few days after his death.
And then Margie herself died in another crash soon after, on the 4th August 1944. It happened on a communications flight in Percival Proctor III LZ801; the engine 'faded out', she force-landed in a field near Wrexham, but hadn't seen a ditch at the end of it. The aircraft went nose first into the ditch.
She, and her sister Kitty suffering from severe fractures to her right leg, were taken to Chester Royal Infirmary. Margie had serious head injuries; the third person on board, Lewis Kendrick, had minor abrasions. Margie died at 11 p.m., without regaining consciousness.
The technical investigation showed that the vent pipe of the port fuel tank was completely blocked by a film of dope, causing the tank to collapse. "In these circumstances the petrol gauge is likely to have indicated that the tank still contained fuel, when in fact it was dry."
Blame was heaped on everyone involved in ensuring the aircraft had been fit to fly: The Chief Engineer, and the Engineers in Charge at White Waltham, for failing to ensure that it had been serviced properly; the Officer-in-Charge Air Movements Bay; the Engineering Inspector, for failing to ensure that the fitters were competent, and the two fitters who failed to notice the blocked vent.
The report recommended that procedures were changed, and Proctors modified, to prevent it happening again.
The cause of death was 'extensive skull fracture'; I've not come across any reference to Margie's spectacles shattering and contributing to her death, although this has been suggested recently.
She is buried, together with Douglas, in Dunure Cemetery, South Ayrshire. Near Prestwick.
28th August 1944
Dear Mr d'Erlanger,
You will I hope forgive me for being slow to thank you for your kind letter & for what you say of Margaret's work, and I would like especially to thank you for all the kindness and consideration shown to my daughter Ruth & for all the arrangements made for the funeral which we could not have wished otherwise. I would be grateful if you could also pass on our thanks to whoever in the RAF was responsible for allowing her to lie in that little war cemetery beside Douglas. We very greatly valued the kindness that prompted that decision.
I am afraid it will be a long time before Kitty is up & about, but we are glad to have no real anxiety about her.
Margie's loss was "a great blow to ATA, for she was not only one of our best women pilots, but in her modest and enthusiastic manner set an almost unequalled example of unselfish devotion to duty."
Oxford DNB : "Fairweather [née Runciman], Margaret (1901–1944), airwoman, was born at West Denton Hall, near Newcastle upon Tyne, on 23 September 1901, the second in a family of two sons and three daughters of Walter Runciman, first Viscount Runciman (1870–1949), and his wife, Hilda Stevenson (1869–1956) [see Runciman, Hilda]. Margie, as she was always known, was educated initially at home together with her younger brother Steven (later Sir Steven Runciman) by a governess who taught them Greek and Latin at an early age. She then attended a number of educational institutions including The Mount, a Quaker school in York, and Notting Hill high school, from where she went to Girton College, Cambridge. After a year she dropped out of Girton to study singing in Paris, though she never performed professionally. She married Roderick Sydney Nettleton King-Farlow (1900–1988), the son of Sir Sydney Charles Nettleton King-Farlow, at St Margaret's, Westminster, on 15 July 1925. A daughter was born in 1931. The marriage ended in divorce in 1936.
In the autumn of 1936 Margie learned to fly at Newcastle Aero Club and was issued with her aviator's certificate (licence no. 14687) by the Royal Aero Club on 13 January 1937. She was planning to fly solo to Australia but changed her mind when she met a fellow pilot, Douglas Keith Fairweather (1891–1944), son of Sir Walter Fairweather. They were married on 28 March 1938. In that year Lord Runciman was sent on the ill-fated mission to Prague to mediate between the German and Czech governments. Fairweather flew out herself to visit him. During a European tour that same year she and Douglas, under the guise of tourists, photographed unrecorded German airfields. She also sent back letters to her brother Steven which seemingly contained only trivial domestic details. On her return, however, she decoded these to recover intelligence data.
With the threat of war looming, in October 1938 the Civil Air Guard scheme was inaugurated to provide subsidized training of pilots through the civil flying clubs. As experienced pilots, Margie and her husband became instructors at Renfrew. Douglas Fairweather was one of the first to sign contracts with the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) for service with the AirTransportAuxiliary (ATA) in September 1939.
Many women, qualified flying instructors with considerable flying experience, volunteered to serve with the ATA. However, the pilots enrolled by BOAC under the ATA scheme were employed in RAF ferry pilots' pools and the RAF would not agree to the employment of women in their ferry pools. This problem was solved in December 1939 when Pauline Gower (who became commandant of the women's ATA) was informed that a small pool of eight women based at Hatfield could be formed to ferry Tiger Moths to stored reserves.
With over 1000 flying hours, Margaret Fairweather was one of that select band who signed contracts with the ATA on 1 January 1940. This departure from tradition caused a furore in a world in which professional women were still a novelty. Press and newsreel gave full publicity to the event and the so-called ‘ATA girls’ were under constant scrutiny. However, ferrying Tiger Moths from Hatfield to storage reserves, some as far away as Kinloss, Perth, and Lossiemouth, and returning by overnight train, often with no sleeper in midwinter, was not the glamorous occupation some imagined. In July 1941 ATA women pilots were cleared to fly operational aircraft and Margaret Fairweather was one of the first four chosen to do practice landings in a Hurricane. These four carried a burden of responsibility as the future of all women pilots in the ATA depended on them.
Meanwhile Douglas Fairweather was joint commanding officer at Prestwick. In 1942 he was posted to no. 1 ferry pool, White Waltham, to take charge of the air movements flight. Margie was then posted to join him. For the rest of her time there she was engaged in communication duties and it was on one such assignment that she met her death—the only one not to survive among the original eight who served from the very beginning.
Gradually more operational types of plane were being flown by women and the progression was made from single engine to twin aircraft to advanced twin, and eventually eleven women pilots were qualified to fly four-engined aircraft. Fairweather was one of the eleven. She was considered by her fellow pilots to be one of the most intelligent and able, though rather quiet and self-effacing. In fact, according to her daughter, her nickname was Mrs Cold Front.
On 3 April 1944 Douglas Fairweather volunteered to go to Prestwick to collect an ambulance case requiring special treatment. In appalling weather, somewhere over the Irish Sea, the Anson came down and both he and the nurse travelling with him were lost. Margie gave birth to their daughter Elizabeth a few days later. Margie returned to flying only to be killed herself four months later. She was piloting a Proctor to Scotland on 4 August 1944 with two passengers on board when the engine failed near Malpas, Cheshire. All three were taken to Chester Royal Infirmary where Fairweather died soon afterwards. Her passengers were her sister, the Hon. Kitty Farrer, adjutant of the ATA, and Louis Kendrick of the Ministry of Aircraft Production. They recovered, escaping with injuries. Douglas Fairweather's body was washed up on the Ayrshire coast. Margaret Fairweather and he were both buried in the small churchyard of Dunure, Ayrshire."
Father: Ernest Friedlander (German, naturalised 1909 - "founder and chairman of the well-known banking firm of Singer and Friedlander"). Mother: Vera(na)
Educated 'abroad', (Vienna, Switzerland, Germany) and at the Royal School of Arts and the LSE in London (Commerce Examinations).
5 foot 5 inches tall; hair and eyes: dark brown. Religion: Hebrew (sic).
Ken Waller taught her to fly
Her uncle, V. Mansfield, was a Colonel in the British Army in WWI.
prev. pilot for Air Taxis, Croydon, giving "5 bob joy rides"
Mona was in the squad for the British Women's Ice Hockey teams who faced France in 1934 and 1935, but Britain lost the first and only drew the second. She was a defender, playing for her club the London Lambs; against France "probably the fastest skater on either side, and certainly the strongest".
Playing for the 'Wembley Lionesses' in 1937 - Daily Mirror
In 1938, "Airwoman Mona Friedlander, who played left-back for England. was the most dashing player on the ice. Dressed in a short black split skirt and a blue and white jersey —the England uniform—she was all over the ice, leaving a trail of devastation in her wake. Her enthusiasm led her into trouble. She was sent off twice, but made up for it by scoring two of England's goals."
From 1st March 1939 to the end of November, she worked as an Army Cooperation pilot, flying in front of anti-aircraft batteries to help them with the aiming and ranging of guns and searchlights. The Sketch said "We take our hat off to Miss Mona Friedlander - for being an attractive night-flying target that no-one should miss"
She was then one of the 'First 8' women pilots of the ATA, joining on 1st January 1940 as a Second Officer. At the time, she had 600 hours experience, on 'most light types'.
Postings: Hatfield, 5FPP
She married Major Alan Forward, M.C. in June 1941; by then, she had had 3 accidents:
- 4 Oct 1940, she failed to get the undercarriage of Oxford V3325 down and locked before landing;
- 25 Mar 1941, she had a forced landing in Lysander P1727 when the engine failed, and
- 29 Apr 1941, another forced landing Hawker Hind 4643, during which she collided with a cow in the field, which ended up costing the ATA £150.
She was exonerated in all 3 accidents.
Her report says "First Officer Forward is a good pilot and a hard worker. She has been unfortunate in the matter of accidents but cannot be held responsible for those she has had. On one isolated occasion she showed bad airmanship - this has not been repeated" but added (rather strangely in view of her ice hockey-playing career before the war), "Physical endurance rather below average."
She was promoted to First Officer in May 1942, but in September hit a parked Anson when taxying a Hudson, then in October suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning in a Typhoon, remained off sick until February 1943 and then resigned.
During her ATA career, Mona flew 32 types of aircraft up to 'Class 4' (Advanced Twin Engined), including 20hrs on Wellingtons and 10 hrs on Mosquitos.
post-ATA, Censor for the Ministry of Information
Moved to Egypt. Flew one of a flight of 8 Fairchilds down to Johannesberg for £50.
d. 24 Dec 1993 - Yeovil
IWM interview here: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80009073
Father: Arthur Edward Hughes, a braid manufacturer,, mother: Lily Amelia [Lekeup] of Acreage, Harlow Common, Harlow, Essex
Educated 'privately'. 5 foot 2, build: slight, eyes: hazel.
"Miss Joan Hughes, who will be sixteen in April, is working hard to become an efficient aviator" - The Sketch, Mar 1934
"Miss Joan Hughes, a schoolgirl, says her ambition is to run an air-taxi service in partnership with her brother" - Leeds Mercury, 4 Apr 1934
She celebrated her 17th birthday by qualifying for her RAeC Certificate, making her, at the time, the youngest flyer in Great Britain.
She became an instructor with Chigwell Flying Club, then joined the Civil Air Guard at Romford in 1938.
prev. exp. 620 hrs (at the time, the women needed 600 hrs to join ATA)
Postings: 5FPP, AFTS, EFTS, 1FPP, 6FPP, 15FPP
4-engine (Class 5) pilot
Margaret, Mona and Joan in January 1940
The youngest of the 'First Eight' women ATA members who joined on the 1st January 1940, she mostly continued as an instructor, eventually at the Advanced Flying Training School at White Waltham. She did, however, ferry many types of aircraft, including Hurricane, Spitfire, Lysander, Typhoon, Mosquito, York, Fortress, Lancaster, Halifax, Liberator and Stirling.
1942 caricature by 'Sammy' Clayton
She had 4 mishaps (one deemed to be her fault);
- 12 Dec 1940, her Oxford skidded on loose ice on the runway
- 22 Aug 1941, a forced landing in Hurricane N2588 when the undercarriage jammed
- 4 Jun 1942, a landing accident when she was instructing Jocelyne Hotham in Hart K6486, which swung and tipped onto a wing,
- 22 Dec 1944, another forced landing in a Stirling III, LJ506. This was due to "[Port Outer] No 12 cylinder induction elbow blowing off")
One of the iconic images of the ATA - Joan, dwarfed by a Stirling (Brief Glory)
Her flying was always highly praised: "First Officer Hughes is an exceptionally good and level-headed pilot. She has worked extremely hard and conscientiously ... a capable pilot on the Stirling; of above average ability, who, in spite of her small stature, handled the aircraft in a most satisfactory manner. She is to be complimented on such an excellent performance."
One small criticism, however: "her technical knowledge is a long way behind her flying ability & she should spend more time in study of this branch."
After WWII Joan moved to the West London Aero Club in White Waltham, then the British Airways Flying Club at Booker.
She coached Kenneth More for his role as Douglas Bader in the film 'Reach for the Sky' (1956).
She was awarded her RAF 'Wings' in June 1954, the last of 5 women (all ex-ATA pilots) to do so when serving with the short-lived (1 Feb 1949 - 1954) Women's Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (WRAFVR). The others were Jean Bird, Jackie Moggridge, Freydis Leaf and Benedetta Willis.
In 1956, Veronica Volkersz wrote that Joan was one of ".. only seven [women ATA pilots] are now flying commercially ... Five-foot-nothing Joan Hughes, one of the few ATA girls who did the Class 5 conversion, subsequently ferrying four-engine bombers and instructing on Harvards and Hudsons, is chief flying instructor of the West London Aero Club at White Waltham"
She concluded that "The tragedy is that for women, commercial aviation is now - except, possibly, in Russia - a closed field."
n 1961 she was awarded the Jean Lennox Bird Trophy; she had trained more than 50 pilots during the year.
In 1965 she flew a replica of a 1909 Santos-Dumont Demoiselle in the film "Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines", and then a replica in simulated dog-fights for the film "The Blue Max". She later visited the US where she appeared on a television quiz show as a mystery guest.
Miss Hughes was one of the display pilots at the Shuttleworth Trust during the 1960s: "These aircraft are wonderfully removed from scientific aircraft. Everything depends on the pilot's skill, so you feel more personally involved. Apart from that you are open to the weather".
Bob Brion tells me that "Joan was my instructor at White Waltham in 1955 flying Tiger Moths... [She] treated me as an equal in what was a different world in the 50s. I have always had the greatest respect for her and her accomplishments.
A great lady."
She retired in 1985 with 11,800 hours in her logbook, 10,000 of which were as instructor, and "devoted herself to tennis, music and country walks".
She died age 74, on the 16 August 1993 in Taunton, Somerset.
IWM interview here: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80008455
Father: Malcolm Burr, a mining engineer, Mother: Clara Millicent [Goode]
A lady with her own opinions, particularly about race handicapping, which you can read here.
b. 6th July 1905 in Paddington, London, the eldest of four daughters; grew up in Dover, Kent, but her father was a rather peripatetic amateur entomologist and she was educated all over Europe, including Paris, Berlin, Budapest, and Vienna.
Was very busy in 1931; described as a 'secretary' [actually, she was the Company Secretary of her mother's family firm of upmarket china and glassware merchants, Thos Goode & Sons], and living in Maida Vale, London, acquired both her aviator's 'A' Certificate (No 9752), and her husband, Mr Arthur L 'Pat' Patterson.
"Arthur Patterson, "Mrs Pat's " husband, and himself a distinguished aeronautical engineer, takes some of the weekly classes at Romford. Here he is giving instruction on rigging." The Bystander, 1939
[The 1932 Spartan 3-seater G-AWBO belonging to Romford Flying Club was damaged by fire in Feb 1940]
At the same time (May 1931), she also competed in the Ladies event at Reading - the other competitors were Amy Johnson, Grace Aitken, Pauline Gower, Dorothy Spicer, Susan Slade, Winifred Spooner, Christina Young, and Fidelia Crossley - a historic gathering indeed.
Her son, Ian, was born in 1932 in Eton, Oxfordshire, but Gabrielle and Pat divorced in 1939.
By 1933, she was the first woman (in Britain, at least) to hold an instructor's certificate.
She entered the King's Cup Air Race in 1934, flying a Miles Hawk G-ACTZ designed by ‘Blossom’ Miles, wife of Fred Miles:
In 1938, she wrote an article on the subject 'Would women make good instructors in the event of war'. She, of course, was already a successful instructor, although admittedly her experience was limited, because "a man who is paying for his flying, and whose average age is probably a little greater on that account, is more amenable to reason than the youngster of eighteen to twenty, with his wild oats still unsown."
She thought that women instructors would probably cope, though; "The instructor always starts with the advantage of his pupil's spontaneous respect for a (relative) master of his subject, coupled with a very natural wish to shine. The woman instructor has the added advantage that this respect is enhanced by her supposed greater difficulties in acquiring that (relative) mastery and with the instinctive desire of the male to impress the female. By tactfully and subtly indicating the conduct in the air and on the ground which does win her confidence and does impress her, she can obtain it in nine cases out of ten, and in the face of such a proportion she could certainly count on disciplinary measures for the tenth."
But she worried whether there would actually be enough women to become instructors; her experience was that women didn't make such good puplis as men. "It is arguable that since of good men pilots only a few make good instructors, amongst women (where the number of good pilots is a lower percentage of pupils) the quantity of good instructors would be so small that there could be no justification for spending public funds in discovering them."
The reason for this, she thought, was that "women pilots hitherto have consisted only of those with large enough bank balances".
Flight reported her activities at the time: "19 May 1938: "ROMFORD. Miss Amy Johnson visited the Romford Flying Club last Sunday to present a flag and charter to the National Women's Air Reserve which operates there. There are 125 members of the Reserve, taking flying instruction with Mrs. G. M. Patterson."
15 June, 1939: "Mrs. G. Patterson's G.A.P.A.N. Appointment. All who have come into contact with her will wish to congratulate Mrs. Gabrielle Patterson on her appointment to the Panel of the Guild of Air Pilots and Navigators. This is the first time that a woman has received the appointment.
Mrs. Patterson has been a flying instructor for some years and is now leader of the National Women's Air Reserve, the organisation which has been putting in a good deal of flying —and securing no little amount of newspaper publicity—at Maylands Aerodrome, Romford. Mrs. Patterson herself, it may be added, has always shunned any sort of personal publicity.
She is, we believe, a first-rate pilot and an extremely capable instructor."
She was living in Bristol, aged 34, with about 1,530 hours experience when WWII broke out in September 1939; her son was at Prep. School.
She filled in the application form for the ATA that December; her 'types flown' at the time consisted of "Moth Major, Tigers, Avro Cadet, Avian, Cygnet, Hornet Moths, Cirrus I, II and III Moths, Gypsy Moths, Spartans, Puss and Leopard Moths, Klemm, Swallow, Civilian Coupe, Miles Hawk and Hawk Major, and Miles Whitney Straight" and she had owned "a Miles Whitney Straight, a Puss Moth, 2 Gypsy Moths, and 2 Swallows (Only 1 any good)". As well as in the UK, she had flown in Germany, Belgium, Holland and France.
She gave her next of kin as Arthur Patterson RNVR.
She started as one of the 'First Eight' highly-experienced women pilots at Hatfield the following month. After a while ferrying trainers at No 5 Ferry Pool, she had to learn to fly new types. Her instructors duly reported that she was "a good and very experienced pilot", and she was "keenly aware of her own limits , which I feel is an excellent feature of her character. Has the makings of a first-class ferry pilot."... "A polished pilot whose capabilities are limited by her physique. In view of her undoubted ability and experience I regard her as somewhat under-confident."
She had 2 accidents; in December 1940, flying a Rapide X7322, (she was deemed to be 'at fault') and in May 1942, when the undercarriage of Spitfre Vc BP863 jammed in the 'up' position (she was 'not to blame').
During her time with the ATA, she flew these types:
Moth (155 hrs); Miles Master (35 hrs); Oxford (105 hrs); Proctor (8 hrs); Hart (1 hr); Dominie (25 hrs); Magister (6 hrs); Harvard (8 hrs); Q.6 (1 hr); Lysander (6 hrs); DH86 (1 hr); Anson (42 hrs); Hurricane (26 hrs); Rapide (2 hrs); Spitfire (33 hrs); Blenheim (21 hrs); Douglas variants (1 hr); Defiant (1 hr); Fairchild (26 hrs); Hampden (3 hrs); Wellington (26 hrs); Hudson (6 hrs); Tutor (1 hr); Botha (3 hrs); Stinson (2 hrs); Whitley (1 hr); Beaufighter (2 hrs); Mosquito (2 hrs); Swordfish (4 hrs) and Typhoon (1 hr).
However, her slight physique also let her down in other ways; she was off sick with measles for a month in Apr-May 1941, then 2 weeks in March 1942 with an infected elbow, then a month (Oct-Nov 1942), and finally (in Feb-Mar 1943) another month with 'bronchial cattarh'. Her contract was terminated in June and she left the ATA as a First Officer [which I always find surprising; she was never promoted to 'Flight Captain'].
She died relatively young, sadly; having completed a degree at Manchester University in the 50s, she moved to France but fell ill with cancer, moved back to Little Missenden, Bucks, to live with her sister, but died there on 31st October 1968, aged 63.
Her ashes were scattered from the air over White Waltham airfield in March 1969.
Father: Sir John David Rees Bt, KCIE, SCVO, MP for East Nottingham d. 1922; Mother Mary Catherine [Dormer]
with her mother, the Hon. Lady Rees, in 1935 - Bystander
One brother, Richard (Ed. Eton and Cambridge, Lieut (SP) RNVR in WWII, author and artist)
[Both her Royal Aero Club Certificate, and her ATA record, have her date of birth as 23 Sep 1906, knocking five years off her age]
Ed. 'private' - she said "I had no proper schooling, except what I read in books and by listening to my parents" - followed by ballet school in Chelsea
prev. a dancer (member of a dancing troupe which toured Ceylon, China and America - she later said "they were all very vulgar"); then decided to learn to fly, persuaded by Gordon Selfridge and instructed by Valentine Baker, and toured all round Europe:
with Delia Crossley (r) in 1935 - Bystander
1936 - "Miss Rosemary Rees lands at Salzburg" - The Tatler
During 1939, she worked for Army Co-operation, target towing
prev. exp. 630 hrs, in 'most light types', throughout Europe; she owned G-ADBT, a 1935 Miles M.2H Hawk Major, which she sold to SJ Hawley and replaced it with a Miles Whitney Straight.
She volunteered to fly Christmas presents to Prague in December 1938, for Czech refugees.
Address in 1940: Hillside Cottage, Witheridge Hill, Henley-on-Thames
Postings: 15FPP (as second-in-command), 1FPP
4-engine (Class 5) pilot
She hated Tiger Moths ("beastly little trainers"), after her experience in pre-war monoplanes, but loved the 'darling' Anson
Flew 91 types of aircraft with ATA
One accident, her fault:
- 20 Apr 1941, she 'employed the wrong landing technique' in a Lysander and damaged an undercarriage leg
"[operational ability] Excellent. A capable pilot who carries out her flying duties well". "an extremely intelligent and able officer", however:
"... possesses all the potential qualities of leadership - courage, direct thinking and intelligence, but does not command the respect those qualities entitle her to ... she allows her personal wishes to play too large a part in the affairs of the Pool."
Post-war, joined RAFVR
m. 3 Nov 1950 in Westminster, Sir Philip Harvey Du Cros, (second baronet, Cavalry Officer in WWI, d. 1975)
She continued flying; buying a war-surplus Percival Proctor, she gained her commercial licence and operated an air-taxi charter firm, Sky Taxi, for five years.
Wrote her memoir 'ATA Girls' in 1983
d. 8 Mar 1994 - Little Bocombe, Parkham, N Devon
1986 IWM interview here: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80009148
Father: John Charles M Ogilvie-Forbes, the 9th Laird of Boyndlie, Aberdeenshire, "a dour character who studied for the Anglican priesthood but was converted to Rome by Cardinal Newman and devoted most of his time after that to serving the Vatican as a Papal Chamberlain." - Dublin Evening Herald
Mother: Anne Marguerite
One of 7 children
Ed. Convent of Jesus and Mary, Stony Stratford; Somerville College, Oxford (Agriculture)
"At Oxford she took a keen interest in sports: she was an accomplished exponent of ju-jitsu and was a member of the women's mountaineering team. She also acted in the productions of the university's French Club."
She owned G-EBQV, a 1927 DH.60 Moth, (withdrawn from use in 1936), and then G-ADMP, a 1936 DH.87b Hornet Moth which was impressed as BK837 on the 5 Sep 1940, and written off in 1941: "She used them to ferry livestock to and from her Essex farm, Nevendon Manor, sometimes from as far afield as Hungary."
Nevendon Manor, Wickford, Essex
She entered the Hornet Moth for the 1936 Cotswold Handicap Air Race, held to celebrate the opening of the Gloucester and Cheltenham Airport.
"From 1929 she had also taken a keen interest in the work of the Fairbridge charity whose aim was to take orphaned children from overcrowded British cities and find them homes in agricultural communities in the Dominions. In the late 1920s and early 1930s she visited Canada and Australia to look over farm schools there. She continued her involvement in the Fairbridge Farm Schools until late in her life. Having no children herself, she often had Fairbridge children to stay with her for extended periods."
m. 1932 in Ventnor, IoW Robert William Francis Wilberforce, a solicitor
["Her husband-to-be was for some time undecided between the state of matrimony and a vocation to the priesthood, eventually deciding to test the strength of the latter by spending six months in a monastery. When this period was over Marion was at the monastery gates to collect him"
prev. Flying Instructor and Charter work for Southend Flying Club
prev. exp 900 hrs
One of the 'First Eight' women pilots in January 1940:
Marion far right
Postings: 5FPP (as CO)
4-engine (Class 5) pilot
1942 caricature by 'Sammy' Clayton
Off sick from 31 May to 10 Aug 1943 after a thyroidectomy
3 accidents, one her fault:
- 8 Apr 1942, the hood of her Battle V1234 came loose and blew away
- 25 Sep 1942, landing at Little Rissington in Tomahawk AH901, she swung off the runway to clear a vehicle and the aircraft tipped over
- 23 Jan 1944, she collided with a Jeep in her Spitfire. She was not held to blame as "the jeep stopped within a few feet of her; she could not reasonably have seen it in these conditions."
She declined an MBE.
"Marion Wilberforce was the quintessential 'Atagirl': resourceful, daring and skilled, with more than a touch of eccentricity in her make-up."
She carried on flying until she was 80, in the second of her Hornet Moths which she called the "Old Lady's Bath Chair":
Aberdeen Evening Express, 1970
She was also Master of the Essex Union Hunt in 1970, and had to apologise to a local family after their little girl's tabby cat was found dead near the route the Hunt had followed. She visited the family's caravan, apologised, offered sympathy and "offered to replace the cat."
d. 17 Dec 1995, aged 93 - Stroud, Glos.
Buried St Joseph Roman Catholic Churchyard, Bishop Thornton, Harrogate Borough, North Yorkshire, England
[Unacknowledged quotes are from her obituary in The Times]
prev. LAC in RAF 1923 - 1929, including 2 years in Iraq
m. 1933 Cecilia Edith Mary [Gyatt]
In 1936, an aero engineer for Lockheed
Mary du Bunsen refers to him in Mount up with Wings: "Our instructor, a man called Gribble, was great fun and taught well but he had a sharp tongue. Luckily it was a man he picked on as a target for his witticisms, a little man with an enormous handlebar moustache, [presumably Victor Baxter-Jones, who joined two weeks before Mary] who apologised to the class, quite unnecessarily, for having let Gribble get him in such a lather that he didn't know what ten per cent of a hundred was." ...
"But the women did not escape unscathed, though we had our little triumphs. one day he handed the class an awkward calculation about fuel consumption, saying 'This is where the women usually break down', and I produced a slide-rule, which I had been storing up for some such moment, and got it right first go."
Address in 1945: 24 Boyn Hill, Maidenhead
RNAS and RAF in WWI, then joined Supermarine, followed by British Marine Co. as a flying-boat captain on the route from Southampton to Guernsey. When BMC became part of the newly-formed Imperial Airways in 1924, he was one of their 16 founder-pilots.
In June 1927, he created a new record for big passenger aeroplanes, by flying from London to Cologne in one hundred and sixty minutes, at an average speed of 130 miles an hour.
Address in 1932: 138 King's Hall Rd, Beckenham, Kent
d. 6 Jan 1941 (Died in ATA Service) after he hit cables and crashed on 2 January, 2.5 miles NW of Wroughton ferrying Curtiss Mohawk IV AR658.
G.P. Olley wrote in his obituary: "An atmosphere of gloom settled over the war-time base of British Overseas Airways Corporation when the tragic news came through that Captain H. J. Horsey ('Horse' to his friends, and that meant every one) had died suddenly from the injuries he had received in an accident some days before."
Gordon reported that, a few days before, "poor old 'Horse' was concerned that he had broken his clean record - up to then, he had never had a major crash, or harmed a hair of the head of a single passenger."
Herbert is buried in Hatfield Heath, Essex.
Learnt to fly in 1936 at the Witney and Oxford Aero Club
On the 8 Mar 1941, his C.O. wrote that he was amongst those pilots who "have been outstanding in the way they have worked, and the example they have set".
d. 1999, New Forest, Hants
Learnt to fly in 1917 at Bournemouth Aviation School (on a Caudron) while a Lieutenant in the RFC, then renewed his RAeC Licence in 1937 in Belfast
MBE in 1943
His father (also Asa) was head of Lingard's Drapers in Bradford
d. 1 Jan 1971, New Forest, Hants
Ed. St Andrews College, then Madras College
prev. Flt-Lieut in RAF 1932-38, then Lieut in RN 1938-39
Postings: 4FPP, 4aFPP, 8FPP, 14FPP
Suspended for 2 days without pay in May-41 for 'continued unpunctuality'
"Very good pilot, inclined to be careless with money ... he reported to No 8 F.P. with his uniform in a disgraceful condition."
Read engineering at Jesus College, Cambridge, but left when his father died, and formed Air Log Ltd in May 1932, making instruments for aircraft and ships. Commissioned into the RAF in WWII, initially as a test pilot and then with 601 (County of London) Squadron AAF at Tangmere during the Battle of Britain. Later posted to Egypt. At least 10 victories.
His 1942 DSO citation reads "Wing Cdr Mayers is an expert on bombing and machine-gun attacks and his tactical knowledge has contributed much to the success of long-range fighter operations. On two occasions in May this officer led a formation in attacks on aircraft bringing supplies to the enemy and destroyed many of them."
Killed in WWII: 20th July, 1942 when a Wing Commander 250 Sqn RAFVR; commemorated on the Alamein Memorial.
Mayers radioed that he was having engine trouble and was making a forced landing in the Qattara Depression. His aircraft was found and, there being no trace of him, it was presumed that he had been captured. Mayers was not heard of again and may have been lost in a Ju52, which was shot down whilst ferrying PoW’s to Germany.
King's Cup in 1932, London-Newcastle race in 1932
His family had made their fortune in the mustard trade.
Ed. Eton (left in 1921)
Height: 6ft 4½ in. Fair hair, blue eyes.
In 1931, he was Venetia Montagu's personal pilot when they decided to tour Persia and Russia in her DH.60G Gipsy Moth G-ABFW. They left Heston on March 27th, reached Budapest on April 1, made a forced landing at Nisch, Jugoslavia, but were able to fly to Constantinople on the 13th April. 20 days later on May 2nd, "when flying from Teheran to Moscow, their machine crashed near Sabzawar, Persia, and, although the machine was burnt, they were both unhurt.”
It only took her a couple of weeks to find another aeroplane, however; she purchased a ‘Moth‘ in Iraq, and left for Astrabad, on the Russian frontier, on May 16. They arrived in Moscow from Tashkent on June 1st, and left for Berlin on June 3rd.
In 1934, he was described as "a very well-known air pilot, of Papillon Hall, Market Harborough, Leicestershire".
He was fined £10, plus 3 guineas costs, in 1936 for persistently smoking on board the Imperial Airways airliner 'Heracles'. He said at the time "I shall smoke if I like, I have always done so". The Times reported that Mr Bellville had joined the Auxiliary Air Force in 1926 and had flown "all over the Continent and all over Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Persia, India, Siam and China". The court was thinking about letting him off with a warning, but were put off by what they described as his "defiant attitude".
In late August 1937, he got himself into the Spanish Civil War (on General Franco's side) and was briefly taken prisoner by the republicans. Apparently, he had (wrongly) heard that Santander had fallen to the nationalists, so he flew himself and the head of the Gonzales Byass sherry firm there, with "a few cases of sherry for the officers of the victorious troops". When they landed at the airport, he discovered his mistake and was taken prisoner and forced to fly to Gijon, while his passenger was held as a hostage. I don't know what happened to the aeroplane... or the sherry!
Rupert was released 10 Sep, 1937, prompting a question in the House of Commons as to "in what circumstances, on whose authority, and at what cost a British destroyer was dispatched" to rescue him.
He sold Papillon Court the following year and thereafter gave his address as "White's Club, London."
His son Hercules ** was born in San Diego in 1939 (Rupert's then-wife was American).
He resigned from the ATA on 19 Nov 1940.
He gave his profession in 1946 as (trust me) "a bullfighter".
He was declared bankrupt in 1955.
d. 23 Jul 1962, London
His obituary said "Rupert's death will leave a gap in many places. He had a host of friends in London, Paris, New York, Spain, and wherever else his wanderings took him and these friends were of all sections of the community.
Rupert's tragedy was that he was born in the wrong age. He would have been an ideal companion for d'Artagnan or would have been in his element helping Francis Drake to singe the King of Spain's beard. These things being denied to him in this material age, he nevertheless contrived to find adventure in every walk of life. He fought bulls in Spain and became a brilliant air pilot in the years before the war. He also took part in the Spanish Civil War. He loved to gamble and some of his happiest hours must have been spent at backgammon tables all over the world and at the bridge table.
There were times, perhaps, when the world became too much for him but his many friends will remember him for his cavalier qualities and his companionship. To paraphrase the words from which his great friend Ernest Hemingway took the title of a book, "... never send to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee".
** His son Hercules, who became a famous film director and producer, died of lung cancer on 12 Feb 2009.
photo: 1927, aged 37
Born in London but brought up mainly in County Monaghan, Ireland.
Her family's home was Rossmore Castle, which was a grand affair built in the 1820s, with turrets, a vast drawing room and servants' quarters, not to mention about 20 cottages on the estate:
Here she is, with her brother Willie, and parents (Mittie and Derry) on a set of steps by the house, in 1913:
Throttle Full Open
I visited County Monaghan in 2014 and asked in the local museum if they knew where the house was. 'Oh yes' they said, 'but it was demolished forty years ago'. It seems that it became severely infested with dry rot in the 1940s, was abandoned and, indeed, demolished in 1975.
Anyway, here's all that's left of it now:
Mary married South African mining magnate and white suprematist politician Sir Abe Bailey in September 1911 (so, she was 21, he was nearly 47; his first wife had died in 1902 and he already had two children). They then had five more children - 2 boys and 3 girls.
She learnt to fly at the London Aeroplane Club in 1926. She was the first woman to fly across the Irish Sea 'by the long route' from Chester to Dublin, the following August.
The following March (1928) she began a solo tour to Cape Town, via Malta and then Cairo. Here, her plane was locked away by order of the Governor-General of the Sudan to prevent her from continuing alone, so she contacted Dick Bentley (who had flown to the Cape a few weeks before) to escort her in his own aeroplane over the "dangerous area of the southern Sudan". She then crashed in Tanganyika, writing off her aeroplane (she said it was her fault), but Abe made arrangements for a replacement Moth to be delivered from Pretoria and she continued, despite having 'flu. Abe was there to meet her when she arrived at the end of April.
The return journey was made via the western 'French' route - the Belgian Congo, Angola and the French Congo. She finally arrived back at Croydon on 16 January, 1929, 10 months after she left. It was "undoubtedly one of the finest performances ever put up by a woman pilot."
Lady Bailey was "so modest, so vague and so charming", and was "surprised that anyone should make a fuss about her journey".
A Director of National Flying Services in 1929, (with Frederick Guest, Colonel the Master of Sempill, Alan Cobham, etc); she was also awarded the Brittania Trophy by the Royal Aero Club, and then made a Dame of the British Empire in 1930 for "services to aviation".
At the Chateau d'Ardennes in 1930
She was a guest at Amelia Earhart's reception at the RAeC in May 1932 - photo here.
In early 1933 she gave everyone a scare by disappearing for several days on another solo flight to Cape Town; thankfully, she had only got lost, run low on fuel and landed safely in the Sahara. [Bert Hinkler, who disappeared at about the same time, was killed in the Alps]. She then flew back to England and almost immediately went down with a bout of typhoid, but recovered in time to compete in the King's Cup later in the year.
After that, she concentrated on looking after their horses, giving and attending loads more balls and receptions, and marrying off their many children.
When Abe died in 1940, she settled near Cape Town (still keeping a house in Rutland) and died there 29th August 1960 aged 69.
King's Cup in 1927, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1933
Lady Mary's aeroplanes were:
a 1926 DH.60 Moth (G-EBPU),
a 1927 DH.60X Moth (G-EBSF, the one she crashed in Tanganyika),
the replacement DH.60X Moth (G-EBTG, which Abe bought in Nairobi);
a 1928 DH.60G Gipsy Moth (G-AABN);
a 1929 DH.60G Gipsy Moth (G-AAEE) and
a 1930 DH.80A Puss Moth, G-AAYA.
the "beautiful" [so said Harald Penrose] wife of Alan Butler. (Later, the 'Flying Grandmother')
Her first husband (Lieutenant-Colonel Hugh William Knox-Niven) having died in 1923, she married Alan Butler in 1925; together they had a daughter and a son.
15th in the Women’s Combined Alpine Skiing at the 1936 Winter Olympics, skating for her native Canada (although she was a member of the British Team before that).
1942 caricature by 'Sammy' Clayton
Completed more than 1,000 hours, in 36 types of aircraft.
2 accidents, neither her fault:
- 24 Jan 1942, the wing flaps of Hurricane AG202 were damaged by water from melting snow, during a precautionary landing at Abingdon
- 6 Aug 1942, a forced landing at Cranwell in Anson DG761, after starboard engine failure
Post-WWII, the Butlers moved to Rhodesia and bought a tobacco farm, but eventually moved back to Studham Hall, Bedfordshire.
She owned a 1930 DH.80A Puss Moth G-ABGX, which was sold in France in December 1934, re-registered as F-AMRX and whose registration was finally cancelled in 1936.
d. 17 Aug 1970 in Piraeus, Attiki, Greece from a heart attack while on holiday, and is buried in Studham.
Father: Alfred Stephen Reed (d. 8 Oct 1939); Mother: Madeline Cecil [Murphy-Grimshaw]
prev. Lieut. in Royal Artillery; BOAC Pilot
Summoned in 1933 for "causing unnecessary noise with his car."
He said to PC Durrant, who arrested him, "I don't as a rule try to square you people, but if you can see your way clear to overlook this I will have the car altered". However, the Chairman of the Bench was determined to stop "this nonsense of these horrible contraptions called sports cars" and fined him £1.
Address in 1935: RA Mess, Fort Brockhurst, Gosport, Kent
Address in 1940: Westover, Croyde Bay, Devon
d. 23 Sep 1940 (age 28) (Died in ATA) Beaufort swung on approach and wing hit ground at Dumfries
* Personnel file missing
Ed. N. Sydney C of E Grammar School
Prev. Technical Director, Wicko and Foster Wikner Aircraft Companies:
[e.g. here is his Wicko 'Wizard' from 1934:
'The Wicko over the River Trent' by fellow ATA pilot Stanley Orton Bradshaw (q.v.) ]
m. Gertrude Violet (b, 27 Aug 1914, d. 21 Apr 1952 after an operation - Newcastle, NSW, Australia)
Address in 1940: The Round House, Danes Rd, Romsey, Hants
prev. exp. 500 hrs
Postings: 2FPP, 1FPP, 5FPP, 6FPP, 15FPP (as Commanding Officer, from 10 Feb to 5 Dec 1941)
"A keen, hard-working officer of considerable flying ability who has now delivered over 1,000 aircraft (61 types), as well as flying 524 hrs as a taxi pilot"
Off sick from 10 Mar to 13 Jul 1943 after a flying accident, when his Typhoon suffered a complete engine failure during approach.
Demoted from Flight Captain to First Officer for a month in Oct 1943 for "wilful disobedience of Standing Orders C.2 and D.21"
Certificate of Commendation, 29 Aug 1944: he was "ferrying a Lancaster when a technical problem caused all four propellers to randomly feather and unfeather. He managed to recover the use of the port engines and make a safe forced landing."
Feb-45: "This officer has the experience and ability necessary for leadership but he now has little ambition to hold any responsibility in ATA and is well content to only undertake such responsibilities as may be assigned to him from time to time. These he carries out in a capable manner"
The Flight of "Waltzing Matilda"
Unable to get a passage back to Australia, Geoffrey bought a war-surplus Halifax to fly him, his wife and two children 13,000 miles "to see his mother and other relatives in Australia".
He advertised for passengers willing to share the cost, and got about 500 replies, along with thousands of telephone calls. They decided to give priority to girls who wanted to be married in Australia, as they were "not allowed priority, like girls who are already married to Australians."
The Halifax B.III was taken to Radlett and fitted out with canvas seats for 15 people, "and other modifications" (which, let's hope, included a toilet ... or two ...?)
"Plotting their course: Captain and Trudy Wikner with their children Kynaston Val and Isabel Christina" - The Sketch, 23 Jan 1946
Famous pre-war pilot Neville Stack was due to be the co-pilot, but two weeks before departure he declined.
Dr. C. B. Heald, who was intending to be the on-board medical officer, also pulled out in late March.
June Newton, a secretary from Cheltenham who was originally 'thrilled' to be offfered a place, also dropped out in March; she changed her mind and decided to go by sea instead.
Eventually, he took these 19 people with him,
- wife Trudy, children [Kynaston] Val and [Isabel] Christina;
- Audrey Joan Morgan (co-pilot). Audrey (q.v.) was also an ex-ATA ferry pilot, and said she wanted to go because she was "fed up with England";
- Charles B. 'Scotty' Scott, DFC, DFM (ex-RAF, Navigator), from Fife, and his 30-month old daughter Anne. His Australian wife had planned to go too, but died three weeks before take-off;
- Horace Charles 'Bonny' Seccombe, (Flight Engineer) also ex-ATA, who Geoffrey said was "really the only crew member I could not have done without";
- Capt. Thomas 'Tom' Sulman (Flight Engineer), a well-known racing motorist, originally from Sydney, ex-British Army, who also helped with the conversion of the aeroplane. A widower, he went to see his 18 year old daughter and 80 year old mother;
- Gordon Toye (Radio Operator), because he "held a PMG licence, although he had only worked in air sea rescue boats".;
- Capt. A B Carter;
- Mr E C Webb;
- Inman Hunter, a British-born film editor who "hoped to make films in Australia";
- Mrs Ruby Colleano, an 'acrobatic dancer' from Melbourne, who was visiting Australia again after 20 years;
- Mrs Eileen Rust, from Katinning, Western Australia, a 39-year old former WAAF corporal who had married in England. She wanted to visit her 76-year old mother, who was ill;
- Mrs Winifred E Montgomery, who had married an Australian ship's engineer;
- Mrs Morough Bernard, wife of a serving member of the RAAF; he saw her off at Hurn;
- Lady Farwell; an Australian, b. Euphemia Leslie Russell Hope, the oldest passenger (aged 60), widow of Sir Christopher Farwell (a former English Chancery Judge, who died in 1943), returning to Australia after 30 years away;
- Miss Noreen Brown, who acted as secretary for the flight;
- Miss Freda Surridge, from Surrey, who went to meet her fiance, RAN Surgeon Lt. MacAlpine Mackay, in Sydney, and
- Miss Mary 'Mollie' Bremner, who made the trip "for fun", and "because she wanted to see Australia".
They took food, a tent in case of emergencies, and toys and games "to amuse the excited children". All luggage (each passenger was allowed 100lb) was stowed in the bomb bay and the passengers either sat in the canvas seats or were dispersed around the aircraft in the various crew positions.
(l) Charles Scott (Dundee Courier);
(r) Val and Christina Wikner have their Mae Wests fitted by E C Webb, one of the passengers
(l) Mrs Morrough Bernard and Freda Surridge fitting on their lifebelts before the departure;
(r) Ruby Colleano and Audrey Morgan walking to the plane for the take-off.
They took off from Hurn airport at 10 a.m. on the 24 May 1946, and arrived, 73 flying hours spread over 22 days later, on the 11 Jun 1946. Lady Farwell was not on board by then; she flew from Brisbane to Melbourne by private aircraft.
Geoffrey's parents (Major Wikner and Mrs M I Wikner) were the first to greet them on their arrival.
L to R: Val Wikner (9), Audrey Morgan, Capt. Wikner, Chrisabel Wikner (5 1/2) and Mrs Wikner.
They got a rather a chilly reception when they arrived at Mascot; "no officials, either Federal or State, except Customs officers, greeted them and no refreshments were offered or were available, except a picnic meal supplied by relatives of Cap. Wikner, and laid out on rugs on a lawn near the control tower."
Geoffrey and Trudy set up Halifax Holiday Park, in Nelson Bay, NSW, and although Trudy died in 1952, Geoffrey ran it for 19 years. It recently celebrated its 70th anniversary.
[The Halifax? Well, "Geoffrey tried to sell the bomber to the RAAF for training purposes without success. It was even offered to the Canberra War Museum as a gift, but alas, was not accepted. It did make one final flight to Singapore though after being bought by some aviation enthusiasts. The commercial venture failed and it was finally sold at auction and cut up for scrap in 1948.
“It was a sad ending for such a wonderful aeroplane,” Wikner said." ]
m. 1954 Patricia [Dunhill]
d. 27 Jun 1990, NSW Australia
prev. with Mac Fisheries Ltd
"5ft 10ins, build: medium, eyes: hazel".
Father: William Thomas Lowe. Educated at Seaford College, Sussex.
A salesman in 1932, when 'Flight' said he was 'in the wholesale fish business' (in fact, he worked for Mac Fisheries Ltd).
For the 1938 King's Cup Race, (in which he came 9th out of 19), 'Flight' described him thus: "He has been a consistent competitor in air races, though last year - when he had the bad luck to retire at Glasgow in the eliminating contest - was his first King's Cup race. He won the 1937 Manx Air Derby. He lives at Twickenham, Middlesex, and plays golf and Rugby football."
He also won the 1936 Portsmouth - Shoreham - Portsmouth race, averaging 126mph, in his Comper Swift (presumably the very lovely G-ABWE, although he later owned the Gipsy-engined [and therefore plug-ugly, imho] 'WW'):
He modified 'WW in 1938 to have a hinged racing windscreen and a fairing between the wing bracing struts, which are visible here. Them fairings must have made the visibility even worse...
He married Enid Eileen Thirlwell in 1939, and they had a daughter in 1943.
Stanley was very successful in the ATA, rising through the ranks to become a Commander by March 1945 and only leaving in November 1945, when the ATA ws disbanded. His recommendation for promotion in February 1945 reads like the appraisal I never got, praising his "excellent quality of leadership, occupational ability, punctuality, attendance, general conduct and discipline".
In over 5 years he flew 41 types of aeroplane, up to and including all 4-engine types, without any serious incident. His instructors reported him to be 'a competent pilot, obliging, efficient, considerate of his brother officers, and attentive of his duties'... 'recent operations to the Continent indicate his ability to command, organise and improvise. As a pilot he sets an excellent example"... (I could go on, but I think we can agree that he deserved his O.B.E., awarded in the New Years Honours List of 1946).
d. 1993; wife Enid d. 2002.
Father: Major Arthur Gundry Coombs MC [d. 1937]
prev. Pilot Officer, RAFVR & Civil Service. DPO Ministry of Mines, Reading 1937-40
4 May 1939, The Cornishman:
"FALSE PRETENCES AT MARAZION
Licensees duped by specious story.
How the licensees of the Coach and Horses Inn, Breage. and the Godolphin Hotel. Marazion, were duped by a specious story was revealed at Helston, on Thursday, when Arthur Wesley Coombs, a young man. of Limetree House, Castle Crescent, Reading, was charged with obtaining £5 and £6 by false pretences from Mr. Wilfred Hope, licensee of the Coach and Horses Inn. Breage.
There was a further charge against the accused of obtaining from Stanley Linscott Turner, of the Godolphin Hotel, Marazion, on January 27, £5 by means of a worthless cheque, with intent to defraud.
Mr. Eric Thomas, who prosecuted, stated that on January 18 the accused called the inn and told Mr. and Mrs. Hope he was the owner of an air circus of six 'planes flying between Reading and Edinburgh, and made other statements which led Mr. and Mrs. Hope to believe he was a person of a certain amount of substance. He stayed at the inn as a boarder from January 28 to February 2. January 23 he borrowed £5 from Mr. Hope, giving a cheque obtained from a customer, changing the name of the bank to that of Bank of Scotland. The following day Mr. Hope lent him £6, and the same procedure was followed. On January 31 the cheques were returned marked "No funds."
Accused pleaded "Guilty," and said he expected to have sufficient money to meet the cheques. As soon as he realised he was unable to clear them he sent Mr. Hope a payment on account. Mr. Thomas confirmed that Mr. Hope had received £4 from the accused. Accused asked the Bench to take the second charge into consideration when passing sentence. Accused pleaded ''Not guilty" to having obtained food and lodgings to the value of 19s. from Mrs. Hilda Hope, wife of the licensee, and the Bench dismissed the case. The Bench fined the accused a total of £12 including costs. The Chairman (Mr. 0. Rows), said the Bench had been influenced in their decision by the fact that accused was on the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and that he would be reporting for duty on May 1. They had strained a point in not depriving him of his liberty."
Address in 1940: 14, Castle Crescent, Reading (Mother, Ellie Maud [Wesley] Coombs)
Contract Terminated (Disciplinary Reasons)
Post-ATA, Arthur said he "worked for the Ministry of Aircraft Production, as a test pilot then as Chief Technical Officer, from 1939 until 1946". He then claimed to have been "General Manager of an aircraft company", and to have operated his own aircraft company from Croydon and Eastleigh.
From 1954 he was employed first as a wine salesman and then as a driving instructor.
In 1954, he was convicted of stealing a typewriter.
In 1955, he was sent to jail for 18 months for fraud and theft, again involving dishonoured cheques.
During his trial, "Mr Guy Willett submitted that the accused was a man who, having been extremely successful, could not believe his luck had changed."
d. 1979 - Portsmouth
Father: Arthur Leopold Bambridge (d. 1923), Mother: Anna Charlotte Caroline [Siebert]
Royal Field Artillery (6th [Duke of Edinburgh's] Wilts Regiment, Commissioned 12 Apr 1915, in France from 28 Oct 1915), RNAS (Flight Sub-Lieut from 17 Sep 1917, 2nd Lieut), RAF from 1 Apr 1918 (Lieut)
As a Flight Sub-Lieut. in the RNAS, he was seriously wounded in March 1918. This accident, according to research done by his grand-daughter, was "whilst serving as reconnaissance scout in RNAS 2nd Squadron based at Bergues. On 22 March 1918 he and his gunner were hit by anti aircraft fire over Ostende. Bam and gunner Harry Lovelock managed to crawl out onto the wings of the DH4 biplane and witnesses described seeing plane initially diving then fluttering down like a leaf then diving again. Tragically Harry lost his grip and fell at about 1,000 feet from the ground. Bam hung on the tail until a few feet above the ground when he threw himself clear. The plane on crashing rolled over on top of him breaking his legs in several places. The true account was hushed up for the sake of gunner Harry's parents feelings."
In March 1919 he relinquished his commission on account of "ill-health (caused by wounds)" but was permitted to retain his rank.
In July 1919, Flight said (presumably referring to an earlier accident): "Lieut. Bambridge, who had the distinction of losing the tail of his machine at 15,000 ft. in France, and descending on the top plane more or less successfully, was in charge of the ground operations" for an air display in Liverpool.
m. Jul 1926 in Steyning, Sussex Vera Maud [Fullick]
His patent No 338,495 for 'Improvements in or connected with Braking Means for Aeroplanes and the like purposes" was published in December 1930:
"The braking force is applied directly to the landing wheels and undercariage.... My invention admits of several modes of application and according to one embodiment a bracket or like device having slots in angular or other suitable relation is employed in co-operative relation with and at each end of the axle of the landing wheels."
Address in 1940: Waimate, Gordon Rd, Whitstable
Postings: 6FPP, 1FPP, 4bFPP
Suspended in Jan 1941 for nine days for 'Accumulative Misdemeanours'
Suspended for 7 days in May 1941 for 'disregard of flying regulations at 33 MU Lyneham'
1 accident, not his fault:
- 18 Jun 1941, the wheels of his Anson got clogged in long grass, 'which prevented the pilot obtaining sufficient height to clear an obstruction'.
"This officer though limited in his flying activities for medical reasons has more than made up for it by his energy and organising ability in the Operations Room where he has proved himself a very great asset."
Transferred to ground duties 31 Mar 1943.
"Is a very conscientious officer. Unfortunately he is not good at handling his staff, and does not achieve a good team spirit."
Or, "A first class organizer and highly efficient Chief Flying Control Officer."
In September 1945 as the ATA was being disbanded, the Air Movements Flight held a 'Farewell Dinner'. The menu, and a 'poem' in the form of an ABC, have survived:
Aubrey Bower [M.758]
Bill [Guy] Harben [M.18]
Toni Combi [M.588]
Diana Hutchinson [W.107]
H. C. Mason
d. Dec 1966 - Elstree, Herts
His grand-daughter Fiona kindly tells me that "Bam's mother, Caroline Charlotte Anna Siebert-Charters, was a German aristocrat. His father, Arthur Leopold Bambridge, was an artist who exhibited several times at the Royal Academy and was a Member.
Bam's parents divorced when he and his elder sister Emily were small, in 1904. It was his mother who filed for divorce; she took Emily to Germany with her, leaving Bam with his father in England, apparently so that he did not get naturalised to being German.
Bam went to primary school locally in Wiltshire, then later went to stay with his uncle William, who was a Professor of Music and organist for Marlborough College. Bam spent 2 years at Marlborough, although not very successful academically I was informed by their archivist.
He joined the RFA in 1915, then RNAS. He was shot down twice in France, once whilst his passenger took aerial photos; the passenger was sadly killed, Bam was injured and thereafter always walked with a limp.
Bam met Vera when he retrieved her Alsatian dog after it had run off in fields near Shoreham airport. When he inherited his mother's money, he and Vera lived the high life - skiing in Switzerland, Cannes for the casinos (Bam loved gambling), and were friends with the Benetti brothers (racing cars). 'Bam' worked as a stunt pilot, carpenter, admin for BOAC in a London office, and also sold sun lamps.
Bam and Vera had four children, Angela, Anthony, Brian and John. John became a pilot in the RAF and also flew privately. My aunt, Angela, is the last one still with us
Bam joined up in the early days of the ATA; a friend of his from Whitstable, Herbert Mason (q.v.) was joining so he applied. At first he flew planes, then later was promoted to Flight Captain. You can see his name in the marvellous poem written at the end of the war for their final evening dinner party.
Bam and Vera separated around 1940, and divorced after the war. Bam remained in Maidenhead (near the old White Waltham ATA base), living in a small flat, and used to visit the old ATA base, by then an Aero Club. He also avidly read flying magazines sent to him by his sister Emily. Bam died of tuberculosis in hospital in Herts in 1966.
He was in contact with some of his relatives during those years including his cousin Philip whose wife told me how Bam lived a very simple life - "one plate, one cup,"less washing up", he said. He was fond of her small children, he was always a gentleman, had twinkly eyes and a lively smile.
The ATA ladies, Joy Lofthouse and Mary Ellis both told me in 2011 that Bam was a gentleman. He was often to be seen standing at the end of the runway at White Waltham, looking up into the sky."
Father: Frank Shults
Ed. Secondary School
RAF from 1937-38 (F/O), then FAA to Jul 1939 Sub-Lt, RN.
m. Sep 1939 Joan Beatrice [Morris]; "Mr Shults is a keen rugby player, and both he and his new wife are talented pianists."
Served on the aircraft carrier HMS Courageous, but was invalided out of the Fleet Air Arm 'due to a nervous breakdown'. [Just in time, too - Courageous was torpedoed and sunk in September 1939.]
prev. exp. 400 hrs
Address in 1940: Little Mancot, Hawarden, Flints
Postings: 1FPP, 3FPP
One 'pilot at fault' accident on 26 Dec 1940, in Anson N9933; he took off after sunset, ran into heavy mist and had to force land in a field.
Off sick from 14 Jan to 28 Apr 1941 with Fibrositis
"A good 'fair-weather' pilot", said his C.O. Walter Handley
Contract Terminated 20 Sep 1941
Later the Headmaster of Apley Park Boarding School, Bridgnorth, Shropshire
d. 10 Nov 1984 - Suffolk
ed. at 'Public School'
m. 1934 Ellen Marjorie 'Madge' [Watson, LRAM], the daughter of the bloke that designed the Royal Yacht 'Brittania'. Children: George b. 1934 d. 2002, Hazel b. 1937, Lois and Tulip b. 1940
prev. a Flying Instructor
Address in 1940: 'Vril', Ramsden Rd, Godalming, Surrey (Madge's house)
Postings: White Waltham, 6FPP, 1FPP, 2FPP, 1FPP
Off sick from 2 Feb to 1 Jul 1943 with a fractured ankle
After a slow start ("Not very confident in bad weather conditions. Not one of my hardest workers, suggest you keep an eye on him in this respect"), he made steady improvement and became "a sound and hardworking ferry pilot. He flies well and is unduly modest about his ability which is greater than he thinks."
He did confess he "hated the sight of aeroplanes" for a while, after an accident in June 1940.
d. 8 Jul 1961 - Godalming, Surrey
prev. a motor mechanic (Science Dept.)
Address in 1936: 16 Ellys Rd, Coventry
Postings include 8FPP
d. Jul 1993 - Waveney, Suffolk
prev. a motor and marine engineer
Address in 1934: 22 Clifford Ave, London SW14
Certificate of Commendation, 1940: "On the 7th October, 1940, FLt-Capt Henderson made a successful landing without damage in a Wellington aircraft in spite of the fact that the elevator control had broken off causing him partially to lose control, and that at the time the wind was strong and gusty"
From 1941 until Dec-42, Chief Test Pilot in ATA's Technical Department, responsible for producing many of the early 'Pilots Handling Notes'.
Certificate of Commendation, 1943: "On the 10th April, 1943, Flt-Capt Henderson was instructing on a Halifax aircraft. During the course of approach the up lock control handle of the undercarriage port leg broke off leaving the leg locked up. Flt-Capt Henderson thereafter displayed great initiative and ingenuity. With the only tool available - a crash axe - he chopped away the back of the rest bunk and made a hole through the fuselage wall, thereby laying bare the broken pull rod. The broken piece of the rod was then unscrewed from the tee handle by nipping it in the hinge of the armour-plate door. He then screwed the handle back on to the remaining threads of the pull rod and was enabled thereby to lower the undercarrige by the normal manually operated emergency system. The aircraft was then landed without damage, thereby saving a valuable aircraft and preventing possible injury to his crew."
He celebrated his fifty-first birthday (15 Jan 1945) by beginning the task of delivering a Spitfire from Hawkinge in Kent to the French Air Force Wing at Luxeil. "When the pilots arrived to collect them [12 Spitfires] the landscape was covered in snow, the temperature was well below zero and a biting east wind blew in heavy gusts." BG
d. 15 Jul 1947 - Logrono, nr Bilbao, Spain, in an air crash.
"Hull Businessman die in Plane Crash
Mr Meyndert S. Kamphuys, managing director of British Cocoa Mills, Ltd, Hull, and his brother, Mr Henry S Kamphuys, were both killed when a plane in which they were flying to Africa on business crashed in the Lumbreras Mountains in Northern Spain. Also killed was the pilot, Ralph Harold Henderson, well known in London flying circles. The plane had been privately chartered." - Hull Daily Mail
Ed. Senior College of Preceptors
m. Ivy Ellen
RAF 1932-37 (Flt-Lt)
Address in 1940: Cedarcroft, Sticklepath, Okehampton, Devon
Postings: 2FPP, 1FPP, AFTS as Instructor, 16FPP
"Good multi-engine pilot, though inclined to be nervous, particularly in bad weather."
"Not over stable financially."
Reprimanded for disobedience of Standing Orders on 3 Apr 1942
[Contract Terminated by ATA 11 May 1942 - Disciplinary Reasons]
Died in a flying accident, 23 July 1942 when a Test Pilot for MAP. His Spitfire V W3958 of 1 CRU (Civilian Repair Unit) at Cowley crashed at Cumnor Hill, 3.5 miles West South West of Oxford.
Buried Epsom Cemetery.
prev. Farming, Engineering and Aircraft Operator
prev exp. 700hrs
G-AAHE, a 1929 Avro 594 Avian IV (which competed in the King's Cup, 1931);
G-ACFH, a 1933 Avro 640 Cadet, and G-ACPB, a 1934 Avro Cadet, which he offered to the ATA.
Commended by his C.O. in June 1941 - "outstanding ... always willing to start at any time of the day for any destination. One of our best."
d. 30 Jan 1942 (Died in ATA Service) - Curtiss Mohawk AR671 stalled attempting forced landing at Pershore Aerodrome following engine failure.
buried Capel Madog.
Ed. Winchester, then BA from New College Oxford
prev. Coldstream Guards 2nd Lieut. 1929-31
a Timber Merchant
Address in 1940: Amberde House, Taunton
prev. exp. 540 hrs. Owned 2 aircraft:
- G-ACRD, a 1934 BA Swallow 2, and
- G-AEUX, a 1937 Miles Whitney Straight.
Postings: 1FPP, 2FPP, 6FPP, 7FPP, 9FPP (also seconded to AFTS, Air Ministry and RAE Farnborough)
"An excellent ferry pilot, an admirable officer and a charming person. If his reactions to a situation are not always conventional, they are always sound and sensible."
Feb-45: "His qualities are such that he has been appointed acting second-in-command of No. 9 Ferry Pool".
Ed. 'HMS Conway'
m. 1928 Elizabeth Murral [Doyle]
prev. F/O RAF, 1925-32; a Seaman
Address in 1939: 24a Denzil Ave, Southampton
Postings: 1FPP, 2FPP, 3FPP
- 12 Oct 1940, suspended without pay for 7 days after landing at base without instructions;
- 24 Mar 1941, again suspended for 7 days, this time for a "financial misdemeanour"
10 accidents, 6 of them his fault.
Initial assessment was "a rough pilot, works hard, but has had careless accidents; discipline not very good" but by 1941 he was "becoming a useful pilot", and in 1943 was assessed as "a sound pilot of average ability".
Off sick from 28 Mar to 25 Apr 1944 with "fatigue and hypertension", and then on 21 June he landed a Beaufort with its undercarriage retracted; when they examined the aircraft they found that he had mistakenly fired the fire extinguishers instead of the undercarriage emergency cartridges.
On 2 Sep 1944 his C.O. wrote that "F/O Wilson has been with ATA for a very long time and has moved a very great number of aircraft. It is my opinion that he is losing faith in himself as a pilot and is troubled with nerves. He has been off sick a lot recently and should be given a very careful check before he resumes flying."
Contract Terminated 24 Sep 1944
d. Apr 1978 - London
RAF Jan 1919 to Jan 1927
prev. Ground Engineer and Instructor at Norwich Aero Club, Chief Flying Instructor, Sports Association Flying Club.
In 1933, he and Miss Winifred Florence Hudd (Norwich Aero Club's first lady pilot) spent part of their holidays on a flight abroad in one of the Club's machines, DH60 Gipsy Moth G-ABAE.
Winifred in 1935
"They intend to visit Berlin."
m. 1934 Frances Anne Stewart [Henfry, d. 1981], one son Robert b. 1935
He advertised in 'Flight' in 1938 as follows: "Situation Wanted. EX-NORFOLK and Norwich Aero Club Instructor (Mr. A. Kirkby) seeks a position where his 19 1/2 years' experience of aviation can be made full use of; chief ground engineer to Norwich Club for 10 years, also 1,510 hours as pilot in charge of aircraft, including 910 hours instructional flying, accidents nil, experienced air photographer, with own equipment; age 35, married.— Address, Airport, Norwich."
prev. exp. 1,933 hrs on "DH60, DH87, Puss, Leopard, Avians, Comper Swift, Miles Hawk, BA Swallow, Klemms, BA Drone, Dart Kitten, gliders various" in UK, Belgium, Germany and Iraq.
Address in 1940: Leigh Vicarage, Sherborne, Dorset (Telephone: "Yetminster 85")
Postings: 6FPP, 7FPP
"A thoroughly sound and reliable pilot" who was recommended for the Class 3&4 conversion course but "expressed reluctance to undergo this training. At his own request, he was allowed to return to duty in Classes 1 & 2."
Off sick from 4 May 41 to 2 Aug with pleurisy, from 17 Dec 1941 to 13 Mar 1942 with a dislocated clavicle, and from 30 Dec 1942 to 8 Nov 1943 with 'bronchial catarrh'.
"His health is his greatest handicap."
[Contract Terminated 17 Nov 1943]
d. 1950, Ware, Herts
Address in 1940: 3 Ashburn Gardens, Gloucester Rd, London SW7.
Wife: Anne Hester Mary Layborne (nee Popham, m. 1939) lived at Carr House, Broxford, Hants, then later 22 Sefton Rd, Hook
prev. 2nd Lieut. RNVR Sep-39 to May-40
[Contract Terminated by ATA - Disciplinary Reasons]
later m. 1954 Jean L Jorgensen, in Falmouth
Mysterious. It looks like this Michael Porter, born in Bombay in 1912 or 1914, changed his name to Bruce-Porter between 1938 and 1939. Anne Hester Bruce-Porter is listed as next of kin on his ATA form; her marriage in June 1939 was certainly to a Michael F L Bruce-Porter.
Father Brazilian, mother English
Racing driver [1935 Le Mans winner] and sometime jailbird [spent 3 years in jail - convicted of manslaughter having killed a motorcyclist in a car accident whilst drunk]. Operated a speedboat firm in Torquay.
1935 Miles Hawk Speed Six G-ADGP
1938 B A Eagle 2 G-AFKH
with his sister Ruth, King's Cup 1935
d. 12 Oct 1940 (Died in ATA Service) - while circling to land at Llandow, his Wellington R1156 struck a telegraph pole in Llysworney during a second circuit and crashed into a bank.
Buried Mapledurham, Oxfordshire
King's Cup in 1935, 1938
m. 1934 in London, Ida F [Sharman]
m. 1942 in Eton, Bucks, Imogen D [Duncan]
prev. Pilot Officer in RAF Reserve Mar-34 to Apr-35;
RAF Apr-35 to Jul-38.
On 10 Feb 1938 the pilot of Hector K9723 was on a night flying exercise when he became lost in bad weather whilst flying over the East Coast, he force-landed the aircraft in a ploughed field near Filey whereupon the aircraft overturned. It is not known whether there were any injuries sustained. The investigation reported: "The pilot...found difficulty in stowing the Verey pistol and as a result lost direction".
Pilot - P/O Gerald Wilfred Pearson Derbyshire RAF. Probably uninjured.
d. Jan 1970 - Devon
prev. Commercial Pilot
prev. exp. 625 hrs
Postings: 6FPP, 16FPP
"Has worked well, but entirely lacks any discipline."
d. Feb 1985 - Eastbourne, Sussex
Father: Maj. David Kinloch Michie DSO, OBE, DL, JP, Provost of Renfrew [d. 1949], Mother Jane Lumsden [Walker]
[His ancestor, also Donald Kinloch Michie, was indicted in 1845 for 'wickedly and feloniously, and willfully, maliciously, and unlawfully" shooting at 4 people, "whereby they were wounded severely in the face, side, arms, and various parts of their bodies." He ran away, was caught, convicted and sent to be 'transported beyond seas for seven years." Not strictly relevant, I know...]
Ed. High School, Glasgow and then M.A. Course, majoring in geography and meteorology (see later)
prev. A Civil and Mechanical Engineer
Lieutenant, Highland Light Infantry from May 1935 to Aug 1939
Address in 1940: Deanside House, Renfrew
Postings: 4FPP, 14FPP, 16FPP, 4aFPP
He was demoted from First Officer to Second Officer for 4 months from 20 May 1941, "to be re-instated subject to a favourable report from his C.O."
I'm not sure entirely what happened; the record says "Allegations concerning weather met. reports not proved by Court of Enquiry." It sounds like he made some critical comments, (based on his prior knowledge, presumably), which were not found to be correct.
In any case, his C.O. at 4 FPP (Frank Ashton White) reported in October 1941 that "After demotion to 2nd Officer, he has shown the right spirit and is an excellent pilot. Reinstated to 1st Officer after 4 months."
Off sick from 14 Sep to 29 Oct 1942 with bronchial pneumonia, but 'made a good recovery'
Class V ( Halifax, Liberator, Stirling and Fortress) pilot.
Contract Terminated 11 Aug 1943
Post-WWII, Projects Manager for British Eagle International Airways until its demise in 1968.
d. 14 Apr 1988 - Windsor and Maidenhead, Berkshire
"Captain John Michie had a long and distinguished career in civil aviation during which his skill, knowledge and unfailing courtesy and humour have enriched the lives and experience of all he came in contact with. His many friends in aviation will long remember him." Flight
m. 1933 Eloise [Edwards, divorced], 1939 Constance [Nye, 1 daughter b. 1940], 1965 Barboro [Norgaard or Lind]
prev. RAF 1929-32, [dismissed after a court martial], then a pilot for Birkett Air Services
prev exp. 3900 hrs
At first, "an excellent pilot, but not one to put himself to excessive discomfort in the execution of his duties.", but eventually "he performed the duties of Flight Captain with distinction and has show exemplary aptitude for the organisational side of the organisation. An influential and respected member of the pool."
Post-WWII, a pilot for Scandinavian Airlines; in 1948, in New York, he refused to take a load of (dead) deer; "No soap", he (allegedly) said, "They smell too bad. It would keep the passengers awake. Take them off."
OK, this is the only photo I could find of him. That's him on the left, explaining the controls to Governer Youngdahl of Minnesota before flying them from New York to Copenhagen in 1948.
d. 21 Dec 1983 - Hurley, Maidenhead
Special Characteristics: 'blue scar on bridge of nose'
Ed. Sherborne College
m. 1930 Doreen Isabel [Nicholls], 1 child; 1940 Gladys M [Wilson]
prev. of 'Independent means'.
He did have a rather chequered past, particularly when it came to driving, or flying, dangerously:
- in 1924, he was fined 40/-, 50/- and 10/- for 3 separate motorcycling offences, then
- in 1925 he was fined £4 5/-, 1/-, £1 (for having no light), £5 , 10/- and then £20, with £3 3s. costs and disqualified for riding for two years, when he "travelled on a motor cycle at 70 miles an hour in a manner dangerous to the public, an allegation which he did not deny". In the last case, "Defendant, who did not seem much perturbed by the decision, was granted time in which to pay the fine."
- In 1930, he was fined £20 or two month's imprisonment for flying an aeroplane dangerously at Parson's Hill Field, near Downe golf course, and fined £20 for flying an aeroplane without a pilot's certificate. A Mr Lane stated: "It came straight for me, so I threw myself to the ground. It went on and turned and came back, swooping down again only four feet above my head." ;
- In 1931, he was sentenced to three months' imprisonment "in the first division, for driving a motor car in a manner dangerous to the public";
- In 1938, he was sentenced to four months imprisonment for driving dangerously at Bray, Berks. His licence was suspended for three years. This accident led to the death of a Mr Bernard Sprackling, an insurance clerk; his widow sued Gerald and another driver and they ended up paying £3,750 to the widow and her son, born posthumously. "Mrs. Sprackling's jaw was broken and she lost three teeth, and two more teeth had still to come out. Although she had made a splendid recovery, she underwent considerable pain and suffering. Mr. Justice Hawke said: 'She has suffered, poor creature, in a way for which she cannot get any damages.'"
He served this sentence in Oxford Prison.
Address in 1940: The Studio, Shiplake, nr Henley
Postings: 1FPP, 6FPP, 4FPP, 3FPP, 9FPP, 12FPP (as C.O. then later as 2nd in Command), 5FPP (as C.O.), 16FPP, Air Movements Flight
Class 5 (4-engine) qualified pilot
"A keen and very capable ferry pilot and a loyal and efficient deputy" (Thomas Gale, OC 1FPP, 1944)
"He is a competent and hard-working pilot. His administrative ability is not of the highest order, and I do not consider that at the present time he would be capable of handling a larger unit"
One 'pilot to blame' accident amongst his 4 incidents; in Feb 1942 his Hurricane II "collided with a hangar support cable whilst manoeuvring in a confined space with a defective tail castor."
"All the Ferry Pools began as small informal communities, but none more so than No 12 at Cosford, for Jerry Stedall - the first C.O. - was soon joined by his wife in the ostensible role as caterer." Brief Glory
He married once more, in 1965, to Jennifer K [Young].
d. Jun 1972 - Surrey
prev. a motorcycle speedway rider
Early days at White Waltham, Anson taxi pilots - Ronny Malcolm, Douglas Fairweather (M104), Jim Kempster and Harry Ellis (M139)
d. 29 Jun 1945 (Died in ATA Service) Anson I DG916 crashed into River Rhine en route Le Bourget to Pilsen due to bad weather.
Flt-Engineer Harry Race was also killed, and he is buried in Rheinberg War Cemetery, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany.
Jim Kempster's body was never found.
Commended for "valuable service in the air", 14 Jun 1945
Father: Rev. Charles Edgar Delacour de Labilliere, Mother: Evelyn Georgina [Harington] of Langatoch Vicarage, Monmouth (later moved to Heatherlands, Bingham Ave, Lilliput, Dorset)
RAeC Certicate 16356, 20 Sep 1938 at Portsmouth Aero Club
prev. a book-keeper; Assistant Flying Instructor to the Barnstaple and N Devon Flying Club; RAF Link Trainer Instructor
prev. exp. 363 hrs
2 accidents, both his fault:
- 29 Jun 1940, he persisted too far in bad weather and got lost in a Tiger Moth
- 3 Nov 1940, damaged his Puss Moth after landing in a field
Contract Terminated - "Disciplinary reasons, in respect of both his flying competence and also his conduct both on and off duty"
"We cannot possibly recommend you to consider his application [to BOAC]"
Temporary Sub-Lieut then Lieut, RNVR from 28 Feb 1941 - 1945
Address in 1947: The Mount, Studland, Dorset
Royal Aero Club Certificate 22595, 14 Apr 1947
d. 29 Aug 1952 - Southern Rhodesia
Father: Thomas Wardle (d. 1925), Mother Gabrielle Marie [Gueret]
Ed. Bedford School; BSc(Eng) from Imperial College, 1929
m. 1930 in Kingston, Surrey, Doreen Patricia [Hemsley]
Address in 1937: Kings Court Road House, Chandler's Ford, Hants
RAeC Certificate 14803, 6 Apr 1937 at Hampshire Flying Club
prev. Electrical Engineer; Airline Pilot (?); RAF 1939-40
prev. exp. 1400 hrs
Address in 1940: (Mother); Windycote, Creddleton, nr. Leek, Staffs [Later, moved to 15a Berkesy Place, Wimbledon, London SW19]
Next of kin (brother) Thomas Ivor Wardle
Postings: 14FPP (as CO), 2FPP, 1FPP
Class V (4-engine) pilot
1 accident, not his fault:
- 4 Jan 1942, the landing gear of his Anson N9917 failed to lock and collapsed on landing
"His personnel are contented and he continues to justify every confidence placed in him. As a pilot he is excellent and flies sufficiently to set the example expected of a Pool C.O." Gerard d'Erlanger
Address in 1982: Calle Palemere 24, Los Gigantes, Puerto Santiago, Tenerife
d. 29 Mar 1982 - Tenerife, Spain
Father: Thomas Holman Rowe; mother, Susan Kate [Rice]
RFC in WWI; 2nd Lieut. in 1917 (RAeC Cert 5375, photo missing)
Address in 1917: 28 Courtenay St, Newton Abbott, Devon
m. 1925 in Gt Yarmouth, Rosalie Beatrice [Moore]; 2 children (incl. Pamela b. 1928)
In 1939, he lived at 162 The Greenway, Harrow, with his younger brother Leslie, and was a "Counting House Manager - Textiles" and RAFVR
Address in 1944: 15 Nithsdale Rd, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset
d. 15 Jun 1944 at Derbyshire Royal Infirmary, from injuries received in Albermarle I P1563, which crashed Into a barn during an attempted overshoot after landing at Ashbourne Airfield, Derbyshire.
The co-pilot survived.
Buried Weston-super-Mare Cemetery
prev. pilot with Birkett Air Services
prev. exp. 1053 hrs
Address in 1940: 9 Heather Bank, Higher Bebington, Wirral, Cheshire with wife Flora [later changed next-of-kin to his mother E.H. Greenhalgh]
General Conduct "Good, with occasional minor lapses which are probably due to domestic difficulties." Leadership qualities: "Could do better if he tried harder."
"a good Flight Leader and his discipline has been excellent."
d. Apr 1996 - Honiton, Devon
Ed. at Stowe, and Cambridge
Next of Kin: (father) William Alfred Silcock
Distinguishing marks: Phalange of third finger of right hand missing.
prev. 'Catering' - his father was Managing Director of the Clarendon Hotel and Restaurant, Hammersmith Broadway.
- G-ABCT, a 1930 DH.60G Gipsy Moth;
- G-ACLW, a 1933 DH.85 Leopard Moth (which, re-registered AX862, was taken over by the ATA and was written off (damaged beyond repair) on 18 Mar 1945 when the undercarriage collapsed on landing at RAF Carnaby), and
- G-ADMX, a 1935 BA Swallow L25C Mk.2
Address in 1940: 5, Broadway, Hammersmith, London W6
m.1942 Margery P [Sansom]
Off sick from 17 Dec 1941 to 3 Jan 1942 with acute tonsillitis, then 15 Oct to 19 Nov with hemorrhoids, then 17 May to 1 Jun 1944 after a flying accident.
"A sound and likable pilot, with an excellent record ... a splendid officer and one of the mainstays of the pool."
He was reprimanded in March 1944 for 'taxying without due care' (his Anson's port wing hit a stationary lorry).
His other 'at fault' accident happened in May 1944, when he and his Flight Engineer were taking off in a Lancaster. The Flight Engineer thought William told him to retract the undercarriage; unfortunately he was a bit premature, the aircraft sank towards the runway and William had to belly-land the aeroplane. They were both held equally to blame.
When his father died in 1953, William took over as Managing Director of the Clarendon Hotel. It became a famous music venue, but closed in 1989 and was demolished.
d. Feb 1989 - Surrey
A Pilot; owned 1932 Avro 504K G-ABVC (ex F8834), known affectionately as "Screaming Annie".
"Mr. Chater, who has become well known locally for the amount of spare time he has put in at the [Cinque Ports Flying] Club building up an Avro 504 from spare parts. He has fitted an equally aged Bristol 'Lucifer' engine." (Flight, 1933)
He advertised it for £225 in 1936, but it appears not to have found a buyer, and its registration was finally cancelled in 1945.
Chief Instructor at the Kent Flying Club in 1939.
Postings: 1FPP, 6FPP, 9FPP, 14FPP
"A pilot of above average ability and a capable instructor. He does, however, easily lose interest and he would do well to show greater keenness and enthusiasm." (T A Gale, Chief Flying Instructor, Jan-43)
May-43: "This pilot, although posted here with a somewhat moderate report has not shown any of the bad qualities he was reported to possess ... I find him a likeable individual."
Address in 1944: 1 Glynde Ave, Hampden Pk, Eastbourne
m. 1944 Susan Kathleen Speak Or Eastwood (an ATA driver at 6FPP)
He was still interested enough in aviation in 1965 to write to 'Flight': "My wartime ferry pilot [colleague] Tom Brooke-Smith said that flying a VTOL aircraft was like coming down a ladder for the first time. I saw the Hawker Siddeley P. 1127 at Farnborough last summer and decided that this sort of aviation was here to stay.
Having been a commercial pilot for 30 years I know that nothing annoys a customer more than unpunctuality at either end of the line. Whether you do 200 or 2,000 m.p.h. doesn't matter if he can't keep his appointment."
Address in 1940: Thirlmere, 12 Greenway, Anlaby Pk, Hull
Postings: 1FPP, Prestwick
Suspended from all duties for two days in early May 1941 for "continued unpunctuality".
[Contract Terminated 25 May 1941 by ATA - Disciplinary Reasons]
d. 25 Sep 1942 when a Sub-Lieut., RNVR, in Fairey Fulmar II DR636, 795A Squadron Tanga, which force-landed on hilltop in darkness 45 miles south of Tannarive, Madagascar.
Ed. Bedales School (Head Boy) and Downing College Cambridge (1st in Agriculture)
"Peter started flying in 1933. In 1936 he flew a Short Scion to India where he tried to interest the Maharaja's in the plane. He also took part in an air race from Madras to Delhi and flew over the Himalayas saying they would try to see how high they could fly before passing out! His first date with Cicely involved flying upside down in a small private plane - but she got her own back in her beloved Herbert - an Austin 7 which is still in working order!" nickimason
m. 1938 Cecily 'Dil' [North], 2 daughters
prev. a Fruit Grower
Address in 1940: 'Farthings', Kirdford, Sussex
Postings: 1FPP, 2FPP, 3FPP, 6FPP, AFTS
Within a few weeks of joining the ATA, he was told to deliver a Fairey Batle to the BEF in France; "I was still in civilian clothes, but someone produced a uniform three sizes too small for me which was better than nothing, as even in those days it was considered a bit risky to go to France looking like a farmer... Early on 13th June three of us went to Andover to collect our aircraft. We were told we could get maps from there, but when we arrived we found that they could only produce one set between us. Belville got the map, and Robin Hood and I followed on behind." Brief Glory
Having got there, they were stuck until the RAF offered them three unserviceable Hurricanes; "Belville and Hood had flown Hurricanes before, but I had not even seen the cockpit of one."
They later heard that the Germans had occupied the airfield less than 12 hours after they left.
"As second-in-command of 1FPP and later as O.C. of 6FPP, Cmdr Mursell proved outstanding as a pilot and officer & as a leader. This officer is first-class in every respect; both as subordinate and executive, he has proved himself entirely reliable and efficient. " G d'Erlanger
Member of the Royal Commission on Local Government in England, 1966
"After the war, his passion became boats and he and his wife had a 50 foot narrow boat named after his mother Fanny Grace, which they kept for 23 years."
"Kirdford Cricket Club originated in 1889 playing at the present football ground. After the War cricket was played on the Recreation Ground (which was donated to the village by Sir Peter Mursell)."
29th October 1974 "The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of Sir Peter Mursell, M.B.E., to be Vice Lord-Lieutenant for the County of West Sussex to act for Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant during his absence from the county, sickness or other inability to act."
d. 23 Aug 2008, Sussex
Lots more photos at https://www.flickr.com/photos/phoebebright/sets/72157607166972073/
and stories at http://petermursell.blogspot.com/
IWM interview here: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80009781
Mrs Mollison from 1932 to 1938
Amy was 'a slight young woman with heavily lidded eyes, dentured teeth, a shy smile and a soft Yorkshire accent' [she later developed a rather fake upper-class BBC one, possibly under her husband Jim's influence].
By 1929, a secretary (albeit one with an economics degree, and an engineer's licence to go with her aviator's certificate) turned solo record-breaking pilot and all-round nation's sweetheart. Married for six years to Jim Mollison (which was a Big Mistake).
On May 26th, 1932, after her solo flight from America, Amelia Earhart was the guest of the Royal Aero Club in London, and amongst the ladies in attendance were Lady Bailey, Amy, and Winifred Spooner (less than a year before her untimely death).
"First combined aviation with work in a law office, but specialized on the former and in 1930 made a solo flight to Australia by way of learning her job. Has established a high reputation as a long-distance navigator-pilot in flights, many of which were records, to various parts of the world. Has not done much racing yet" 
Amy originally applied to join the Air Transport Auxiliary on 29 February 1940. At the time she gave her address as the 'St George and Dragon Hotel, Wargrave', and quoted her previous experience as 'approx 2,000 hrs day, 500 night'. 'Types flown' were 'Most light types, several twins, Ford Tri-motor - about 50 in all'.
The form also had a space for "have you any foreign experience?", in which she wrote 'Nearly all except S. America.' She was, shall we say, not your typical ATA applicant.
After being made redundant, like Joy Davison (q.v.), when National Air Communications closed down, she spent the next few months trying to find something better, but to no avail. On the 20th April, ATA Womens Commandant Pauline Gower wrote to her to ask if she was still interested in joining, and, if so, "I shall be glad if you will forward us by return your log book and licence for inspection". Two days later Amy sent the documents, but asked if they could be returned as soon as possible, as she needed them for her medical examination on the 7th May.
A week later, Amy received a circular letter: "Dear Madam, We are holding interviews and flight tests here on Monday next, the 6th May, at 11a.m. Kindly let us know if you intend to be present". She wrote a short note back on the 2nd May:"I note the arrangements for Monday at 11a.m. & will be there".
This was the famous occasion when Amy turned up and saw another applicant "all dolled up in full Sidcot suit, fur-lined helmet and goggles, fluffing up her hair etc - the typical CAG Lyons-waitress type." ... "I suddenly realised I could not go in and sit in line with these girls (who all more or less looked up to me as God!), so I turned tail and ran."
Luckily for her, when she telephoned ATA to make some excuse about having the 'flu, they said the job was being kept open for her anyway, the test was just a formality, and she could start when she liked. Which she duly did, on the 25th May, as a 2nd Officer.
Her initial instructor's report was OK: "A good average pilot who had no difficulty in converting to both Master and Oxford aircraft. Should be suitable for modern single engine service types and multi-engine trainer types. With a further period of dual should be quite suitable for Blenheim type."
Despite her extreme reluctance to join the ATA in the first place, clearly thinking it was beneath someone with her great experience (she thought she could have had Pauline Gower's job, "if I had played my cards right and cultivated the right people"), Amy settled well into the job and "worked hard and conscientiously". She was promoted to First Officer on July 1st 1940.
She was killed 5th January 1941, aged 37, after baling out into the Thames Estuary from Airspeed Oxford V3540. It seems likely that she was run over by the boat trying to rescue her.
A flurry of urgent telegrams and letters hurtled around on the 5th and 6th January, as everyone tried to find out what had happened to her:
ADDRESSED TO ALL RAF FLYING UNITS AND WESTON SUPER MARE FROM AIR MINISTRY: OXFORD V3540 MISS AMY JOHNSON LEFT SQUIRES GATE 1045 HOURS 5/1. REQUEST NEWS OF ANY SUBSEQUENT LANDING IMMEDIATELY. ALL UNITS TO ACKNOWLEDGE.
They all replied, along the lines of this one from No 3 Ferry Pool, Hawarden: REGRET HAVE NO INFORMATION REGARDING F/O AMY MOLLISON OXFORD V3540 (They obviously forgot she was divorced).
By the evening of the 6th, the concern was for the second of the two people thought to have been on board: IDENTITY OF PASSENGER OF OXFORD V3540 PILOTED BY MISS A JOHNSON WHICH LEFT SQUIRES GATE 1045 5/1. TWO PEOPLE BALED OUT IN THE ENGLISH CHANNEL IDENTITY OF SECOND UNKNOWN
It was headline news in all the papers, of course:
Gloucester Citizen, 7 Jan 1941: "AMY JOHNSON DROWNED. BALED OUT OVER THAMES ESTUARY. Amy Johnson, the airwoman, is feared to have drowned after baling out of her plane over the Thames Estuary on Sunday. A woman passenger with her in the plane also baled out, and they came down some distance from a boat. An Officer who jumped into the sea in an effort to save them is also believed to have drowned. Just before Miss Johnson baled out her plane was seen to dive towards the sea. A speedboat put out immediately, but the men aboard failed to find her or her passenger. The flight authorisation papers from her machine were, however, picked up from the sea.
A Good Swimmer. Her father. Mr. W. Johnson, a Bridlington fish merchant, was telephoned by Miss Pauline Gower, head of the Air Transport Auxiliary, saying that the wreckage of his daughter's aeroplane had been found in the sea. Mr. Johnson told our reporter:— " Everyone knows Amy's skill as a pilot. If there had been any chance of getting the machine down safely she would have done it. She must have been injured, too, before she landed in the water, for she was a good swimmer. 'We were looking forward to having her home at Christmas, but she had to cancel her visit because of flying duties. I spoke to her last Saturday night. She was very cheerful. She joined the Air Transport Auxiliary six months ago. She knew it was a risky job, but she felt she had do something for Britain, and flying was the job she knew best. Our one comfort is that she gave her life for her country.'"
The mystery of the 'passenger' was addressed by Pauline a few months later:
Hull Daily Mail, 27 Aug 1941: "AMY'S LAST FLIGHT Miss Pauline Gower, Commanding the Women's Section Air Transport Auxiliary, stated yesterday at a London luncheon that she had checked Johnson's last flight and had "absolutely no doubt how she died" in the Thames Estuary last January. The famous airwoman, Miss Gower said, ran short of petrol in bad weather, and when she baled out "it was just bad luck that she happened to be over water. In baling out the type of 'plane she was flying it is often necessary to jettison a door, and this door coming down may have given rise to the rumour that there was another passenger aboard."
Pauline wrote to Amy's parents on the 10th January: "Apart from the loss to the Nation of one who, by her achievements, had endeared herself to all, we are suffering our own particular loss. Since she had been with me, she not only proved herself to be a pilot of the calibre one might expect, but we had come to rely on her and she had made friends with all and sundry."
Amy's aircraft included:
a 1928 DH.60G Gipsy Moth (G-AAAH) which she named 'Jason', and is now in the Science Museum;
a 1930 DH.80A Puss Moth, G-AAZV, 'Jason II';
a 1930 DH.60G Gipsy Moth, G-ABDV, er, 'Jason III'.
After 1930 she owned:
a 1932 DH.60G III Moth Major, G-ABVW, ... ummm, let me guess... yes... 'Jason 4', and
a 1932 DH.80A Puss Moth, G-ACAB, 'The Desert Cloud'
Commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial:
Father: Thomas Edward Smith
Ed. Bedford School; Chelsea College of Aeronautical Engineering
prev. aircraft engineer - British & Continental Airways, Croydon from 1934; pilot for Air Despatch Ltd
Address in 1940: 31 Liverpool Rd, Chester
Suspended for two days with loss of pay in Apr 1942, for "flying in bad weather against orders"
2 accidents, one his fault:
- 1 Mar 1942, he stalled his Beaufighter during a crosswind landing and damaged the port wing
- 30 Apr 1942, after landing in a Boston, a tyre burst.
"above average. A very capable and experienced pilot"
later Chief test pilot for Short Bros. and Harland
"Mr Brooke-Smith is married and has two children, Simon and Selina. His principal hobby is shooting, and he also plays golf" 1951
d. 1991, Poole
Address in 1940: Woodland Rise, Seal, Sevenoaks, Kent
Next of kin: husband, Anthony Brown MC. [d. Dec 1954. He was English, 16 years older than her, described as a 'Managing Director of a Printing Company' [Brown, Knight and Truscott], and they met in South Africa in the 1920s. He was there on business, she ran a driving school, they married and travelled together from South Africa to England in March 1926.
They lived at 'Broomhill', Southend Rd, Beckenham, Kent, and had one son, Philip, b. 1930; he later became a commercial pilot, encouraged by Grace.]
"Mrs. Grace Brown flew for Air Dispatch (Mrs Victor Bruce's airline)".
"Air Dispatch Ltd was founded on 9 July 1934, and in 1935 started operating weekend freight (later also passenger) services from its base at Croydon Airport to Le Touquet and Le Bourget, Paris. In April 1935, Commercial Air Hire started passenger shuttle services between Croydon and Heston airports, under the name Inner Circle Air Lines, using GAL Monospar ST-4s. In 1935, Commercial Air Hire purchased an Avro 642 Eighteen16-seat airliner (G-ACFV) for newspaper delivery contracts, and Air Dispatch shared its use for bullion-carrying, excursions, joy-riding flights and scheduled passenger services, until mid-1936. [Mildred] Bruce was co-managing director, with Eric E. Noddings, of both closely linked companies, that were merged in 1936 as Air Dispatch Ltd. Wikipedia
In 1935, she flew Redhill Aero Club's Puss Moth to Brussels.
r, with Gabrielle Patterson, in 1940 (Forgotten Pilots)
She was an early recruit for the ATA in May 1940 (actually, she joined just as the evacuation of the BEF from Dunkirk was taking place) but soon had to discontinue ferrying due to "getting into a poor state of health and being unfit for flying duties" - a confidential note some two years later says that "between ourselves, a little elbow-lifting was attached to it"
She asked for 3 months unpaid leave, on the understanding that ATA could offer to continue with her services at the end of it.
In the event, when she started back in December, she wrecked the port undercarriage leg of an Airspeed Oxford by selecting 'Undercarriage Up' instead of 'Flaps Up' after landing, and was dismissed shortly afterwards.
[Contract Terminated by ATA 28 Dec 1940]
During WWII, "Mrs (Grace) Brown astonished RAF pilots when she landed at an advanced airfield in France during the German attack, carrying consignments of blood for the wounded." An Illustrated History of the RAF (BoB 50th anniversary edition) by Roy Conyers Nesbit.
Her grand-daughter kindly tells me that "She was actually the first woman to fly to the Front, flying blood to the British Expeditionary Force as it retreated to Dunkirk. She was one of the first six female pilots to hold the 'B' Licence (Commercial) in the U.K. She was also a huge character:-)
After the war, I don't think she flew again. She seemed to enjoy buzzing around the country lanes in the sidecar of a motor bike, driven my by father. When Anthony died they had huge death duties to pay so had to sell up and move to a small house, still in Sevenoaks. She died in 1956, I believe. "
prev. RAF Sgt Pilot 1919 to 1931
"Isle of Man Airways pilot before the war and later Officer Commanding the Belfast Ferry Pool; one of the best-known characters in the ATA - and in many a corner of his native Ireland." - BG
Father: Manoel Gonsalves da Silva, Mother: Helena [Ferreira]
3 sisters, 3 brothers; the family sailed to the UK in July 1919, when Francis was 4.
RAeC Certificate,12403, dated 16 Oct 1934, at London Aeroplane Club
Address in 1934: 25 Holmstall Ave, Burnt Oak, London
prev. Ground Engineer
Pilot Officer, RAF, from 25 Sep 1940; F/O from 25 Sep 1942; Sqn Ldr from 6 Jan 1945
DSO in 1945:
"This officer has operated with considerable success with bomber and fighter aircraft. On one occasion, while patrolling an enemy airfield, he attacked two Messerschmitt no's, destroyed one and damaged the other. In September, 1944, he was detailed to attack a certain objective. On reaching the target the port engine failed Height was rapidly lost but Squadron Leader Gonsalves refused to abandon his aircraft. When his height was only 1,000 feet he restarted the port engine and found that it was working sufficiently well to allow him to maintain height. In this condition he crossed the North Sea and executed a successful landing with only sufficient oil remaining for a few minutes flying. Squadron Leader Gonsalves displayed great skill and devotion to duty. " - London Gazette No. 36799, Dated 1944-11-17"
Wing Cmdr, 1946
m. 9 Oct 1948 in Seaford, East Sussex, Elizabeth [Simpson] (d. 1954)
"Plane skims children's playground
WHILE two airmen struggled to avoid crashing in Dukes' Meadows Chiswick W.. last night, children below swarmed on slides and swings and four men played bowls.
The plane, a two-engined [Airspeed] Consul, returning to Croydon from Southport. Lancs, had run out petrol. The radio-operator, Eric Astle of Shirley, Southampton, said afterwards: 'The pilot. Francis Gonsalves, had get down quick. He looked for a piece of open ground. We skimmed across allotments and crashed through railings. He did magnificent job to save lives'. The airmen were not seriously injured" - Daily Herald - 16 July 1949
Following this incident, he was prosecuted by the Ministry of Civil Aviation for failing to ensure the plane had sufficient fuel. He pleaded guilty, and was fined £30 plus 5 guineas costs.
m. Jul 1954 in Chelsea, London, Jean M [Love]
Emigrated to Canada in 1957
Address in 1972: Cranmore Rd, Victoria BC. He is listed as a "Manager, Car Rental" and Jean as a Teacher
d. 18 Jan 1954 - Victoria, BC, Canada
Buried Royal Oak Burial Park Cemetery, Victoria, BC, Canada
* Personnel File Missing
Ed. Laneshew Council School
Father: Samuel Shoesmith
Next of kin: A Dyson (uncle), 28 Blenheim St. Colne, Lancs
prev. a motor mechanic and bus driver; he was fined £2 in 1928 for "having exceeded twelve miles an hour with a heavy motor bus".
He did better than that 2 years later:
Lancashire Evening News, 1930: "SPEED OF MOTOR COACH.
PRESTON CONSTABLE'S ESTIMATE OF 52 MILES AN HOUR.
COLNE MAN FINED FOR DANGEROUS DRIVING.
'That speed may be all right in the wilds of Cumberland or Wales, but in Preston it is dangerous, and particularly so where there are schools and entrances to parks’ said Mr. A. L. Ashton, Preston Borough Police Court, to-day, when prosecuting Joseph Shoesmith, motor driver, of 38, Brown-street, Colne, who was summoned for driving a motor coach with 30 passengers on board at a speed dangerous to the public along the Moor Park length of the Blackpool road."
This time, he was fined £2 plus 2 guineas costs.
In 1936, he demonstrated a Hillson Praga at the Midland Flying Club's 'at-home', and at the Bristol and Wessex Aero Club's Garden Party.
According to Flight: "There were demonstrations, and most enlightening they were. First Mr. Shoesmith in the Hillson Praga, with its unimpeachable flying qualities at both limits of the speed range."
He entered a Praga (on behalf of the owners, F. Hills & Son) for the Cairo meeting in February 1937, and also [not the same aircraft, as its registration was given as G-AEUN, which was only registered in March 1937] for the Tynwald Air Race at the Manx Air Derby in May 1937, in which he came second.
Postings: 14FPP, 4aFPP, 4FPP, 6FPP, 1FPP
Second-in-Command of 14FPP from 1942, and 6FPP from 1944
Qualified on Aircraft Classes 1-6 (i.e. all types, including seaplanes)
"He always sets an excellent example. He is a loyal and trustworthy officer. He is intolerant of second-class material and therefore fails sometimes to make the best use of this."
Commended for "valuable service in the air", 14 Jun 1945
Naturalized in the US in 1955 and d. 1981 in Los Angeles.
A Publicity Manager for Wakefield Oil (Castrol) in 1933
ATA Chief Test Pilot in 1945: "Captain Watson's work as Flying Technical Officer and subsequently Chief Test Pilot has been of the highest order. His enthusiasm for the job and continued cheerfulness have been an inspiration to all concerned."
d. 1994, Norwich
Father: Frank Dickinson, a Merchant, Mother: Sarah Jane [Bayley]
2nd-Lieut, RFC, RAF in WW1; Pilot Officer, RAF from 20 Nov 1923
He was one of two pilots who inaugurated the Belfast to Liverpool Daily Air Service in April 1924 (the other was Alan Cobham), He started out at 05:30am in his D.H. 50, but the weather was so bad he could get no further than Southport Sands.
m. 18 Nov 1923 in Richmond-upon-Thames, Marjorie Winifred [Lloyd-Still] (1 daughter, Katheen b. 1926)
Elected a Member of the Royal Aero Club in June 1925
Formed Aero Hire Ltd in 1927, based in Birmingham, to "establish, maintain and work lines of aeroplanes, seaplanes and taxi-planes and aerial conveyances, etc." (later co-owned, with L W van Oppen,)
Competed in the King's Cup in 1929, flying G-EBTH, a DH.60X Moth. He was forced to retire at Blackpool.
prev. Hon. Secretary and Chief Instructor, Hertfordshire Flying Club, St Albans in 1932
He owned G-EBZZ, a 1928 DH60 X Moth, which crashed at Stansted Abbots 23 Jun 1934
One reported accident:
- 14 Mar 1939, flying G-AEDD, a 1936 Avro 504N belonging to Publicity Planes Ltd; he hit a fence and crashed at Calderfields Farm, Walsall, after engine failure.
Address in 1939: 'Muree', Queen's Rd, Sandown, Isle of Wight
Post-ATA, a Sub-Lieut in the Royal Navy from 15 Jul 1940
Address in 1962: 10 Oakwood Rd, Rayleigh, Essex
d. 3 Sep 192 - London
* ATA Personnel file missing
A Secretary in 1931
In October 1933, he and his wife, and Mr. Gifford Hallam, made "a successful journey to Paris and return", and in 1934 he was a close runner-up to Alan Goodfellow in the Senior Landing Competition at Woodford.
Address in 1940: Flat 39, Parrawood Court, Didsbury, Manchester
m. 1934 Dorothy M [Deller], 1 child
prev. an Artist; Flt-Lt, AAF Aug-26 to Aug-31, Flt-Lt in RAFO from Aug-31 to Aug-36;
Aircraft press advertising; air traffic control officer; assistant test pilot
Address in 1940: Seafield Drive, Ayr, Scotland
Address in 1942: c/o Mrs Deller, 5 The Maples, Upper Teddington Rd, Hampton Wick, Middx
Postings: 4FPP, 4aFPP, 16FPP, Marston Moor
12 Dec 1941 - Suspended for 1 day after going AWOL
"Carries out his duties as a Flight Leader in an efficient manner and is a very good all round officer."
He was involved in two recorded accidents:
- 7 October 1942, when he landed a Spitfire Vb wheels-up on the runway; he had forgotten to lower the undercarriage;
- 9 Feb 1943, when the engine of his Typhoon caught fire when starting, and a member of the ground crew was injured.
He apparently had at least one other unreported accident and suffered concussion, and then, on the 22 Apr 1944, he had what was described as a 'fit' which later proved to be 'epileptiform in nature'.
On the 25 May 1944, ATA's Chief Medical Officer (Commander A Buchanan Balfour), recommended it was essential that Gareth permanently give up his flying duties. ATA considered offering him a non-flying job, but "in view of the difficulty which he seems to have found in making both ends meet on pilot's pay, it seems doubtful whether he wold accept a lower rate of pay for an administrative post."
They decided that, in view of the fact that Wallcousins was "an old ATA employee who has done us very well", they would offer him the option of resigning, working for BOAC, or undertaking training as an Operations Officer-cum-Adjutant. However, eventually his contract was terminated with 3 months' notice.
In 1949 Gareth became seriously ill with a brain tumour and died on the 10 Dec in Henley Hospital. His widow Dorothy, (having been left with two daughters), claimed compensation from the Ministry of Pensions, feeling that his death was due to the after-effects of his ATA service.
Commander Balfour agreed with her, but the claim was initially turned down. She carried on applying, but it took another 6 years for the Ministry to agree to give her a pension..
Afterwards Dorothy said "Perhaps I shall not get much - £2 or £2 10s a week."
Pre-WWII, pilot for LOT - he is mentioned as being a 'half-million-kilometer pilot' in 1934:
"With our brave pilots the second "millioner" will be Mr. Długaszewski, who will complete his million probably this summer, and then pilots Mitz, Płonczyński, Karpiński and Witkowski, who are missing more or less 100,000 km. In [order] then go pilots Dmoszyński, Barciszewski and Tokarczyk, who completed half-million in 1932, pilots Klisz, Jakubowski, Pecho - half-million in 1933, pilots Bocheński, Satel from 1934, pilots Świtalski, Sławiec, Lewicki, Kotarba, Nartowski and Bargiel from 1935."
Quite possibly he is in this photo, showing "P. Kazimierz Burzyński (with flowers) surrounded by fellow pilots and the managers and officers of the P. L. L. "Lot" airline" in 1936.
The majority of PLL LOT staff were evacuated in September 1939. Leonard flew Lockheed Electra SP-LMK with 10 passengers to Perth, Scotland, arriving 21 Sep 1939.
Lockheed L-14H Super Electra SP-LMK - one of 10 aircraft of this type purchased by LOT Polish Airlines and then operated in the years 1938–1939
Address in 1939: Flat 4, 29 Nottingham Place, Marylebone, London
d. 28 Oct 1940 (Died in ATA)
"On October 28, 1940, I was a five-year-old pupil at Castle Road School, now Lightwoods School, Warley, on the Wolverhampton Road near to the old Warley Odeon. As we were leaving school that afternoon there was an explosion, and a column of smoke could be seen down the hill beyond the Odeon.
I saw a body lying at the side of the road covered with some kind of blanket. I picked up a couple of pieces of metal, which I still have, from the wrecked aircraft.
One of the men shouted at me, and I ran off to my home at 284 Hagley Road West, about 200 yards away.
The aircraft was a Blenheim Mark IV bomber. One of its wings had been severed when it struck the cable of the barrage balloon located in Ridgeacre Road, Quinton, causing the aircraft to crash.
In recent years, I have confirmed that the pilot, the sole occupant of the aircraft, whose body it would have been that I saw at the crash site, was First Officer, Leonard Satel of the Air Transport Auxiliary. He lived in Maidenhead and was based at White Waltham Aerodrome, Berkshire. He was Polish.
First Officer Satel will never enjoy the publicity attached to the spitfire women of the Second World War. He will never receive the recently-announced award acknowledging his service with the Air Transport Auxiliary.
The fact that he was Polish speaks for itself. He was fighting his war against Nazi Germany, the aggressor who had torn his own country apart, and against whom England had declared war. It was ironic and a tragedy that in the year following the invasion of his homeland First Officer Satel, all the way from Poland, should lose his life by misad-venture in Quinton." JOHN SANDERS, Stourbridge
Buried Brandwood End Cemetery, Birmingham
"NOTE: The name of L. Satel did not find its rightful place on the Monument to the Honor of Polish Aviators who died in 1939–1945, located in Pole Mokotowskie in Warsaw. It is also permanently omitted in the vast majority of statements of airmen who paid tribute to their lives during aviation activities during World War II. That is why the figure of Leonard Satel (1901–1940) and the memory of his aviation achievements deserve special attention and respect."
Probate (for his effects, £110 13s 2d in England) was finally granted on 16 Feb 1954 to "Stanislaw Zebrowski, Head of the Legal Department of the Polish Consulate General in London, and Franciscek Morenc, Consular Attache, attorneys of Tadeusz Leonard Tabenski."
Tadeusz Tabenski was also a pre-war LOT pilot.
prev. Polish Army and Air Force; from 1925, one of the first five pilots of LOT.
In September 1939, he flew LOT's Lockheed Electra SP-BNF from Finland, bringing Alexandra, the wife of Marshal Józef Piłsudski, and their daughters Wanda and Jadwiga.
Klemens and Jadwiga both joined the ATA.
Post-WWII, rejoined LOT.
d 3 July 1985 and is buried at the Powązki Cemetery, Warsaw.
Father: William Lindsay Lindsay-Hogg, 1st Baronet, Mother: Nora Cicely [Barrow], of Hayward's Grange, Jarvis Brook, Sussex
His father was made a Baronet in recognition of his work in small horse breeding.
Anthony became Second Baronet in 1923 when his father died.
He appeared in the movie "Dark Red Roses" (which is presumably where he met Frances Doble, who also appeared in the movie).
Frances in The Tatler, 1924
m. 16 Dec 1929 in St Margaret's Church, Westminster, London, Frances Mary Hyde [Doble] , "The young Canadian actress"
"Since the groom, who is 21, is in mourning for his mother, Mrs Nora Lindsay-Hogg, who was killed recently on the hunting field [she was found drowned in a swollen stream after her return from a meeting of the Eridge Hunt], no reception was held after the ceremony" - Edmonton Journal
They were divorced in 1934 on the grounds of adultery by Sir Anthony "with a woman whose name was not mentioned." They had separated in 1932, and in 1933 she received a letter from him, in which a hotel bill was enclosed.
She was granted custody of their son William, who later became the 3rd Baronet.
In 1937, she was reported to have joined General Franco's army organisation in Spain, serving in an ambulance unit in Salamanca. "Apart from the humanitarian instinct which no doubt prompted Miss Doble, she is an ardent supporter of General Franco's cause".
Frances, Lady Lindsay-Hogg, died 12 Dec 1969 in Spain. "She was by no means a great actress, and her range was certainly limited. But what she acted, she acted perfectly" - The Stage
Address in 1949: 1, Hanover Sq, London
Visa for Brazil, 1949
d. 31 Oct 1968
Buried St. Denys Churchyard, Rotherfield, Wealden District, East Sussex
* ATA Personnel file not yet available
Father: James Rudge Preston ("a Surgeon Dentist, of Harley Street"), mother Elizabeth Mary [Munn]
One younger brother, Michael Rudge
Ed. Malvern College
prev exp: 168 hrs on Tiger Moth, Hornet, Klemm, Swallow, Piper Cub
Address in 1939: 111 Queen's Court, Queensway, London W2
Postings: 15FPP, 6FPP, 7FPP
1942 caricature by 'Sammy' Clayton
6 Accidents, 2 her fault:
- 18 Mar 1941, landed downwind in Master N7954, due to a signal error
- 25 Jan 1942, the tail of her Hampden AT175 was damaged when the tarmac collapsed under the port wheel while taxying
- 11 Apr 1942, forced landing following engine failure in Botha W5134; she crashed into trees and was seriously injured
- 30 Dec 1942, she failed to control the landing swing in Spitfire Vc EE740 and the undercarriage collapsed
- 1 Jun 1943, forced landing in Argus FK340 after engine failure
- 22 Jul 1943, she overshot the landing in Mosquito III HJ863
"A keen and steady pilot. Her cheeriness is a great asset and she is coping with Wellington and larger aircraft excellently"
m. 2 Jun 1943 in London, Captain William Graham 'Willie' Metcalfe, also of the ATA:
Contract terminated by ATA the following October (her son, Graham, was b. Apr 1944)
Ursula and Willie in 1954, with thanks to Chris Sturgess
d. 6 Feb 1975 - North Cotswold, Glos.
Father: Arthur Matthew Cecil Scott, a farmer. Mother: Mabel Dorothy Mary [Hardy]
Ed. King Edward VI School, Stratford-on-Avon
RAeC Certificate 10357 dated 9 Mar 1932, at Liverpool Aero Club in an Avian.
He owned G-EBWU, a 1928 Avro 594 Avian III, which had competed in the King's Cup in 1930 and 1931.
Address in 1932: Moor House, Totnes, S. Devon
m. 3 Jul 1937 in Christ Church, Surrey, Sheila Eileen [Roberts] (2 children)
prev. Airline pilot (Gravesend Aviation, Provincial Airways and Air Despatch; Imperial Airways from 1937).
Transferred to AtFero
"During the war he carried out operational flights over Scandinavia and with the North Atlantic Ferry Service. To-day he commands a 8.0.A.C. Stratocruiser airliner with which the Corporation operate their service across the North Atlantic to New York and Montreal."
In 1955, the first British pilot to have flown the Atlantic 500 times:
d. 1984 - N. Dorset
* ATA Personnel File Missing
prev. Lt-Cmdr, RN from 1917; Flt-Lt, RAF from 1923
m. 1922 in Portsmouth, Gladys Irene Rochford [Shaw-Yates] (d. 1941)
A member of the 'Caterpillar Club', having made use of his parachute in 1930 in Egypt.
RAeC Certificate 17034 dated 9 Feb 1939 on a DH 60 Moth at Wiltshire Flying Club
Address in 1939: High Post Aerodrome, Middle Woodford, Salisbury, Wilts
Rejoined the RAF as Pilot Officer, 5 Aug 1940
m. 1949 in Hammersmith, London, Mary V [Gilder]
d. Jul 1964 - Chelsea
* Personnel File Missing
Father: William Wyndham Gore, a mining engineer; mother: Martha [Lord]
Ed. Bedford High School (but mainly grew up in Ireland, until 1929).
Having made her first solo flight in Nov 1938 at Romford Flying Club, she was one of the Assistant Instructors there by the following September, along with Gabrielle Patterson (whose husband Pat also covered the 'theory' side of things) and Joan Hughes
prev. Secretary, British Reinforced Concrete, then at Smithfield Market
Postings: Hatfield, 15FPP, 1FPP
On the outbreak of WWII, she was one of the second batch of women pilots for the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), starting on the 25 June 1940 as 'W.10' - the 10th woman pilot. She was consistently praised, both for her flying and her organisational ability: "First Officer Gore is a very steady and reliable pilot and has undertaken responsibilities in the office which she has carried out well."
Eventually, she was promoted to be Officer Commanding, No 15 Ferry Pool of women pilots at Hamble - one of only two women to achieve the rank of 'Commander', the other being Marion Wilberforce.
15 FPP pilots, between flights.
She was also one of the 11 women cleared to fly 4-engined aircraft, which she did so from May 1943 - "A keen and confident pilot of above average ability", but once she took over as OC Hamble, she cut down her flying hours considerably, prompting the Head of the ATA (Gerard d'Erlanger) to write "In her capacity of Commanding Officer, No 15 Ferry Pool, Commander Gore runs her Pool in an eminently satisfactory manner. However, I am very surprised that she has only done some 5 hours flying in seven months on ferry types. There may be some reason for this of which I am unaware, but if not she must make every effort to put in time."
And finally, she was one of only 6 women to get a medal for her service in the ATA - an MBE in 1946.
[The other MBEs were Felicity Bragg, Pauline Gower, Joan Hughes, Roy (Mary) Sharpe and Rosemary Rees, although Phillippa Bennett, Victoria Cholmondley and Elisabeth May got 'Commendations'.]
Margot and Joan in 1947 (The Times)
In 1947, she signed on as 'Recruit No. 1' for the Women's Auxiliary Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Flying) List, designed to train pilots for non-operational duties in emergencies. Joan Nayler, another ATA Woman pilot, was No. 2.
She then became Managing Director of the West London Aero Club.
In 1948, she was called by the prosecution at the court martial of her elder brother, Colonel Thomas Gerard Gore DSO, OBE, on charges which alleged that he had received money from a Mr Newman, knowing it came from the sale of stolen arms.
Margot testified that "her brother had never been very good at business affairs or, anything that demanded a high degree of intellectual effort." [Ouch]
Colonel Gore was sentenced to be cashiered and serve two years imprisonment. Major-General James D Dennlson, Director of Ordnance Services at the time of the Invasion of Normandy, told the Court that he had referred him as "a problem child," but said that Colonel Gore was a first-class leader in war-time."
In 1952, aged 39, she passed out as Gold Medallist (of course) at the British School of Osteopathy and later practised as an osteopath, eventually becoming (of course) its Chairman.
In retirement Margot was "an enthusiastic golfer".
I bet she was good at that, too...
d. 28 Aug 1993 - Sue Ryder Home, Nettlebed, Oxfordshire.
This is her memorial in Maidenhead Cemetery:
IWM interview here: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80009075
Her parents were Capt William Henry Nicholson and Sybil Wigham.
Educated at Roedean, got her 'matric', and went into welding research as an engineer, working for Arc Manufacturing Co. in Shepherd's Bush.
She married John Lambton in March 1934, and they had one son, Peter. **
In 1937, she and the Hon. Ruth Cokayne took a 'light-hearted summer tour' to Budapest (via Brussels, Cologne, Munich, and Salzburg) in a Gipsy Moth; a trip which they reckoned cost them about £55 each in total.
Ruth C (l) and Ruth L (r) ('Flight')
They muddled along in a breathless, schoolgirlish sort of way. In Frankfurt, all their possessions were confiscated but then 'we found ourselves in the officers' mess, where the entire squadron shook our hands with the utmost solemnity, clicked heels, Heiled Hitler and gave us lunch! Another round of handshakes, our belongings were duly returned to us, and we Heiled Hitler gratefully ourselves as we took off'.
She was an early recruit to the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) in 1940, starting on the 25th June as W.20 - the 20th woman employed by the ATA. (Ruth Cokayne also joined the ATA, as W.40, in April 1941).
They admitted that she 'flew very well indeed and was exceedingly keen', but pretty soon, she had her first accident. In November 1940, she landed a Fairey Battle and ran into an unmarked drainage ditch. The problem was, she wasn't cleared to fly the Battle at all, it being 'out of her class', and she was suspended for 5 days with loss of flying pay.
Her husband John was killed on active service in Gibraltar in 1941, and she then met and married an American, First Officer Edwin Dana Ballard, also of the ATA, in 1942.
Things were going better (for a while); in June 1942 she was considered a 'good steady pilot, handling the larger types of aircraft excellently'. However, she was actually demoted to Second Officer (for three months) in August 1942, for landing a Mustang in dangerously bad weather conditions.
She was suspended (again) for a week in February 1943, for taking off in a Spitfire with the hood open. Her instructor said she was 'a very high spirited officer who finds discipline somewhat irksome, and as a result is subject to occasional outbreaks. However, if handled with a little extra understanding & consideration these outbreaks are at no time serious or to the detriment of her work. As a pilot her keenness and desire to get work done are exceptional'.
The following month, March 1943, she taxied a Tiger Moth into an oil bowser, and was held responsible: 'taxying without due care'.
Nevertheless, in mid-1943 she was put on the conversion course to fly 4-engine (Class 5) aircraft; unfortunately, her training ws suspended after 3 days as 'it was considered that the Stirling was proving too much for her to tackle under emergency or adverse conditions.'
In 1944, another instructor (presumably less understanding & considerate than the previous one) agreed that she was 'an excellent pilot who works hard and efficiently' but 'her sense of discipline is poor and she is uncooperative and frequently obstructive'.
She tried again in May 1944 for Class 5 and this time was successful, eventually flying Halifaxes for a total of 9hrs, Lancasters 31hrs and Stirlings 5hrs. She was one of only 11 ATA women cleared to fly 4-engine aircraft.
She made it right through until 1945, but then pushed her luck too far. In January, she and Edwin were hauled before a disciplinary court for 'drinking during an unauthorised period in spite of a warning by a senior officer' and 'insubordination'.
The Court was inclined Not to overlook the offences. "After considering the evidence, and after hearing verbal evidence given by Commander Whitehurst and Captain Rome the Court reached the conclusion that the charges were fully substantiated, and after reviewing the record of both these officers, who as pilots have undoubtedly done a good job, the Court nevertheless came to the conclusion that their disciplinary record throughout, as disclosed by the History Cards, has left a great deal to be desired, despite repeated warnings, and that this incident is so bad as to warrant their instant dismissal".
She and Edwin were duly dismissed, on the 23rd January 1945. They moved to the USA (to Edwin's home town of Hadley, MA), had 2 more children and then moved to Nassau, Bahamas.
l to r Ann Wood-Kelly, Lettice Curtis, Ruth and Winnie Fair, Nassau 1957 (ELC)
She died in 2011; both hers and Edwin's log books are now in the Maidenhead ATA Heritage Centre.
** Her son Peter joined up with ex-ATA pilot Austin Young in 1959, in a CIA plot to overthrow Castro. They went to Cuba, but were captured almost immediately, and Peter was sentenced to 25 years jail.
Austin Young and Peter Lambton, awaiting trial
When released in 1963, he declared flatly that the charges against him were true; "I tried and failed to help destroy Castro and I have no regrets."
Christened Alys Helen Mary Parsons, but always known as 'Joan', and sometimes spelt her first name as 'Ailiss'
LRAM is 'Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music', which is a licence to teach music.
5ft 7in tall, green eyes
Father: Rev. Randolph Cecil Parsons (d. 1941), Mother: Florence Emily [Ashton] (d. 1946)
Her elder brother, John Cecil Lawrence Parsons, b. 1905 in Bournemouth, also had a pilot's licence:
prev: 'Domestic At Home'; piano teacher
She advertised in the Leamington Spa Courier, 8 July 1930: "MISS JOAN PARSONS, L.R.A.M. (PIANISTE). Pupil of Mr. Evlyn Howard-Jones. Is open to Public and Private Engagement and visits Pupils. Address; 19, Avenue Road, Leamington Spa."
Having gained her Royal Aero Club Certificate in 1933, she was "thwarted in her ambition to follow a career as a commercial air pilot" as, when she had put in the necessary 200 hours solo and took the examination. she was not passed. She later said that, on insisting upon an explanation, she was told that 'although her flying was up to the required standard, her health was the obstacle".
Nothing daunted. she took up "an intensive course of physical culture, and eventually improved her health sufficiently to be able to pass the test. But then, having temporarily relinquished her solo flying, she discovered, to her great disappointment, that she was unable to fulfill the condition of the requisite number of hours in the air."
She then worked for a while at Hayling Island aerodrome.
In 1938, she used a legacy "from an elderly relative" to buy G-ADNL, a Miles M.5 Sparrowhawk, first registered 12 Aug 1935 to Phillips & Powis Aircraft Ltd.
G-ADNL in 1938
It had competed in the King's Cup in 1935 (flown by Frederick Miles himself), coming 11th/29, 1936 (flown by Patrick Maxwell, an Instructor at the Phillips and Powis Civil Training School), coming 9th/26, and 1937, (flown by Wing-Cmdr Frederick William Stent, who died 28 Jun 1938 in the crash of the Miles M.11C G-AEYI), coming 7th/27.
G-ADNL in 1935
In May 1938, she started a "lone, and almost unprepared" flight to Cape Town and back. It was her first flight outside England or Scotland.
She left Lympne, without telling anyone except her parents, on 7 May 1938.
Her father said he had absolute faith in his daughter. "I am sure she will accomplish her objective," he said. " She is not out to break records. but to gain experience. She is full of the spirit of adventure. Flying is in her blood."
Major J. E. Bonniksen, of the Leamington, Warwick and District Aero Club, said Miss Parsons, who was taught to fly by Tommy Rose, deserved real encouragement. "She is made of the right stuff," he said.
Things went smoothly to begin with: "... in 75 minutes I arrived at Le Bourget. I cannot describe the thrill I felt as I zoomed over the Channel. 1 thought of Bleriot and all the pioneers of flight who had opened up the pathways of the air — and I felt ashamed when I realised how insignificant I really was." ... " After undergoing the usual formalities at Le Bourget, I flew towards St. Etienne and arrived there in a couple of hours. It was raining and I had to spend the night there. Next morning I went on to Marseilles, and 40 minutes later I was at Cannes."
Then the first hitch: "In Cannes I learned that it was impossible to fly over Rome because of Hitler's visit. That was that! I had to spend two days at Cannes. Eventually I left for Rome at three o'clock in the morning arriving five hours later. I had no time to lose, so immediately after the customs formalities I took to the air again and at 11 a.m. I was in Athens. What scenery I saw!"
"I continued on my way some minutes after my arrival, and at 2.45 p.m. I landed at Amscat, Lybya. Having a flat tyre, I had five hours to wait. At last I got going again, and landed the same day at Dekheila. I spent the night at :Alexandria before starting off again the next morning for Almaza."
[What she failed to mention is that a) she had to make a forced landing on 19 May, due to shortage of petrol, at an aerodrome at Khalkis, (which she described as being "all ridges") some distance short of Athens, and b) she had only two hours of daylight to fly from Amscat in Libya to Alexandria.]
She then spent a few days sight-seeing in Cairo.
After that, frankly, the catalogue of mishaps continued ...
She made another forced landing, on 24 May, at Victoria West, running into a barbed wire fence which wrapped itself round the propeller and damaged the fuselage. The local garage mechanics had never worked on an aeroplane before, but eventually fixed it in five days.
However, she finally reached Capetown, and stayed there until 1 July when she started back, "following the old Imperial Airways route ... she expects to take 8 days. She hopes to reach Broken Hill, Rhodesia, tomorrow"
She left Mpike, in Northern Rhodesia, on 4 July for Mbeya, in Tanganyika Territory.
By the 6th July, the newspapers reported "NATIVES SEARCH FOR MISSING LEAMINGTON WOMAN - Nothing heard of her since Monday - Concern for safety of former music mistress"
... until ...
9 July 1938: "BRITISH AIRWOMAN STILL STRANDED. Motor Boat Has Not Yet Reached Her. Dar es Salaam. Tanganyika, Friday.
Miss Joan Parsons, the Leamington airwoman. who was found by natives yesterday after she had been missing for three days, is still stranded in the bush near the Rufijii River, some 200 miles north of Mbeya, Tanganyika. Miss Parsons, who came down while on a flight from Capetown to London, is believed to be unhurt, though her plane was wrecked [sic]. The District Officer for Kiberege (Mr. Theodore Pike), well known Irish Rugby international, who has gone to her rescue by motor boat up the Rufiji, has not yet reached her.
An official Government communique issued here to-night says: There has been no further news of Miss Parsons, but this is not surprising as the District Officer has not yet been able reach the position where her aeroplane is reported to have crashed.” An R.A.F. machine left Mbeya to look for her this morning, but visibility was very bad because of cloud and the plane returned to Mbeya."
Her father said "We were getting rather frightened. It was such a shock to hear that Joan was missing and then to hear nothing further"
Her mother added "She will be ordered home. She will not be allowed to go on more flights of this nature"
[Good luck with that...]
By the 12 July, more of the story emerged: "Plane Runway Cut in Bush for Air-Girl. A solitary native road worker who witnessed the landing in the bush of Miss Joan Parsons, the Leamington airwoman, ran 30 miles to inform the district officer, Mr. Theodore Pike. He set off at once by moonlight for the Rufiji River in a motor boat, and is now assisting to cut a runway through the long grass where the plane landed. Miss Parsons may take off for Iringa, 80 miles away. She was given native foods, tea and sugar by Christian natives after landing. She sent no SOS, but merely asked for petrol and oil."
She arrived back at Nairobi on the 15 July and was hoping to leave for the UK the same day, but the "Authorities" insisted that she be escorted over the Sudan, and she had to wait for some RAF machines which were flying to Egypt.
She landed back in Lympne on 8 August, then reached home in Leamington Spa on 11 August 1938
Despite the plans which had been made to give her a triumphal return home, bad weather forced a delay to her final leg from Reading, so the civic reception waited for hours, eventually presented the bouquet to her brother and then went home.
Home at last, with Maj. Bonniksen and H C Everitt, of the Leamington Spa and Warwick Aero Club
Afterwards, she said her chief anxiety was "to save sufficient money to make a flight to India"
She had other plans, too:
2 Sep 1939 - "Miss Parsons is as keen as ever on aviation, and she recently purchased an Airspeed Courier six-seater machine which was used by Sir Alan Cobham on his India flight. The machine is being refitted by the makers, and Miss Parsons will, in all probability, use it for passenger work."
She bought G-ABXN, a 1932 Airspeed AS.5 Courier formerly owned by North Eastern Airways Ltd, based at Croydon:
However, Britain's Declaration of War the very next day put a stop to all that; the aircraft was requisitioned in June 1940 and only lasted until September, when it was scrapped.
Contract Terminated by ATA after 1 month]
"Leamington's Airwoman of African Fame"
"AIRWOMAN FINED FOR QUITTING JOB
Complaint About Workmate "Exaggerated"
Joan Parsons, who made a name for herself 1938 by flying solo to the Cape, was fined £5 to-day at Leamington, Warwickshlre, for falling to comply with a Ministry of National Service direction to work in an aircraft factory. Mr. W. A. Coleman, prosecuting, said that after being at a bench for two days Miss Parsons wrote to the firm complaining that she had been molested by a labourer, who repeatedly jabbed her under the arm. This so played on her nerves that she could not continue, and she left, declining to return for fear of further aggression.
''Of African Fame"
The letter was signed, "Joan Parsons, Leamington's airwoman of African fame." The complaint was grossly exaggerated, said Mr. Coleman. The labourer was a reputable workman, who thought he was encouraging the defendant by a playful act. Gilbert Stackhouse, shop foreman, said the labourer just touched Miss Parsons on the shoulder and said: "It won't be long now." 'I knew what he meant, but she didn't." added witness. "I told her that the man was trying to keep her happy, and instructed him not to go anywhere near her again."
The "Rough Man"
In evidence Miss Parsons said her father was a clergyman. The "rough man" who irritated her wanted to tickle other girl employees. The man leered in her face and was very objectionable. She kept away from the factory because she feared an act of revenge. Mr. Coleman: But surely you have had some experience of the world and meeting people? Miss Parsons: Yes. I have been treated very well abroad, and natives in territories on which I have had forced landings in Africa have looked on me as a goddess”.
Mr. Overall, defending, said it was not everybody who reacted favourably to being jabbed in the ribs every two or three minutes." - The Yorkshire Post, 8 November 1943
d 20 Sep 1989 - Weston Super Mare, Somerset, leaving £118,000
[Her Sparrowhawk G-ADNL was later converted into the sole Miles M.77 Sparrowjet:
... and on 13 July 1957, it won the King's Cup with a maximum speed of 228 mph.
Father: Bertram William Chetwynd Talbot (a member of the familty that included the Earls of Shrewsbury and the founder of Talbot motorcars)
Address in 1931: 361 Spen Lane, Headingley, Yorks
m. 1929 in Wiltshire, John Raymond Micklethwait
also a pilot ("a popular local owner") who won the Grimthorpe Trophy in 1934, and the Yorkshire Trophy the same year at an average speed of 104.5 mph. He owned G-AAFK, a 1929 DH60G Gypsy Moth, and then G-ABHM, a 1930 DH60G Gypsy Moth, which they used to tour Spain in 1934.
Lived at 'The Old Mansion', Bisley, Stroud, Glos 1951-53
Husband John d. 1966 in Rhodesia
d. 1 Jun 1992, Mutare, Zimbabwe
Father: Capt. Philip Dennis Bennett (5th Bn, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, an architect, m. 17 Aug 1915, d. 24 Feb 1919 from influenza)
Philippa was born 9 months after her father died.
Mother: Doris Mary [Lowe, m. 1922 Ian Forbes Panton, he d. 1935]
Philippa's elder brother Dennis Labron Bennett was b. 20 Nov 1917, BA (Cantab), d. 25 Oct 1942 at El Alamein
Ed. Westonbirt School, Glos
Address in 1937: Ash Cottage, Harlington, Hayes, Middx
She was engaged to Francis Richard Bevan, RASC (previously a 'Mountie' with the RCMP) in May 1940.
Postings: 5FPP, 15FPP
Class 5 (4-engine) pilot
7 accidents, 3 her fault:
- 7 Sep 1941, in Hurricane W9124 at Hatfield, she collided with a Tiger Moth due to 'gross carelessness'
- 20 Oct 1941, she failed to control the landing swing of Tomahawk AH808, and ground-looped (at Colerne)
- 18 Nov 1941, a forced landing in Anson R3340 after port engine failure
- 20 May 1942, she taxied Anson AX537 into a narrow parking space, ignoring the signal made by a member of the ground crew, and the tail hit a starter trolley
- 9 Sep 1943, a forced landing in Halifax II BB135, after a battery exploded
- 28 Oct 1944, another forced landing, this time in Walrus I W3008 after she lost all brake pressure
- 8 Jun 1945, a fourth forced landing, in Barracuda II DR202 when she noticed the batteries were overheating (due to incorrect voltage adjustment).
Commended for "valuable service in the air", 14 Jun 1945
26 March 1946: "26-year-old Miss Philippa Bennett has been flying planes ever since she was 17. For 5 and a half years she flew with the Air Transport Auxiliary service, when she piloted all types of planes from 4-engined bombers to Spitfires. She got her B Licence in 1938. Now she is proposing to make a business out of what was her hobby and her war work; she has bought two high wing monoplanes with which she is starting her own air taxi service at Southampton Airport. She hopes to specialise in aerial photographic work.
Photo Shows: Miss Phillippa Bennett in her taxi monoplane at Southampton Airport"
The three aircraft Philippa eventually owned included the Foster Wikner Wicko GM1s G-AFJB and G-AGPE (the latter used for spares)
"When Geoffrey Wickner purchased a surplus Halifax bomber with the intention of returning to Australia he sold the Wicko to Philippa Bennett who used the aircraft in her air taxi service again out of Eastleigh. During that time the machine was extensively damaged in a forced landing, caused by bad weather when it ran over the edge of a cliff, fortunately without injury to the occupants. After repair the aircraft was sold but again was registered to Philippa and Lettice Curtis who raced the aircraft at a number of events under the race number 39. The handicappers were unkind to the Wicko and her pilot and the aircraft was not too well placed at any event. "
"Although exciting and fulfilling, it was not a financially viable enterprise"
m. Jul 1947 in Winchester, Wing Commander Maurice Booth DFC (3 sons)
"She later settled in the village of Durrington in Wiltshire where she owned and ran the village shop" - The Telegraph
d. 24 May 2007 - Salisbury
Father: Horace John Maurice Drummond Sale-Barker (d. 10 Nov 1914 in Surrey), Mother: Florence Dyer [Ledgard] (later Mrs. H S Brookes)
prev: a ski Instructor - here she is in "the ski-ing school opened by Lilywhite's in what was previously a dance hall in Piccadilly", in 1931:
At Combermere Abbey, the home of Delia Crossley, in 1932
In January 1933, she and Joan Page crashed on their way back from the Cape, and had to be rescued from the South African bush near Lake Magadi, 40 miles south of Nairobi, "amongst lions, elephants and buffalo" The machine was wrecked and rescue parties sent out. Joan suffered a broken leg, Audrey had a cut on the head, and they waited two days by the wrecked machine before being rescued. (They had flown to the Cape "to stay with Lady Bailey" and had crashed on their way there as well, but escaped unharmed.)
She was Captain of Great Britain's ladies' ski-ing team in 1934 and 1935.
"Sun and Snow at St. Moritz. Miss Audrey Sale-Barker (r, with Miss Patricia Lowry-Corry) has been appointed ski-ing instructress at the Corvegia Club this season. Her mother is an aunt of Lord Inchiquin" - The Tatler
"The Cresta Party at the Dorchester - Miss Audrey Sale-Barker and Wing-Commander Walter Wilson" - 3 Jan 1940 - The Tatler
1942 caricature by 'Sammy' Clayton
One of the ATA's 'two Audreys' [along with Audrey Macmillan]
Mary du Bunsen says "The two Audreys, who were very good pilots, had a special line of feminine vapours. "My dear," one or the other would exclaim in the mess, "I've got my first Hudson (or Mitchell, or whatever it might be) and I know I shall crash and I've got a pain (cold, temperature, etc)". And they would totter out, leaving a trail of handkerchiefs, lipsticks, handbags, etc., which would be picked up by willing (male) hands. They would then fly whatever it was superbly to its destination, where they would be assisted out of the aeroplane and the same pantomime would take place. "
Off sick from 7 to 24 Feb 1941 with influenza; 17 Oct to 11 Nov 1941 with "torn ligament in foot"; 15 Feb 1943 with "defective vision", and 1 to 28 Nov 1943 with haemmorhoids.
One accident, not her fault:
- 30 Jul 1942, the port undercarriage leg of her Wellington II W5426 collapsed on landing.
Her contract was terminated 13 Jun 1943 in medical grounds, but she was re-instated.
m. 6 Aug 1949 in Edinburgh Cathedral. George Nigel Douglas-Hamilton (the Earl of Selkirk):
"Scotland's biggest society wedding of the season", with over 1,500 (or it might have been 4,000) guests
d. 21 Dec 1994
Father: Hugh Miller Macmillan, a shipbuilder
Address in 1934: Ferniegar, Helensburgh
Postings: 15FPP, 5FPP, 1FPP
One of the ATA's 'two Audreys' [along with Audrey Sale-Barker]
Veronica Innes says that "Audrey had an adorable white pekinese puppy, named Wun Wing Lo, which she used to carry around in a parachute pack. He must have been the most air-minded dog of his generation."
Mary du Bunsen says "The two Audreys, who were very good pilots, had a special line of feminine vapours. "My dear," one or the other would exclaim in the mess, "I've got my first Hudson (or Mitchell, or whatever it might be) and I know I shall crash and I've got a pain (cold, temperature, etc)". And they would totter out, leaving a trail of handkerchiefs, lipsticks, handbags, etc., which would be picked up by willing (male) hands. They would then fly whatever it was superbly to its destination, where they would be assisted out of the aeroplane and the same pantomime would take place. "
At least 5 accidents, 1 her fault:
- 28-Nov-42, she collided with a petrol drum while taxying in Fairchild EV809
- 15-Jan-43, a forced landing in Mosquito IV DZ427 after a hydraulic failure meant the undercarriage would not retract
- 5-Aug-43, the tail wheel of her Argus HM182 collapsed whilst taxying
- 11-Nov-43, she bent the undercarriage of Mosquito VI LR291 during a crosswind landing
- 24-Dec-43, another Mosquito, another undercarriage problem: Mosquito XVI MM277's undercarriage collapsed on landing. The previous pilot (who happened to be Senior Commander Philip Wills, the Head of the Accidents Section of ATA), had made a heavy landing earlier but not reported it - he was blamed.
m. 1944 in Glasgow, Neil Campbell Mackenzie (divorced, 1 daughter b. 1946)
In October 1947, she was an early recruit for the newly-formed WAAFVR:
m. 1952 in Dunbartonshire, Sir Philip Lee Brocklehurst [b. 1887; he had been a member of the Nimrod Expedition in Antarctica of 1907–1909, led by Ernest Shackleton] and became Lady Brocklehurst
They lived at 15 Belgrave Mews South, London SW1, and Swythamley Park, Macclesfield, Cheshire.
"By all accounts, she never really settled in Swythamley. At one point she tried in vain to rescue her father's ship-building business and finally ended up living in London." - Swythamley Historical Society, via Alan Weeks
c. 1963, at the Women of the Year Luncheon (The Times)
Sir Philip d. 28 Jan 1975
d. 13 Aug 1975 - St Marylebone, London, leaving £350,323
Father: Rupert Gustavus Muntz, a clerk (b. 1863 in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, England, m. 1906, d. 1914); Mother: Lucy Elsie [also Muntz] (d. 1955)
m. 1933 in Chester, William Fettis 'Frank' Davison, an 'engineer (railway rolling stock)':
Co-Director, with Frank, of Utility Airways Ltd
Prev. Exp: 1,265 hrs
Elsie Joy Muntz, who was always known as Joy, and signed herself as ‘E. Joy Davison’, originally wrote to Pauline Gower in early December 1939:
“My Dear Pauline,
Six months later, and things had moved on somewhat:
Joy started on the 1st of July, 1940.
Exactly one week later, unbelievably, tragically, she died in a crash.
The accident report said that the aircraft made a ‘spiral dive’ (not a spin) at about 600-700ft. "It continued in this spiral until it hit the ground and eye-witnesses, who are experienced pilots, state that they had no reason to consider that it was out of control but, for some unknown reason, it remained in the spiral until it hit the ground."
Her many friends were aghast; Jennie Broad, who had also just joined the ATA, wrote to Pauline the very next day (9th July):
Pauline wrote straight away to Joy’s mother:
Cremated at Bristol.
Nearly a year later, on the 4th July 1941, Joy’s sister, Hope Muntz, wrote to Pauline Gower, asking her if possible to ‘write a few lines to my mother on the 8th…. If you could give any news of the ATA and of Jenny Broad & Mrs Patterson I know she would be so pleased.”
* King's Commendation for valuable service in the air
Charles' brother (see below)
Next of kin: Father, Lt-Col James Huntly Sherborne, 6th Baron Sherborne, Sherborne Park, Cheltenham, Glos.
Ed. at Stowe
prev. Foreign Office (Communications) Aug-39 to Jul-40
prev. exp. 250 hrs
Postings: 1FPP, 2FPP, 15FPP
"A pilot of exceptional ability, and a successful Flight Captain, inasmuch as his high qualities as a pilot set a good example to others. His quiet disposition and lack of natural aptitude for leadership prevent him from being an outstanding Flight Captain as well as an outstanding pilot."
m. Joan Doreen East 1945; Pauline Stewart Robinson 1959
d. 21 July 1981, Hereford
Father: Walter Septimus Curtis, The 'Lord of the Manor', Denbury Manor, Newton Abbott, Devon; mother, Eleanor Frances [Master]
6 siblings, inc. Robert M (b. 1920), and 4 sisters inc Lillias Marion, (b. 1902), Rosemary (b. 1905), Adelaide Gabrielle (b. 1909), and Evelyn (b. 1922)
Ed. Benenden School, Cranbrook; St Hilda's College Oxford (BA Mathematics)
prev. exp. 440 hrs on "Puss, Leopard, Tiger & wooden Moths", Swallow, Hornet, Spartan
prev. C. L. Surveys Ltd., Southampton
Postings: 15FPP, 6FPP, 5FPP, 1FPP
4-engine (Class 5) pilot
Off sick from 23 Apr to 7 May 1944 after her flying accident in the Typhoon
4 accidents, one her fault:
- 22 Aug 1942, brake failure when landing in a Havoc II
- 18 Jul 1943, starboard engine failure in an Anson
- 10 Jul 1943, she opened the throttles of her Mosquito VI too rapidly and the aircraft swung
- 22 Apr 1944, she crashed in a Typhoon after complete engine failure when approaching to land.
"Flying exceptional. Discipline greatly improved. When in her best mood her behaviour is impeccable but when in her worst, Oh Lord!"
"Shows a tendency to disregard the interests of others"
In August 1948 she set a new international women's record for the 100-kllometres closed circuit of 313.07 mph (flying a Spitfire XI owned by the United States Embassy) In the Lympne high-speed flying handicap, beating Jacqueline Cochran's 1940 record.
- 'The Forgotten Pilots' (1985);
- 'Winged Odyssey' (1993)
- 'Lettice Curtis - her autobiography' (2004)
d. 21 Jul 2014
Father Harry M. Glass, 9, Whitehall, London SW1.
A well-known pre-war racing aviator; prev. exp. 523 hrs on Avro Cadet, D.H. Moth, and B.A. Eagle, in "Egypt, Italy, France, Hungary, Germany, and the North African Coast."
Mabel, her sister Sheila and their pet tortoise, at the Tynwald Air Race in 1938 (they were disqualified for making a wrong turn at the start.)
And their pet tortoise's name was George.
Owned 1931 D.H. 60G Moth G-ABOE, then 1934 B.A. Eagle G-ACPU.
prev. a WAAF, A/C/W 2 from 22 Sep 1939
Address in 1940: 'Arnlui', Cranley Rd, Guildford
She answered the question on her ATA application form "Are you prepared to serve?" with "Very much so!"
Postings: 15FPP, 6FPP, 5FPP, 16FPP, 12FPP
"F/O Glass is a very good pilot and exceptionally keen. She has worked hard and conscientously but is inclined to lack imagination when flying. Her tendency to push through very bad weather has now been checked."
"A very keen strong pilot. No work is too much for her."
However, she was reprimanded twice for taxying without due care; once when her Anson hit a parked Spitfire after skidding on a wet runway, and then when her Hudson ground-looped and sustained damage to its port rudder, flap and aileron. On the second occasion she was docked 3 days pay.
Post-WWII, Mabel, Sheila and their mother settled in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa.
c.1953, holding the President's Cup of the Zululand Flying Club
National Library of Australia
Mabel continued to compete in aviation races until her death.
d. 4th Nov 1967 - Westville, Durban, South Africa.
prev exp 350hrs. Owned a Stinson
A Company Director. Son of the famous financier.
He wrote to Gerrd d'Erlanger: "I am told that I have an opportunity of joining the Fleet Air Arm, but as I have offered my services to you and I have two friends, Leo Partridge and Rupert Bellville, in the ATA, I would naturally prefer to join your organisation."
Address in 1940: Woolley Grange, Littlewick Green, Nr Maidenhead
Next of Kin: a) Mr Jack Misonne, Villa Begonia, Biarritz, France, b) Mrs Burnaby, Thorpe Satchville, Melton Mowbray, Leics.
Waived his ATA salary: "It is my opinion that everyone who is in a position to undertake war work without remuneration should do so. Therefore I suggest my salary be paid towards the start of a charity fund for the pilots [and dependents] of the ATA."
d. 29 Mar 1941 (Died in ATA Service) - Blenheim V6263 stalled and crashed on undershot approach to White Waltham.
Millionaire Buried At Twyford
Fellow-members of the Air Transport Auxiliary attended the funeral last Thursday of Pilot-officer "Bobby" Lowenstein, the millionaire owner of the Pinfold, Thorpe Satchville. who met his death as the result of accident at an air port.
A requiem mass was held In the early morning at Melton Catholic church, and during the afternoon a service for Protestant friends was conducted by Father A. E. Bermingham.
The coffin lay in state in front of the altar, draped with the Belgian flag and the Union Jack By it was a hoseshoe of flowers in the Belgian colours. After the service the coffin was taken to Twyford. for the interment.
It is believed that Pilot-officer Lowenstein had only two relatives alive, an aunt and an uncle, now in Biarritz, who escaped from Belgium at the time of King Leopold's capitulation."
Grantham Journal, 10 Apr 1941
Next of kin: (father) Dr. Cecil Edward Last, c/o Queen Mary Hospital, Carshalton, Surrey (he was a surgeon there)
Ed. Lancing College
m. 1933 Margaret Lillian Burton [Leach] [divorced c.1940]
- 1926-28 Tea Planting in Ceylon (and a rifleman with the Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps);
- Director, British Air Transport (Croydon and Redhill), and
- BOAC Stores Dept.
Address in 1940: 32 The Waldrons, Croydon, Surrey
Postings: 1FPP, 4FPP, 14FPP, 16FPP, 5FPP
A less-than-stellar ATA career, on the whole; he was:
- Suspended without pay three times;
-- for 2 days in Feb 41 for flying a type of plane for which he was not classified;
-- for 3 days in Apr 41 for flying in unsuitable weather, causing him to make a forced landing, and
-- for 4 days in Apr 43 for unauthorized aerobatics near Luton Airfield;
- Reprimanded in Feb 42, for "not starting a delivery flight until after 11:45", and
- Posted to 16FPP in Jun 42, at the request of the Officer Commanding 14FPP "on account of unsatisfactory discipline."
Off sick from 27 Sep 1942 to 8 Jan 1943 after a motor accident.
"This officer, after a somewhat tempestuous start, settled down enormously and has become a most efficient and hard-working pilot."
Contract Terminated 15 Apr 1943 - Resigned.
As a Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserve, 1943
m. 1973 Brenda N [Baxter]
d. May 1991 - Worthing, W Sussex
prev. a builder and estate developer
d. 9 Feb 1941 (Died in ATA Service) - misjudged landing approach to Stoke-on-Trent in Spitfire P7960, stalled and the starboard wingtip and tail hit the roof of a house.
m. 1937 Simone E B [Hogben] [divorced 1958], 1958 Beryl Sylvia [Brown]
prev. Pilot Officer, RAF (74 Sqn, Hornchurch Jan 1937-Feb 1940)
prev. exp. 960 hrs
Address in 1940: The Drive, Ray Mill Rd, Maidenhead
Postings: 1FPP, 7FPP
Off sick 3 times:
- 30 Jan to 30 Mar 1942, with influenza
- 28 Jun to 16 Jul 1943, and then 3 Nov 1943 to 26 Jan 1944, with Dental Sepsis.
Suspended for 7 days in October 1942 for 'Disobedience of Standing Orders D.8 and D.21', and reprimanded in May 1944 for Loss of Ferry Pilot's Notes.
6 accidents, one and a half of them his fault:
- 26 October 1940, his Oxford nosed over in soft ground;
- 19 Mar 1941, a mechanical fault meant that the undercarriage would not come down;
- 20 Jan 1943, he landed his Spitfire when he smelt something burning (later found to be an electrical short-circuit);
- 28 Feb 1943, he braked too heavily and his Proctor nosed over;
- 5 Apr 1943, he hit a picketing block while taxying in an Oxford. He and Ground Control each got half the blame;
- 18 Sep 1943, the port undercarriage on his Walrus failed to lock down and collapsed on landing. Not his fault.
"A good pilot, but nervous. Keenness leaves something to be desired."
"A capable pilot who has made good progress. He still does not show an excess of keenness but this may be due to his somewhat retiring nature."
His perceived lack of zeal meant that he was actually given three months' notice in August 1943, but this was rescinded when he showed that "he has ability and can, if he wishes, be a ferry pilot of above average ability."
d. 31 Dec 1994 - Honiton, Devon
Ed. Glasgow High School
prev. a flying instructor and Assistant Aerodrome Manager:
"MIDLAND AIRCRAFT CO. (REARSBY), LTD.—Private Company, registered April 29. Capital, £1,000 in 1,000 shares of £1 each. Objects: To carry on the business of manufacturers and repairers of aeroplanes, balloons, airships and flying machines of all kinds, etc. The permanent directors are : Stirrat Love, Assistant Aerodrome Manager; Frank B. Gardner, tobacconist; Henry M. Scottoni garage proprietor." Flight, May 1939
"Mr. Love has been associated with the County Flying Club almost since the outset. Before he became one of the keenest of flying men, Mr. Love had some interesting adventures afloat - an ordinary seaman, he sailed to Durban, South Africa, to Hongkong, and Dairen. He also made trips to Canada and India, and then joined a whaling vessel for a journey to the Antarctic. He is a native of Glasgow." Leicester Daily Mercury, 1939
In 1939, he injured his right hand when it was struck by a propeller: "he was swinging the propeller before taking off again when the engine suddenly fired and a blade of the propeller struck the back of his hand. The force of the blow lifted him from the ground. He was taken to the Leicester Royal Infirmary with a badly lacerated hand."
Address in 1940: 99 Millbrae Rd, Langside, Glasgow
Postings: 1FPP, 4FPP
5 other accidents, 2 of them judged to be his fault.
"Fair pilot" but "After considerable experience this pilot shows no ability to concentrate on fast aircraft"
MBE in 1971; "recently retired trom his post as operations control superindendent for B.E.A. in Germany"
Ed. University College London
m. 1923 Victoria Mary [Emberson, d. 1991], 1 son b. 1927
1926: "DANGEROUS MOTOR-CYCLING. Guy Lovell Pickering, 14, Mount Park-Avenue. Purley Oaks, was fined £3 at Epsom Petty Sessions Monday for driving a motor-cycle and side-car dangerously at Epsom on Sunday, August 15th. —P.C. Rose and P.C. Weeding estimated defendant’s speed at 33 to 35 miles an hour. —Pickering pleaded guilty to exceeding the speed limit, but he denied driving dangerously. He estimated that he was driving at 28 to 30 miles an hour. He mentioned that he had never been involved in an accident.— There were eight previous convictions against Pickering, two for speed."
prev. an Advertising Agent; RAFVR Sgt. (Link Trainer Instructor) Feb-Jul 1940
Address in 1940: 62 Eastdean Ave, Epsom, Surrey
Next of Kin in 1940: [wife] Lorna Geraldine Pickering
Postings: 1FPP, 15FPP, 14FPP, 6FPP, 7FPP, 9FPP, 1FPP
6 accidents (4 his fault)
"A keen pilot, but at the moment [Feb-42] rather nervous and lacking in judgement, probably as a result of recent accidents. A good officer."
"Has been employed on instructional duties. By his hard work coupled with a cheerful disposition he has contributed a lot to the high standard of pupils who have passed through IFTS." [Oct-43 - Feb-45]
d. 4 May 1947 at the Groote Schuur Hospital Observatory, Cape District, S. Africa
Father: Joseph Short, (a blacksmith for the railway company, d. 1938 in Hull Mental Asylum); Mother: Jane Hannah [Atkinson]
Ed. Boulevard Nautical College
m. Oct 1934 in Yorkshire, Vera Annie [Ryder] (one son, Bernard Ryder Short, b. 1 Sep 1938, d. 2016; they divorced in 1943)
prev. 'Business Proprietor (this may mean 'Newsagent'); Engineer (presumably for North Eastern Airways, who flew Couriers, Envoys and Rapides), 'short time spent at sea'. Sergeant pilot in the RAFVR from Dec 1938 to Jul 1940
prev. exp. 400 hrs on 'Avian, Moth, Hart, Hind, Audax, Blackburn B.2, BA Swallow, Puss Moth, Wellington' (He also said he had spent 50 hours 'as passenger' on DH Rapide, Oxford, Airspeed Envoy, Avro 504, Avian, Vega Gull, Anson and Stinson - so presumably he wasn't ever a pilot for North Eastern Airways.)
He was awarded his RAF 'Wings' in 1939, flying Wellingtons.
Also said he owned an Avro Avian, but I can't find any registered in his name.
Address in 1940: 26 Chamberlain Rd, Hull
Grounded in Jan 1940 by the RAFVR for a 'defective left eye' and although he said he had specialist treatment and "can now pass all medical examinations", he was released.
Postings: 1FPP, 14FPP
His flying in Nov 1940 was considered so poor that, rather than training him to fly Class III and IV aircraft as requested, they sent him back for a refresher on Class 2 twins and said that he was "not capable of flying twin aircraft." He did, however, subsequently pass for Class III in January 1941, and Class IV in May.
His personnel file contains details of one week's flying in June 1942 - 12 different aircraft types, 25 hours as pilot and 4 hours as passenger.
He did manage to rack up 11 accidents, 6 his fault:
- 9 Sep 1940, he misjudged the landing in a Lysander and hit a boundary wall
- 29 Nov 1940, an 'error of judgment' in a Hurricane (details missing)
- 28 Feb 1941, forced landing in an Oxford after engine failure
[Off sick from 29 Feb to 6 Mar 1941]
- 20 Mar 1941, commended for behaving 'with extreme coolness in a difficult situation' after a technical defect in an Anson
- 30 Aug 1941, he 'failed to make a successful takeoff' in a Leopard Moth, after making a forced landing in it the previous day
- 1 Oct 1941, his Oxford X6976 swerved off the runway during landing at Burtonwood, and collided with a pile of tarmac. He was held responsible but in mitigation he was examined and found to be unfit.
"I interviewed him and told him that in view of his accident record he would have to go very carefully. He is a very keen pilot but rough and it occurs to me that he may be in a nervous condition... I also discussed with him the need for having his tonsils attended to... " - ATA's Chief Medical Officer
- 20 Feb 1942, an unknown object 'fouled the propeller of his Walrus W3070' (? - --- --- maybe a bird?)
[The Walrus was "the only aircraft I actively disliked", said ATA pilot Mary Wilkins (later Ellis). She went on, “It flapped about all over the sky. On land it was like a penguin but apparently it was good on the sea. It had a mind of its own.“]
- 6 Oct 1942, the cockpit hood of his Spitfire V W3773 blew off in flight, due to incorrect insertion of port jettisoning pins (not his fault, apparently)
- 2 Apr 1943, another Walrus I, X9482, in which he ground-looped at Kirkbride by trying to turn off the runway too early
[Demoted to First Officer for one month from 1 Oct 1943 for 'wilful disobedience of Standing Orders C.2 and D.21']
[C.2 - Flying an aircraft without proper authority; D.21 - Intermediate landing without Authority" referring to his ferrying of Lancaster DV266 on 1 October]
- 19 Oct 1943, a forced landing at Wheaton Aston after the exhaust manifold joints blew, causing damage to the ignition harness of his Barracuda II DT824
"A quiet, likeable and hard-working pilot"
d. 24 Jan 1944 (Died in ATA Service) - Halifax II JP182 (Merlins) flew into Eel Crag 4 miles SW of Braithwaite, Cumbria, during a snowstorm.
"The cause appears to have been an error of judgement on the part of the pilot who, instead of attempting to take a course round the coast, attempted to fly over mountainous country at a height which only gave him a small clearance over the peaks. He was flying in a snow shower against a 60mph head wind and probably encountered a strong down current."
Flt. Eng. Arthur Bird also died in the crash.
One of the search party said: "I knew it was absolutely impossible for any one to be alive amongst the tangled wreckage ...the weather was very bad. Whilst I was on top of the Crag the body of the plane was blown over by the wind, and it rolled down the crag side."
Buried Ringway St. Mary and All Saints Churchyard, Altrincham
via George Cogswell
Bernard's will stipulated that his estate should be divided:
- one half in trust for his son, and
- one-twelfth each to his sister, cousin, 2 brothers, a John Short, and his friend John Potter.
Nothing, therefore, to Vera ...
prev. a Wholesale Fruit Merchant
George Dutton's brother
Physical Defects: No right arm [the result of a congenital defect, not amputation]
Next of kin: Father, Lt-Col James Huntly Sherborne, 6th Baron Sherborne, Sherborne Park, Cheltenham, Glos.
Ed. at Stowe
He worked in the Finance Department of the Hospital Savings Association, and was a Temporary Assistant, Ministry of Economic Warfare, Apr-40 to Jun-40
Postings: 1FPP, 9FPP, 12FPP
He got a Certificate of Commendation, in 1942: "On the 29th April, F/O C Dutton (a one-armed pilot) was ferrying a Spitfire from Lyneham to Biggin Hill. When he had got about a mile beyond Kenley he experienced complete engine failure due to a broken connecting rod. He succeeded in lowering his undercarriage and flaps and in landing his aircraft at Kenley (runway aerodrome) in a high wind without further damage."
"This officer has been flying consistently well and keenly ... a most likeable person whose discipline is good."
Lettice Curtis described him as 'a particularly English pilot'; "One day, in an honest effort to excuse something which American instructor Charles Smith had said or done, he said to all and sundry 'Remember he's just an American'."
m. Joan Molesworth Jenkinson, also an ATA pilot, in 1943:
Despite his disability, Charles ferried 541 Spitfires, 14 Mustangs, 232 Typhoons, 4 Fireflies and 47 Tempests during his time with the ATA.
He duly became 7th Baron Sherborne in 1949, on the death of his father. He then farmed in Gloucestershire and was a member of Gloucestershire County Council for some years.
d. 25 Dec 1983
Ed. Bedford College
m. Violet Irene Agnes [Morton]
prev. a wine merchant; pilot for Air Dispatch Ltd.;
Sgt Pilot RAFVR (Nov-36 to Jul-40)
prev. exp. 730 hrs on DH 60, 80, 82, 85 and Stinson
Address in 1940: New House Farm, Balcombe, Sussex
Postings: 3FPP, 6FPP, 4aFPP, 14FPP, 4FPP, 7FPP, 2FPP, 16FPP
4 accidents, 1 his fault (Jul-43, in a Blenheim, when he selected 'undercarriage up' instead of 'flaps up' after landing.)
"His excellent work as an experienced pilot has been of great value to this Pool. Due to lack of discipline in small matters, however, he has failed to become correspondingly useful in his capacity of Flight Captain."
Certificate of Commendation for "displaying exceptional initiative in giving assistance to the survivor of an a/c crashed in mountainous country on 7 Aug 1942."
[Desmond was ferrying a Defiant from Lossiemouth to Edzell when he noticed a pall of smoke which turned out to be a crashed Wellington on fire. He dropped cigarettes, matches and a map to the sole survivor, with a note telling him that he would report the crash, and then flew in the direction of the nearest road to show the way. The survivor stated that it was "mainly through this assistance that he was able to find his way."]
Resigned 8 Nov (effective 19 Oct 1943), giving 3 months notice.
He died 2 months after leaving the ATA;
d. 18 Mar 1944 - Oakmere, Northwich, Cheshire
"BALCOMBE. SAD NEWS. We regret to state that news was received Saturday that Desmond Roy Huxley, elder son ol Mr. and Mrs. D. R. Huxley, of Little Strudgates, had been killed. At the outbreak of war he joined the Auxiliary Transport Association, and held the rank of Captain [sic]. Latterly he had been a test pilot for an aviation company. He was educated at Ardingly and Bedford Colleges. Prior to the war he was in business as a wholesale wine merchant in London, and was a Liveryman of the Vintners Company. A married man, he leaves a widow and a five-year-old son." Mid Sussex Times
RAF from 1935
Sailed to the UK from Lourenco Marques, Mozambique in Jan 1938; stationed at RAF Mount Batten, Plymouth
m. Jan 1940 in Birmingham, Thelma Ellen Palmyra [O'Connor]
Address in 1959: Church Cottage, Church Walk, Maldon, Essex
d. 9 Aug 1959 in the crash of Percival Prentice G-AOPW belonging to Aviation Traders Ltd, during an exhibition flight at Barton Aerodrome, Manchester.
"The plane was giving a low-level flying display across the landing ground ... it appeared when doing a roll to nose-dive into the ground. There was a loud crump and the plane burst into a mass of flames." - Nottingham Evening News
* Personnel File Missing
Address in 1940: 214 Pullman Court, Streatham, S.W.2
prev exp. 300 hrs
A Commercial Traveller in 1934
Postings: 1FPP, 14FPP
Early days at White Waltham, Anson taxi pilots - Ronnie Malcolm, Douglas Fairweather (M104), Jim Kempster and Harry Ellis (M139)
" A first cass ferry pilot... albeit one who does not always take too kindly to regulations."
"He is still inclined to be somewhat controversial."
d. May 1989 - Slough
Father: Charles Cecil Broad (a farmer and inventor, m. 1939 Daisy [Bigglestone], d. Nov 1941), mother Dorothy
The family moved to Sussex in Jan 1922, when Jennie was 9
Ed. Bournemouth High School
Flight, April 1937: "The chief attraction of the weekend was a demonstration of the Hillson Praga monoplane by Miss Jennie Broad. After she had put the machine through its paces, numerous members took the opportunity offered of going up with her in the machine."
According to the Blue Mountains Advertiser (Katoomba, NSW), Fri 18 Nov 1949: “Miss Jennie Broad first graduated as a pilot in 1934, and to add to her experience qualified as a ground engineer. By this she helped to meet her flying instruction expenses in overhauling engines for airline companies and working as a club engineer. She had many jobs in aviation, including flying passengers to air rallies in Holland and Belgium and demonstrating and selling light aircraft. Through the experience she gained in this field, she became England's first woman test pilot."
prev. Ground Engineer, W.A.A.F, (transport driver, then Assistant Section Officer, code and cypher).
prev. exp. 250hrs on Whitney Straight, Miles Hawk & Falcon, DH Moth & Puss Moth, Hillson Praga, Avian in Hololand, France and Belgium as well as UK.
Address in 1940: Hillside, Tongdean Rd, Hove, Sussex
Postings: 5FPP, 15FPP
Class 3 pilot
Off sick from 19 Mar to 1 Apr 1941 with 'Pyrexial Debility'; 25 Jul to 9 Aug 1941 with 'Neuralgia & septic throat'; 25 Sep to 19 Oct 1941 with 'Pharyngitis' and 9 Feb to 6 Mar 1942 with 'Psychasthenis'
Contract terminated by ATA
(twice, actually - firstly on 5 Mar 1942, reinstated 23 Nov 1942, then 11 Jun 1943, on Medical Grounds)
4 accidents, 3 her fault:
- 8 Dec 1941, her Dominie X7449 nosed over, for reasons unknown
- 15 Dec 1942, a heavy landing in Spitfire Vc JG716 caused the port undercarriage leg to collapse
- 27 Mar 1943, she collided with a distributor trolley being towed by a tractor [Reprimanded]
- 21 May 1943, taking off in long grass, for some reason she thought the undercarriage of her Barracuda P9787 was "collapsing", so she selected 'Undercarriage Up'. "No fault found"
"A keen and intelligent pilot of good average ability"
"She then joined a welfare organisation for the Royal Air Force and after a few weeks' training in Germany went to the Middle East, where she operated clubs on R.A.F. desert stations in Egypt and Iraq.”
After WWII, Jennie moved to Australia 'as a refugee from British bureaucracy' (reportedly saying "Australia is the only country in which to live these days"), and in 1951 joined the WRAAF as a 'Flight Officer, Administrative'.
By then, she had made her political views perfectly clear; she didn't like that there Socialism:
"In August 1948, I returned to England." she said. "When I had left, the country had had five years of the toughest time. They had had all the horrors of the blitz bombs, the doodlebugs and so on. But I had returned expecting to find my country free of some of the rules and directions of war. When I left the people had a tremendous hope for the future and were proud of the part their country had played. I spent two of the unhappiest months of my life there. Gone was the spring in the step of the people. They were tired and content to accept the rules that had been laid down for them. The queues were longer than ever. The people were living mainly on whale meat and fish. We got one egg every six weeks.
I could not understand it at all. But slowly it came to me. It was in 1945 that the Socialists took over. They came with the old Labour Party understanding on the part of the people. But it was not long before Mr. Attlee had nationalised everything he could lay hands on. Taxes were on such a scale that the worker found it paid him better to stay away from work at regular intervals. A large number of girls in the Post Office admitted that they had deliberately lost a day a fortnight because it paid them better to do so.
In 1947, we introduced the 'Engagement Order.’ In 1735 compulsory labour was abolished in England but it rested with a Labour Party to re-introduce it.
To-day there are at least three men who are serving terms of imprisonment because they refused to accept the work that was offered to them. Refusal to take the job offered means imprisonment. You see the people are gradually again being enslaved. In England, owing to the nearness of war, we had gone further along the road to compulsion in everything and Labour was presented with an already working scheme for the carrying out of their policy. In that regard the Labour Party in Britain was in a better position than was the case in Australia. We have our identity cards. If I move from town in town I have to register and re-register. When I return to England if I go abroad I have to register again. I decided to leave.it. We had won the war but lost our freedom. Nobody is allowed to follow his own will. If he works overtime, he is summoned and fined. In Australia they had been in danger of going along the same path but they had recovered in time and realised what it meant”
The Biz (Fairfield, NSW), Thu 15 Jun 1950: "MEET JENNIE BROAD Fairfield residents have noticed an attractive young woman chatting with women in the shopping centre. It was Miss Jennie Broad, one of those courageous women who was a test pilot in Britain during the war. Charming and feminine, Jennie Broad has proved herself courageous during the war; and no less now is she displaying courage of a high degree.
Knowing the pitfalls of socialism in Great Britain, and the hardships it has brought upon the people who should now be enjoying a measure of relief from wartime restrictions, Jennie Broad came to Fairfield, when she heard 'a woman was standing for Parliament to oppose Socialism'. Although Miss Broad belongs to no political party, she says that she has seen the ill-effects of Socialism on family life, and she felt it her duty to come to Fairfield, meet the family people, and warn them to shake Socialism from their backs before it is too late.' Miss Broad speaks from personal experience, and she says she will address any gathering of women who, want to know the facts about Socialism and how it affects working people."
Mary Elllis wote: "I did hear that Jennie had married a Frank Roche of Bush Pilot Airways in Cairns, Australia and that in 1954 they both flew a Dragon Rapide from England to Australia. The aircraft was to be fitted out as a special flying ambulance to help those in need in the rural parts of South Australia. Frank Roche was killed the following year in a crop-spraying accident and Jennie, then a widow, moved away."
d. 30 Jun 2005 on Norfolk Island, Australia
"Jennie Broad 28 Jun 1912 to 30 Jun 2005. Pilot, Air Transport Auxiliary"
Di Ennew kindly tells me that "I spent 2 years on Norfolk Island, a small Australian territory (pop.approx.1600) about 1800km east of Australia in the Pacific Ocean. We bought a house there and by strange coincidence Jennie Broad, one of your ATA pilots, was my direct neighbour.
Father: Emil Sorour (originally French, poss. Arthur Emilien Sureur, naturalised British, d. before Jackie's birth)
5 ft 2½ in tall, dark brown hair
Mother: V [remarried a Mr Helling when Jackie was 6 months old], of 136 Schoeman St, Pretoria, SA
Brought up mostly by her grandmother; first flight at age 15 (and first parachute jump at age 16) in South Africa. Moved to the UK in 1938 and learnt to fly at the Aeronautical College, Witney, Oxon..
She has talked about the shock of meeting a "cultured, educated negro" at Oxford, "I'd never met one before".
prev: WAAF ACW/1 from Sep 1939, stationed at Rye as a radar operator
Postings: 5TFPP, 15FPP, 4FPP, 6FPP
Reprimanded for "inattention to airfield control signals at Cosford", 30 Mar 1945
5 accidents, 1 her fault:
- 30 Jun 1942, she over-ran the runway in a Seafire and hit a fence, after one flap failed to lower
- 27 Jan 1943, she had to land her Spitfire VIII with the tail wheel retracted, after it failed to lower
- 19 Feb 1943, in an Anson; she overshot the landing due to an error of judgement
- 18 Oct 1943, another Spitfire's tail wheel failed to lower and lock
- 10 Jan 1944, her Spitfire was struck by a vehicle following behind her when she turned
"Has shown exceptional keenness all the time she has been with this Ferry Pool" ... "A keen, hardworking pilot.; should endeavour to use more common-sense in flying. Discipline, excellent"
King's Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air, "for having ferried more aircraft during the war than any other man or woman."
m. 12 Jan 1945, in Taunton, Somerset Capt. Reginald Moggridge RE "the elder son of the well-known Taunton builder" (2 daughters, Veronica (Jill) b. 1946 and Candida b. 1961)
"A housewife with a hobby that keeps her in the air" - With daughter Jill in 1949 (Coventry Evening Telegraph)
Jean Lennox Bird Trophy in 1951
Awarded her RAF 'Wings' in 1954, one of 5 women (all ex-ATA pilots) to do so when serving with the short-lived (1 Feb 1949 - 1954) Women's Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (WRAFVR). The others were Jean Bird, Benedetta Willis, Freydis Leaf and Joan Hughes
"When she is at home she takes part in local amateur acting"
In 1956, Veronica Volkersz wrote that Jackie was one of only 7 women flying commercially: "Jackie Moggridge lives in Taunton with her husband and a ten-year-old daughter. For the past year she has been ferrying Spitfires from the Middle East to Burma" and concluded that "The tragedy is that for women, commercial aviation is now - except, possibly, in Russia - a closed field."
Published her autobiography, "Woman Pilot" in 1957: "This autobography of a pretty and distinguished woman is romantic and in places extraordinarily moving, perhaps because Jackie Moggridge shines through her writing as a courageous, honest and really nice, if very determined, personality" - Truth
Pilot for Channel Airways from 1957-1960, then Meridian Air Maps in Scotand.
On 29 April 1994, she flew in Spitfire IX ML407 to Duxford (with Caroline Grace at the controls, it was converted to a two-seater post-war) to deliver it to Johnnie Houlton DFC - exactly 50 years after she had originally delivered it to ... Johnnie Houlton at Duxford.
Reg d. 1997
d. 7 Jan 2004 - Taunton, Somerset: her ashes were scattered over Dunkeswell Aerodrome by Caroline Grace, flying Spitfire ML407
Wikipedia story here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackie_Moggridge
Listen to a 1984 interview with Jackie here: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80008464
The First American Pilots
At the height of the Batttle of Britain in August and September 1940, 57 American airmen - all experienced pilots with at least 700 hrs - were offered lucrative contracts by Clayton Knight (a friend of Lord Beaverbrook) to join the ATA via BOAC. The pay was $150 a week (tax free), plus $10 a day whilst in transit, plus a $500 bonus at the end of a year.
"Earl Ortman, Thomas Palmer, Bill Gray, Paul Miller, James Laudeman, Bill Alexander and Erwin Heering with Capt. Errol Boyd, who signed them up" - Daily News, NY 13 Aug 1940
- 32 passed the flying tests (2 of those transferred to the RAF "Eagle Squadron");
- 4 others decided to enlist in the Atlantic Ferry Organisation, and
- the remaining 21 were sent back to the US.
Three pilots - Alexander Chase, Hubert Timmermans and Philo Pringle - were still with the ATA in 1945.
[names in bold have biographies below]
Ralph Canning (M.221, left May-41),
Alexander Hartman Chase (M.306, left Sep-45),
Jay Herald Cordner, 47. (M.114 * [ATA file missing], Arrived Liverpool 6 Sep 1940. Died of natural causes 2 Mar 1944.)
Leonard W Cramer (M.177, arrived Liverpool 10 Aug 1940. Left Oct-41),
William Franklin Cummings (M.309, Contract Terminated 27 Jun 1941 - Disciplinary Reasons)
James Arlington 'Eddie' Edison, 42, (M.153 * [file missing], arrived Manchester 13 Aug 1940, Transferred to AtFero in 1941)
Clarence Goza (M.242, left Aug-41),
George Harris (M.227, left Jan-41 for Atfero),
Horace Crowell Heising, 38, (M110 * [ATA file missing], Arrived Liverpool 10 Aug 1940. Transferred to AtFero 1941)
Lewis Warren Hunter (M.14, Contract Terminated Jun-41),
Kenneth Kelvin Kleaver (M.197, left May-41),
Stanley 'Mike' Kolendorski, (M.84 * [ATA file missing], arrived Liverpool 10 Aug 1940, transferred to RAF Eagle Squadron 3 Sep 1940. Killed 17 May 1941.
Philip Francis Lee (M.228, killed Aug-41 in AM260 crash),
John Avery McDonald (M.92, Arrived Liverpool 6 Sep 1940, left Sep-42)
Franklyn Rule Mershon, (M.237* [ATA file missing]),
Paul Theodore Miller, 34, from Anderson, Indiana, ( M.195* [ATA file missing], Transferred to AtFero Jan-41);
Howard E Mussey, 27, from Birmingham Alabama. (M.115* [ATA file missing], Returned to USA via Bermuda 30 Jan 1941.)
Irving Gustave Nelson (M.229, left Aug-41),
Earl Hill Ortman (M.193, Contract Terminated 15 Jan 1941),
Robert Perlick (M.248, Transferred to AtFero Mar-41),
Harold Phillips (M.111*, [file missing], Transferred to AtFero Jan-41),
Philo Pringle (M.249, left 30 Nov 1945),
Albert Robbins (M.309, Contract Terminated Mar-42),
Hubert Timmermans (M.88, Arrived Liverpool 6 Sep 1940, left Apr-45 after his second contract),
Gilbert Tobin (M.303, Contract Terminated Aug-41),
Walter Trimble (M.112. Arrived Liverpool 6 Sep 1940, killed Aug-41 in AM260 crash),
Edward 'Booger Red' Vencill, 28, from Dallas. (M.116* [file missing], Returned to USA via Bermuda 30 Jan 1941.)
Lyman Voelpel (M.94. Arrived Liverpool 6 Sep 1940, left Apr-41),
Martin Joseph Wetzel (M.234*, [file missing], killed Aug-41 in AM260 crash),
Etheldred Barrs Whilden, 34. (M.117*, [file missing], Arrived Liverpool 6 Sep 1940, Drafted into US Armed Forces in April 1941);
Charles Barnett Whitehead. (M.577, arrived Liverpool 10 Aug 1940. Transferred to RAF Eagle Squadron, returned to ATA in Jul 1941 but released on medical grounds in Dec 1941.
Constant Penn Wilson (M.235, left Aug-41)
- Lee Gehlbach, 37, from Illinois ("former test pilot for Seversky and Grumman"); Joined AtFero 1 Sep 1940, then the US Navy in 1943
- Dana 'Dick' Gentry, 31. "He was a member of the first crew which ferried a bomber across the Atlantic."
- Harry LaGuardia, 45. arrived Liverpool 10 Aug 1940; Transferred to AtFero then US Eighth Air Force in Dec 1941.
- Ora Liming, 28, from Mt Orab, Ohio Started 9 Aug 1940, Transferred to AtFero 12 Sep 1940
- William H Alexander, 46, from New York . Returned to Montreal on 12 Sep 1940) [ATA file missing];
- Francis Dawson Bowhan, 39, a Test Pilot from Powhuska, OK . Arrived in Manchester 5 Sep 1940. Returned to Montreal on 10 Oct 1940.
- Patrick 'Patty' Breen, 35, from New York but born in Eire. Returned to Montreal on 12 Sep 1940;
- Travis Bryson, 32. Arrived Liverpool 10 Aug 1940. Returned to Montreal on 12 Sep 1940 (having married a British girl in his time here);
- Allen Crane, 35 from San Mateo ("well known west coast photographic pilot"). Returned to Montreal on 12 Sep 1940;
- Everitt Fisher, 41. Arrived Liverpool 10 Aug 1940. Returned to Montreal on 12 Sep 1940 [ATA file missing];
- Henry Clay Joseph Gemmill,
- Edward Thard Gray, (or possibly Thord-Gray) 34, of Greenwich, Conn. Returned to Montreal on 12 Sep 1940 [ATA file missing];
- Erwin E Heering, 23, from New York. Returned to Montreal on 12 Sep 1940 (who eventually did join the ATA, in early 1941 according to Lettice Curtis, and became a Captain and the Officer Commanding 10FPP in Lossiemouth);
- Lawrence S. King, 44, from San Mateo. Returned to Montreal on 12 Sep 1940 [ATA file missing];
- Roger R Inman, 38
- James H. Laudeman, 39 [arrived in Manchester 5 Sep 1940, Returned to Montreal on 10 Oct 1940]
- Walter B. McAlister, 39 [arrived in Manchester 5 Sep 1940, Returned to Montreal on 10 Oct 1940]
- Everitt V McCory. Returned to Montreal on 12 Sep 1940;
- Gene Winslow Moraga, 39, from Berkeley, CA. Returned to Montreal on 12 Sep 1940;
- Fred W O'Hanlon, 26, of 580 South Ninth St, San Jose CA. Returned to Montreal on 12 Sep 1940 [ATA file missing];
- Thomas E Palmer, 37, of Miami (who "gave up a job on a major airline to go over"). Returned to Montreal on 12 Sep 1940;
- Chester Harold Pickup, 37. Arrived Liverpool 10 Aug 1940. Returned to Montreal on 12 Sep 1940;
- Ernest Alfred Towers, 26. Arrived Liverpool 10 Aug 1940. Returned to Montreal on 12 Sep 1940;
- Ralph T. Wickford, 36, ("former personal pilot to Alfred Vanderbilt") . Returned to Montreal on 12 Sep 1940, Committed suicide in Oct 1942, and
- William D Wood, of New York. Returned to Montreal on 12 Sep 1940
Those who were dismissed were judged not to be sufficiently familiar with "modern military aircraft". One of those who subsequently joined the RAF, Charles Whitehead, said "I can fly any plane ever built", but when he tried to land a Tiger Moth ("a plane with a tricky torque unfamiliar to Americans"), he missed the field on his first attempt. His second try was successful.
The dismissed pilots had no complaint over the treatment they received in England, however; "They received us like royalty", one of the pilots said.
Address: 174 Court Lane, Dulwich, London SE21
prev. pilot with Western Airways (BOAC)
In 1934, when he was 19, Homi had been fined 40 shillings, and ordered to pay witnesses expenses of 32s, for driving a car without due care and attention; he tried to overtake a lorry near Bank Bridge. Tarleton, and "as a result an approaching coach had run against the bridge wall to avoid a collision."
Postings: 1FPP, 2FPP
Flight Captain from Feb-42 to Oct-43, when he was demoted to First Officer: "was party to a breach of Standing Orders C47 and C38"
"He has had difficulty in winning the confidence of pilots under him, which has impaired his efficiency as a Flight Captain. ... his record as a pilot has been exceptionally good."
d. Dec 1982 - Bromley, Kent
His father Tracey Percival Rogers [d. 1957] was "Head of a Brewery Company" [Messrs W.J. Rogers Ltd., Jacob St. Brewery, Bristol] in the 1911 Census.
Albert and his brother Gerald Percival Vivian Rogers lived with their parents and a housemaid, an under housemaid, a cook, a parlourmaid, a groom and a nurse.
ed. at Stowe
prev. a poultry farmer; member of Civil Air Guard
prev. exp. 142 hrs on "Most types DH Moth, Avro Avian, Miles Magister, Cadet"
Address in 1940: Cleave Hill, Manaton nr Newton Abbot, Devon
Next of Kin: [brother] Capt Hubert Percival Rogers, Friezewood, Ridgeway, nr Bristol
Postings: 1FPP, 2FPP
Suspended once and reprimanded twice:
- suspended without pay for 1 day in Jun-42 for "Loss of Ferry Pilot's Notes";
- reprimanded in Oct-43 for colliding with marker flags while taxying an Anson, and
- reprimanded in Jul-44 for "Loss of ATA Handling Notes (Mosquito)".
5 accidents, two of them his fault.
"An extremely conscientious pilot who has done good work. Discipline good"
d. 9 Jan 1968 - Exeter, Devon.
Buried All Saints Churchyard, Compton Greenfield, Glos.
m. 1922 Bernice [Lyles], 1 child
Army Air Corps in WWI; "Sergeant King landed in France Sept 1918, but never saw active service owing to his immediate transfer to the officers training school at Camp de la Valbonne, France. He was recommended for a commission but the armistice was signed before any action was undertaken." [Marshall Messenger, 11 Mar 1919]
Chief Pilot for National Airways, Detroit, from 1929 to 1931
Address in 1940: 843 31st Ave, San Francisco
After ATA, he and Gene Moraga "went to the aid of the British a second time, this time as an instructor with the Royal Canadian Air Force", [Oakland Tribune, 29 Oct 1940]
d. 8 Apr 1953, buried San Bruno CA
prev. Air Pilot; 12 years with Curtis Wright Flying Service
prev. exp. 3000 hrs
Address in 1940: 1701 Thurber St, Burbank CA
d. 28 May 1964 - Houston TX
A stunt flyer in the movie "Hell's Angels"
Address in 1940: 409 W Pear St, Compton CA
m. 1943 Dorothy Mae [Roderick]
Later Major, USAF
d. 9 Jul 2004 - Palmdale CA
Father: Frank I Cramer
Ed.: 4 yrs High School, 1 yr Cornell University
m. 1929 Vida Pearl [Hewes, divorced, later Dolamore]
prev. a Commercial Pilot. Manager of Oneida Airport.
He had to swim a mile and a half after his seaplane crashed following engine failure and then an engine fire, at Onodaga Lake, Syracuse , N.Y. in Jun 1930.
Address in 1940: Baldwinsville, NY
Postings: 6FPP, 1FPP
He was commended for his forced landing after an engine failure in a Short Scion on 8 Dec 1940, but blamed for another forced landing in a Fairey Battle when he continued a flight in failing light and bad weather on 5 Jan 1941.
Seconded to Atfero 20 Mar 1941
Contract Terminated 31 Oct 1941
d. 8 Jan 1945 - Port of Spain, Trinidad, in Martin M-130 'China Clipper' of Pan American Airways.which crashed while landing in darkness. 10 of the 13 crew, and 13 of 17 passengers died in the accident.
Father: Adam Kolendorski (American), mother: Katherine (Katy) (Polish)
He "excelled in woodwork and other manual arts subjects, and learned to fly a plane while working as a 'grease monkey' at a field near his home. He moved to California, and became a pilot for an air service."
m. 1938 Charlotte Mae [Reynolds]
Address in 1940: Star Route, Lakehurst, NJ
His wife was granted a divorce in Los Angeles on 3 Feb 1940, on the basis that he "spent most of his time at an airport and finally went to Canada to join the Royal Air Force."
Travelled to Liverpool from Montreal on the 'Duchess of Bedford', arriving 10 August 1940.
ATA Contract Terminated 3 Sep 1940 - Joined the RAF as part of the 'Eagle' squadron of American volunteer pilots.
It sounds like Stanley carried on hoping for a reconciliation with Charlotte; on the 27 Oct 1940 "According to Stanley Kolendorski,of Lakehurst, NJ. the thrill of training to fire a shot for his ancestral Poland almost compensates for the threat of his wife to divorce him when he joined up. He is hoping she will reconsider her decision when she gets a picture of him in his British uniform - her picture, in her wedding dress, is the sole mural decoration of the little cubicle that is his exile bedroom tonight."
Asbury Park Press, NJ, 21 May 1941 - "After receiving word that their son, Stanley, is missing after a flight from England during war operations [on the 17th May], Mr. and Mrs Adam Kolendorski are anxiously awaiting further word from the British Air Ministry to learn whether the youth is dead, a German prisoner or has returned safely."
The full story emerged later.
"After being scrambled early in the morning in Hurricane Mk IIb Z3186 (71 (Eagle) Squadron) to intercept Ju88's and He111's coming across the channel, at 20,000 ft they came across escorting Bf 109's of the II./JG 53 "Pik As" over the Thames Estuary.
Mike Kolendorski turned his aircraft sharply to intercept a pair of Bf 109s, when a second pair opened fire on him. A warning was given over the R/T, but too late for Kolendorski. It would seem that he was killed in his cockpit as no attempt by him to bale out was observed. Other 'Eagle'-squadron pilots saw his aircraft crash land in the water and reported Stanley Michel Kolendorski KIA after they had returned to their airbase.
F/O Kolendorski's body was washed ashore in the Netherlands on 13th August 1941 near 'Paal 16' at the beach of Rockanje / West-Voorne, Voorne Putten island, Zuidhollandse Eilanden region. His remains were buried at the General Cemetery "Maria Rust" in Rockanje, municipality of West-Voorne."
He is also one of 13 WWII and Korean War dead who are commemorated on the Asbury, NJ, War Memorial, dedicated in 1954.
d. 17 May 1941 (age 26)
ed. New York University
m. Marion [Bushnell]
prev. US Air Corps 1924-31
prev. exp. 3900 hrs
Address in 1940: 9706 Barwell Terrace, Brooklyn, NY
Originally started with the ATA on the 3 Aug 1940, but left to join the RAF Eagle Squadron (where he served as a Pilot Officer, based in Abingdon) shortly thereafter.
Returned to ATA in July 1941.
Postings: Training Pool
Fined one day's pay in Sep 1941 for turning up at the aerodrome 40 mins late "and forgot to sign register"
Off sick from 12 Sep to 30 Sep 1941 with acute gastritis
"Has proved to be a reliable and steady pilot"
ATA Contract Terminated 2 Dec 1941 - Medical Grounds
d. 15 Feb 1961 - Elizabeth, N.J.; "Former Air Force Colonel and believed to be the first American to enlist in the RAF during World War II, died after a long illness. He was one of the first to encourage women to take an interest in flying."
Father: Walter (a builder); Mother: George B
[Yes, his mother's name was apparently George]
prev. Instructor for Aero Corp of California
Address in 1940: 1019 W 102nd St, Los Angeles CA
m. Sep 1940 Dorothy Lillian [Hayward], from Bath, in Bristol (Blimey, he was only here for a month)
"Wanting her baby to be born an American citizen, Mrs Bryson made arrangements for her passage over, without telling her parents."
Their daughter Christina was born in Los Angeles on 3 Mar 1943.
In December 1942, an employee of Lockheed; by 1945 the Douglas Aircraft Co. representative assigned to Sedalia Army Air Field, Missouri.
The 3 of them travelled back to the UK in the "Queen Elizabeth" in Feb 1947 and stayed until Aug 1948.
d. 21 Jun 1991 - Los Angeles
Volunteered in 1916, a year before America entered WWI, to go to France as an ambulance driver and stretcher bearer:
"He worked his way across the Atlantic, paid all his expenses for uniforms, had trouble wioth the customs officials in France, but finally got to the front lines where he remained until an exploding shell at Verdun caused hime to return to the United States." Tampa Bay Times, 2 Aug 1931
In 1931, Chief Instructor for the St. Petersburg Aeronautic Association, Florida.
Father: Richard Carreras
Ed. "High School, Spain"
m. Maria Josefa [d. 2004], 2 children
prev. a Civil Engineer and pilot in Spain
Took his Royal Aero Club Certificate in a Tiger Moth at Luton Flying Club, on 4 May 1939.
Travelled to the UK from New York in December 1939.
Address in 1940: "Ardvana", 17 Ronaldsshaw Park, Ayr, Scotland
Postings: 4FPP, 3FPP
Certificate of Commendation: "On 22 Apr 1943, Flt-Capt Carreras was instructing on a Catalina aircraft. Through no fault of his own the aircraft crashed on to the sea and the crew were thrown into the water. F/O Gibbs lost an arm, and but for Flt-Capt Carreras's efforts would have lost his life. Flt-Capt Carreras also made the utmost efforts, but just failed, to save Flt-Engineer HFP Waldron from drowning, and helped other members of the crew to safety. He himself had experienced considerable shock and bruising."
3 accidents, none his fault.
"A pilot of considerable experience who sets a fine example to his fellow officers."
"I spoke with 38-year-old Flight-Capt. Jose M Carreras, a stockily-built Spaniard from Barcelona, who has flown in various countries, and was with the Republican Army during the Spanish Civil War. He has been flying since he was 18. Capt. Carreras has ferried over 1,000 ‘kites” to all parts of the British Isles. His logbook tells an interesting story. He has flown 120 different types. over 2,000 hours, and 300,000 miles, since joining the A.T.A. in 1940." Daily Record, Oct 1945
d. 20 Aug 1982 [age 75] - Epsom, Surrey
Address in 1935: 20 Great North Rd, Newcastle-on-Tyne
prev. an Engineer
"A fifth generation descendant of the pioneer California family. He was a descendant of Jose Joaquin Moraga, for whom Moraga Valley is named."
US Air Corps 1917-19. "A pilot in the Signal Corps during World War I"
1921-23 Forest Patrol, US Government Dept.
US Air Corps again 1925-38 First Lieut.
m. Virginia Gretchen [Arthur]. [divorced 1937]
Gene with sons Gene Jr (5) and Nacio [or Don] Jose (2) in 1931
Address in 1940: 2125 Carelton St, Berkeley CA
"He was formerly a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Corps and was stationed with the 91st Observation Squadron at Crissey Field in San Francisco. He was later transferred to Fort Lewis, Wash." according to the Oakland Tribune, 29 Oct 1940
" Mr Moraga joined the Canadian Royal Air Force in the second world war, first as a ferry pilot and later as an instructor.
He later joined the US Air Force Reserve as an instructor and was then transferred to the Air Transport Command.
Following the war, Mr Moraga taught mattress crafting at Dueul Vocational Institute."
d. 20 Feb 1975, Altaville CA
"Mr Moraga is survived by his wife Lenore of Altaville, three sons and five grandchildren."
m. 1938 Clara [Gregory]
prev. a Commercial Pilot; "he has been flying for the last 10 years as a hobby", then an Instructor in the civil aeronautics authority student programfor the last six months.
Address in 1940: 869 N Idaho St, San Mateo CA
ATA Contract Terminated 12 Sep 1940 - Inefficiency
d. 2 May 1994 - San Diego CA
Address in 1940: Key West, FL
"Mr. Wood's experiences in England includes air raids, dodging Nazi raiders, and on one occasion while on the ground a 1,000-pound bomb fell near him but failed to explode.
Mr. Wood also verified that the Germans have tried to invade England. "The Nazis did manage to land about 250 men while I was there and the civilians cut them into very small pieces before the troops could get at them."
[The origin of this particularly gruesome story is not clear]
m. 1942 Enid Mae [Johnson], 1951 Ana Dalao [d. Mar 2019]
d. 22 Feb 1990 - Pinellas, FL
Father: Col. George Alexander Malcolm DSO
Ed. at "Public School"
m. 1938 Margaret Peggy [Jones]
prev. RAF Reserve 1928-33 (F/O); aircraft sales and manufacturing company.(M.L. Aviation)
Adddress in 1940: Orchard Corner, Littlewick Green, Maidenhead
Postings: 1FPP, White Waltham [as Station Commander]
Early days at White Waltham, Anson taxi pilots - Ronnie Malcolm, Douglas Fairweather (M104), Jim Kempster and Harry Ellis (M139)
"As a pilot he has always been safe and reliable."
Ronnie in an Anson [ELC]
"Thoroughly reliable, honest and diplomatic. Runs his station very well indeed."
Post-WWII, continued at White Waltham Airfield with the West London Aero Club.
d. 20 Nov 1947
prev. Kansas National Guard
Address in 1940: 714 N.N. St., Lawrence, Kansas (father)
Contract Terminated 1 Dec 1940 - Transferred to Atlantic Ferry Organisation [AtFero]
d. 10 Aug 1941 - Liberator AM261 crashed into Goat Fell mountain on Isle of Arran after take-off from Heathfield Ayr (22 killed - 5 crew and 17 travelling as passengers). Victims included F D Bradbrooke (q.v.)
Address in 1940: 580 S 9th St, San Jose CA
After returning to the US, Fred said that here was plenty of food available in England, and that London is so large that damage from bombing attacks had been compartively small. "I think the people of England would like to see Hitler make an attempted invasion. They believe he hasn't a chance of winning."
Post-WWII, Airline pilot for Pan American
d. 22 Jan 1964 - San Francisco CA
m. 1931 Dora [Clarke, divorced 1943], but gave his sister, Lucy Isobel Gleave, as next-of-kin in 1940
Ran his own motorcycle business: "Gleave Motors", and developed his own 'Syd Gleave Special' motorcycle. With this he competed in races from 1928-35.
Syd owned 1930 Avro 616 Sports Avian G-AAYU, which had flown in the 1930 King's Cup Race piloted by Jack Cantrill. He bought it in February 1936, flew it in the 1936 London to Isle of Man Race (coming fifth out of 20 starters) and the Manx Air Derby (coming 13th), but he wrote it off at Cheltenham later that year:
"PILOT'S DRAMATIC TALE
The wreckage of an aeroplane perched on top of a Cotswold hillside field to-day remained as evidence of the dramatic and almost miraculous escape of two airmen from death. The pilot, Mr. Sid Cleave, of Macclesfield, well-known T.T. rider and survivor of a remarkable racing crash a year ago, is today out and about, showing litte sign of the experience.
His passenger, Mr. Geoffrey Males Holt, of Manchester, is in Cheltenham General Hospital with a compound fracture of the right ankle and injuries to the head.
Mr. Gleave last evening told the "Echo" his dramatic story of the crash during the fog which enveloped parts of the Cotsvvolds as he and his friend were flying from Bournemouth to Macclesfield. "The visibility was nil," he said, "and as we were flying down a valley a bank of clouds came down in front of us. Although we attempted to turn we went into it, and the wing tip hit the top of the hill."
Mr. Gleave has recently recovered from a terrible accident while riding in the T. T. last year. He was thrown when travelling at about 110 miles hour. He was hurtled along the road and finished up by crashing into wall. It was found that he had no fewer than 44 bone breakages."
Fleet Air Arm 1938-40
In 1939 he was one of two golfers who played five games of golf within 24 hours on courses in Scotland, Ireland, England, the Isle of Man and Wales, for a £100 bet. He and professional golfer Ernest Smith flew 1,000 miles, walked thirty miles, and "went hungry". They started at 3.30 a m., by the light of road lamps, at Prestwick, Ayr, and then flew to games in Newtonwards, Ulster; Castletown, Isle of Man; Blackpool, and Hawarden, North Wales. "A condition of the wager was that Smith should average under eighty over the five courses. He won with an average of seventy two."
Address in 1940: 388 Buxton Rd, Macclesfield
Postings: White Waltham, Ratcliffe, Ringway
[Contract Terminated 2 Mar 1942] "in order that you may undertake the post of Test Pilot with AV Roe & Co. Ltd."
As 2nd pilot in a Lancaster with Bill Thorn and Roy Chadwick in 1942 (Flight)
d. 11 Sep 1944 in Lancaster III PB579; one of every 10th aircraft that was checked to its terminal velocity dive speed of 375mph to verify control effectiveness and ease of recovery. During the dive the fuel jettison pipes tore off, hit the tailplane and stripped the elevator skin. The aircraft dived vertically into the ground at Alderley Edge, three miles south of Woodford. This was the only fatal accident involving a Lancaster out of the 3,958 tested at Woodford.
Read more: http://salfordwarmemorials.proboards.com
"To assist in the identification of two men who lost their lives in an aeroplane crash near a Midlands town on September 11th, pieces of clothing, a tie and a pen-knife, were produced at the inquest at Wilmslow (Cheshire) to-day. The men were identified as Sydney Gleave, 39, test pilot for Messrs. A. V. Roe and Co., Ltd., and a former racing motor cyclist, and Harry Lewis Barnes, 41, a flight engineer, of Wilmslow.
Charles Stewart Riseley, member of the Observer Corps, who plotted the plane, said it was flying about for half an hour, and the first indication he had of anything being abnormal was when he saw it in a power dive. It came out of the sun with engines running, and dived almost vertically at a speed of between 500 and 600 miles an hour."
Sydney, his parents, and 3 of his 4 sisters are commemorated together
Father: William Leonard Kleaver
Ed. High School
m. 1936 Mary Lee [Speight]
USA Pilots Licence No 5639
In 1929 he flew his grandfather "William Kleaver of Scott River" and his uncle H.J. Kleaver "Superintendent of Schools at Dunsmuir" on a air trip round Scott Valley and Marble Mountain.
"When pilot Ken Kleaver's motor quit cold 1,500 feet above Eureka, Calif., he was left no alternative but to land. Two nurses riding as passengers were uninjured when Kleaver picked a soft spot in the mud alongside a slough and gently nosed the ship over. Kleaver was not hurt. Here's the way they landed." Arizona Republic, 23 Nov 1930
He then did barnstorming and stunt flying for the 'Crusading Flying Fleet', "well known transport flyers, who have thrilled many crowds with their feats of danger and daring. Also, they will carry aloft any passengers who are looking for thrills."
By 1936 he owned one of only two Fokker C-2 Tri-motors in the USA, and offered 14 passengers a joyride from Bend Airport, Oregon in his '$92,000 airplane'.
Address in 1940: Yreka, CA
Postings: 1FPP, Hawarden, Ringway, 2FPP
Suspended without pay for a week in Jan-41 for 'General Misdemeanour'
He and Ralph Canning were nicknamed the 'California Prune Pickers' by their English counterparts.
RAF Ferry Command from Apr 1942
In 1956 he was reunited with a schoolfriend from Dunsmuir, Eugene Babb: "The human interest angle is that, in the meanwhile, both men have been girdling the globe many times over, Babb as skipper for various shipping companies, Kleaver as captain for airlines all over the world. Each had been in and out of the same port many times, unknown to each other."
"Kleaver is the Calistoga representative for the Valley Chevrolet Company."
d. 2 Jan 1962 - Shasta County, CA
Ed. High School
m. R, 2 children
Address in 1940: 1823 2nd Ave, Sacramento CA
3 Sep 1940
"Ken Kleaver, Ralph Canning and Fred Du Puy ["Berkeley World War Aviator", later a Lt-Col, USAAF], all from California, en route to Canada where they will serve the British Government"
Postings: 1FPP, 2FPP
Suspended without pay for a week in Jan-41 for "General Misdemeanour" [as was his fellow 'California Prune Picker' Ken Kleaver]
Off sick from 21 Feb 1941
Contract Terminated 8 May 1941
d. 1969, Texas
Ed. at South Pasadena High School, CA
Took his US Commercial Pilots Licence in St Louis, MO, in 1928
prev. pilot for Chicago & Southern Air Lines
prev. exp. 7000hrs
He and Harold Phillips were reported "killed in combat with Nazi attackers over London" and/or "killed when his Spitfire crashed into a barrage balloon" in October 1940, but by mid-December his sister told the newspapers that she had received a letter from him, dated November 1.
In November he also wrote to Bruce Braun, the VP of Chicago&Southern in November 1940: "I guess you blokes (pipe the lime) think I've shot my wad. Well, Chief, you never can tell how far a frog will jump by looking at him.
Things here are what I would call nice going, never a dull moment. Believe me, Bruce, I take my hat off to these Englishmen. The bull dog is most certainly symbolic of them. Their spirit and courage will triumph no matter if the war lasts a hundred years."
He went back to New Orleans to visit his family in February 1941, and "refute in person the reports of his death."
In 1947, described as a "transient", he was reported to be "in the [Sacramento] city jail facing charges of passing fictitious checks in three downtown department stores."
d. 9 Dec 1950
Described as 'mild-mannered, shy and slightly-built'; part Cherokee Indian.
Little Earl was the subject of a custody battle between his parents after they divorced in April 1914 when his mother, Nellie, who had left him with her mother when she was off in Kansas working as a 'designer of fancy gowns', applied for custody.
Earl's father (also Earl) meanwhile, was granted custody of the child and packed him off to Columbus Ohio, to live with his parents Benson and Mary Ellen 'Ella' Ortman, but then accidentally got himself drowned in the Grand River near Fort Gibson, aged 37, leaving assets of $1,500 and debts of $3,500.
Earl was brought up (from the age of 7, anyway) by his grandmother Ella; they moved to California in 1930 so he could learn to fly, but she died the following year.
He then earnt himself a substantial amount of money in the 1934 National Air Races.
This is Earl with the Keith (later renamed the Marcoux-Bromberg) R-3. He set a record in 1935 in this aeroplane by covering the 1,400 miles between Vancouver BC and Caliente, Mexico in just over 5 hours.
[The R-3 was an interesting aeroplane, originally designed for the 1934 MacRobertson Race but not ready in time. It somersaulted on its first take-off (or landing, according to one report), killing test pilot Jim Granger, but was only superficially damaged and was restored. More at http://www.airminded.net/mbspecial/mbspecial.html]
Ortman and the R-3 came second in the 1936 National Air Races; second in the 1937 Bendix trans-continental Race (to Jackie Cochran), and then second in the 1937 Thompson Trophy, this time to Roscoe Turner.
In 1937 he also did the racing scenes as the stand-in for Clark Gable in the MGM film 'Test Pilot', and then won the Golden Gate Exposition Trophy Race, clocking 273mph - the only time the R-3 ever finished first.
Address in 1940: 141-25 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, N.Y.
Next of Kin: (Uncle) Fred H Ortman, of 148 N June St,. Los Angeles, CA
m. Apr 1941 Maryette [Richer], later an airline stewardess
After the ATA, Earl sailed back to New Brunswick on the 15 Jan 1941, got married in Montreal, returned to the UK, then sailed back to New York from Liverpool on the 1st May 1941.
He was later employed as a test pilot, by Douglas and Lockheed, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was a heavy smoker.
d. 27 Feb 1953 [aged 41] in Miami Florida, following a heart attack.
m. Sep 1937 Irene Katherine [Matthews] in Delaware, Indiana
Address in 1940: Anderson, Indiana
Transferred to AtFero Jan 41
Back for a brief vacation on 26 Jan 1941, Paul said that "flying American-built bombers across the Atlantic to England is safer than ferrying planes to the fighting squadrons."
"Although he has flown a British Spitfire fighter as fast as 400 miles an hour, Miller said the British fighter currently considered the best is a type lnown as the bullfighter [sic], powered by two 1,200 hp liquid cooled engines." :-)
"Paul T Miller, formerly connected with the Muncie Airport, is now engaged flying Lockeed-Hudson planes from Canada to England for the British. Miller was paid $1,000 for delivering two of the planes to England and was given a $500 bonus for safe arrival."
Ed. Harvard Medical School
"First Great War flyer and pilot on the first New York to Bermuda flight in 1930"
d. 6 Oct 1979 - Iron Mountain, MI
Royal Navy and RFC in WWI
Address in 1946: Waypost House, Whitstable, Kent
Postings: Air Movements Flight
Certificate of Commendation, 1941: "When calling in at Squire's Gate on a delivery trip in March 1941, Flt-Capt Mason discovered at least 20 machines in various stages of unserviceability. On reporting this to HQ ATA he was instructed to go to Squire's Gate, make a thorough inspection and fly and dispose of aircraft as and when they became serviceable. Flt-Capt Mason found a total of 41 aircraft unserviceable at Squire's Gate and between 6th March and 16th April he succeeded in moving all these, with the exception of two. Being unable to obtain any co-operation from the RAF there in getting these machines repaired and ready for flight, Flt-Capt Mason had first to underake any work on them himself before he could fly the aircraft away. His energy and knowledge of airframes and engines were undoubtedly responsible for saving many valuable aircraft."
d. Sep 1974, Canterbury, Kent
Father: Benjamin (Benno) Aron, a hat and cap manufacturer, d. 1 Jul 1941. Mother: Kathleen Hannah [Jacobs]
Changed surname to Allen c. 1939
m. 1925 in Amersham, Bucks, Amy L [Townsend]
RAeC Certificate 9487 dated 4 Oct 1930, taken at London Aeroplane Club
Address in 1930: 55 City Rd, London EC2
prev. RAF from 1933 (Resigned 14 Mar 1939); Engineer; Probationary Temporary 2nd Lieut, RN
2nd Lieut, Royal Army Ordnance Corps from 9 May 1942
Surname reverted to Aron c. 1959
m. 1959 in Kensington, London, Jane [Webster]
Address in 1964: 23 Palace Gardens, Kensington
d. 31 Mar 1980 1980 - London
Buried Willesden United Synagogue Cemetery, Willesden, London Borough of Brent, London
* Personnel File not seen
Private in US Army in WWI
m. 1931 Margaret 'Bessie' Clara [Mitchell]
prev. Operations Manager and Airline Pilot
Address in 1940: 5018 Bryan St, Dallas, TX
"James Laudeman, Texas flier who has been in the ferry service of the Royal Air Force in England will speak at the Tuesday night meeting on current phases of the air conflict between Britain and Germany." Dallas Morning News; 15 Dec 1940
Returned to New Orleans from Honduras, 5 Dec 1941 (ie 2 days before the attack on Pearl Harbor)
d. 7 Oct 1946 from cerebral hemorrhage - found unconscious on a sidewalk near his hotel in Galveston, TX.
"He has been flying since he was 18".
prev a a stunt-man and crop-duster.
1933-4 instructor to 60 Chinese pilots of the army of General Chang Kai-shek
m. to Mary E (d. 1986)
[arrived in Manchester 5 Sep 1940]
[Transferred to AtFero, probably in Mar 1941]
"His name was scratched from the crew list for a ferry flight to Montreal, so that he could return to London to renew his papers.The bomber flew into the side of a mountain, and all 22 of the crew were killed and the ship completely destroyed." [This was Liberator AM261, on the 10th August 1941. See also F D Bradbrooke (joined 1939) and George Thomas Harris]
"Lt. Edison helped to bury this group of fellow fliers, immediately after which he received an assignment to leave for another trip. On this day, one hour before take-off, and while en route to the airdrome, there was an air raid and while the taxi in which he was riding was waiting, there was an automobile accident that resulted in two broken ribs for the lieutenant, sending him to the hospital instead.
Before getting away, however, he saw the ship in which he was supposed to leave run off the runway, catch fire and all 22 of the fine American pilots which made up the crew were burned to death. [This was Liberator AM260, on the 14th August 1941. To be precise, 12 pilots [9 of them American], 8 radio operators, 1 flight engineer and 1 civilian were killed. See also Elbert Anding, Philip Lee, Buster Trimble and Martin Wetzel,]
He says he made his next journey with fingers crossed - but safely."
Later joined the US Navy and was Chief Aviation Pilot at Stanford Naval Air Station, FL, in 1943.
d. 28 Apr 1945 in PV-3 (ex-RAF Lockheed Ventura) which crashed after hitting trees shortly after take-off from NAS Lake City, FL.
Ed. 3 years of college
m. [divorced 1939]
prev. Pilot for Southern Air Transport "on the Dallas-Brownsville run"
Address in 1940: 830 Schley Ave, San Antonio, TX
"McAlister was in London during several German air raids. He was cut on the head by a piece of flying shrapnel from an anti-aircraft gun. The railroad station by which he was leaving the city had its roof blown away. 'We looked up and could actually see the bombs coming. I just knew one had my name on it, but the nearest one landed a block away." 26 Nov 1940.
Drafted into US Military 26 Aug 1942
d. 18 Apr 1950 - Fort Worth, TX
Father: Thomas Headley Leathart, a Lead Manufacturer, mother: Janet Ruth Grant
"Five foot three and of generous proportions" (Lettice Curtis);
"a very experienced pre-war racing pilot and ... looked like George Robey" (Mary du Bunsen).
[I'm not so sure this is fair ... here's a picture of George Robey for comparison:
"One of the first 20 British women pilots to obtain the RAeC certificate, and the first outside London"
[Amazing - as Connie got her certificate No. 8,085 in 1927, 14 years after the first woman pilot Hilda Hewlett - but true; she was only the 12th woman to get an RAeC certificate. And the previous 11 women had obtained their certificates at one of Hendon, Brooklands, Northolt or Edgeware, all more-or-less London]
l to r Edith Chalmers, Adelaide Cleaver, Sir Sefton Brancker, Rosalind Norman and Connie before the start of the 1930 Heston Spring Flying Cruise to Germany
In the late 1920s and early 1930s, with Leslie Runciman (q.v.), she ran Cramlington Aircraft, a company which repaired damaged aeroplanes. She also designed and flew her own glider.
Leslie Runciman and Connie (centre)
She was educated at Cheltenham Ladies College, and then Ethelburgas School back in Newcastle. By 1939, her mother had moved to Ottery St Mary in Devon, but Connie was still in the north-east, at Morpeth in Northumberland.
In December 1939, aged 35, working in the map department at Bristol Airport, she applied to join the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA). Her experience at the time was over 700 hours, making her one of the most experienced women pilots in the UK, so she started as soon as they could sort themselves out (Pauline Gower was only allowed to take on 8 women to begin with) ... which turned out to be August 1940.
Address in 1940: Mill Greens, Angerton, Morpeth, Northumberland
1942 caricature by 'Sammy' Clayton
Mary du Bunsen says that "Connie hated to fly high, because she said it was further to fall ... she was reputed to make most of her approaches from below ground level if possible".
She ended up serving for nearly 4 years, her contract being terminated in June 1944.
Postings: 15FPP, 12FPP
Her initial report said that she 'flies well and although rather lacking in polish she is perfectly safe and has useful experience behind her'. In fact, her flying was always described as reliable and steady, and she was cleared for Class 4 (advanced twin-engined) aircraft from May 1942, and promoted to Flight Captain in March 1943.
She had three accidents, none of which were her fault:
- 2 Jan 1942, the undercarriage of her Blackburn Skua L3020 collapsed after a normal landing;
- 5 Jun 1942, the tail wheel of her Wellington was bent after taxying over rough ground,
- 3 Dec 1943, her Spitfire 1a X4244 tipped onto its nose after its port wheel sank into an unmarked hole.
Her health let her down after her third accident, it seems. Having only been off sick for a bout of tonsilitis in early 1941, followed by 'flu that December, she was then off sick continuously from 4th December 1943 until 10 June 1944. She returned and did a perfectly satisfactory Class 1 ("only") check, and was posted to 12 Ferry Pool 'for ferrying and maps and signals work' on the 13th. Her short time at 12 FPP went well, apparently; she was "most helpful" and showed great "knowledge of all departments", so they employed her as an Operations Officer.
It's clear that Connie wanted to stay on. She wrote to the ATA on the 17th June:
"Dear Captain Mead (HQ ATA),
Thank you for your posting notice but I believe you should have put "etc"; I find I am temporary adjutant as well, although we hope to get assistance from Ratcliffe on Monday.
Mrs Wilberforce now suggest I should stay on Operations during Miss Jeffery's leave, i.e. 8 weeks from the 27th June. As you know my contract expires on the 1st July and I wonder if you can possibly extend it, in some form, for another fortnight, after which, if there are any further suggestions for my future, I should come to White Waltham and talk to you about it.
I know this is not exactly the usual way to go about such things but I did Operations fairly often during my two years at Hamble and feel that, if I can be of further use here, the problem of how to pay me ought not to be insuperable. I like the work here and have already got in some flying so I do hope you can resolve whatever difficulties may crop up."
The ATA refused, and wrote back on the 19th June:
"I am instructed to say that it is not possible to consider any extension of this officer's current flying agreement.
If she wishes to sign a new flying agreement, under which she would revert to the rank of Third Officer on her present flying classification, she may do so. Alternatively, an administrative contract is also available to her as an Assistant Operations and Maps and Signals Officer, with the rank of Second Officer (Admin) at a salary of £300 per annum, plus 15s 6d cost of living bonus. It is however understood that Miss Leathart is not desirous of accepting an operations post."
Obviously, Connie didn't fancy starting all over again as a Third Officer, either. So, eventually, she was grounded (they cancelled her insurance on the 30th June) and told to report to White Waltham and return her uniform and equipment on the 7th July.
So ended, on a rather downbeat note, Connie's wartime ATA career. Her log shows that she flew "Moth, Magister, Hart, Proctor, Harvard, Master, Oxford, Lysander, Anson, Battle, Dominie, Albacore, Fulmar, Gladiator, Hurricane, Spitfire, Swordfish, Walrus, Henley, Skua, Courier, Blenheim, Airacobra, Beaufighter, Fairchild, Hampden, Wellington, Whitley, Hudson, Albermarle, Auster, Beaufort, Envoy, Ventura, Barracuda, Boston, Mosquito, Manchester and Mitchell" aircraft - a total of nearly 800 hours.
Lettice Curtis says "Although she never became senior in the ATA she was definitely superior in experience and in later years her common sense, stability and lack of fear of her superiors, many of whom she had watched learn to fly, made her a valuable friend and adviser."
The Times wrote "She continued flying until 1958 when, reluctantly, she finally disposed of the last of her aeroplanes.
Connie Leathart remained a reserved, private person who shunned any form of publicity. In a sense this was a pity as many of her feats went unremarked. In retirement she farmed in Northumberland, where she bred Kyloe cattle[actually, it seems that "she did not breed Kyloe cattle; she did once have a couple of them, but both were bullocks"] and raised sheep. An accomplished horsewoman throughout her life, she continued into her fifties to ride regularly to hounds with the Morpeth and Tynedale hunts. She never married."
A friend of hers tells me: "I knew her for the last 20 years of her life, she was my parents' employer and my grandparents' before them. An amazing and eccentric and very kind lady."
Died 4 November 1993 in Northumberland, aged 89, leaving £518,086
and John G D 'Jack' Armour (q.v.), who was her first flying instructor in the ATA, was her cousin(!)
Father: Sir John Francis Bodinnar J.P., The Old Palace, Chippenham, Wilts
[Sir John Francis Bodinnar (1880-1958) was a Company Director (of, among others, the West of England Bacon Company, Ltd) and Mayor of Calne from 1925-27. "On the site of the Old Palace stood the house in which King Alfred is traditionally said to have burnt the cakes."
The Old Palace was bought by the Town Council in 1942 for new offices; it is now the Chippenham Museum.]
Mother: Mabel Frost [Latham]. [d. 1948)
Ed. Malvern College
prev. "various, including fruit growing and engineering" - spent 1926-35 in Canada.
Address in 1940: 5 Alexandra Court, Wembley Pk, Middx
m. 1937 in Kensington, London, Sheila Frances Grace [George, d. 1979]
Next of kin: (wife) Sheila, c/o "Branksome", Old Woking Rd, Pyrford, Surrey
Suspended for 2 days in Dec 1940 for infringement of flying regulations
2 accidents, 1 his fault:
- 6 Feb 1941, he hit a concrete block whilst taxying a Leopard Moth, having to avoid an approaching Hart
d. 3 Apr 1941 (age 35) (Died in ATA Service) - Hurricane Z3166 flew into a ploughed field at Gorse Lane, Tarleton, Lancs, in poor visibility.
He was held to blame for the accident, having persevered too long in bad weather. Douglas Fairweather was flying in the same area on the same day, and confirmed that the weather was so bad he had to curtail his own flight.
He had flown 98 hrs in delivering 105 aircraft for the ATA.
Buried in Maidenhead Cemetery, Sec. D. Row L. Grave 7
Sheila wrote to Gerard d'Erlanger: "May I send you my very sincere thanks for your flowers and sympathetic letter on the occasion of my husband's death.
Your kind remarks made me feel very proud of him and I am sure he would not have wished for higher commendation."
m. 1921 (divorced, remarried 1934) Charlotte [Blair]
prev. a racing, joy-ride and test pilot
Address in 1940: Pawhuska, Osage, Oklahoma
ATA Contract Terminated 2 Oct 1940
The ATA's Administration Officer wrote to him: "You called here yesterday afternoon with a Medical Certificate to the effect that you were unfit for duty and I instructed you to take it to the Chief Instructor and collect my letter, which you did not do.
As a result of this failure to obey instructions in addition to the complaints about you referred to in my letter, the Minister of Aircraft Production has decided that you are unsuitable for the duty for which you were brought to this country"
d. 23 Apr 1944 - Kansas City, MO
Buried Pawhuska City Cemetery
Next of kin: (mother) Mrs Esther Spath of Nunn, Colorado
m. 1933 Mabel Irene [Boyd]
Address in 1940: 1446 Western Ave, Glendale CA
ATA Contract Terminated 12 Sep 1940 - Unsuitable
d. 4 Nov 1978 - Los Angeles CA
Ed. High School
prev. Radio Engineer, "President of Associated Enterprises Ltd."
Address in 1940: 7845 Forest Ave E, Detroit, MI
Postings: 1FPP, 2FPP, 6FPP (as Second-in-Command)
"A good and efficient pilot and officer"
"Is thoughtful about other pilots and takes a personal interest in them."
d. 24 Oct 1957 [age 46] - Dillon, Montana
Buried at Crown View Cemetery, Sheridan, Hamilton County, Indiana
"Born near Sheridan, Indiana, Mr. McDonald served with the Canadian Royal Air Force [sic] in WWII until after Pearl Harbor when he joined the United States Air Force serving overseas as a major. He was employed in an appliance shop in Dillon."
"He is survived by the widow, Bettina McDonald, three sons and one daughter, all at home, and one son by a former marriage."
USA Licence 26943
prev. Army Air Corps instructor at Love Field, TX
Address in 1940: 1112, Plum St, Graham, TX
Postings: 1FPP, 2FPP
"Did good work in this Pool [2FPP]"
Did 87 hrs ferrying on 16 different Class I and II aircraft.
He and Horace Heising were actually reported "killed in combat with Nazi attackers over London" in October 1940, but he sent a couple of cablegrams to his wife and mother (Mrs T W Christie) saying "I am all right. Letter follows. Hoping to see you Christmas."
On his return to the US, her discounted the effectiveness of anti-aircraft fire. "If they get to shooting at your level, you just move up and wait until they find your new range." [Mind you, as he flew only over the Atlantic and the UK, I'm not sure how he knew this, unless he was referring to the British AA fire.]
Transferred to AtFero 13 Jan 1941
Sailed from Batavia to New York with Horace Heising in Feb 1942.
Post-WWII, Tax Assessor-Collector in Hardeman County, TX
Learnt to fly in 1928, then was an airline pilot, circus joy-ride pilot and instructor.
prev. exp. 1,150hrs
Address in 1940: Dayton, OH
Postings: 3FPP, 6FPP
Seconded to Atfero 20 Mar 1941
He was offered an extension to his 1-yr contract, but declined: "It is purely a matter of finances as I have enjoyed working for your organisation."
d. 14 Aug 1941 (Died in ATA Service) - one of four ATA pilots, travelling as passengers, amongst the 22 killed in the crash of Liberator AM260. Others were Elbert Anding (M.316), Buster Trimble (M.112) and Martin Wetzel.
The cause of the crash was that "the pilot in command [Cpt Richard Charles Stafford of BOAC] started the take off procedure from runway 06 which was not suitable for the takeoff as it was too short for such aircraft."
Philip's widow Nell Cole Lee was also, like Mrs Anding, convinced that BOAC or Atfero was responsible by negligence for his death, and in fact threatened to sue them for damages. The situation was not cleared up until 1943, when the British Government agreed to provide her with an ex-gratia payment of $8,000, of which $2,000 was invested for her 2 children (Helen Cole Lee and Francis, who was born after Philip's death).
She then wrote, "May I offer you my sincere thanks and appreciation for the grant. While it is true that the death of my husband did not leave me in dire straits, it is also true that my children will not have all the advantages in life that they would have had had he lived."
The official ATA report summed it up in November 1944: "Thus, a case which had developed a very unpleasant atmosphere, and might well have left an unhealed focus of bitter anti-British sentiment, was concluded on an entirely satisfactory note."
Adddress in 1940: Lowell Rd, Concord, MA
d. 6 Oct 1942 (suicide) - Palm Beach, FL
"The body of 2nd Lieut. Ralph T. Wickford, 38-year-old Army pilot, was found hanging in his quarters at Morrison Field early this morning.
Wickford joined the Army in 1924 and became a mechanic for Jimmy Doolittle. He left the service to enter commercial aviation in 1926. He re-enlisted last January and was assigned here in April. He had more than 5,000 hrs to his credit. He once was personal pilot for Alfred G. Vanderbilt."
Father: Horace Henry Bingham, Mother: Eileen Minnie [Dowling]
Address in 193-36: 1683 Pacific Highway, Wahrooga
m. Jul 1938 in Camberwell, London, Nina Mary [Jeffereyes]
Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in WWII - looks like he was in a Sunderland squadron:
He sailed to South Africa on 19 Aug 1942 as a 'Civil Aviation Traffic Officer'. He gave his address as 38 Underhill Rd, E Dulwich, London SE22
He flew to Honolulu, en route to California, in November 1957, on Qantas:
d. 10 Jun 1980 - Poole, Dorset
* ATA Personnel File Missing
Father: Arthur Melmoth Walters, a solicitor, Mother: Amy Constance [Parbury]
Arthur Melmoth Walters (26 January 1865 – 2 May 1941) was an English amateur footballer who played as a defender for the Old Carthusians and the Corinthians in the late nineteenth century as well as making nine appearances for England. He was president of the Law Society of England and Wales - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Melmoth_Walters
Ed. Canford School, Dorset
RAeC Certificate 12248 dated 30 Aug 1934, from Norfolk and Norwich Aero Club
Address in 1934: Minnickwood, Holmwood, Surrey
Here he is, top left, at the Norwich Public Schools Aviation Day in 1935:
Back Row : T. M. Walters (Canford), A. Meredith-Owens (Rossall), S. G. Wise (Kings College), R. D. Davis (K.C.S.), J. Komdorffer (K.C.S.), N. G. Rose (Clifton), J. E. T. Haile (Lancing), L. C. Osgerby (Uppingham), and C. R. Heycock (Lancing).
Middle Row ; K. R. G. Tomkinson (Winchester!, J. F. Taunton (Secretary), F. G. A. Chase (Lecturer), H. Birchall (Organiser and Camp Commandant), A. A. Rice (Chairman, Norfolk and Norwich Aero Club), J. Collier (Chief Instructor), N. Daunt (Instructor), A. Kirkby (Instructor). P. T. Ashton (Stowe).
Front Row ; J. Anderson (Stowe), G. Kirkwood (Dover), D. Sassoon-Benjamin (Maiden Erleigh), J. Hird (Repton), O. Briginshaw (Tonbridge), J. N. Ball (Wrekin), P. L. Chignell (St John's, Leatherhead), M. S. Barker (Stowe), S. Rhodes (St. Pauls).
prev. pilot for British Airways
m. 4 Jan 1955 the "twice-divorced Vivien Yzabel Suzanne Nicholson Caldwell, nee Hogg, formerly Morland, then Caldwell"
Address in 1974: Mill House, Sutton End, Sutton Pulborough, W Sussex
d. 11 Dec 1974 - W Sussex
* Personnel File Missing
Ed. Clinton High School, Business College in Clinton and Los Angeles.
prev. m. 1924 Florence A. [Paton] (divorced 1933)
Fined $1,000 and jailed for 3 months in 1925, along with his father E.W. Voelpel, a "wealthy Clinton manufacturer of soft drinks" (who got 1 year), for "illegal transportation and possession of intoxicating liquor."
"He is a friend of Col. Lindbergh."
About the same time that Roscoe Turner had Gilmore the lion cub in his cockpit, in 1931 Lyman had 'Simba', a mountain lion cub. "In three months I'll have to confine Zimba in a cage", he said, "He's growing too fast, and you can't always trust a mountain lion."
prev. an automobile mechanic and salesman; "airplane mechanic by actual experience in 15 years. Trained in barnstorming all over the US. 7 months with China National Air Force."
prev. exp. 2,800hrs
In Hankow, China in 1938, with his "first gunner, a Chinese youth trained to handle machine guns and protect the giant Chinese bombing ships in combat" behind him. (The Courier, Waterloo)
Address in 1940: 714 Park, Independence, MO
Travelled to the UK on SS Antonia, (27 Aug - 6 Sep 1940) with fellow pilots
- Jay Herald Cordner;
- John McDonald (M.92);
- Hubert Timmermans;
- Walter Trimble (M.112) and
- Barrs Whilden.
Postings: 1FPP, 2FPP. Seconded to AtFero.
In 1943, showing his 'Chinese safe conduct pass"
m. 1944 Georgia [Wilson]
Resident in Escondido, CA in 1973
d 1984 - Los Angeles
"The second son of the late A. W. Cook, C.I.E., I.C.S., of Calcutta, and Mrs. Cook, Willstead Lodge, Lee-on-Solent"
prev. exp. 325hrs
prev. RAFVR from 1935-7 (invalided out due to ill health)
and, a Tea Broker
O.C. No 7 Ferry Pool, Sherburn, from 22 July 1941
"He is exceptionally keen, hard-working and competent as a pilot, but there has been some risk that he judges others by his own standards and drives his pilots too hard."
... although Brief Glory puts it rather differently: "But from the Pool Commander - who in most cases spent as much time in the air as his most junior pilot - downwards, everyone was happy."
d. Jun 1958 - Surrey
Father: Charles Sydney Richards, Mother: Eveline Amelia [Applin]
RAeC Certificate 9421 dated 5 Sep 1930, London Aeroplane Club
prev. Telephone Operator, Bill Discounter, Company Director
m. 2 Jun 1923 in Tottenham, Agnes Eleanor Maud [Wilson]
Address in 1926-30: 35 Clevedon Mansions, Lissenden Gardens, London NW5
m. 1932 in Marylebone, Middx, Clara Frances [McAlister]
d. 16 Oct 1985 - Alcester, Warwicks
* No ATA File
Father: Alexander Guild, a hotel owner (d. 16 Mar 1914), Mother: Anne [Stoker] (d. 1923)
RAeC Certificate 12273 dated 8 Sep 1934, taken at Portsmouth Aero Club
prev. Fleet Air Arm (Temp Sub-Lieut RNVR from Nov 1939); Electrical Engineer
Travelled to the US in May 1927 to visit a friend, Mr S M Hostler (presumably Sidney M Hostler, the supervisor interviewer for Los Angeles); returned April 1928
Address in 1940: 97 Vctoria Rd North, Southsea, Hants
Travelled back to the USA in Oct 1948 (in SS Queen Elizabeth) and applied for naturalization in 1951:
"Harry Guild, 5909 Canyon Cove Drive, Hollywood, CA - a Lighting Engineer"
Naturalization was granted in 1954
d. 3 Dec 1966 - Los Angeles
Forest Lawn Memorial Park,Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles County, California, USA
m. 1928 Nellie Bunn (divorced 1932)
m. 1932 Flora Katherine Sheffield Cassas;
"A three-day romance between English-born actress Flora Sheffield, of New York, and Bill Whilden, aviator, reached its climax when the pair eloped. The romance started when Miss Sheffield took flying lessons under Whilden's instruction."
prev. Manager of the Dixie Air Transport Co, Charleston
Drafted Apr 1941 in New York
d. 1967 - Saint Johns, Florida. Buried Los Angeles.
Naturalised American 1934
Address in 1940: 37-20 76th St, Jackson Heights, Long Island NY
ATA Contract Terminated - Inefficiency
"Herewith, I forward Flight Test Reports on the five American pilots, who reported on the 22 August. From these, you will see that only two are in the class of pilot we require.
Passed: Ortman, Phillips
Failed: Breen, McCory, Wickford"
d. 18 Dec 1969 - Denton, TX
Ed. at MIT, Bachelor of Science
prev. Eastern Airlines, Aircraft Sales
prev. exp. 650 hrs
Address in 1940: 5024 214 St, Bayside, Long Island, NY
Postings: 1FPP, 4FPP, 3FPP, Marston Moor
October 1940: "Good pilot, but cannot yet find his way about on English maps"
Off sick from Nov 1940 to 5 Jan 41 after getting lost and damaging his Blenheim by landing it at a dummy airfield.
October 1943: "A good average pilot, keen and reliable and well-disciplined."
April 1945: This Officer hs worked well for the organisation."
Post-WWII, Head of Employment for Hughes Aircraft Co, Tucson, AZ and then, from 1961-64, an administrative officer for the Arizona Highway Department.
d. 2010 - New York
A commercial pilot since early 1929
prev. exp. 3,000 hrs
Address in 1940: 506 W Central Ave, Fort Worth TX
He requested that $25 a week of his $100 salary should be paid to the Red Cross Society.
"A pilot whose ability on twin-engined aircraft is well above the average." "His general flying instilled confidence."
The ATA offered him a contract extension following on from his 1-year term, which would have been from the 24th August 1941.
d. 14 Aug 1941 (Died in ATA Service) - one of four ATA pilots, travelling as passengers, amongst the 22 killed in the crash of Liberator AM260.
Others were Philip Lee (M.228), Elbert Anding (M.316) and Martin Wetzel.
The cause of the crash was that "the pilot in command [Cpt Richard Charles Stafford of BOAC] started the take off procedure from runway 06 which was not suitable for the takeoff as it was too short for such aircraft."
The ATA offered his mother an ex-gratia payment; she declined it at the time, but much later (in 1959), her circumstances having obviously changed, she did apply for a grant (and, I assume, receive it - his personnel file does not describe the outcome).
m. Magdalena L [Dockter]
Originally applied for the ATA in Aug 1940 but was rejected
Postings: 10FPP (Commanding Officer, 1943-44)
Pilot for Empire Airlines in 1946; Vice-President of Consolidated Air Transit, Inc in 1947; Operations Controller for World Airways in 1982
with Lettice Curtis in 1975 (ELC)
d. 2 Jun 2007, Hayward CA
Son of Sir Charles Richard Fairey MBE, the aircraft designer and industrialist. He joined his father's firm in the jig and tool office in 1936, then transferred to the design office.
Educated at Harrow and Cambridge
Address in 1940: Sutherland Grange, Oakley Green, Windsor
Special Characteristics: "High blood pressure, must not fly high"
A "very good pilot, good worker" but he suffered ill-health for most of 1941: 4 Jan to 11 Jun, ischio-rectal abcess; 22 Jun to 5 Jul, multiple minor injuries, and 18 Sep to 25 Nov, injury to back and knee.
He resigned from the ATA in December 1941.
Shortly afterwards, on the 24 Jan 1942, on his way to the USA to visit his father, his ship (the Norwegian vessel Ringstad) was torpedoed and he spent six days in a open boat. As a result of frostbite and exposure, both his legs were amputated below the knee.
"At 15.25 hours on 24 Jan 1942 the Ringstad (Master Jacob K. Knudstad), straggling from convoy ON-55 due to several days of stormy weather, was hit on the starboard side in the foreship by one torpedo from U-333 about 85 miles southeast of Cape Race. All on board abandoned ship in three lifeboats and were questioned by the U-boat that surfaced after the ship sank after 20 minutes by the bow. The Germans offered water and food to the survivors and told them the direction of the nearest land before leaving the area after wishing them good luck.
The lifeboats were separated in the stormy and cold weather. Two lifeboats containing 27 crew members and three passengers were never seen again. Only the motor boat of the master that was completely covered in ice was spotted after five days by an aircraft that escorted a convoy and sent USS Swanson (DD 443) to rescue the master and eleven other survivors in it. The exhausted men were landed at Reykjavik on 5 February."
[In case you ever look up the Times' obituary, you will find that they mistakenly thought that Dick was torpedoed in 1941 on his way to join the Atlantic Ferry Organisation. However, Dick, as his personnel file confirms, was ill for most of 1941, and was not seconded to Atfero. The Times reporter may have thought that Dick was on the SS Nerissa, which was indeed torpedoed in 1941, but she was bringing American ATA pilots to Britain - 11 of the 13 pilots on board were killed. Dick also said in April 1942 that he had been on a Norwegian ship which was torpedoed.]
After WWII Richard rejoined Fairey and became a Director and later Vice-Chairman. He also became "an outstanding private pilot", and flew for the company all over the world.
He was also a keen follower of powerboats; the 'Fairey Huntress' class of marine motor cruisers was his idea, apparently. He entered his Huntress in the 1960 Miami - Nassau race but this blew up and sank, the crew escaping unharmed. d. 27 Jul 1960 - Villa Benefiat, Cannes, "as a result of physical disabilities which followed injuries he received in the Second World War."
Ed. "Public School"
RAF Short Service Commission 16 Mar 1934 to 10 May 1937, 5TS, Sealand, and 41 Sqn, Northolt.
m. 1935 Mary Josephine [Morris]; [divorced 1943]
prev. exp. 525hrs
prev. Manager, Sales and Service Department of a Motor Company.
Address in 1940: 76 Upton Dr., Chester
Postings: 1FPP, 3FPP
2 accidents, 1 his fault (Taxying accident in a Havoc, August 1941)
"A good pilot and a good officer."
Contract Terminated 29 May 1942
Later a Test Pilot
d. 17 Jan 2003 - Taunton
(naturalised Canadian 1932)
previously (from Jul 1939) a Pilot Officer in the RAF. Before that, he had been involved in a flying accident whilst being carried as a passenger, and this "seemed to affect him when he had to be carried as a passenger or member of the crew". However, they said "I have no hesitation in recommending him as a pilot. He has more sense of responsibility than most pilots of his age".
d. 4 Nov 1940 (Died in ATA Service) - Oxford R6019 flew into hill at Brynford nr Holywell, Flintshire, in poor visibility
buried Hawarden, Cheshire
prev. a horticulturalist
[Contract Terminated, but re-engaged 3 Feb 1941]
d. 1991, Bournemouth
IWM interview here: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80009669
Ed. Budapest, Paris
Next of kin: Count B R Zichy (father), 7 Museum St, Budapest, Hungary
prev. an author
Address in 1940: St. Regis, Cork St, Mayfair, London
Postings: 1FPP, 14FPP, 2FPP
3 accidents, 1 his fault:
- 1 Jan 1941, he misjudged his speed and height and the port wing of his Hurricane dropped and hit the ground. "Pilot is to blame and accepts full responsibility."
- 11 Jan 1941, the tailwheel unit failed as he was taxying a Hurricane on frozen ground, and
- 4 Mar 1941, the brake system failed in a third Hurricane.
"has had a number of financial troubles and should be controlled in this resepct"
"This officer has become a useful ferry pilot"
Contyract Terminated - Medical Grounds
His Wikipedia Entry describes him as "a British actor, photographer, film director, producer and playboy of Hungarian descent."
His "Royal Artillery Tracer'" record shows that he enlisted in August 1943, was in a prisoner of war camp (I'm not sure whether this was in the UK or abroad, though) from December 1944 until 1945, and transferred to the Intelligence Corps in 1951.
d. Dec 1987 (suicide)
Next of Kin: (mother) Mrs Barbara Louise [Albrecht] Nelson, 2428 Main St., Stratford, CT.
Ed. High School, Stratford
m. Nina [Matzko], 1 daughter
Address in 1940: 146 Warwick Ave., Stratford, CT.
Arrived in England 6 Sep 1940
Postings: 2 FPP
"A good, useful pilot with a clean record. Somewhat dilatory apart from flying."
"Rather fussy about what he flew in the last month of his contract."
"Discipline and conduct off-duty good."
Transferred to AtFero
Sailed back to Montreal on 30 Aug 1941 with fellow pilots Hubert Timmermans, Gilbert Tobin, Clarence Goza and Lewis Hunter.
In August 1953, the Hartford Courant reported that the annual Tuna Tournament had been a wash out; "Irving G. Nelson of the Stratford entry was the only one who got a strike, and his was a shark." The following year, it was washed out again, this time by a hurricane; 22 of the 77 entries were sunk or disabled, including Irving's 'Tony B', which rammed into some pillars.
Union Cemetery, Stratford CT
d. 19 May 1955, Bridgeport, CT.
Former proprietor of Nelson's Restaurant in Startford; "Mr Nelson was employed for the last three years as a service representative for the Avco Corporation. He was a veteran of World War II, having served as a Royal Canadian Air Force ferry pilot. He joined the RCAF in August of 1940 and flew planes across the Atlantic to Britain. He was discharged with the rank of Captain."
Ed. at Texas University, Mechanical Engineering
Next of kin in 1940: Mother, Mrs M. L. Roberts, Box 545 Rt 5, Houston, Texas
m. Mar 1941 Kathleen Irene [Bewshear] and lived at 418 Wells Rd, Bristol 4, UK
Sailed to the UK from Montreal with fellow pilots Alexander Chase, Clyde Gray (M.244), Robert Perlick, Philo Pringle, Albert Robbins, and Gilbert Tobin.
Postings: White Waltham, Whitchurch
"Good pilot, prefers single-engine types; not too progressive, but vastly improved."
After a couple of forced landings early on, he had a lucky escape in Jun-41 when his Blenheim, flying in bad weather, hit a tree.
Sailed back to Montreal with fellow pilots Hubert Timmermans, Gilbert Tobin, Irving Nelson and Lewis Hunter.
d. 1 Aug 1947 from burns he suffered in the crash of a crop-dusting aircraft near Spartanburg, S.C. His plane, belonging to Roberts Dusting Co. of Fort Pierce, Florida, stalled after take-off and crashed on the farm of William Mitchell where he was dusting cotton.
Inman Cemetery, Inman, Spartanburg County, South Carolina
"Mr and Mrs H[arry] R[ichmond] Gray are receiving congratulations upon the arrival of a little son, born Dec. 29. The little fellow is the first grandchild in both families and has been names Clyde Erskine Gray after his paternal grandfather" - St Louis Post-Dispatch
The family moved to South Shore Drive, Chicago and in May 1908 it was reported that: "Mrs Clyde Erskine, Mrs Gray's mother, is visiting them."
Educated; Grammar School, Military School, Jr. College
Engaged to Winifred Alaine [Stanz] in 1929 but may not have married (see below)
m. Elsie Mary [Green] Dec 1940 in Bristol
Address in 1941: Box 1001, Beverley Hills, California
Elsie's address: 11 Burnside Gardens, Prestwick
prev. an Aerial Photographer
Postings: 1FPP, 4FPP
Not sure why his contract was cut short after 299 days - his only accidents (the latter not his fault) were in November and December 1940.
He sailed back to the USA on 26 April 1941, without Elsie.
d. Jan. 9, 1965 - Los Angeles County, California, USA
His son, Stephen Bennett Bishop,"known to his friends and family as Steve, died on April 17, 2014, after a short illness. He was born in Milwaukee, WI on February 26, 1931, to Winifred Alaine Stanz and Clyde Erskine Gray. He was adopted by Herbert Bennett Bishop at the age of three and was raised in the Los Angeles area for most of his childhood."
Father: Clarence E Tobin (d. 1958), mother Alberta [Klump]
Ed. High School; Navigation Course
m. Meriel [Miller], 4 children
prev. Commercial Flying and 'Petroleum Business' - he ran a service station.
In 1937, he was warned by a mysterious telephone caller that he would "get the works", after he cut his price to 12.5 cents a gallon when the prevailing price locally was 15.9 cents. The hoses were slashed on four of his gas pumps, but he renewed them. He protested he was willing to work with other dealers and "couldn't understand the cause of the attacks."
prev. exp. 597 hrs
Address in 1940: 64 Pease Ave, Verona, NJ
Postings: 1FPP, 6FPP
Grounded for 1 week in Aug 1941 for "Disobedience of orders"
4 accidents, 2 his fault:
- 23 Oct 1940, he "broke" a Hurricane after getting lost and choosing an unsuitable field to land;
- 13 Mar 1941, overshot in a Spitfire, partly due to oil on the windscreen but "this does not clear pilot from responsibility"
- 25 May 1941, commended for a successful forced landing after engine failure in a Whitley;
- 13 Jul 1941, force-landed a Fairchild after engine failure.
"Keen pilot. Had usual navigation difficulties experienced by American pilots at first."
"Proved himself a very capable pilot and navigator. When he wanted to he could work extremely well but he has a bombastic manner which often leads to difficulty and unpleasantness."
Served with RAF Ferry Command from September 1941. "I liked England all right, but I got sick of eating cabbage", he said. "Its' all right for the English, who seem to be used to eating very little, but for Americans it's tough."
Later moved to Montreal and ran an Air Transport Service.
d. 17 Aug 1977 - Montreal
The 'ancient and tattered' pilots of the ATA were indeed responsible for delivering RAF aircraft during the Battle of Britain
From May 1st 1940, they had taken over transporting all military aircraft from factories to maintenance units to have guns and accessories installed.
However, 'Narrow Margin' makes no reference to them at all, and other reference books I have maybe mention them in passing ...eg, ""With such a massive programme of aircraft production and repair it was recognised in 1939 that tremendous manpower would be needed merely to ferry aircraft from one place to another and to deliver them to Britain's service units. The answer was the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA)".
During the period of the Battle (June - end October 1940)
- So the entire fighter output of the British aircraft industry in those months (66 Beaufighters, 213 Defiants, 1,334 Hurricanes, 731 Spitfires and 10 Whirlwinds, according to Narrow Margin) was delivered from the factories by about 150 men, average age 32.
There were 23 active women pilots at the time:
Amy Johnson and Lettice Curtis were certainly active during this time:
"Amy had been given a Master from Woodley to Silloth and I was to travel up with her in the back seat, to bring down what was I was told was a Hart from Silloth to Sealand ... Eventually we got away at around two o'clock on a mid-September afternoon." - Forgotten Pilots p.48
She also says that "Because we were only flying trainer aircraft, the fact that this was the summer of the Battle of Britain had little direct impact on us at Hatfield. The fact that bombs were dropped in the vicinity of airfields we were visiting, or that enemy aircraft had been shot down, merely added to the day's interest." (Typical Lettice...)
Sister of ATA Pilot Margaret Fairweather; Kitty was seriously injured in the crash in which Margaret died.
d. 19 July 1998
Imperial Airways before WWII
Address in 1935: Welford House, Hampstead, London
The BOAC pilots seconded to the ATA were the mainstay of the Advanced Flying Training Unit from September 1940, but; they were all recalled to BOAC in January 1942.
Lettice Curtis says ""with the going of the BOAC pilots the school was never the same again, and certainly a lot of fun and gaiety went out of the instructors' room when it passed into the hands of the generally older professional instructors."
"With pilots like BOAC Captains Griffiths, Derrington Turner, Weston Taggart, Ken Buxton and last but no means least Jim Weir, there was never a dull minute."
"since the war he has been flying on the BOAC routes to North America. He is married and has two children"
"nephew of the late Sir Thomas Houston, the noted bacteriologist"
Ed. St. Andrew's College, Dublin, and the Methodist College, Belfast.
"He studied medicine for two years at Queen's University, Belfast, but decided to fly and In 1937 he joined Imperial Airways as a second officer"
"He began flying on European routes with the Heracles class and the Scylla and Syrinx. He later flew in Frobishers and Ensigns."
m. 1937 in Flintshire, Claire E [Beatty]
The BOAC pilots seconded to the ATA were the mainstay of the Advanced Flying Training Unit from September 1940, but they were all recalled to BOAC in January 1942.
Lettice Curtis says "with the going of the BOAC pilots the school was never the same again, and certainly a lot of fun and gaiety went out of the instructors' room when it passed into the hands of the generally older professional instructors."
"With pilots like BOAC Captains Griffiths, Derrington Turner, Weston Taggart, Ken Buxton and last but no means least Jim Weir, there was never a dull minute."
He returned to BOAC in 1941 and flew Liberators and Dakotas to North Africa. In 1944 he went to Cairo in charge of the Corporation's training unit there. After 1946 he occupied a number of operational posts and in 1951 he became manager of the Hermes and Yorks fleet.
Belfast Telegraph, 1953
He was nominated as manager of the Britannia fleet in 1953, then Training Manager from 1957.
Ed. Mexborough Secondary School
m. 1926 Winifred Mary [Symonds] [d. 1989], son John b. 1929 d. 1959 **
prev. a Motor Engineer - T.T. [Tourist Trophy] Garage, Farnham
Address in 1940: 'Merridale', Rowledge, Farnham, Surrey
Owned a 1928 Avro Avian III G-EBWK until 1938: "PRIVATELY Owned Avro-Avian 2-seater, dual J. control. 12 months C. of A.; approximately 150 hours since rebuilt by Avro's; £150 or near offer.—Hawthorn, T.T. Garage, Farnham."
Postings: 1FPP, 6FPP
"A hard working pilot but is a nervous type and requires regular flying and good weather".
Contract Terminated 21 Nov 1942 - Disciplinary Reasons; "Work as a pilot was satisfactory but behaviour as an officer was poor. Continually giving trouble on establishment questions and considers his own opinion of greater force than official orders."
d. 8 Jun 1954 - Godalming, Surrey "LESLIE HAWTHORN, father of Mike Hawthorn, the racing motorist, died in Haslemere Hospital last night from Injuries received in a crash at Hindhead, Surrey, on Monday night. He was driving to his home in Farnham when his car was Involved in a collision with another private car and turned over three times, Mr. Hawthorn received severe head injuries The driver of the other car was uninjured but a woman passenger in it was taken to hospital. Mr, Hawthorn was unconscious lor more than 12 hours before he died. His wife was his bedside throughout the day. Police confirmed that telegrams had been sent to Italy informing Mike Hawthorn of his father’s accident, but they did not know whether or not he had received them."
** from Wikipedia: "John Michael 'Mike' Hawthorn (10 April 1929 – 22 January 1959) was a British racing driver. He became the United Kingdom's first Formula One World Champion driver in 1958, whereupon he announced his retirement, having been profoundly affected by the death of his teammate and friend Peter Collins two months earlier in the 1958 German Grand Prix. Hawthorn also won the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans, but was haunted by his involvement in the disastrous crash that marred the race. Hawthorn died in a road accident six months after retiring; he was suffering from a terminal illness at the time."
Father: Richard Blackmore, Mother: Maud
2nd Lieut Essex Regiment, RFC Corporal in WWI
RAeC Certificate 8549 dated 9 Apr 1929, taken at De Havilland Flying School
Address in 1929: 21 Vale Court, Mallord St, Chelsea
prev. student of electrical engineering; butcher
Sailed to Canada in May 1930
Address in 1931: 2147 Sherebroke, Montreal, Canada, described as a commercial air pilot, living with wife Olive Joy (m. 1928/9, an artist)
Olive sailed back to the UK from Canada in Sep 1931 and May 1932, Richard in Sep 1932
Olive d. 1959 as a widow
* No ATA File
Ed. High School Diploma, Stanford University
prev. Aircraft Sales and Insurance
Address in 1940: 1357 N Vine St, Hollywood, CA. Later, Bel Air Bay Club, Pacific Palisades, CA
Postings: 1FPP, 14FPP, 3FPP, 6FPP
Off sick from 21 Mar to 26 Apr 1941 with a duodenal ulcer, then from 17 Dec 1942 to 21 Jan 1943 because he was 'Unhappy'.
- 2 Nov 1940, forced landing in a Hurricane after he got lost;
- 20 May 1942, forgot to lower the undercarriage of his Anson. Blamed due to 'poor cockpit drill.'
"A first-class officer and a sound pilot of good judgement, who is hard-working and most willing. He is a man of pleasant disposition and will be an excellent influence in the Unit [6 FPP]."
On a visit home in 1941, Philo said "Those old World War stories about British officer aloofness and seeming snobbishness toward Americans and even their own colonials are unbelievable today. The British go out of their way to do things for men wearing an emblem showing they have volunteered from other countries."
"Everybody seems to have plenty of good, wholesome food, though fancy steaks are practically extinct. And fresh fruit comes mighty high, too. Once when I had delivered a ship to the Isle of Man the weather closed in and I had to put up overnight at a hotel where the landlady was frantic on account of a lemon. The good woman actually owned a lemon, and it was so valuable she was afraid it might be stolen, so she hid it carefully. Then she forgot where she had put it."
d. 30 Aug 1946 [Age 31]
The Sacramento Bee, 6 Nov 1948 - "The wreckage of a plane and the skeletons of four [later revealed as five] people have been found by a hunter in the mountains 40 miles southwest of Seligman, Arizona.
The plane may be the one reported missing more than 2 years ago on a flight from Los Angeles to St. Louis. The twin engined Cessna left August 30, 1946 with Arthur M. Freund, 66, a retired Missouri manufacturer; his wife, Hattie; his son, Stephen, 35; a male nurse, John Coles, and a pilot, Philo B. Pringle"
The plane had hit the northwest slope of 7,000-ft Mt. Hope, near the summit. The wreckage was identified by Philo's brother Larry and father Robert.
Ed. High Scool, 1 yr college
m. Martha, 3 daughters
Next of kin: Originally his mother, Mrs M P Sparks, 562 Washington St, Camden, N.J., later changed to (Guardian) Orval M Rosier, V.P. American Airlines, N Beach Airport, NY
prev. a chauffeur
prev. exp. 3,500 hrs
Postings: 4FPP, 2FPP
Suspended for a week in December 1940 for "dangerous shooting up of Prestwick", in a Spitfire.
- from 16 Jan to 26 Mar 1941 with appendicitis;
- 7 Nov 1941 to 25 Jan 41 with a fractured hand, and
- 7 Feb to 7 Mar 1942 with influenza.
One accident: 10 Jul 1941 in a Rapide, forced landing due to engine failure.
"Good pilot", but absent for various reasons.
He failed to turn up for an appointment with the Medical Officer on the 4 Mar 1942, and his contract was suspended and then terminated. This led to his service being categorised as "unsatisfactory".
Postings: 3FPP, 4FPP, 4bFPP
He "cemented his union with this country by choosing a British wife and, being of a very modest and unobtrusive nature, arranged a Registry Office wedding without mentioning the matter to any of his friends.
As was to be expected, every pilot at his home station, Prestwick, was soon aware of the day, the place and the time, and, when the unfortunate couple left the Registrar they were met by a solid block of 40 pilots. After being carried out and suitably feted at a nearby hotel, the bridegroom was finally escorted from the scene in a wheelbarrow." BG
"An excellent officer in all respects."
d. June 1, 2000 in San Luis Obispo, CA
Military Service in WWI from 5 Jun 1917 to 19 Feb 1919 and 1924-27
prev. a copper miner and farmer, then pilot; "he established and then flew an air-mail route from Kansas to Denver in the early 1920s"
m. 1914 Judith M [Anderson], 2 children
Address in 1930: District H, Denver, Colorado
In the mid-30s he was the pilot of the splendid "sub-stratosphere" Shelton AG-4 Crusader, which was expected to "Whiz-z-z to Paris" but the company folded in 1938 under securities fraud investigations before the Crusader could go into production.
In 1940 they were living with her mother, and his brother-in-law's family in Pasadena, CA
Sailed back to Montreal on the SS Tilapa on 19 Aug 1941, with fellow-pilot John Marine, on a vist to Pasadena. He said "I am sure the British will win. They have so much spirit and actual courage. Even during the height of a bomb raid, they will put on the tea pot for that 4 o'clock cup of tea."
d. 2 Mar 1944 of natural causes at Prestwick, S Ayrshire, Scotland
Buried Cambridge American Cemetery, England
Ed. High School, 1 yr of college
His first wife Berndine [Myers] was killed in a car accident in 1928
prev. Corporal in US Army Apr 1917 to Feb 1919, then a charter pilot
He competed in the 1937 Bendix Air Derby from Los Angeles to Cleveland, (won by Frank Fuller) but damaged his Beechcraft in a ground-loop, and in the following year (won by Jaqueline Cochran, later of the ATA) he finished outside the time allowed for completion.
For the 1939 race, he was due to fly Amelia Earhart's old Lockheed Vega but it was by then too slow to be competitive and he withdrew before the start.
In 1939, he was one of "about 20 people in the world who make a living as 'sky-writers' - using smoke to write letters a mile long at 125mph." In May he wrote a new record-length message of 23 letters: HELLO NAVY - DRINK PEPSI-COLA to welcome the fleet home to Wilmington, CA.
On 6 Jun 1940, he flew Beechcraft Staggerwing NC16441 from Turtle Bay, Mexico to Lindbergh Field, San Diego, CA
Address in 1940: Grapevine, Texas; later 24 W 55 St, New York.
Postings: 1FPP, 6FPP
One accident: 25 October 1940, when he did a wheels-up landing in a Fairey Battle after engine failure.
Seconded to AtFero 20 Mar 1941
He held the record for a Montreal to Scotland crossing, 19hrs 50min.
His flights for AtFero as an ATA pilot in 1941 include:
He was still a ferry pilot in Mar 1945, then returned to airline flying, then real estate.
d. 1981 - San Bernadino, CA
Ed. Fishburn Military Prep School, Virginia Military Institute, Purdue University, Indianan State University.
m. Marjorie R
Address in 1941: 2707 N Haskee, Dallas TX. Employed by the Dallas Aviation School at Love Field.
Later Regional Manager for Loral Electronics.
d. 29 Oct 1967, Dayton OH
"He flew with the RAF Cayton Wright Committee before joining the US Navy [in June 1942] from which he retired as a Lt-Commander."
RFC in 1917
Address in 1941: The Close, Olton, Warwickshire
Ed. High School, Los Altos; Electrical Engineering Diploma
Address in 1940: (father, Thomas Harry Slingsby) 134W Los Altos, CA
Postings: 1FPP, 6FPP
3 accidents, 2 his fault:
- 20 Oct 1940, he failed to open the hood of his Hurricane and it slid back on approach. Due to dust in his eyes, he misjudged the landing and dropped a wing
- 21 Dec 1940, the airscrew of his Spitfire was damaged on landing, after he bounced on some unflagged obstructions
- 8 Jan 1941, he landed his Botha with the undercarriage retracted
Seconded to AtFero
"Harold Gordon 'Buzz' Slingsby was a pilot, ground photographer and aerial photographer by trade, and reporter, detective and soldier of fortune by heart". (Santa Cruz Evening News, 1940)
He received a second award in two months for 'meritorious service' from Gen. MacArthur in Sep 1942.
"He may be a hero, but he never says a word about it in his letters" said his wife Laura.
Laura was "in the publicity and photography business with her husband in San Francisco for several years"
d. 26 Jun 1985 - Camp Verde, AZ
prev. RAF Auxiliary AF 1932-40
prev. exp. 875 hrs
m. 1937 in Bristol, Betty Newton [Mason]
Addess in 1940: Seabreeze, Church Cliffs, Lyme Regis
Postings: 1FPP, 5FPP (as C.O.), 9FPP (as C.O.) 2FPP
One accident, not his fault:
- 11 Sep 1941, forced landing in a Magister, taxied into an unmarked rut.
"A pilot of above average ability. " "Has commanded IFTS in an eminently satisfactory manner."
d. 1990- Penzance
His father, Howard E Mussey Snr, was a Supervisor with the Woodward Iron Company but was killed in 1926 when a blast furnace exploded: "Five white men and eleven negroes were instantly killed and several others seriously burned."
m. 1935 Margurete Marshall [Gribble]
Address in 1941: 2011 Highland Ave, Birmingham
Arrived in the UK on the 'Duchess of Atholl' 5 Oct 1940, with fellow pilots Roger Inman, William Cummings, Edward Vencill, Martin Wetzel and Constant Wilson.
Returning to the USA in February 1941, he said that air raids never interrupted their work in the ATA; "We went up because that is the safest place to be. I was blown out of bed several times while quartered at air fields outside of London, and I would much rather be in the air when the siren sounds."
d. 7 Apr 1967 - Birmingham AL
Next of Kin: (mother) Sibyl/Sibbel H B Livermore, 667 South Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL
Father d. 1935
Ed. Riverside Military Academy, Gainesville GA, and Sarasota High
prev. Crop Dusting pilot
Co-pilot of the Curtiss Robin 'Sealdsweet', which attempted (several times) to establish a 100-hour refuelling endurance flight record in 1929.. They refuelled from another Curtiss Robin named the 'Mor-Juce', but a series of mechanical problems meant they eventually abandoned the attempt.
prev. exp. 2400 hrs, "practically all on medium and heavy aircraft. Has a commercial pilot's license."
m. 1934 Carline [Whitney], 1 daughter Barbara b. 1936
1 accident, his fault:
- 26 Feb 1941, he landed his Whitley at the wrong aerodrome and struck an obstruction when taking off again.
"Smooth and accurate in the air. Is very fine type."
Seconded to AtFero 15 Mar 1941
d. 14 Oct 1942 (age 33) in a Liberator crash after taking off from Trinidad. The plane had mistakenly taken off on the emergency fuel tanks only, and all engines stopped after the plane had climbed a few hundred feet.
Accepted for commemoration on the Ottowa Memorial in 2018.
Ed, High School, Business College
prev. Commercial Pilot and Instructor, and a bus driver for Madison Bus Co.
Address in 1940 (mother) Route 2 University Park, Madison, WI
He "never liked tea very well, and that's one of the things he has to drink in England". He also complained about his cold, damp room.
Seconded to AtFero from 20 Mar to 29 May 1941
m. 1941 Pearl J [Quam]
Captain for Pan American in 1942, based in Miami; he sent this photo of himself from Egypt:
d. 29 Dec 1951 in the crash near Napoli, New York of Continental Charters Flight 44-2, a domestic non scheduled passenger flight from Miami, Florida to Buffalo, New York .
"The twin engine C-46 Commando, registration N3944C, crashed approximately 10:25 pm in adverse weather conditions. Of the four crew and 36 passengers on board, 3 crew members and 23 passengers perished. The flight crew's poor judgment in attempting a flight by visual reference during instrument weather conditions was the cause of the accident." Wikipedia
Father: Cesar Schlesinger, from "a region of Germany which is now part of Poland"
changed name by deed poll (to name of step-father George Herbert, who brought her up from 1904) New
m. 1922 in Chelsea, Ronald H Boswell, a Publisher (Messrs John Lane, Bodley Head)
She and Ronald travelled to Argentina together in 1927, and to South Africa the following year.
She listed her profession as "Author"; she had published books called 'Posterity - A Novel' in 1926, and 'Bull among China' in 1928.
m. 1929 in Paddington, Robin George Westbury Farnell (of Farnell Carbons Ltd, Plumstead, London SE. The son of the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford. His first wife Dorothy [Coode] d. 1926)
3 children (David (Boswell) b. 1923, Martin (Boswell) b. 1926, Michael (Farnell) b. 1928)
Address in 1935-1940: Idleigh Court, Meopham, Kent
In 1940 she said she lost contact with her father "about 15 years ago - now dead" [Cesar "spent the last 20 years of his life equally shared 6 months at a time between South Africa and the UK"]
3 accidents, 2 her fault:
- 22 Feb 1941, when she misjudged an approach in her Puss Moth;
- 11 Dec 1941, her Wicko nosed over after misuse of brakes while landing
- 22 Feb 1942, the engine of her Magister backfired when the airscrew was being swung.
[Contract Terminated by ATA]
Images via Nicholas Farnell
d. 14 Apr 1995 - Sedbury, Tidenham, Glos
Father: Ivor Bertram John
Ed. Bristol University, [Zoology]
Prev. RAF Link Trainer Instructor at EFTS, P/O in RAF 151(F) Sqn, North Weald from May 37 to Jan 39 (Resigned)
m. 1938 Evelyn Mary [Congdon]
Address in 1940: 165 Markfield Lane, Ratby, nr. Leicester
Postings: 1FPP, 4, FPP, 14FPP, 6FPP, 8FPP, 3FPP, 10FPP
Jun 42: "This officer does the work that is given to him but doesn't show great keenness and is rather slow. His behaviour as an officer leaves something to be desired ... he is unlikely to suffer from overwork."
Nov 42: "His finances have been shaky but this trouble has been tackled firmly and an improvement should result."
May 44: "A keen hard working pilot who has shown good judgement and a high degree of adaptability."
Reprimanded and fined one day's pay for going AWOL, in early Dec 44
d. Sep 1982 - Chichester, West Sussex
Cavalry, Dorsetshire Yeomanry, RFC and RAF during WWI; RAF Overseas 1925-33 (Sgt and F/O).
prev exp 347 hrs
Resigned from ATA 18 Jan 1943
d. 9 May 1946, Berkshire - Flight says "It is with regret that we record the death on May 9th, in a test-flying accident, of Mr. Llewellyn Oliver Moss. Mr. Moss, who was 51 years of age, was chief production test pilot of the Gloster Aircraft Company.
After serving in the Dorsetshire Yeomanry in the first European war, he transferred to the R.F.C. and remained in the R.A.F. Reserve. At the outbreak of the second European war he was considered too old to fly with the R.A.F., and therefore joined the A.T.A. Later, he was in charge of the A.T.A. Brockworth pool, and, in view of his good work, was employed in 1942 by Glosters as production test pilot on the Typhoon contract. More recently Mr. Moss had been carrying out production tests on Meteors and had also helped with development work on this type."
RFC from 4 Feb 1916, RAF from 1 Apr 1918 to 1926
prev. a fabric worker
"MAN IN CHARGE
Commander James McGuinness, a Motherwell man, showed me to-day round the station he commanded here at Prestwick. Commander McGuinness has, since he arrived early in the war, put several hundred pilots through his hands, averaging 50 at a time - the normal station strength." Daily Record, November 1945
d. 1 Jul 1974 - Blantyre
Father: Albert Francis Lane, a Colliery Agent, Mother: Mary [Warren]
2nd Lieut, RFC in WW1
RAeC Certificate 5709 dated 17 Feb 1918, taken at Ruffy-Baumann School, Acton, on a Caudron Biplane
Address in 1918: 8 Laburnam Rd, Maidenhead, Berks
m. 1924 in Maidenhead, Olga [Greiner]
Address in 1930: The Chase, Belmont Park Avenue, Windsor
d. 1972 - West Glamorgan
* ATA File not seen
Address in 1940: Donalsonville, Georgia
Arrived in the UK on the 'Duchess of Atholl' 5 Oct 1940, with fellow pilots Roger Inman, Howard Mussey, Edward Vencill, Martin Wetzel and Constant Wilson.
Contract Terminated by ATA 27 Jun 1941 - Disciplinary Reasons
He took over the guardianship of his neice, Sidney Ethel Cummings, after the death of his brother Peter Sidney Cummings and his wife, and gave her away at her wedding in 1955.
d. 3 Sep 1991 - Brinson, Decatur GA
prev. a Sales Manager
Address in 1934: 128 New Rd, Portsmouth
- 2 Apr 1943, the rear panel exit door of his Hampden I P1209 came loose during flight
- 2 Oct 1944, a forced landing in Tempest V JN761 following engine oil problems.
m. 1938 in Portsmouth, Dorothy May [Paine]
d. 2 Sep 1968 - Portsmouth
son of Thomas Jenkins
Address in 1940: 59 Ashes Rd, Causeway Green, Langley, Birmingham
Moved to 106 Winona Dr, Toronto after leaving ATA
prev. a commercial pilot, then Volunteer pilot in Finnish Air Force, Feb - Mar 1940
prev. exp. 560hrs
"Has proved himself a most reliable, keen and hardworking pilot. Unfortunately, he became nervous and worried about his flying and is in need of an extended leave."
Ed. 'Public School'
m. 1923 Una St Mary [Kittoe]
Address in 1940: Vince Cottage, Kingsdown, Deal, Kent
Next of Kin: (brother) Squadron Leader Murray Payn, [who had "taught Prince Bernard to fly at Hatfield", according to Lettice Curtis]
prev. a Company Director; also a racing motorist [at Brooklands, and in the 1931 French Grand Prix]
prev. exp. 390 hrs
Had owned an SE5A and a 1929 Avro 504K G-AARV [which he wrote off in an accident in 1931], but had also flown "Tiger Moth, Miles Hawk, Comper Swift, Desoutter etc"
Postings: 1FPP, 2FPP, 15FPP
"An extremely keen and helpful member of the Pool"
Rather accident-prone, though... 9 accidents in 15 months, (admittedly only 3 of them deemed to be his fault)
- 2 Nov 1940, accident in a Hurricane, "not blamed but guilty of indiscretion and poor judgement";
- 17 Nov 1940, hydraulic failure in a Master, "pilot showed good judgement";
- 18 Dec 1940, taxied a Hurricane into a parked lorry, due to low brake pressure;
- 13 Feb 41, heavy landing in a Hurricane, damaging a wing tip;
- 26 Apr 1941, landed a Spitfire with the undercarriage up;
- 8 Jun 1941, accident in a Tomahawk (for which he was deemed "Not Responsible, as information which would have helped was not available to him");
- 3 Nov 1941, collided with a stationary Blenheim in (of all things) a Handley Page Hereford, after his port engine failed, and
- 18 Nov 1941, forced landing in a Swordfish after engine failure;
- 25 Jan 1942, forced landing in a Spitfire after engine failure.
d. 22 Sep 1942, at the Victoria Hospital in Deal, while on sick leave, "after a short ilness"
Buried St James Cemetery, Dover
His brother Murray wrote to Gerard d'Erlanger: "[His death] is very sad but I would like you to know that Armstrong was very happy in the ATA."
Sir Geoffrey Le Mesurier Mander KB (1882-1962), MP for East Wolverhampton 1929-1945 - see http://www.historywebsite.co.uk/genealogy/SirGeoffreyMander/Mander.htm
Mother: Rosalind Florence [Caverhill]
Ed. Harrow; Chilllon College, Switzerland; Trinity College, Cambridge; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA
RAeC Certificate 9557 dated 8 Oct 1930, taken at Midland Aero Club
m. 29 Oct 1935, Fraulein Elizabeth Maria Dorothea [Mettlich] (one son Mervyn Nicholas Mettlich, b. 22 Jan 1943)
"He and his wife are keen swimmers"
prev. Paint manufacturer (Director of Mander Bros., Wolverhampton)
prev. exp. 50 hrs on DH Moth, Bristol Fighter and Avro 504
Address in 1940: Boningale Farmhouse, Albrighton, Salop
Later moved to Wightwick Manor, Wolverhampton, Staffs, (the house built by his grandfather, which is now owned by the National Trust):
Postings: 12FPP, 3FPP
4 accidents, 2 his fault:
- 6 Feb 1942, he taxied his Magister N3884 'carelessly' into a barbed wire fence at Hawarden
- 26 Aug 1942, his Master I T8274 was baulked whilst landing at Thornhill and he lost height and touched a barbed wire fence, instead of going round
- 11 Jan 1943, after a heavy landing in Spitfire IX EN248 at Sealand, the undercarriage collapsed on soft unflagged ground
- 5 Feb 1943, the propeller tip of his Hurricane II KX718 broke off during taxying, due to it 'picking up' a stone
"A well-behaved officer, and a good worker. As a pilot he is about average" ... "A reliable pilot who uses his common sense and shows good judgement"
His C.O. at 3FPP added "F/O Mander has left the ATA for health reasons... I am exceedingly sorry that he has left"
m. 27 Nov 1952 in Bristol, Janet Prangley [Philip]
Address 1962-1978: Pond House, Wilmington, Sussex
d. 28 Mar 1978 - Eastbourne, Sussex
Father: Robert Burton Pynsent, Mother: Mary Isobel
Sailed to India (via Ceylon) in 1933, returning from Calcutta in Apr 1934
prev. Director of Aero Hire Service; Special Constable
Address in 1939: Park Hill Rd, Croydon, Surrey
P/O RAF from 15 Aug 1941
m. 1942 Bessie F [Hunt]
d. 3 Nov 1967 - Coulsdon, London
* ATA File not seen
Father: Daniel Henry Zimmerman, mother Esther [Smart]
"AIRMEN RESCUEO BY FREIGHTER.
New York, Wednesday.
The freighter Freida has wirelessed the Mackay Radio Company that she has rescued the airmen Paul Zimmerman and Edward Moodie, who were attempting to fly to Porto Rico and were forced down off the Virginia coast yesterday morning." - Yorkshire Evening Post 16 Dec 1931
prev. a railroad brakeman; Flight Instructor for Republic of Honduras, Jul 1936-Feb 1937
He travelled back to the US from Honduras in May 1938
Address in 1940: 150 State Street, Albany NY
Seconded to AtFero
Flew to Baltimore from Foynes, Eire on BOAC's Boeing Model 314A 'Clipper', G-AGCA "Berwick" with Gordon Store as pilot, arriving 2 Jun 1942
Paul's Registration Card, dated September 1943
Holder of the Transtlantic Air Record in 1944:
Air Ministry News Service also announce a new Transatlantic air record with Liberator by the Atlantic Group of the Transport Command.
Captain Paul Zimmerman and his crew made non-stop flights from Montreal to Britain and back. They returned in the same aircraft in 39 hours 17 minutes, including a stop of 9 hours 19 minutes in Britain. The airborne time for the double crossing of 6300 statute miles was thus only 29 hours 58 minutes. The direct flight from Montreal to Britain was made in 15 hours 9 minutes, and the return in 14 hours 49 minutes " - Dundee Evening Telegraph, 10 Mar 1944
Father: William Riley Inman, Mother Ora B [Fowler]
Next of kin: (mother) Ora Inman, 511W First St, Coffeyville, Kansas
At age 17, a machinist in Worth, Iowa
"Rodger is one of the two famous flying brothers of Coffeyville, Kansas. He and his brother Arthur operate the Inman Brothers Flying Circus, A third brother, Don, the youngest, was killed in 1935 in a Florida air crash."
Margie Inman, Leona Inman, Melvin Hart, Rolley Inman, Art Inman, Carl Hall, Merle Smith
Arrived in the UK on the 'Duchess of Atholl' 5 Oct 1940, with fellow pilots Howard Mussey, William Cummings, Edward Vencill, Martin Wetzel and Constant Wilson.
Went back to the USA on the 'Duchess of Richmond' 1 Nov 1940
Joned US Air Transport Command, North Atlantic Wing
d. 19 Jun 1944 - Millinocket, Maine in a C-54 Skymaster crash enroute England to Washington.
"One-armed pilot and film actor" (Brief Glory)
prev. exp. 300hrs (pre-war he was restricted to single-engine types, but also flew twins in the ATA).
"An excellent ferry pilot whose disability handicaps him surprisingly little.... inclined towards conceit, but this does not detract from his usefulness."
Ed. High School, 1 yr Aero Engineering
Father: Clark Loring Trumbull, US Army in WWI, d. 26 Jun 1949, buried Arlington National Cemetery
prev. Commercial pilot
prev. exp. 774 hrs
Address in 1940: RFD No. 1, Silver Spring, Maryland
Postings: 6FPP, AFTS
Suspended for 2 days in Feb 1942 for "refusal to carry on with flight and parked aircraft"
4 accidents, 3 his fault:
- 24 Nov 1940, he failed to correct the take-off swing in a Mohawk and hit a tree "before completing a circuit and landing"
- 30 Mar 1941, he selected 'undercarriage up' instead of 'flaps up' after landing in a Blenheim
- 11 Sep 1941, he failed to control the landing swing of a Hudson, and broke the port undercarriage leg
- 3 Jan 1942, the hood of his Spitfire blew off due to 'insecure fitting' and slightly damaged the tail.
"A good pilot who can do excellent work when he feels like it. Normally a quiet and steady officer."
m. Jan 1942 in Leicester, Joan E [Beard]
Resident in Florida in 1994
d. 18 Sep 2001 - Washington DC
One of 10 children (he had 5 brothers and 4 sisters]
His uncle died and left him $75,000 in February 1940. "I haven't seen him in years. I don't even know what his first name is. I only know him as Uncle Joe."
Anyway, he said he was "going to use both hands and try to spend it in two months."
Address in 1941: 3518 Punam St., Dallas TX
Arrived in the UK on the 'Duchess of Atholl' 5 Oct 1940, with fellow pilots Roger Inman, Howard Mussey, William Cummings, Martin Wetzel and Constant Wilson.
Returned to USA via Bermuda and Venezuela 30 Jan 1941. He said he had met German fighters in the air only on two occasions and "both times the German planes were only about 300 yards away.. They made no attempt to attack, but they certainly scared me", he confessed.
m. 2 Aug 1941 Virginia Lee [Galloway] in Jefferson, Arkansas [3 sons, 3 daughters]
d. 19 October 1961 at Macron Lake, Mississippi, in an aircraft accident while crop-dusting.
The subject of a 1962 book called "Booger Red: The Saga of Edward Vencill, Master of Grim Humor, Daredevil Flyer, ...One of a Vanishing Breed" by Gene Foster
The Story of "Booger Red"
Edward Vencill is dead, but Booger Red lives on, a legend in the annals of American aviation and a fond memory for those who knew him best.
Those of you who never inhabited the dusting strips of our country never heard of Booger Red. But those who have followed the trade of the professional pilot know him as a legend in his own lifetime.
Edward Vencill and Booger Red are the same courageous, careful person. But at an early age, freckle-faced, devil-may-care "Booger Red" took over; and most folks who knew him forgot he had the name Edward Vencill.
During his wildest exploits - barnstorming, crop dusting, and just out-of-this world plane jockeying - reporters who covered his stunts and crashes seldom spelled his name correctly, but regardless of how his name was spelled, readers knew "Booger Red" was at it again."
His biographer, Eugene Foster, recalled meeting him in 1955. He noticed a "crippled fellow in khaki pants and shirt working over a 450-horsepower Stearman. The man's right leg looked about four inches shorter than his left, and his right arm was bent and twisted.
The next thing I knew, the crippled guy was in the cockpit, the engine was roaring and then the plane was airborne. Then, the strangest thing happened. The plane was hardly off the ground when the crippled guy who didn't look like he could walk, much less fly, had it in a slow roll."
Read more at https://www.amazon.com/Booger-Red-Vencill
both parents German
Moved to Jamesburg, NJ at age 5
prev. a bricklayer, prize fighter (professional welterweight then light-heavyweight, apparently), cabaret dancer, organiser of a dance orchestra, and political work (Member of the Middlesex County Democratic Committee)
He also owned a night club (The Paddock) and was the owner and founder of Jamesburg Airport.
He had been flying for about 6 years, and owned a "5-passenger Fleet biplane."
Address in 1940: Monroe, NJ
Arrived in the UK on the 'Duchess of Atholl' 5 Oct 1940, with fellow pilots Roger Inman, Howard Mussey, Edward Vencill, William Cummings and Constant Wilson.
He and Franklyn Mershon were recruited together by Erroll Boyd. "He checked everything in a big file. My German name probably made him suspicious."
Once in the ATA, he said his only worry was "the Brooklyn Dodger baseball team."
"On her last fatal flight Amy Johnson and Wetzel were on the same 'run'. Martin wrote that he was forced down because of the weather but Amy Johnson went on to her death.
Wetzel has been through several air raids but still is unable to sleep through one undisturbed. That is not the case with Franklyn Mershon of Robinsville, who went abroad with Wetzel. "Mershon doesn't wake up even in the worst of it. One night the explosions shook me out of bed so often I decided to stay up. I went to Mershon's room but he was still snoring away as if nothing was happening." Central New Jersey Home News
Seconded to AtFero, Apr 1941
d. 14 Aug 1941 - one of four ATA pilots, travelling as passengers, among the 22 killed in the crash of Liberator AM260 when taking off from Ayr.
The others were Philip Lee (M.228), Buster Trimble and Elbert Anding.
The cause of the crash was that "the pilot in command [Cpt Richard Charles Stafford of BOAC] started the take off procedure from runway 06 which was not suitable for the takeoff as it was too short for such aircraft."
buried Cambridge American Cemetery
Ed. Fort Smith High School and Spartan School of Aeronautics, Tulsa, OK
prev. a Commercial Pilot
prev. exp. 1500 hrs
Next of kin: (Aunt) Nillie Collin Wilson, RFD #1 Fort Smith, AK
Arrived in the UK on the 'Duchess of Atholl' 5 Oct 1940, with fellow pilots Roger Inman, Howard Mussey, Edward Vencill, Martin Wetzel and William Cummings.
Postings: 4FPP, 3FPP
Off sick with (ahem) Venereal Disease from 11 Oct 1940 to 5 Jan 1941, which meant that he didn't start his training until 8 Jan 1941.
One accident, not his fault:
- 15 Mar 1941, forced landing in a Hurricane after engine failure.
His initial flight test (at Uplands Airport in Ottowa) rated his flying as generally very good, but described him as "an unpreposessing type."
His C.O. at 4FPP also rated him a "good pilot."
Joined the Atlantic Ferry Service in WWII - see his colour photographs taken at the time
m. 1945 Joan Evan [Peterson] and moved to Texas. This is his temporary visa to visit Brazil in 1963:
d. 2 Oct 1997, Houston TX
Operated a seaplane base at Belmar NJ during the summer months of 1938
m. 1941 Mary Bernadine [Crayfield] in Nottingham (b. 1919 in Hampstead, she subsequently married Robert A Bradley in Los Angeles, CA in 1946; he was 41, and it was his 4th marriage)
Lived in Thornton, CA in 1948
Crop-dusting in Napa Valley in April 1951, he (and Westaire Service, who owned the plane) were fined $27,000 for damages to a neighbouring vineyard caused by drifting 2-4-D spray.