First Officer

Eleanor 'Lettice' Curtis 

flag england

b. 1 Feb 1915, Denbury, Devon 6 Jul 1940 to 31 Nov 1945 


Lettice Curtis 1937   RAeC 1937



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.

Lettice Curtis in Spit 0456 0003



- 'The Forgotten Pilots' (1985); 

- 'Winged Odyssey' (1993)

- 'Lettice Curtis - her autobiography' (2004)

 d. 21 Jul 2014 



 Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):download grey


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