W.8 First Officer 

Mona Renee Vera Ernesta Friedlander 

Mrs Forward

flag england

 b. 2 June 1914, London  1 Jan 1940 to 24 Feb 1943 

  Mona Friedlander 1936 RAeC 1936 - Brooklands   ATA





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"

ata mona friedlander 1940 ata margot gore pn 1940

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

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


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