W.15

Flight Captain 

Rosemary Theresa Rees MBE 

 flag england

 b. 23 Sep 1901, Brompton, London  1 Jan-40 to Dec-45 

  RAeC 1934

 ata rosemary rees GW    

 

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


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

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