Father: Capt. Joel Woolf 'Babe' Barnato (a financier, chairman of Bentley Motors and a racing driver), mother: Dorothy Maitland [Falk, divorced 1935]
Ed. Queen's College, London
prev. VAD nurse and with the Red Cross
prev. exp. 10 hrs
Address in 1941: Ridgemead, Englefield Green, Surrrey
Severely Reprimanded in May 1943 for "appearing at Windsor Races wearing trousers and side cap", and Reprimanded in Jun 1943, and demoted to 3rd Officer for 'divertion of operational aircraft"
m. 6 May 1944 in Englefield Green, Wing-Cmdr Derrick 'Derek' Ronald Walker DFC (d. 14 Nov 1945 in a flying accident)
Post-WWII, having gained her commercial licence she became a pilot for the Women's Junior Air Corps, giving air cadets air experience and training flights at weekends.
In 1956, Veronica Volkersz wrote that Diana was one of only 7 women flying commercially: - "Diana Barnato-Walker flies regularly for the Women's Junior Air Corps" - and concluded that "The tragedy is that for women, commercial aviation is now - except, possibly, in Russia - a closed field."
[The others were Jackie Moggridge, Monique Rendall, Jean Bird, Suzanne Ashton, Zita Irwin and Freydis Leaf]
She was awarded the Jean Lennox Bird Trophy in 1963:
Receiving the Jean Lennox Bird Trophy from Lord Brabazon, 1963 [RAeC]
On 26 Aug 1963 she became the first British woman to exceed the speed of sound, and the fastest woman in the world when she attained Mach 1.65 (1262 mph) in an E.E. Lightning T.4.
Wrote "Spreading My Wings" (1994)
d. 28 Apr 2008
"In later years Diana Barnato Walker took up sheep farming and was master of the Old Surrey and Burstow foxhounds for thirteen seasons, while continuing to fly for the Women's Junior Air Corps (renamed in 1964 the Girls' Venture Corps). She also became commodore of the Air Transport Auxiliary Association. She died of pneumonia on 28 April 2008 in a hospital near her sheep farm in Surrey, and was survived by her son, Barney."