Constant Penn's colour photos
Constant 'Penn' Wilson, along with many other ATA pilots, subsequently served with RAF Ferry Command.
Penn was in 113 Sqn - RAF Ferry Command's Southern Atlantic Wing - for the remainder of WW2.
A mixture of military and civilian pilots from various Allied nations ferried aircraft from Montreal to Britain, via Nassau (The Bahamas), Natal (Brazil), Accra (Gold Coast, now Ghana), Maiduguri (Nigeria), Cairo (Egypt), and Rabat (Morocco).
Here are some of the photographs Penn took at the time, sent to me by his grand-daughter, Penny Forester.
Most background information comes from 'Ocean Bridge', by Carl A Christie.
Nassau, The Bahamas (Headquarters of the South Atlantic Wing)
Aircrew who flew for Ferry Command were the first to admit that most of their experiences lacked the hardships and dangers that other airmen had to endure during the war; some ferry Command personnel wrote back to the northern hemisphere complaining of 'boredom and sunburn'.
Natal was the jumping-off point for the 1900-mile flight across the South Atlantic to West Africa.
Jack Groover Durham, another ex-ATA pilot, went missing in April 1943 in a flight from Natal.
Accra, Gold Coast
Accra was the main western terminus of the trans-Africa airway for multi-engine aircraft. A round trip from Miami to Accra took about seventy-five hours in a Liberator.
Paul Bleecker Makepeace, an ex-ATA pilot, was lost out of Accra on a fllight to Natal in January 1943.
Gate at RAF Camp
Maiduguri was an RAF Station in WWII. There are 7 Commonwealth War Graves there from that time.
After the difficult flight to Khartoum, the 1,000 mile flight to Cairo was the easiest; pilots followed the green valley of the Nile River until a distant view of the Pyramids heralded the end of the long journey.
Rabat Salé, Morocco
Head Porter Curtis
Penn also apparently managed a visit to Allahabad, India:
Father: Frank Waldron, mother Elsie, of Didcot, Berkshire.
d. 22 Apr 1943 in Catalina FP321
"Flt-Capt Carreras (q.v.) 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."
His body was never found.
Commemorated at Runnymede:
Starting Salary: £3.10.0 a week
Heavily involved in the final wind-up of the ATA in 1945/6
Mrs Spargo from 1950
prev. Managing Director, RC & EN Crowder [Hardware Merchant], Seller St, Chester
'Perfectly happy when flying up to Class 3, and in these classes he is a most useful ferry pilot."
"I consider he has reached the limit of his ability."
prev. exp. approx 2,000 hrs ("These hours are reasonably accurate as my logbook was left in America") on "Fleet, Travel Air Trainer, Waco 210 Continental, Northrop Gamma, GB 750hp Cyclon, Beechcraft, Douglas DC-2, Douglas DC-3, Lockheed 12, 14 & Lodestar, and many light type aircraft."
Jackie started her ATA Class 1 Training on 31 Mar 1942 and completed it on 1 Jun 1942, having flown Magister (8hrs 20min), Wicko (3hrs 55min), and Fairchild (8hrs 05min).
Well-known, and well-documented elsewhere:
30 American Women Pilots
The result of this was a telegram:
Which led to the following groups of US women pilots (and one Canadian) sailing across the Atlantic to join the ATA:
1st group : (Contracts Signed Feb 1942) : Virginia Farr (from New Jersey), Winnie Rawson Pierce (New York), Dorothy Rita Furey (Louisiana), Louise Emma Mathilde Schuurmann (from New York, but born in Holland) (4)
2nd group : (Contracts Signed March-April 1942): Helen Richey (Philadelphia), Ann Watson Wood (Maine), Bernice 'Polly' Potter (Oregon) (3)
3rd group : (Arrived UK 11 May 1942): Suzanne Humphreys Ford (New York), Virginia Garst (Michigan), Hazel Jane Raines (Georgia), Grace Stevenson (Oklahoma) (4)
4th group : (Arrived UK 25 May 1942): Evelyn Tuttle Hyam (Massachusetts), Helen Marcelle Harrison (Canada) (2)
5th group : (Arrived UK 28 June 1942) Catherine Kay (Rel) Van Doozer (California), Evelyn Hudson (California, but born in UK), Edith Foltz Stearns (Oregon) (3)
6th group : (Arrived UK 29 June 1942) Margaret Elizabeth (Peggy) Lennox (Florida), Mary Estelle Zerbel (California), Una Julia Goodwin (Oklahoma) (3)
7th group : (Arrived UK 30 Jul 1942) Opal Pearl Laster-Anderson (Illinois), Nancy Jane Miller (California) (2)
8th group : (Arrived UK Aug 1942): Mary Webb Nicholson (New York), Roberta Boyd (Bobby) Sandoz, (California), Myrtle Rita (Mikki) Allen, (New Jersey), Emily Chapin (New York) (4)
Making a total of 25 recruited by Jackie Cochran.
Betty Lussier (Maryland, but born in Canada) arrived in Sep 1942;
Jane Graham Plant in Mar 1943;
Aline Helen Rhonie Brooks in Nov 1943, and
Sheila Garrett in Apr 1944.
Making a total of 30 (including Jackie)
... and possibly Ruth Obermer in Oct 1943 (but so far, only according to Lettice Curtis' book Forgotten Pilots)
Father: Capt. William Francis Egerton RN; Mother: Laura Jean Mary Stevenson
Ed. St Lawrence School, Ramsgate
prev. RAF 1933-1941 (Flt-Lt, a former Battle of Britain pilot, but was dismissed in Nov 1941 for "siphoning off service petrol for his car")
Harry and Celia bbm.org.uk
Next of kin (wife): Celia Joan Salmon, 10 Crawley Mews, S Kensington, London SW7
From 29 Mar 1942, an instructor at AFTS
"A pilot of exceptional ability and a most enthusiastic and capable flying instructor"
Veronica Volkersz was one of his pupils in April 1942: "Our instructor, tall, good-looking Harry Salmon, was a recent importation into ATA from the RAF"
d. 6 Dec 1943 when a pilot for RAF Ferry Command, in Mitchell FW159 lost out of Goose Bay. 3 other crew also died.
Commemorated on the Ottawa Memorial, Panel 3, Column 2
Full story (apart from the ATA bit!) here: http://www.bbm.org.uk/airmen/Salmon.htm
Awarded the Military Cross 26 May1917 as a 2nd Lieut (temp Captain) in the Devon Regiment, "for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He succeeded in establishing telephonic communication with the front line almost immediately the objective was reached. He set a splendid example of courage and determination."
Later joined the RFC and RAF.
Flt-Lt in RAF in 1924, later Sqn-Ldr
- 27 Jul 1943, in Hellcat FN324; "during take-off the aircraft swung to port and sruck the marking post on a cart working out of sight over the crest of the runway"
d. 1976 - Cheltenham, Glos
Ed. Wellesley College, MA (B.A.)
prev: Pilot and Secretary ("private secretary to President Thomas H McKoy of the Monocoupe Airplane Corp.")
Took her step-father's surname (Dante Pierce) when her mother remarried.
Address in 1942: 250 Harrison Ave Apr 1E, Mineola, NY
Off sick from 25 Oct to 19 Dec 1942 after a cycle accident, and from 11 Mar to 29 Mar 1944 with jaundice.
Two accidents, neither her fault:
- 11 Jul 1942, forced landing in a Hurricane after engine failure, and
- 12 Dec 1943, her Argus injured an "elderly cyclist" (age 71, deaf) while taxying. "The pilot had taken all reasonable precautions."
m. 1945 USAAF Col. Peter Beasley (d. 1957)
m. 1958-68 Giuseppe Olmi
In 1979 (at age 62), "Winabelle, the grandmother of three, terrorizes [the neighbourhood] on her motorcycle and sidecar, raises bull snakes and Chesapeake Bay retrievers, teaches horseback riding and still flies at least twice a week."
"She decorated the sidecar with a woman's face, hair and glued-on breasts"
d. 2 Aug 1997 - Tesuque, NM
"Winnie is a reminder to all of us to have fun. She did wonderful, crazy, fun, marvelous things."
Read the Story of the
From 1934, resident in the USA. Her father, Jan Albert Schuurman, was Netherlands Consul General there, and later in Canada.
ed. Finch Junior College, New York, and learnt to fly at Roosevelt Field, Long Island.
prev: Flight Instructor
prev. exp: 420 hrs in USA, Canada
"Among the American women recently arrived in England to ferry fighting planes for the RAF are Virginia Farr (left) of New Jersey, and Louise Schuurman of Long Island." - The Philadelphia Enquirer 21 Jun 1942
Post-WWII, flew as airline pilot for Willis Air Service, based at Teterboro Airport, NJ.
"She admits she is a tomboy. 'I hate skirts and high heels', she says, 'but I wish I knew how to cook.'"
m. Sep 1946 John David 'Jack' Landers
"Jack Landers, flying ace credited with 36 1/2 Nazi planes and awarded 33 personal decorations, was honeymooning at Fort Worth, Texas, with his bride Louise Schuurman, daughter of the consul general of the Netherlands.They met in England." - Minneapolis Star, 7 Sep 1946
She applied for US citizenship in 1948.
a.k.a. Louise Schuurman Welters (her mother's maiden name)
d. 28 Apr 1962 in an air crash on Galveston Island, TX
buried Cauberg, Valkenburg aan de Geul, Limburg, the Netherlands
Ed. Chatham Hall High School, VA
prev: Flight Instructor (Bennett Airport, NJ)
prev. exp. 300 hrs
She made a five-month tour of Europe with two friends between March and August 1939, and said afterwards that "in travelling through Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium and Holland [she] noticed that the residents 'scoff' at threats of war, go about their business as usual and believe themselves in no imminent danger."
Address in 1942: 572 Prospect Ave, West Orange, NJ (grandmother's house)
She met Eleanor Roosevelt in October 1942, who complimented her on her "trim appearance."
Off sick from 7 Oct to 3 Nov 1942 with influenza
Suspended for 1 day in July 1943 for turning and taxying down the runway in use.
Vivien Jeffery in 1939
In 1979. "Virginia and her English friend and partner Vivien Jeffery, the [former ATA] Operations Officer, live on a ranch in California and raise cattle, Siberian Huskies and Welsh Corgis."
buried Holy Innocents Cemetery Essex County, NJ
Her father was a banana importer who lost everything in the Wall Street crash of 1929.
Ed. 1yr Lousiana State University
prev. Flight Instructor
Address in 1942: 1424 Philip St, New Orleans, LA
"The southern beauty packed a scarlet ballgown with her flying gear and set off for England where she put both to good use. She met and married a Canadian airman and was widowed - all in quick succession" RAF Museum
Mrs Bragg - her husband, Pilot Officer Richard Edward Bragg, was killed 13 May 1943 hen his Halifax JB924 was shot down by a nght-fighter near the village of Wijnaldum, North Netherlands, killing 7 of the 8 crew (the 8th became a PoW). Richard and Dorothy had married in Nottinghamshire in June 1942.
[Actually, it appears that Richard was British, born in Nuthall, Nottinghamshire, and Dorothy met him on the boat from Canada.].(My thanks to Mark Alexander-Holmes for pointing this out.)
Dorothy (centre) with Jackie Sorour and Rosemary Rees with Spitfire IX, August 1942 - with thanks to Adam Hewitt
Postings: 5FPP, 15FPP
5 accidents, 3 her fault:
- 24 Jun 1942, she taxied her Tiger Moth into another aircraft;
- 11 Sep 1942, she had to land her Hurricane with the undercarriage up after the selector lever stuck;
- 20 Dec 1942, she hit another stationary aircraft (a Spitfire Vc, being piloted by Mary Wilkins), while taxying, also in a Spitfire;
- 29 Jan 1943, she discovered her Spitfire's port flap had been damged by "surface water" after landing on a grass airfield (not her fault), and
- 27 Mar 1943, "Pilot adopted line of take-off which caused her to strike a fence, which was invisible to her from her starting point, but of which she was aware."
Her instructor Marcus Hale described her as "a complex character, difficult to assess fairly in writing. She obviously is a capable pilot and at times appears to be really keen, but in everything else but the actual flying from A to B she is completely undisciplined and in some ways sheerly indolent."
"She proved a difficult pupil as she is inclined to be self willed and showed a bored attitude to the whole affair."
Later on, "A capable pilot whose discipline whilst on ferrying duties has improved."
Sailed to New York from Greenock in 1943, arriving 28th July, with fellow ATA pilots Virginia Farr, Ann Watson Wood, Grace Stevenson, John Yingst, Lionel Kay and Mary (Zerbel) Hooper. She then returned as supernumerary co-pilot in Mitchell FV967, 15-21 Sep 1943.
Off sick from 29 Dec 1943
m. 1946 David, Earl Beatty RN, son of Admiral Beatty of WWI Jutland fame, and thus became Countess Beatty. He was "a good soldier but a poor politician, a man of short temper and a chronic husband", she said later.
While married to David, Dorothy had a long-standing affair with Anthony Eden, the future Prime Minister of Britain.
m. 1954 Abram Hewitt, a millionaire American horse breeder (d. 1987)
She moved to Lexington, Kentucky, then in 1993 to Paris, Virginia.
m. 1998 in Warren, VA
2000 (The Times)
d. 9 Nov 2006 - Winchester, VA
Her son Adam told me: "It’s interesting to read the comments of her supervisor, Marcus Hale, which I had never seen before, describing her as a complex and difficult person. She came from a gothically dysfunctional family in New Orleans and I believe she was probably bipolar all her life - undiagnosed - for that goes with what we always saw, she was either slumped in a chair somewhere completely disinterested or a roaring ball of energy, going off on a whim to places like Uzbekistan or Indonesia in her 80s!"
One accident, his fault:
- 31 May 1942, in Magister T9887. The aircraft swung on landing and the udercarriage collapsed. "Error of judgement on the part of the pupil pilot in attempting to land in a cross-wind, and subsequent failure to correct swing."
Contract Terminated 19 Jul 1942
mother: Lady Heron-Maxwell, of 5 Staverton Rd, Oxford
prev: Secretarial / Lecturing on Gliding and Parachuting
Parachuting with Cobham's Flying Circus in 1935; she made over 100 descents.
See http://www.afleetingpeace.org for the story of Cobham's Air Circus
The first woman Silver Badge (Soaring) holder in the UK, and one of the founder members (with Lady Bailey, Joan Price, and Amy Johnson) of the Oxford Gliding Club
m. 2 Mar 1938, Francis Cecil Howard Allen (d. 28 Jan 1939 aged 34 in Austria, after an operation for a duodenal ulcer.)
[According to my mother-in-law, who knew the family, "Apparently it was quite a straightforward operation, he woke up, said 'Hello Darling' and then promptly had a heart attack and died", but Naomi wrote that it was 6 days after the operation.]
"Scar on left side of neck"
Address in 1942: 2 Dalmevey Ave, London SW16
Postings: 6FPP, 15FPP, 1FPP, 4FPP
with Jean Bird in a taxi Anson, 1942 [all photos with thanks to Nick Thomas]
Reprimanded in August 1944 for "Loss of Ferry Pilot's Notes", and in May 1945 for "taxying with insufficient care"
6 accidents, 4 her fault:
- 15 Oct 1942, "careless taxying" crosswind in Hawker Audax K5599; the aircraft tipped onto its nose
- 9 Jan 1943, she overshot a landing in Spitfire JG953
- 22 Mar 1943, she landed without lowering the undercarriage of her Mustang 1a FD443
- 17 Nov 1943, a forced landing in a Seafire III, after the port cannon fairing blew off in the air
- 18 Dec 1943, she overshot a landing in Spitfire IX BS401, after encountering very bad weather and turning back
- 15 May 1945, she failed to control her Warwick BV343 while taxying, and one wheel fell into "an excavation at the side of the track"
"A really keen pilot of average ability who wants hard work. Her temperament is unusual and her attitude towards criticism is inclined to be resentful"
"Her technical knowledge is below average" [she admitted this was true]
Moved to Los Angeles in 1948
m. 1957 Howard D Thomas (a Real Estate agent) (divorced); one son, b. 1958, Nick - who has written a wonderful biography about her, using her diaries, called "Naomi the Aviatrix"
d. 1983 - Leisure World, Laguna Hills, CA
Father: Major Bertram W Noble OBE ("Messrs. B. W. Noble. Ltd. insurance and reinsurance brokers, of London and Paris"), mother Kate Elsie [Buckland]
m. 24 Oct 1935 in Knightsbridge, George Wilson Blackwell
"They met at the International Marine Insurance Conference at Montreux in September 1933"
(George moved to Canada, then the USA in October 1945 and became an American citizen.)
Postings: 6FPP, 4FPP
Naomi Allen on the left, Ann 2nd right. 1942?
Ann in a Typhoon [photos with thanks to Nicholas Thomas]
At least 4 Accidents, 1 her fault:
- 9 Aug 1942, a forced landing in Fairchild EV771, with a broken connecting rod
- 7 Nov 1942, in Hurricane I L1877, forced landing with low oil pressure and high oil temperature
- 20 Nov 1944, she failed to control a crosswind landing in Seafire III BF499, swung and damaged the port wing
- 20 Feb 1945, the tail wheel of Proctor III DX229 collapsed during landing
m. 1948 in Maidenhead, Hugh McLennan Kendall
d. Feb 1992 - Isle of Wight
Father: John Dorrell, Kylemore, Avenue Rd, Malvern, Worcs.
Ed. Bromsgrove School. Associate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.
"French - moderate", having lived in Paris for 6 months
prev. Director and Secretary of the family drapery firm in Worcester; also Hon. Sec. of the Worcestershire Flying School
RAF Oct 1939- Sep 1940, LAC Air Observer
prev. exp. 20hrs on DH Moth
Address in 1942: Link Elm, Malvern Rd, Worcester
Originally joined ATA in 1941 as an Assistant Accountant, at £400 a year:
Alan's original ATA Identity Card
[He said he wsn't concerned about the salary]
Postings: 3FPP, 1FPP, 2FPP
To begin with, he was trained by Joan Hughes. "A very slow starter but made steady progress and reached a satisfactory standard. He has worked hard and his discipline has been good."
3 accidents, 2 his fault:
- 16 Jun 1942, his Hart swung violently after landing, due to a technical defect
- 21 Jul 1942, he "over-estimated his ability in adverse conditions" in landing a Gladiator, a type with which he was unfamilar, and it swung
d. 1 Dec 1943 in Spitfire VIII JG546 which crashed nr Byron Hall Farm, Stag Lane, Lowton, nr. Warrington, Lancs.
He was flying from Brize Norton to 18MU Dumfries. He dived out of low cloud but over-corrected, the tail struck the ground and the aircraft disintegrated. He was deemed to be at fault, having "persisted too far in a local patch of bad weather."
His CO, Leonard Leaver, reported: "On being handed his chit by the Operations Officer in the morning, his remark was "Thank you very much indeed, this is just the sort of job I like". On the way to Brize Norton in the Anson, First Officer Coopper states that Dorrell was extremely bright and cheerful, and said to him, "This Spitfire job is the nicest job I have had given me this month."
Buried in Maidenhead Cemetery, Section D No 15W; his pall bearers were ATA First Officers KWD Jones, H Freemantle, P Cruttenden, FH Rooke, MB Steynor and J Joss ("or another")
He left £7,265 11s 5d.
Also commemorated on the Bromsgrove School WW2 Memorial, and Malvern WWII Memorial.
Father: Capt. William Tower Townshend JP, a land agent, (d. 1943), Mother: Hon. Geraldine Emily [Curzon]
Two elder sisters: Blanche Hermoine and Marjorie (brother Alfred died in infancy)
The 1911 Census shows them living in Derry, Cork with a nurse, a nurserymaid, a lady's maid, a cook, a parlourmaid, a housemaid, and a kitchenmaid
Ed. The Cliff, Eastbourne (matriculation)
Address in 1939: Manor House, Battle, Sussex and Leixlip House, Co. Kildare, Eire
'Irish [Pilot's] Licence No. 91"
This notice appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 15 Nov 1939:
... but it seems that, for whatever reason, the marriage did not take place.
Address in 1942 - 46: Bodiam Manor, Sussex
The London Gazette, 3 June 1949, reported that "TOWNSHEND, Eveline Mary Curzon (Spinster), Downash, Flimwell, near Hawkhurst, in the county of Kent. FARMER" was declared bankrupt - "Act of Bankruptcy proved in Creditor's Petition."
In January 1951, this was in The Cheshire Observer:
"Miss Townshend 'has a 'go' at The Theatre:
Leading four pure-bred Shetland ponies—drawing a glass coach with 32 lights--on to the stage of the Royalty Theatre, Chester, for a scene In the pantomime, "Cinderella" may not be the most exciting entry into professional theatricals, but for Miss Eveline Townshend of Little Kernsdale. Rolvenden, Kent, it is another step in her motto of 'try anything once'.
Shooting, rowing, sailing, breaking, training and making hunters and steeplechasers, flying with the A.T.A. during the 1939-45 War, riding, and dairy farming—she has tried, successfully [sic] all these things. and was at a loose end when a Bristol business man advertised for a groom for the ponies. "It is really good fun" Miss Townshend said to a reporter this week.
"Will I go on to another theatre when this 'run' is completed? Perhaps, but I think a circus will be the next stop. I like to try anything once, you know." To see that her four eight-years-old charges—Janet, Bonnett V-Sign and Chagford (the only 'boy')—are sleek and gleaming ready for their twice daily appearance. Miss Townshend spends several hours each day carefully grooming their coats. She "puts them to bed" each night, and is there —accompanied by her nine years-old Alsatian. Simon — at seven o'clock each morning. 1 love all animals, especially horses, but then I suppose I should, I have been riding since I was two," she added.
She was fined £5 in 1956 for failing to keep one of her 3 Alsatians under proper control. She brought all 3 into the court with her...
Address in 1976: Prior Park College, Bath, Somerset
d. 9 Sep 1993 - Gedney, Spalding, Lincs, leaving £38,932
buried at Teampall Bán Graveyard, Unionhall, County Cork, Ireland
“SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF EVELINE MARY CURZON TOWNSHEND. DIED 9TH SEPT 1993 DAUGHTER OF WILLIAM TOWER TOWNSHEND OF MYROSS WOOD AND GERALDINE EMILY TOWNSHEND.”
prev. an aero engineer, for Ford Aero Engines (Rolls Royce) in Eccles, Lancs.
prev. exp. 97 hrs
Address in 1938: 'Moliere', Wythenshawe Rd, Northernden
Address in 1942: 'Manilla', Nansen Rd, Gatley, Cheshire
Hubert originally applied to the ATA in February 1941, but they replied that they weren't allowed to take pilots of military age unless they had been turned down by the RAF.
He replied that he had indeed offered his services to the RAF, twice, but they had refused him because he was in a strictly reserved occupation. The ATA replied, somewhat archly, that as he seemed now to able to obtain his release, he should go back to the RAF and ask them again ...
After another session with the RAF (who still said they couldn't take him), he then talked to the Ministry of Labour and the National Service Controller in Manchester. Who agreed that, if he could find a job of even greater national importance than his current one, they might be able to secure his release.
Finally, the RAF had a chance to turn him down properly, which they duly did because the vision on his left eye was not up to their standards. Hubert said "In my own personal opinion I can see perfectly."
Anyway, by December 1941 the ATA was prepared to offer him a job, and he was eventually taken on as a Pilot Cadet. His instructors (Margaret Ebbage, Harry Woods and Eugene Prentice) assessed him as 'an average pilot' with 'an average amount of common sense.'
After training, he was seconded to 6FPP at Ratcliffe on 27 Nov 1942. He died the next day in an unlucky accident.
d. 28 Nov 1942 (Died in ATA Service) in Defiant I N3319 which stalled and crashed at Wood Lane, Timperley, nr Ringway, while he was attempting a forced landing after an engine problem.
The aircraft ended upside down and on fire with Hubert, already dead, trapped in the cockpit. Harry Warburton, (an ex-RFC pilot) who owned the adjoining nurseries, was the first to arrive on the scene, "followed by many others", who righted the aircraft and carried the body away. Mr Warburton said later that he "was only 12 feet away when the petrol tank exploded."
The Coroner praised the rescuers: "I should like to congratulate Warburton and the others on the very prompt way they responded ... they recovered the body as little burned as was possible ... it was very commendable. I trust those who were injured will soon be well again."
He was buried at Altrincham Bowden and Hale Cemetery, Cheshire, near Bill Elliott and Earl Renicker (q.q.v.)
"Always thoughtful and kind, a beautiful memory left behind. Mother, Raymond & Dora
with thanks to Barbara Grayson
The ATA's Flying Establishment Officer visited his widow Elsie and her two children in January 1943. Elsie had in fact moved out a few months before Hubert died, and was living with her parents in "rather a humble dwelling, in a poor quarter of Manchester." ... "I gathered the impression that Mrs Elsie Dixon was rather young and irresponsible, so I decided to call on the deceased's parents, to obtain what information I could."
Annie (Mrs Dixon senior) agreed, and went as far as to say that "whatever money was given as a lump sum to Mrs Elsie Dixon would be squandered." Annie also showed him a letter from her son dated 12th May 1942, in which he had written "About the insurance - I have had it made payable to you (Annie Dixon 23 Nansen Rd Gatley). If anything should happen I want £800 to go to Elsie and £800 for Michael and the other baby [Martin, who was born 13 September 1942] to be divided equally when they are 21. The other £400 is for you - don't say you don't want it."
And so that is what they did.
"In the control room, with its window overlooking the airfield, the day's assignments are handed to the pilots"
[Kay van Doozer, Mary Zerbel?, Evelyn Hudson, Opal Anderson and Helen Richey] - Illustrated London News, March 1943
Learnt to fly in 1930 after her father, Dr. J B Richey, bought her an aeroplane.
Then, amongst other things,
- she and co-pilot Frances Marsalis stayed airborne for 10 days in 1932, to set the women's' flight endurance record;
The plane was called, slightly unfortunately perhaps, a 'Thrush'
- she won the premier air race at the first National Air Meet for Women, in 1934;
- she was the first woman pilot to be licensed to fly airmail.
- the world's first female commercial airline pilot, (for Central Airlines, for 8 months in 1934), "but she was refused entry into the all-male pilots’ union. Central Airlines cut back on her flying assignments, preferring to use her for public appearances. In frustration, she resigned."
- In 1936, she and Amelia Earhart came fifth in the Bendix transcontinental air race, and
- she set an altitude record of 18,000 ft for light aircraft in 1936.
prev exp: 1,800 hrs
Address in 1942: 2008 Jenny Lind St, McKeesport, PA
Postings: 15FPP, 1FPP
San Franciso Examiner, Aug 1942
4 accidents, 3 her fault:
- 21 Jun-42: Hurricane, stalled, damaged wingtip (pilot held responsible);
- 21 Jul-42: Spitfire, overshot and hit "various objects" (pilot held responsible);
- 14 Dec-42: Master II forced landing (pilot not responsible);
- 3 Jan-43: Wellington, failed to control takeoff swing, wingtip broken off (pilot held responsible)
"A well disciplined officer and a keen and willing worker. She is handicapped somewhat by her slight stature [she was 5ft 4in] but otherwise she has the makings of a most useful ferry pilot."
"After a tiring day, the pilots find a well-cooked meal awaiting them in the Officers' Mess at the local airport. Helen Richey discusses English versus American cooking with her fellow-pilots" [although Helen Harrison doesn't seem that impressed] - Illustrated London News, March 1943
Nevertheless, after her third 'at-fault' accident, her contract was terminated by the ATA (she said later she left because her mother was ill.)
Helen as a WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) in 1944 (Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph)
After WWII, she was basically out of a job, and the large supply of ex-war male pilots meant that she saw no prospect of continuing with her life's passion, flying. She fell into depression.
d. 7 Jan 1947 - apparent suicide due to barbiturate overdose, at her apartment in New York
buried Versailles Cemetery, McKeesport
There is a permanent exhibition commemorating her life at the McKeesport History & Heritage Center:
and also a book "Propeller Annie: The story of Helen Richey, the real first lady of the airlines" (Glenn Kerfoot, 1998)
Father: Valentine Otto d'Anacker; mother Eva Mary [Savage]
1939. "Mummy's Vauxhall & Daddy's M.G." - Ancestry
Address in 1936: "Elvern", Hindhead, Surrey
prev exp: 50hrs on Gypsy/Tiger Moth
[Contract Terminated by ATA]
m. Jul 1943 in Surrey, George Walter Courtland Baker (a Canadian soldier) (2 sons)
Moved to Toronto, Canada
d 2015 - Brampton, Ontario
Father: James Sanderson Stubbs; mother (and next-of-kin) Dorothea Noel [Capstick]
Ed. St Edwards, Oxford ["it was in the Second World War and the R.A.F. in particular, that the names of Guy Gibson, Douglas Bader, Adrian Warburton, Arthur Banks, Alec Cranswick and others raised the School’s profile to national fame"]
m., 1939 Marjorie Duxbury [Shuttleworth], but she applied for a divorce in 1942.
prev. 2nd-Lt. in Royal Engineers, 1938-41 [served in Egypt, invalided out with a duodenal ulcer]. Applied to RAF but was refused.
prev. exp. 150hrs on Tiger Moth, Avian, Leopard Moth, Puss Moth, Comper Swift, BA Swallow
Address in 1942: 'Kelvin', New Chester Rd, Hootton, Cheshire
He originally applied to the ATA in March 1941, but the interview process, bad weather, and a subsequent shortage of training places, delayed his start until the end of the following March.
His references were very good: "I had a high opinion of Mr Stubbs"... "With regard to your enquiry re Mr J H Stubbs, he comes of a very good family who were resident in this disctrict until his father fell on bad times... I believe he will give every satisfaction."
Postings: 8FPP, 6FPP, 3FPP
"An average pilot but inclined to be overconfident." "He worked well and proved he has a capacity for hard work above the average"
2 accidents, one his fault:
- 1 Aug 1942, after landing his Miles Hawk HL538, it swung violently due to excessive friction in the port wheel bearing
d. 21 Dec 1942; his Spitfire Vb JG924 struck telegraph wires, crashed near the Post Office, Mollington, 3.5 miles N of Chester, and was totally destroyed. "Pilot was off course and apparently 'shooting up' friends on ground, in contravention of Standing Orders, and is held responsible."
buried Allerton Cemetery, Liverpool, and also commemorated on the family grave along with his mother Dorothea Noel (d. 1965), and his sister, Kathleen Isobel, who was also killed in a flying accident: she died, with her husband Donald, in the crash of a British European Airways Vickers Viscount G-ALWE on 14th March 1957.
The £2,000 insurance money was paid to his mother in April 1943.
Father: Frank Powell Hill, mother Edith Caroline [Brewer]
Ed. Bishops Stortford College
prev. Confectioner, Cake Maker and Caterer
prev. exp. 86 hrs in Gipsy and Cirrus Moth, Hornet Moth
In 1933, as a result of a motorcycle accident, his left leg was amputated between the knee and ankle... "as I learnt to fly in 1935 you will see that all my flying has been done with this disability"
m. 1938 Marjorie Muriel [Clogg]
He spent 1939 and 1940 as a volunteer in the Finnish-Russian War
Address in 1942: Blue House, Warren Lane, Hopton, Gt Yarmouth
Postings: 7FPP, 3FPP, 6FPP, 9FPP
Reprimanded in Jul 1944 for "Taxying with insufficent care"
"Although of a quiet nature, he seemed very keen to do his job and this he carried out in a satisfactory manner ... safe and conscientious"
"A most reliable and cheerful officer who has become the mainstay of the Pool (9FPP)"
6 accidents, only one his fault:
17 Mar 1943, forced landing in Henley L3244 due to progressive engine failure
5 Jun 1944, the port tyre of his Typhoon JR205 burst, he swung of the runway and ground-looped, and the undercarriage collapsed
10 Jul 1944, the incident which led to his reprimand - he taxied Hurricane IV LF451 into an (unmarked) heap of gravel and cement bags. Flying Control was jointly held to blame
13 Oct 1944, a forced landing in Vengeance RB539 after the port escape panel blew off in flight
7 Feb 1945, another forced landing, in Typhoon Ib RB476, after a leak covered the windscreen with oil
d. 20 Mar 1945 (Died in ATA Service) - in Anson I DJ471 (passenger James Waldron Brown, also killed) which collided with Typhoon JP433 at RAF Aston Down, Glos.
Both aircraft were approaching to land, but neither pilot could see the other, and the Typhoon struck the Anson from behind and above.
Buried Hopton St Margaret Churchyard, Gt Yarmouth
"My great burden has been eased by the glowing tributes paid to my husband" Marjorie M Hill
The £2,500 insurance was paid to Marjorie on 30 April 1945.
Father: Robert Norton Bell, 55 St Albans Park, Sidney Parade, Dublin, mother: Marie [Stemple or Stempel, d. 1939]
Ed. Westcliff High School, Essex
[Contract Terminated by ATA - "Unlikely to become an efficient ferry pilot"]
m. 1942 in Dublin, Matthew David Buchalter (?)
d. 7 Oct 1978 (?)
Father: Sir James Philip Reynolds DSO, 1st Baronet Reynolds of Woolton, County Lancaster, a cotton merchant and MP for Liverpool Exchange 1929-32 (d. 1932); Mother: Elizabeth Emelia Leila [Roskell]
She was the 5th of their 5 daughters (followed by 3 sons)
Ed. Newhall Convent of the Holy Sepulchre, Chelmsford
Presented at Court (debutante) in June 1927
She owned G-ABMJ, a 1931 Robinson Redwing 2
Starting on 1 March 1931, she made an attempt to fly from Hanworth to Cape Town, via the West Coast ('French') route, in the Blackburn Bluebird IV G-ABGF which her father bought for her:
Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News - 31 January 1931
They flew over France, reached Bathurst, Gambia on 16 March and left there on the 2 April, but problems with the aeroplane in Sierra Leone forced her, and her co-pilot Flt-Lt W G Pudney, to abandon the attempt, and the aeroplane, there on the 11 April. The Bluebird was written off - 'damaged beyond repair due to corrosion' - in May 1931.
They arrived back in Plymouth on 11 May, Flt-Lt Pudney having been "ill all the way home with malarial fever". She brought back a snake.
She later owned G-ACKY, a 1933 DH.85 Leopard Moth, and in 1934 flew from Rome to Croydon "with only two stops for petrol"
"Miss Delphine Reynolds, the attractive youngest daughter of the late Sir James Reynolds, M.P. is doing wonderful work in aiding German refugees. A few weeks ago she went over to Germany and Austria, where she arranged with the authorities to bring away at least thirty men and women who could not otherwise have left the country. The refugees are fortunate, for they are now staying at the Reynolds’s town residence in Hans Place, all expenses of their upkeep being defrayed by Miss Reynolds herself. She is, by the way, a very keen airwoman who knows not the meaning of fear. She has frequently flown to the Continent, and some years ago undertook a flight to the Cape" - Liverpool Echo - Tuesday 07 March 1939
prev: Mechanized Transsport Corps Lorry Driver, posted to Thorneycroft Ltd, from 6 Jun 1941
pre exp: 510 hrs on 'Gypsy, Klemm, Desoutter, Bluebird, Puss and Leopard Moth'
m. Jan 1944 in Oxford, Dr. Ernst (or Arnost) Schwenk Polak (d. 1948)
m. 1963 in Thanet, Kent, John B Trinick
She made a return trip to Sierra Leone in 1978
d. 16 Jun 1993 - Kendal, Cumbria
Ed. Wesleyan College, Macon "B. S. and Comm."
Next of kin: Mrs Bessie P Raines (mother)
"First Georgia woman to receive an unlimited commercial pilot's license"
Vice-Chairman of the Florida Chapter of the 99s, the asociation of women fliers. [The women's husbands were called 49-and-a-halfers, btw]
prev: Flight Instructor (Thompson School of Aviation, Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
prev. exp. 1,000 hrs
Address in 1942: 212 Riverside Dr, Macon, GA
Off sick from 1 to 23 Sep 1942 with influenza, 11 to 28 Dec 1942 with "hospitalization", 2 Mar to 2 Jun after an accident, and on the 11 July 1943 with "bad eyesight"
The accident was on 2 Mar 1943, in Spitfire IXc EN205; "Whilst flying in unfavourable weather, the engine lost power. Turning back the aircraft went into a cloud and the engine failed completely. The aircraft commenced a left hand spin [although this is disputed] and the pilot regained control too low to prevent the aircraft from crashing into two cottages [nr. Upavon, Wiltshire]." Luckily, she remained safely in the cockpit until she was rescued, suffering concussion and minor injuries. She later referred to the accident: "I was flying a Spitfire and it quit".
Her ATA contract was terminated on medical grounds on the 24 July 1943, and she sailed back to the USA on the 'Queen Elizabeth' on 5 Aug 1943, with fellow ATA ferry pilot Russell Gibson (M.609).
Although "thrilled" to be back in Florida in 1943, where she had so many friends, "England's wonderful", she said, "English fortitude under air raids is remarkable."
After the ATA, Hazel attended the Army Air Force School for Applied Tactics in Orlando, then the J P Riddle Aviation Instructor's School Coral Gables, Florida, which was operated on behalf of the Brazilian Air Ministry..
In 1950, she was the national President of the 'Order of Fifinella', an association for 1,500 ex-WASPs who were pilots during WWII.
By 1952, she was a First Lieutenant, and the WAC/WAF Procurement (i.e. Recruiting) Officer for the Tampa Bay area. She was also the first woman Reserve Pilot recalled to duty for the Korean War.
d. 4 Sep 1956, of a heart attack at her flat in Nell Gwynn House, Sloane Avenue, Chelsea, London. A porter found her dead in bed and called the police. At the time, she was a USAF Staff Advisor, stationed at the US 3rd Air Force Headquarters in South Ruislip, Middlesex..
Ed. University of Oklahoma (B.A. in journalism)
Learnt to fly at the Spartan School of Aeronautics, Tulsa, OK.
prev. Flight Instructor in Casper, Wyoming (1940) and then back at Spartan.
prev. exp. 1,000 hrs
Address in 1943: Holdenville, OK
Sailed to New York from Greenock in 1943, arriving 28th July, with fellow ATA pilots Virginia Farr, Ann Watson Wood, Mary (Zerbel) Hooper, John Yingst, Lionel Kay and Dorothy (Furey) Bragg. She then returned as supernumerary co-pilot in Mitchell FV958, 11-15 Sep 1943.
Four accidents, only one her fault:
- Commended for her forced landing in a Walrus on 21 Jul 1943 when the engine lost power "with violent vibrations" at 600ft, bits flew off the engine and damaged the propeller blades, hull, mainplane, interplane strut and aileron;
- 1 Dec 1943, her Sea Otter lost oil pressure and she force landed safely;
- 24 Mar 1944, she failed to control the takeoff swing of a Mosquito, ground-looped and the undercarriage collapsed, and
- 21 May 1944, forced landing in a Typhoon after a fault in the constant speed unit caused the engine to over-rev.
"A keen and above average pilot who goes about her work in a quietly efficient manner."
"Very reserved in character, but quietly confident. An excellent pilot."
After hanging around so much waiting for the weather to clear before flying, Grace became "an inveterate coffee drinker"; so much so that her first food parcel from home (limited to 2 lbs) was a pound of coffee and a pound of sugar.
On the 4th of July 1942, a boy who worked in the parachute room gave her two strawberries. "So rare are strawberries in England", she said, "I couldn't bear to eat them both myself, so I split them with another girl and we made them last as long as we could."
In 1957, with a copy of 'Golden Wings', Alison King's book about the ATA
Post-WWII, she was employed as a secretary for U.S. Plywood Corp, in Oklahoma City, having decided to give up flying for the quieter life. She said, "I'm trying to kill the flying bug with a fishing rod and a golf club."
d. 29 Dec 2002, at the Northwest Nursing Home in Fayetteville. Arkansas
Father: Landon Humphreys
Ed. Somerset Hills School, Far Hills NJ, and Westover School, Connecticut
At Westover, she was a member of the basketball, field hockey, track and high jumping teams and "is an excellent rifle shot. She is an expert horsewoman and has followed the Essex Fox Hounds regularly."
Learnt to fly in 1931 and entered the National Air Pageant in 1933, and All American Air Races in Jan 1934
m. 1936 Frederick Ward Ford from Morristown (divorced c.1947)
"Smiling happily, Mr and Mrs Frederick Ward Ford march down the aisle of the chapel of Somerset Hills School"
prev. exp. 400 hrs
Address in 1942: 2 East 8th St, New York
Travelled to Bristol from Halifax, NS on the SS Tetela with Grace Stevenson, Virginia Garst and Hazel Raines, arriving 11 May 1942.
m. 1948 Peter Rafael de Florez
Later headed her family's pharmaceutical business (The Humphreys Medicine Company, founded by her great-grandfather in 1853) in New York.
d. 25 Jul 2001 - Nyack, Rockland, NY
The company still exists, as Humphreys Pharamacal, headquartered in Connecticut - see https://www.humphreysusa.com/
Father: Frederick Raymond Garst, mother Bessie Jean [Unk]
Next of Kin: Mrs E A Reedy, Kansas City (mother)
Ed: St Mary's Academy, Leavenworth, Kansas City, then Sarachon-Hooley Secretarial School 1936-7
Learnt to fly at Joe Jacobson Flying School, Kansas City
prev. Flight Instructor
prev exp: 513 hrs (186 hrs as instructor)
Address in 1942: 3344 Gillham Rd, Kansas City MI, then 307 Natchez Building, New Orleans, LA
Four women from the Kansas City Chapter of the 99s Organisation of Women Fliers applied to join the ATA - Virginia, Mrs Marie Page, 38, Leah Sheppard, 31, and Mrs Helen Hayworth, 39.
Travelled to Bristol from Halifax, NS on the SS Tetela with Sue Ford, Grace Stevenson and Hazel Raines, arriving 11 May 1942.
Off sick from 13 Aug to 31 Oct 1942 with appendicitis, and then from 8 to 22 Nov with the "after-effects" - her medical report says "it was noted that this pilot's entire attitude to flying had changed, so much so that I hesitate to recommend the continuance of her service."
Contract Terminated - Medical Grounds
m. Walter V Bottjer
Moved to Texas c.1959
d. 19 Dec 1968 - El Paso, TX [Mastosis Carcinoma]
Father: George Black (NZ Superintendent of Dalgety & Co, d. 1937)
Ed. St Hilda's Collegiate School, Dunedin
prev. exp: 129 hrs 50min, on DH 60, DH82, DH94, Miles Hawk, Magister, Whitney Straight, BA Swallow, Percival Vega Gull, Avro Avian in New Zealand and Australia
Next of Kin: (Aunt) Mrs Owen Gould, Hampton, Otago NZ
prev. Equipment Assistant, RNZAF, 21 Apr to 24 Nov 1941
Address in 1942: c/o New Zealand House, 415 The Strand, London
She arrived in the UK from Aukland on the 19 Feb 1942, quoting her address as c/o Dalgety & Co., Leadenhalll St, London
Postings: 1FPP, 15FPP, 12FPP, 6FPP
7 accidents, only 1 her fault:
- 19 Jun 1942, in a Hart; her approach was too slow and she made a heavy landing, damaging the engine mountings;
- 2 Mar 1943, she landed her Hurricane and hit an unmarked dip, causing the undercarriage leg to collapse;
- 18 Sep 1943, the cockpit cover of her Spitfire broke away during flight;
- 11 Mar 1944, another landing accident, this time in a Typhoon when the tail wheel retracted due to a hydraulic fault;
- 27 Sep 1944, when the starboard undercarriage collapsed in an Argus; this time a sunken drainage gulley was to blame, and
- 12 Feb 1945, her fourth undercarrriage landing-run collapse, this time the port wheel of a Beaufighter, and
- 11 Apr 1945, a precautionary frced landing in a Beaufighter when the port engine lost revs.
"A cheerful, hardworking pilot" "A good ferry pilot; always ready for any job allotted to her".
m. Feb 1946 Christopher Dalton Beaumont in Thornbury, Gloucestershire
d. 9 Jul 1977 - Nelson, NZ
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip files):
Father: Eric Chase Dunlop, an Estate Manager; Mother Jessimin May [Williams]
Postings: 6FPP, 15FPP
Class 3 pilot
2 accidents, neither her fault:
- 21 May 1943, the starboard wing of her Seafire brushed the ground during take-off, due to rough ground and failure of the throttle friction device
- 10 Jan 1944, the starboard gun inspection panel of her Hurricane partially detached in flight.
m. 1955 "retired Romanian diplomat" Serban (Şerban) Victor de Popp
Moved to Diss, Norfolk, UK, breeding Arab horses
d 29 May 2012 - Norfolk
Father: Lord Frederick William Hotham (6th Baron Hotham of South Dalton, d. 1923), mother Eliza Benita [Sanders] of Dalton Hall, nr Beverley
Had an elder sister, The Hon. Sylvia [m. 1924 Ralph Assheton]
Ed. Abbotts Hill, Hemel Hempstead
She and Honor Pitman (also later of the ATA) were amongst the bridesmaids to a Miss Beau Lawson-Johnston in 1927.
"WOMAN FLIER AT PERIVALE
The most interesting woman I met this week was the Hon. Jocelyn Hotham, daughter of the late Lord Hotham—the young woman who learnt to fly by a mistake.
I met her out at Perivale this week at a meeting of the Perivale Women's Fellowship. She is a slim brunette, with a passion for flying. This is how she took up aviation. "I was lunching with a young woman about a year ago, and during our conversation she quite startled me when she told me that she had taken up flying. And so, not wishing to be outdone by her," Miss Hotham laughingly added, " I set off for Heston at once and told the instructor there that I wanted to learn to fly. We set off in a bi-plane, and I confess I was rather scared. As we soared up to the clouds I felt that I was in a strange land and in a dream, and the world below looked like a huge patchwork quilt.
"Then came my three-hour solo flight, and this was a most depressing time, as up in the clouds you know that if you do anything wrong you will be killed. I managed to come through all right. and in ten days gained my pilot's licence. "Flying, in m opinion. is the most marvellous feeling in the world. One leaves all one's cares in the clouds and you feel that the whole world lies at your feet. You feel that you have done something which man wanted to do ages past.
"I get lots of fun out of flying." Miss Hotham told me. "and later on would like to attempt the more serious, sphere of aerial ambulance work, which I am 'very keen on." "Flying," she added, Is no more dangerous than other things. There is one accident to every 25,000 flights, and two-thirds of these are due to stupidity and breaking of air regulations, and a third due to engine failure over bad country."
Though, to most of the Perivale mothers present, an aeroplane was something they had viewed only at a distance, in the succeeding lantern lecture they showed a very keen interest and bombarded Miss Hotham with a barrage of questions. " - West Middlesex Gazette - Saturday 28 November 1936
prev: Commandant of Transport, Chelsea, Sep 1938- May 1940; ARP
The work of the Chelsea ARP featured in July 1939 in The Bystander - Jocelyne is shown (r, l) in these images
prev exp: 22hrs 35min on Avro Cadet
Address in 1942: Red Syke, Twiston, Clitheroe, Lancs
In 1948, "The 'Malkin Tower Repertory Company', who presented " Pendle Witches of 1948" written by Miss Jocelyne Hotham, included Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Assheton. Mr. N. Assheton. Miss Jocelyne Hotham. Miss Bridget Assheton. Miss Ann Yorke and Mr. J. E. E. Yorke. " - Clitheroe Advertiser & Times
She sold the Red Syke herd of Ayrshire dairy cattle, in 1954: "Miss Hotham Is giving up dairy farming to concentrate stock rearing and poultry keeping at Red Syke. The Ayrshire herd was established in 1944. There was keen competition for the 43 head of cattle, all of which were sold. Top price was 110 guineas."
d. May 1997 - York
Father: Lt-Col Edward Rawcliffe Thackeray, Mother: Agnes Mildred [Hodgson] of The Lower House, Dinas Powys, Cardiff
Ed St. Maur College, Chepstow
Address on 1939 RAeC Cert (Yapton Aero Club): 168 London Rd, North End, Portsmouth, Hants
prev exp: 15hrs in Moth, Spartan, Miles Hawk, Whitney Straight
Address in Sep 1939: Richmond, Yorks.
poss. m. 1952 in Droxford, Hants, Donald A Edwards
Father: Alfred G Morris. Mother: Elizabeth Marian [Turner], of Dunnose Cottage, Bonchurch, Isle of Wight
Ed. Kingston Grammar School
m. 1939 Barbara Katherine [Mew], one son Robert J. b. late 1944/early 1945
prev. Ground Engineer for Air Service Training, Hamble
prev. exp. 8 hrs in Moth, Spartan, Avian, Aeronca
Address in 1942: 22 Crowsport, Hamble, Hants
Robert originally applied to the ATA in March 1941, but his recorded hours (8) were too low for him to be considered, and it wasn't until the Director of the Isle of Wight Flying Club certified that he had another 20 hrs unrecorded that they re-considered. His flight test was in November 1941.
Postings: 1FPP, 2FPP, 7FPP, 6FPP, 16FPP, [RNAS Arbroath], 9FPP
"An average pilot and a good navigator" "Morris has very little experience prior to joining ATA and should be treated very gently."
Early on, his instructor reported that "while some progress has been made he does not possess any real aptitude for flying", but later reports were much more positive: "A confident pilot of better-than-average ability"
- 2 Mar 1943, when his Wellington X LP249 nosed over having been caught by a gust of wind. Pilot to blame for not keeping the stick central or forward, for taxying down-wind
- 26 Aug 1944, in Mustang III FB199, which veered sharply to starboard on take-off, reason unknown.
d. 3 Jan 1945 in Auster PJ222 which hit trees and crashed near Gatwick Airfield, during a ferry flight from 20MU Aston Down, to B56 [Belgium]. He was flying in gusty conditons and was not strapped in, so possibly he lost control after striking his head on the roof.
Insurance of £2,500 was paid in March 1945.
Buried St Boniface Church, Bonchurch, Ventnor, Isle of Wight.
ed. Acton Council School
m. 1929 Elsie Clarice [Reed]
prev. an Insurance Clerk, then a Drawing Officer Manager at Phillips and Powis Aircraft, Reading
Address in 1942: Winnersh Corner, Berkshire
On 5 May, Herbert stalled his Magister whilst attempting to land, causing a broken propeller and other damage. This led to...
Contract Terminated 6 May 1942 - Unsuitable
d. Jun 1982 - Basingstoke
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip files):
Father: Oliver Gilman Wood, mother Mary [Colbert]
Ed. Melrose Academy, Oak Lane, PA, the Institut de Notre Dame, Namur, Belgium, and D'Youville College, Buffalo, NY
Address in 1943: Medomak Terrace, Waldoboro, Maine
Sailed to New York from Greenock in 1943, arriving 28th July, with fellow ATA pilots Virginia Farr, Mary (Zerbel) Hooper, Grace Stevenson, John Yingst, Lionel Kay and Dorothy (Furey) Bragg. She then returned as supernumerary co-pilot in Mitchell FV959, 10-15 Sep 1943.
... and again sailed from Liverpool to New York in Sep 1944, with fellow ATA pilots Mary (Zerbel) Ford and William Marthai.
... and finally on the 'Queen Elizabeth' on 2 Dec 1945, with Roberta (and one-year old Guy) Leveaux, James MacCallum, Margaret Lennox and Gilman 'Ben' Warne.
"I remember looking down to see men on horseback involved in a fox hunt", she said in 1979. "At first, I was angry. I thought it was despicable behaviour while their country was at war. But as I grew familiar with the England, I realized those hunters might very well have been flying Spitfire fighters the night before. Originally, many of us were quick to judge."
Post-WWII, Publicity and Public Relations Representative for Northeast Airlines
[m. 17 Dec 1949 Andrew Jackson 'Jack' Kelly, in Boston. He was Pan American's Regional Director for Europe and the UK, and after their marriage they were based in London until 1952.]
They were divorced "after a long separation", and he died in 1999.
Awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from d'Youville College in 2005
First woman Vice-President of Pan American.
She gave her name to the 'Ann Wood-Kelly Scholarship for Advanced Pilot Training', awarded by the Aero Club of New England.
In 2003, aged 85, she said she "enjoyed buzzing around" in her Piper Arrow; "It's challenging, it keeps you on your toes, and it's beautiful and gets you where you want to go faster than cars"
d. 14 May 2006 - Manchester-by-the-Sea
Father: Collyer Talmadge Potter, stepmother Neva J [Patterson]
Ed. Grammar School & High School
prev: Office, Airplane Sales, Demonstration
Learnt to fly while a secretary for a couple of flying schools (Pargon Flying Service and Pounder Flying Service) between 1928 and 1931, then built up her hours by working in sales and charter companies for another 10 years. In 1938-9 she moved to California to study aerobatics, then got a job with Falcon Aircraft Corp. to do "sales work, demonstrating and office management" until the end of 1941.
"If you believe all the hard luck stories you hear every day, it is hard to be convinced that the ladies are actually earning their living thru aviation. But here's Polly Potter in Portland to prove it is done now and then. As secretary of the Pargon Flying Service, Polly is able to keep both herself and old man depression pretty well up in the air most of the time." News of the Ninety-nines, Northwest Section, May 1932
m. 1932 Carl J Forsstrom Jr [divorced, one son Don b. 1934]
prev exp: 835 hrs
Address in 1942: 2945 N Williamette Bvd, Portland OR
[Resigned - illness].
Flew back to Baltimore, Maryland on BOAC's Boeing 314 flying boat “Berwick” G-AGCA, on the 22 Aug 1942.
In July 1943, she married an RAAF pilot, Flying Officer John Nigel Ross, in Los Angeles, and post-WWII they ran a flight school in his home town of Kanimbla, Holbrook, NSW.
She then moved to San Diego in c. 1966, worked in Veterans Administration, and was a founding member of Silver Wings and the Flying Samaritans. [John Ross seems to have stayed behind in Australia, as he died there in 2000.]
d. 17 Aug 1997 - Escondido, CA
prev: Flt Sgt, WAAF
prev exp: (claimed) 200hrs/40hrs solo
[Contract Terminated by ATA]
Father : Albert Jules Testemale, Mother: Gertrude Helen Marie [Harrison], a midwife, d.1958
Ed. in England and Belgium
Lived at The Hostry, Llantilio Crossenny, Abagavenny from 1910-1926
m 1927 Robert W Barnes in Steyning, Sussex [divorced, 3 sons Robert, Peter and David]
prev. Flying Instructor
Learnt to fly in 1933 at the Sussex Aero Club, when living at Coombe Dingle, Queens Park Rd, Caterham, Surrey
She owned 3 aeroplanes in England before WWII, all based at Shoreham;
- G-ACMH, a 1933 Miles Hawk (sold to Denmark in Sep 1934),
- G-ACGB, a 1933 DH Fox Moth (sold to India in Mar 1935), and
- G-ACWW, a 1934 Miles Hawk Major (sold to Leslie Hiscock in 1939). She entered this in the London to Cardiff Race in October 1934, piloted by J Sale.
She then changed her name by deed poll to Harrison in Apr 1935, and announced it in The Times: "I HELEN MARCELLE HARRISON, of 33, Heathurst Road. Sanderstead. Surrey, hereby give notice that I have RENOUNCED and ABANDONED the NAME of HELEN MARCELLE BARNES. and that I have assumed and intend henceforth on all occasions whatsoever and at all times to SIGN and USE and to be called and known by the name of HELEN MARCELLE HARRISON in lieu of and in substitution for my former name of HELEN MARCELLE BARNES. And I also give notice that such change of name is formally declared and evidenced by a Deed Poll under my hand and seal, dated the 20th day of April. 1935"
Sailed from England to South Africa in Dec 1935
m. Louis Botha de Waal (divorced 1939)
Sailed back to England from Cape Town in Feb 1938, then to New York in Apr 1939. When there, she stayed with her mother, Gertrude, at 5102 Evelyn Byrd Rd, Richmond, VA.
In July 1939, the Star-Phoenix of Saskatoon, said "Flying around Hamilton these days is a young Vancouver-born woman whose exciting aviation career has taken her over most of South Africa, Great Britain and the United States."
"The Vancouver aviatrix has spent most of her time over the past six years in the air. She said she found flying cost money, so she turned instructor and taught at the Pretoria and other flying schools throughout South Africa. She holds five aviation licenses, including English 'A' and 'B' commercial, a South African 'B' licence and both United States and Canadian commercial licenses."
She flew on a Trans-Canada Airlines Lodestar from Toronto to New York on 3rd March 1942 for her interview with Jackie Cochran. She then sailed to the UK with Evelyn Hyam to join the ATA, arriving 25 May 1942.
While with the ATA, she sailed to New York on 21 Jul 1943, and returned as supernumerary co-pilot in Mitchell FR185, 19-24 Sep 1943.
Address in 1942: 680 Oriole Parkway, Toronto
Sailed to New York on the Queen Mary, 31 Mar 1944.
In 1949, she was living with her parents in Curtis St, Lochdale, B.C.
m. 1969 Donald M Bristol, and thereafter was known as Harrison-Bristol
In 1973, named to the Order of Icarus and in 1974, Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame: "The career dedication of her flying skills to instruct an almost entirely male population of students, despite adversity, has substantially benefited Canadian aviation."
d. 27 Apr 1995 - Blaine, WA
3rd son of Lt-Col Thomas George Taylor, DSO (d. 1946). His grandfather Hugh (d. 1901) was owner of Ryhope Colliery and MP for Tynemouth.
I presume he was named in memory of his uncle, Captain Hugh Taylor, who was killed in action on 19 Dec 1914.
m. 1940 in Singapore Diana Catherine [Elliot]
6ft 1in tall, brown-green eyes
Owner of the "Widdrington Hotel" (in Widdrington, near Morpeth)
RAF 1937-8 Acting P/O, and 1941 - Jan 1942 A/C.2
prev. from 1938, a refrigerator salesman for United Engineers Ltd, Singapore
prev. exp. 83 hrs on Blackburn B.2, DH Moth, Hawkr Hart, Audax & Fury
Address in 1942: Chipchase Castle, Wark, Hexham, Northumberland
Postings: 7FPP, 16FPP
Fined one day's pay in Mar 1944 for loss of Ferry Pilots Notes
[His elder brother Tom was killed in action in July 1942]
Off sick from 23 Jan to 13 Feb 1943 with "Aeroneurosis", and from 12 Nov 1943 to 3 Mar 1944 after a car accident.
[As a result of a motor accident on the Kelso-Jedburgh road on [14 Nov 1943], First Officer H. Taylor, A.T.A., and a friend. Miss Donna Gordon, employed at the War Office, received injuries. Mrs Taylor, who was also a passenger, was uninjured. First Officer Taylor, who was driving, received facial injuries and was taken to Kelso Cotage Hospital. Miss Gordon was found to be suffering from a fracture of the skull and was taken to Peel Hospital, First Officer Taylor is a son of Col Taylor, Chipchase Castle, and formerly of Hendersyde Park, Kelso.] - Berwick Advertiser
3 accidents, none his fault:
- 2 Jun 1942, the engine of his Magister failed during the takeoff run;
- 9 Oct 1942, when taxying in a Fairchild, one wheel dropped into an unmarked hole, and
- 8 Apr 1943, another engine failure during takeoff, this time in a Spitfire.
On the 24 Nov 1943, he laid the foundation stone of a new Primitive Methodist Chapel and schoolroom at Cullercoats, North Shields.
I think this must be it - Cullercoats Methodist Church...
"Carries out his ferry duties in a very excellent manner but still possesses the unfortunate manner of showing a lack of discipline which necessitates supervision."
On leaving ATA, he was entitled to a free passage back to Singapore but opted to go to New York instead.
His eldest brother Richard inherited Chipchase Castle, and it is now "associated with Paul Torday, the author of the novel Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, which was made into a popular film. He lived there with his second wife Penelope (née Taylor), who inherited the estate, and reportedly did much to help manage it.
The grounds are open to the public but the Castle is open to the public only in June." Wikipedia
5ft 1.5in tall
mother: (and next-of-kin) Clara [Foster]
Ed. Bloxham School
Address in 1942: 'Berthorpe', Puttenham Heath Road, Guildford, Surrey
prev. staff engineer for S Smith , Bishops Cleeve; RAF Sep 1939- Aug 1940 (LAC, Pilot under training)
Suspended for 1 day in Nov 1942 for Loss of Ferry Pilot Notes (he also lost his cap and badge, for which he had to pay two-thirds of the cost of a replacement).
"A good officer and a pilot who, despite his limited experience prior to ATA, shows good promise. He is keen and has a capacity for getting on with the job in a quietly efficient manner."
d. 15 Jan 1943; he "persisted too far in bad weather (fog)", flying Master III W8840, and crashed into New Barns Farm, Bottom House, 5 miles from Leek, Staffs. [Map Ref VK4576]
Buried Leek Cemetery [his mother requested that he be buried close to the accident site)
"5 Mar 1943
I visited Mrs Trevor-Williams and she informed me that the death of her son had not affected her financial position and in fact she was proposing to buy a cottage with the insurance money due to her. She has five grown-up children still living and in my opinion she is about sixty years of age [she was 62]. In conclusion, I am of the opinion that Mrs Trevor-Williams is not in any way entitled to receive assistance from the ATA Benevolent Fund."
"5 Apr 1943
Thank you very much for the cheque for £2,422. I am truly sorry that Patrick's very happy time with the ATA ended with such tragic suddenness.
With Kind Regards, Clara Trevor Williams"
Father: Sidney Lawrence Egginton, Little Heath Post Office, Coventry; mother, Florence [Bolton]
Ed. King Henry VIII School, Coventry
prev. a sub-Post Master; RAF LAC from 22 Feb 1941 to 15 Sep 1941
prev. exp. 37 hrs
Address in 1942: Rose-Mary, Coventry Rd, Fillongley, Coventry
He was fined 7s 6d in June 1939 for ignoring a 'Halt' sign while riding his bicycle (!)
Postings: 6FPP, 7FPP, No 782 Sqn RAF (Donibristle), 3FPP
The Air Ministry reported: "After 18 hrs dual and 12 hrs 30 min solo general standard below that required. Extremely slow thinking and has also found great difficulty in mastering the fundamentals of navigation" ...
... but his 'reference' from Pilot Officer T C Sumner MSc. said "I found him most capable and can say without hesitation that in many respects he was quite brilliant... he was awarded the 'Holt Memorial' Medal for Service and Leadership"
His instructor perhaps summed it up: "Egginton is a likeable chap, thoroughly trustworthy and keen to fly" but "In war time there are limits to the amount of time we can give to a slow pupil"
6 accidents, only one definitely his fault:
- 23 Aug 1942, a loose stone flew up while taxying and chipped the propeller
- 2 Feb 1943, he landed a Hurricane with gear retracted; the gear operation was faulty
- 29 Jul 1943, an error of judgement while landing a Martlet led to an uncontrolled swing
- 9 Nov 1943, forced landing in a Warwick after engine failure
- 14 Jan 1944, his Swordfish collided with a van while taxying, due to "insufficient care on part of the van driver"
d. 9 Jun 1944 in Avenger II JZ560, which disappeared on a flight from Hawarden to Hawkinge, Kent. It was assumed that he had flown too far and crashed into the English Channel as neither he nor the aircraft were spotted after takeoff, or ever found.
The ATA (who continued paying his salary) even contacted the Red Cross to find out if he had accidentally flown to France and been taken prisoner, but nothing had been reported and he was finally presumed dead after 9 months, although it took until 1 Jul 1946 for probate to be finalised.
Commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
When Coventry Cathedral was rebuilt in 1953, he was also remembered there:
The Lady Chapel window, situated over the Lady Chapel altar, portrays the Blessed Virgin Mary. It has been given by parents, relatives and friends in memory of six young men of St. Paul's Guild who gave their lives in the Second World War.
Their names—Kenneth Aspell. Geoffrey Burrows. Anthony Crabb. Howard Checkley. Roy Egginton. and Edward Savage - are inscribed in the window. "
Polish Air Force 1919-35 (retired)
Two accidents, one his fault:
- 13 Nov 1942 - he taxied his Magister P2407 into a lorry, due to faulty brakes. As he had been taxying for five minutes, they reckoned he "should have discovered previously" that the brakes were faulty
- 17 Mar 1943, he crashed in Mustang I AG566 after the engine failed and caught fire on take-off. The aircraft was burnt out; luckily, he was uninjured.
d. 8 May 1981
Buried in Wielkopolska, Poznań, Poland
prev. a teacher at Bakersfield High School, and secretary of the South-west section of the 99 Club of women pilots launched in 1929 by Amelia Earhart.
"She was a member of Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, and at one time taught violin, and has also been a teacher of horseback riding, archery and rifle shooting."
Flying Instructor at Bakersfield Airport.
Travelled from Nova Scotia to Belfast to join the ATA, arriving 28 Jun 1942 with fellow pilots Edith Stearns and Evelyn Hudson.
in 1943, she "saw Dick Newmeyer, also formerly a member of Bakersfield High School staff, in England."
She later said "In England we did as the English did at that time. Ninety-five per cent of the time we were grounded waiting for better weather and the other five per cent of the time were in the air with less than one mile visibility and scared to death."
"It doesn't take any brains to fly an airplane."
Later she taught instruments at the WASP training station in Sweetwater, TX.
.Post-WWII she returned to Bakersfield High School and taught English until the death of her mother in 1948.
d. 12 Nov 1949 - Kernville, Kern County, CA, in an accident when her mountain home was destroyed by fire. "Firemen found her body in the living room of the gutted home from which a friend, Betty Thompson [also an ex-WASP], 38, escaped unharmed."
Father: Frank Hudson (he was a butcher), Mother: Margaret
Her family moved to Alberta, Canada in March 1911 (when she was 2 years and 7 months old)
Ed. Strathcona High School, Alberta; McTavish College, Edmonton, Canada
City and provincial diving champion 1925, 27, 29
Naturalized American 25 Feb 1938 ('Declaration of Intention' 27 Dec 1934)
5ft 5in, brown hair, grey eyes
prev. Flight Instructor
prev. exp 1,000 hrs
Learnt to fly in Hawaii in 1930 and then spent 3 years there as co-director of a flying school in Honolulu that "averaged 150 Japanese, Hawaian and American pupils a year",.Her elder sister Winifred, who went with her, became aviation editor of the Star-Bulletin, Honolulu.
She "achieved international fame as a transcontinental flier and was the only Canadian girl to conduct her own flying school", then moved to Burbank to work (as a secretary) for Lockheed. She also continued as an instructor, for the Grand Central Flying School in Glendale.
Here she is in 1937, getting ready for an attempt on the world solo endurance record for light planes in her Aeronca C-3:
"She will refuel by snatching 5-gallon cans of gasoline from a speeding motor car with a fishline-and-hook arrangement" - Los Angeles Times
She stayed aloft for 19 hrs 57 min, breaking Laura Ingall's previous mark of 18 hrs 23 min, cutting the flight short because her refuelling equipment was damaged. However, she then repeated the exercise the following September after the record had been raised by Norman Doerr to 24hrs; this time she stayed up for 33hrs 9min, only coming down because of high winds..
From 1940, she taught flying to Pasadena junior college students (one of only 3 women instructors), under a C.A.A. scheme. "I just talked myself into it", she said.
Address in 1942: 1334 W. 54th St, Glendale, CA
Parents' address in 1942: 1848 Argyle Ave, W Vancouver, B.C. Canada
Sailed from Nova Scotia to Belfast to join the ATA, arriving 28 Jun 1942 with fellow pilots Edith Stearns and Catharine van Doozer.
Off sick from 17 Mar 1943 after a flying accident - she and Fay Bragg were both injured (Fay only slightly) when they were passengers in a Wellington II, piloted by Elisabeth May, which suffered port engine failure immediately after take-off and crash-landed straight ahead, at RAF Wickenby near Lincoln.
She then sailed back to New York on the 21 Aug 1943, with Opal Anderson, Margaret Lennox, Roberta Sandoz Leveaux, and Catharine van Doozer.
m. 1943 Mario W Richards
see also her story at https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk
Father: William James Lennox (b. 1876 in Canada), Mother Grace 'Annie' [Arnold]
Ed. Lakewood High, Cleveland School of Art, Western Reserve University, New School for Social Research
prev: Art teacher, Model, Secretary, Flight Instructor in the CAA Flight Training Program at Providence RI, and Dallas, TX
m. 5 Jan 1933 in John Albertsen [a "horseman", b. Denmark] in Ripley, Chautauqua County, NY [divorced]
Address in 1942: 301 37th St, St Petersburg, FL
Peggy featured in this advertisement for Camel cigarettes in 1942, which appeared in literally hundreds of different newspapers throughout the USA:
"Don't Let those eyes and that smile fool you. When this young lady starts talking airplanes, brother, you'd listen .. Yes, and with Instructor Peggy Lennox, it's strictly Camels, too - the flier's favorite. "Mildness is a rule with me", she explains,"That means Camels. There's less nicotine in the smoke" **
One of her students said "Miss Lennox is always patient, never gets sore, but boy, is she exacting! Every manoeuver has to be done just right before you learn anything else."
Arrived from Nova Scotia on the 29 June 1942 with fellow ATA women pilots Una Goodwin and Mary Zerbel
After her time in the ATA, she sailed back to New York on the 'Queen Elizabeth' on 2 Dec 1945, with Roberta (and one-year old Guy) Leveaux, James MacCallum, Ann Wood and Gilman 'Ben' Warne.
Post-WWII, Peggy won the Montreal to Miami All-women Air Race in 1949, then in 1951 she finished first in the 986-mile All-Women International Air Race from Orlando, Florida, to Windsor, Ontario.
Peggy in 1951, after finishing first
m. George B Firkal (a musician, divorced 1957)
m. Dec 1961 Wallace Jutten Drown in Duval, FL
Recipient of the Silver Wings Award in 1979, celebrating her 50 years of flying and "helping to break sex discrimination barriers for pilots and instructors"
Later owned apartments and stores in Fort Lauderdale, FL., and was known to fly prospective clients for a bird's eye view of the land. "I stay with flying because once you get it in your blood, you're never the same", she said.
d. Jun 1985 - Fort Lauderdale
** Please don't take this as an encouragement to smoke Camels, or any other Camelidae (e.g. llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, or guanacos.).
Father: Richard E Magalis, a Parmacist; mother Kate 'Daisy' [Bethurum]
prev: barnstorming, air racer, Flight Instructor; 2nd in the first 'Powder Puff Derby' in 1927
m. c1920 Joseph Rathelle Foltz Jr., (from Milwaukie, Oregon, b. 1895) [ [divorced, 2 sons; 1 dec'd, Richard b.1926]
with Richard in 1931
Governor of the Northwest Section of the 99s Organisation of Women Fliers
m. 1935 Harry Edwin Stearns (an automotive engineer, b 1897 in Massachusetts, d. 1 Jan 1943) They ran an air mail service, 'Oregon Airways' together.
Address in 1942: 2627 NE 11th St, Portland, Oregon
Travelled from Nova Scotia to Belfast to join the ATA, arriving 28 Jun 1942 with fellow pilots Evelyn Hudson and Catharine van Doozer.
Suspended for 7 days without pay for "wilful misuse of M.T. transport"
1 accident (her fault):
- 17 Nov 1942, she was concentrating on doing her pre-takeoff cockpit drill and her Defiant drifted forwards and hit a Magister
m. 1947 Grissom, a rancher from Beeville, TX
d. 28 Jun 1956 - Corpus Christi, Texas
Mother: Mrs Ada Thompson, 615 Pine St, Michigan, IN
Ed. Lowell Grade School, Blow High School, St. Louis
prev. a Flying Instructor [and a former hat designer (and allegedly striptease artist, although I think that was actually Bobby Sandoz, and anyway it's all very innocent)].
prev. exp. over 2,100 hrs - she owned a "Clip Speed Wing Laird"
m. Willard Anderson [divorced 1937, 1 son Norman Richard]
Address in 1942: 202 So. State St, Chicago, IL
Postings: 15FPP, 6FPP, 16FPP, 1FPP
She sailed back on leave on the 21 Aug 1943, with Evelyn Hudson, Margaret Lennox, Roberta Sandoz Leveaux, and Catharine van Doozer.
"Little Norman Anderson of Chicago welcomes home his mother, Opal Laster Anderson, 37, after a 14-month absence abroad with the ATA." - Ludington Daily News, Sep 1943
"My most harrowing experience occurred last month in England when a bomber I was flying suddenly shot straight up into the air. I knew that two test pilots had been killed thru just such a plane reaction, and the experience I have gleaned thru years of showmanship in barnstorming, plus plain good luck, is all that saved me."
Reprimanded for "Breach of ATA Standing Orders G.4 and G.12" in 1943
Frankie Francis, her CO, described her as "a very keen and hardworking pilot who is boisterous in temperament. A good officer but perhaps a little apt to speak and act without thought for possible consequences."
Norman Whitehurst said "Flying and discipline are both good. A keen and enthusiastic worker who is helpful and kind."
On her final day with the ATA, 9 April 1945, she ferried a Mosquito from 192 Sqn, Foulsham to 44MU, Edzell, and a Dakota from Ratcliffe to Kemble.
She later said "England is the worst place in the world to fly. The roads read like a bunch of snakes."
Post-WWII, Opal moved to Ontario in 1951, worked in Hollywood as a hat maker and also for General Dynamics in Pomona, continued to fly until the 1970s and then renovated aircraft and pony carts in California.
m. 1962 Malcolm Averitt [divorced 1970)
d. 8 Jan 1994 - Ontario, Canada
grew up in Iron River, MI
Ed. Menominee High School, MI, Lawrence College, Appleton, Wisconsin, UCLA
prev: Flying Instructor
a.k.a. Mary Forrest (presumably her stage name - she studied acting before deciding against it as a career)
Address in 1942: 8400 De Longpre Ave, Hollywood, CA
Arrived from Nova Scotia on the 29 June 1942 with fellow ATA women pilots Una Goodwin and Peggy Lennox.
m. 17 Aug 1942 Pilot Officer Roy Wesley Hooper from Los Angeles, serving with RAF Coastal Command (killed in action 17 Oct 1942)
Sailed to New York from Greenock in 1943, arriving 28th July, with fellow ATA pilots Virginia Farr, Ann Watson Wood, Grace Stevenson, John Yingst, Lionel Kay and Dorothy (Furey) Bragg. She then returned as supernumerary co-pilot in Mitchell FV956, 10-13 Sep 1943.
m. 1943 1st-Lt John 'Jack' Hammond Ford (USAAF) (d. 1959)
"After their return to the United States, the Fords started Fleetway, Inc., a long-distance airplane delivery company flying war surplus and other planes all over the world. In 1957, Hollywood produced a movie based loosely on the couples’ interesting life. Titled "The Lady Takes a Flyer,” the comedy-drama starred Lana Turner and Jeff Chandler as Jack and Mary Ford.
In 1959, Jack Ford was killed when the twin-engine Beechcraft he was ferrying from Wake Island to Japan exploded four minutes after takeoff. After the accident, Mary never flew again, but instead earned her Library Science degree and worked a variety of administrative and library jobs in the United States and Europe. After she retired, Mary lived with her daughter, Pam, in Seattle and Sioux Falls, South Dakota."
d. 27 Sep 2012 - Pocatello, Idaho
Father: John Porter Godwin, from Cordell OK
ed. 4 yrs High School, 2 yrs Dramatic Art at Dallas Academy
Learnt to fly in 1929 in Oklahoma; "I am confident my future is in aviation and am willing to give up almost anything to get ahead in it", she said.
prev: clerk; secretary of the Oklahoma section of the 99 Club of women pilots launched in 1929 by Amelia Earhart; barnstorming and aerobatics displays
2nd woman in Oklahoma to get a transport pilot rating, in 1937
prev. exp 380hrs
Next of kin: (sister) Mrs Marcia O Mills, 216 Congress Ave, San Antonio TX
Address in 1940: 3350 16th SNW, Washington DC (previously 1929-1941, 902 E Dr, Oklahoma City)
Arrived from Nova Scotia on the 29 June 1942 with fellow ATA women pilots Peggy Lennox and Mary Zerbel; on joining the ATA, Una said she was anxious to rejoin her friend, Grace Stevenson.
27 Aug 1942, when her foot slipped off the rudder when landing a Hart, causing a ground loop
[Contract Terminated by ATA - unlikely to become an efficient ferry pilot]
Returned to the USA to find that she was over the age limit for WASP training, and so joined the Womens Army Corps in April 1944 as a Private and was stationed in Florida as a Link Trainer, until being demobbed in Sep 1945.
In 1944 she said "Personally I have no post-war plans for flying. I'll fly for entertainment, but like many other trained women pilots, I'll take a back seat in the paying flying positions to make way for the men."
Moved to San Antonio in 1976
Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery
d. 4 Mar 1978 - San Antonio, Texas
Ed. Royal College, Colombo; Loughborough Engineering University
Father: Alfred James Bawa, of Eladuwa Estate, Paiyagala, South Kalutara, Ceylon, d. 9 Jul 1919)
(presumably therefore 'Bower' is an anglicized spelling)
Next of kin: (mother) Mrs Martha Elaine Bawa, ?alaha Tea Estates, Ceylon
prev,. Aircraft Inspector for Vickers Armstrong, Weybridge, Surrey
Postings: 7FPP, 6FPP
"...was slow to get to a passable standard on all his IFTS flying. Eventually he just made the grade and passed into the AFTS. Here his work was poor and he did not show the keenness expected of ATA pilots and had to be warned about his slackness and his poor behaviour as an officer"
"Since this officer reported to this unit on the 5th June (1943) he has shown considerable improvement"
"He would do much better if he was not so lazy"
d. 16 Nov 1991 - Cannes, Alpes-Maritimes, France
prev. gave his occupation as a 'Haulage Contractor', but he was also a member of the family that owned "Jordan's Mill", near Biggleswade, from before 1900:
RAF from July 1940 to March 1942 (A.C.2 and L.A.C)
Taken on by the ATA as a Pilot Cadet; 3rd Officer from 18 Aug 1942, First Officer from 23 Jun 1943.
"On the 16th January 1945, during the period of the Ardennes offfensive, 12 Spitfires needed to be flown from Hawkinge in Kent to the French Air Force Wing at Luxeuil. When the pilots arrived to collect them the landscape was covered in snow, the temperature was well below zero and a biting east wind blew in heavy gusts.
The first three to get away were flown by Johnny Jordan, [M.926, Joseph] McSween, and [M.941] Basil Wrightson." - "ATA's Polar Expedition", according to Brief Glory
"William (5th). always known as 'John’, did his milling apprenticeship in Norwich, before joining the RAF at the start of WWII.
Being an ‘adrenaline junkie' of his day. John started on motocross bikes and went on to race F5000 cars, winning the Sports GT Series in 1973-74. He held the top lap speed record at Silverstone and Snetterton for 20 years. John never tired of flying his Boeing Stearman Biplane. delivering daredevil aerobatics.
Jonathan Kent kindly tells me "I met him first in the 1980's, as our group Auster aircraft had been moved from its one time base at Panshanger to a farm strip at Little Gransden, near Biggleswade. Jordan kept his well known Super Stearman G-AROY there, also a Pitts Special. He had brought his Stearman back from the USA where he did some years as a cropduster with it. He still had the cropdusting hopper in it, with a rudimentary windscreen, as he was known to take people for flights in the hopper!
He said he had around 18,000 hours flying time and had delivered 300 or more Spitfires in the ATA. He had prior to ATA service been dismissed from the RAF for 'gross indiscipline in the air and on the ground''..
Henry Labouchere, a Tiger Moth and de Havilland expert based in Norfolk, borrowed John's Stearman to fly it in a feature film called 'The Aviator' in (then) Yugoslavia.
John also appeared in a feature film, 'Biggles', flying the Stearman as a German ace complete with spiked helmet.
Several interviews were done with John including an ITV film with Mavis Nicholson presenting, which went into his history at the Jordans Mill, his self-imposed exile to the USA, his motor-racing exploits, etc.
Post-WWII, he he took over his grandfather's run down flour mill [Holme Mills in Biggleswade] and built an animal feed mill on the same site which he continued to run until July, 2004.
He was also the owner of four local garages, including Manor Garage (Commercial Vehicles) in Biggleswade.
d. 1 Apr 2006, Biggleswade, Beds:
"One of the area's best known businessmen and public figures died at the weekend.
John Jordan, pioneer of the Jordans grain empire in Biggleswade, passed away in his sleep on Saturday night at his family home in the town. He was 84.
Hours before he died he had spent the afternoon with family and friends visiting the Shuttleworth Collection of aircraft at Old Warden, a place he loved, being an experienced aviator himself."- The Comet
Father: William Durham Wilkinson, mother Mabel H [Jessel], later Mrs Dean
Ed St Stephens College, Folkestone
m. 1938 in Chelsea, James Herbert Witherby [missing, later presumed killed, in the sinking of the SS Ban Ho Guan during the fall of Singapore, 28 Feb 1942]
"She was a modern woman for her time since later that year  she is reported as Mrs. J.D. Witherby as a Licensed Pilot taking part in an air search for a downed plane whilst she is flying with the Kuala Lumpur Flying Club" - https://www.malayanvolunteersgroup.org.uk
prev. exp. 65hrs on Tiger Moth, Gipsy Moth
prev. Secretary,War Office (MI5, then SOE)
Address in 1942: 147 Chelsea Cloisters, Sloane Ave, London SW3
Postings: 5TFPP, 15FPP
"This pilot came to ATA with very little flying experience ... she had trouble on Harts and her training was stopped in September 1942. She appealed against this and for various reasons [sic] was given another chance"
Class III pilot
"She has always shown keenness and the fact that she has finally got through is due more to this and her hard work than to her natural ability"
3 accidents, 1 her fault:
- 5 Feb 1944, the starboard undercarriage leg of her Spitfire collapsed on landing, after failing to lock down
- 20 Feb 1944, the port undercarriage leg of her Spitfire VIII struck a heap of stones beside the runway, after a takeoff in a strong crosswind
- 2 May 1944, a forced landing in a Spitfire after hydraulic fluid leaked into the cockpit
Joan and Mark, 1942
m. 1953 in Kensington, Marcus Samuel 'Mark' Hale, also an ex-ATA pilot.
They had a son together in November 1945, who remembers his mother telling him that "she was still flying missions with the ATA whilst pregnant".
d. 2004, Australia
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip files):
Father: William Calver, mother Edith Annie
Ed. Mistley Council School
prev: Stewardess, Welfare Dept, London Transport
Next of kin (mother) Annie Plummer, 47 Victor Rd, Hythe, Colchester
prev exp: 14 hrs
Address in 1936: 9 Basedale Rd, Dagenham, Essex
Address in 1942: 58 Green Lane, Ilford, Essex
"Molly Calver pours out tea every day for the busmen at her London garage. Each time she hopes it will be the last time. She paid her subscription of sixpence a week when the London Transport Flying Club started"
"From bus garage canteen stewardess to air ferry pilot is the wartime change by Miss Molly Calver, only woman among the 1,200 members of London Transport's Central Buses Flying Club. She'll soon be leaving her job at Dalston to become a member of Air Transport Auxiliary. " - Daily Mirror - Wednesday 21 January 1942
m. Jan 1949 Joseph T Pulham
Daily Mirror 15th May 1953
"Molly Calver seated in her aircraft before taking off at Chobham. Molly is a stewardess employed by London Transport at their Romford Garage and has worked for the London Transport Board for 20 years, but only very few of her hundreds of workmates realised that she is 'an old sweat' aeroplane pilot during World War II.
Before the war, Molly was a pilot in the London Transport Road Services Sports Association Flying Club and, during the war years, was an Air Transport Auxiliary Pilot, ferrying all types of aircraft. "
Later Mrs Warr (?)
Ed. Upper Chine School, Shanklin, IOW
prev: Ambulance Driver in Islington Green
prev exp: 30hrs solo
Her father, Harry Edgar Broadsmith (d. 1959 in Australia), was one of the original directors of Saunders-Roe.
"Adam Karolyi, right, with his girlfriend, Joan Broadsmith, in the cockpit of his plane. Adam was 21 when he died of his injuries after he crashed his plane in Sandown, just days before the Second World War started [actually G-AAAL belonging to the IOW Flying Club, on the 21 Aug, 1939]. He had planned to join the RAF."
[G-ABBX, in the photo above, also belonged to the Isle of Wight Flying Club].
Adam, 21, was flung from the wreckage but suffered 75 per cent burns and died in Shanklin Cottage Hospital the next day.
"His girlfriend, Joan Broadsmith, daughter of Saunders Roe’s managing director Harry Broadsmith, was so traumatised by Adam’s death she doused herself in paraffin and set herself alight but survived. "
See their story here: http://www.iwcp.co.uk/
In 1939, "Interested in aeroplanes since she was 14, and with a Flying Officer brother in the R.A.F., Empire Air Day is bound to hold a special interest for Miss Joan Broadsmith, of Cowes, who is working at Lee Airport, Sandown, to secure her ground engineer's licence. Miss Broadsmith, who is 21, is a member of the Civil Air Guard." Portsmouth Evening News, 18 May 1939
Address in 1942: 18 The Boulders, Binstead, Isle of Wight.
[Contract Terminated by ATA]
1961, in the Court of Appeal: "Joan Irwin Broadsmith (Spinster) v Dora Helen Mary McCubbin (Widow):
Lord Justice Sellers: "Miss Broadsmith, the court has heard your submission and we have had the judgment of the learned judge read to us. Having given the best consideration we can to all that you have said, we see no reason to think that the learned judge was wrong. His judgment appears to us to be right and unimpeachable, and your appeal must be dismissed."
d. Feb 1993, IOW
[Educated in Paris]
Address in 1939: 33 Parkstone Ave, Hornchurch, Essex
prev exp: 60 hrs on Moth and Swallow; Civil Air Guard
Address in 1942: 8 Landsdowne Rd, Wilmshaw Rd, Didsbury, Manchester
m. Jan 1940 in Brentwood, Essex Lt Roland John Vezio Witt, serving with GHQ in the Middle East
[Contract Terminated by ATA]
Sailed to Egypt in Mar 1946, described as a 'Civil Servant', returning in Jul 1947 to live (alone) in London
Father: James Binney JP, Sherriff of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire in 1903, "a well known sportsman", Mother: Lady Violet Louisa Marjory Binney, (d. 1923) of Pampisford Hall, Cambridgeshire
"A grand-daughter of the Fifth Marquis of Ailesbury"
Ed. Heathfield School, Ascot
Cennydd in 1937
m. 24 May 1934 in Pampisford, Capt. (later Sir) Cennydd George Traherne - "Mr. Traherne is a popular figure in social circles. He rides with the Glamorgan Hunt and races frequently at point-to-point meetings. He is a graduate of Oxford, and is at present reading for the Bar at the Inner Temple." - Western Mail
prev exp: 20hrs on Moths, Tiger, DH Swallow
In 1938, they lived in the "largish mansion in Ennismore Gardens, Kensington" belonging to Lady du Bunsen, the mother of fellow ATA pilot Mary du Bunsen.
Address in 1942: Coedarhydglyn, "formerly Old Coedarhydyglyn (meaning 'the wood along the glen') is a private Grade I listed neo-classical regency villa and estate on the western rim of Cardiff" - Wikipedia
"Her chief inbterests are agriculture, farming, and riding"
[Cennydd Traherne was later Lord Lieutenant of Glamorgan. He inherited Coedarhydglyn Estate as a four-year-old, and in 1937 acquired the nearby 2,274-acre Duffryn Estate and gifted it to the Welsh Nation; it is now managed by the National Trust.]
Later, President of the Glamorgan Division of the Red Cross, and Commodore of the Sea Rangers. OBE in 1980.
d. 22 Oct 1986 - Australia
prev a Flying School Promoter.
Address in 1930: The Billet House, Ash, Sevenoaks, Kent
m. 1931 Doris E M [Burgess]
Formed the West Kent Aero Club at West Malling in 1931; "at present he has a Moth (Gipsy) and an Avro 504K, and Mr. C. G. Hancock will be his chief pilot and instructor." Flight
Pilot Officer, RAF 1932, F/O 1934-37
Accident Report - 22 Dec 1942, when in the Training Ferry Pool; he landed on an unmarked, unserviceable area at Gravesend, his Spitfire II went through barbed wire, crossed a road and nosed over, damaging 'one propeller blade'.
Chief Pilot of Transair in 1954
Cleared of taking off in an overloaded [by 400kg, allegedly] DC-3 belonging to Starways Ltd in 1960; Flight reported that he said "As a pilot trained in the old school, my first consideration is for the safety of my passengers. If this extra weight had been present, I could not have helped noticing it."
d. Sep 1975, Chichester, W Sussex
The Charlottetown Guardian, Aug-42: "Gloria is the daughter of Mr and Mrs H R Large of this city. Mr Large served in the World War with the Royal Flying Corps as a pilot. He enlisted in the early days of the war along with five other signallers. Weeks, Stewart, McLeod, Gardner and Whitlock who all made a good record overseas."
[Contract Terminated by ATA - 'Unlikely to become an efficient Ferry Pilot']
"Well done Gloria - the first Canadian Woman Ferry Commander visits her native city.
Gloria has made good in a big way. She passed the most rigid air test examinations as well as in meteorology, navigation, air rules, and other exams which entitled her to the rank of Flight Lieutenant in the RAF. Quite an accomplishment for a girl only 19. Miss Large now ferries all types of aircraft and will soon take her place with the British Air Transport Auxiliary in England."
[Perhaps the best we can say about this piece of nonsense - she was only ever a Cadet, and her ATA contract was terminated within a month of her starting - is that 'there was a war on'.]
[Although I'm afraid I can't tell you very much about Evelyn, I found out quite a lot about her family!
The story starts in 1878, when a 16 year old Jewish boy, Albert Titlebaum, arrived in Boston, MA, from Russia with his sister (and presumably their parents). He became a naturalised American in 1885, and in 1893 married another Russian Jewish emigree, Fannie, (formerly Miss Touvim or Touwim). He then set up, with J. Charles Touwim and Louis Smolensky, a clothing store, which obviously prospered.
During this time, which Wikipedia describes as "an era of religious separatism and anti-Semitism", Albert and Fannie were prominent among Boston's Jewish community that founded Beth Israel Hospital, specifically aimed at immigrants who only spoke Yiddish and kept a kosher diet. That hospital is now part of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), the official hospital of the Red Sox.
Albert was also first president of the Hebrew Ladies Home for the Aged, which started in 1903 with 17 inmates which by 1927 had grown to 180; he was a President and/or Director of the Corporation Tifereth Israel, the Hebrew Free Loan Association, and the Bnoth Israel Sheltering Home.
Albert and Fannie Titlebaum had three daughters; Harriett (b. 1895, who later m. Max Ulim or Wlim), Esther (b. 1897) and Miriam Ruth (b. 1900, who later m. Harold Burroughs).
Their middle daughter, Esther, then became pregnant at the age of 16. She rapidly married (we presume) the father, Henry George Eisenstaht, on 11 February 1914, and our Evelyn was born just over 3 months later. Her recorded name was Evelyn Gertrude Eisenstaht.
Her mother Esther moved to New York to study medicine at Tufts University and became Dr. Esther Tuttle - it looks like this was an anglicization of her surname, not a marriage. She married Nathaniel Charles Greene (born in England to Russian parents) in 1928 and they had a son James Robert in 1930.
Meanwhile, in 1930, 15-year-old Evelyn was still living with her grandparents and her aunt Miriam, and specified her grandfather (whom she called Albert Tuttle on her ATA application form) as her father. She also started to call herself "Evelyn Constance Tuttle." ]
Evelyn went to Vanderbilt University, Nashville TN and then Columbia University, NYC
She married, on the 12 Feb 1935 in New York, Frederick Benjamin 'Fred' Hyam (sometimes spelt Higham), a British accountant b. 1908 in Bombay, India, "connected with a coal and cement firm" [Later a Captain in the Royal Artillery]
Fred and Evelyn sailed to the UK straight after the marriage and settled in London.
Her mother Esther became quite a well-known physician in New York, and lived at 1111 Park Ave (near Central Park), NYC.
Evelyn sailed back to the US on 4 Nov 1939 to stay with Esther - and to take flying lessons, it seems, because 2 years later she said her flying experience was "51hrs on Cubs, 60 and 65, and Fairchild KR17".
Evelyn then sailed back from Canada to the UK with Helen Harrrison, arriving 25 May 1942, giving her address as 6, Pall Mall, London SW1 and her next of kin as her husband Fred. [As Helen Harrison was recruited by Jackie Cochran, I have therefore assumed that Evelyn was too. But it may have been a coincidence...]
[Contract Terminated by ATA 30 Sep 1942 - Unlikely to become an efficient ferry pilot]
Subsequently offered a job as an ATA Operations Officer, commencing 10 October 1942, at £225 per annum, payable monthly... but for some unknown reason she left after 4 months.
Her grandfather Albert Titlebaum and her stepfather Nathaniel Greene both died in 1946.
Evelyn flew BOAC to New York to visit her mother in November 1948, just at the time when Esther was being indicted for defrauding the US Government of $19,606.66 in unpaid taxes for the years 1942-44. Esther denied the charge, and it looks as though she made an arrangement with the IRS as the case doesn't seem to have ever come to court.
In 1961, Esther was present when her son, James Robert Greene, married Janet Jordan, and here they are at the Belle Meade Mansion and Country Club in Nashville, TN:
Esther, Jim and Janet
Esther died in 1969.
Evelyn d. 19 Jul 1971 - Brighton
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
6ft 3in tall; educated at Eton and Cambridge
A Director of the family firm, J&J Colman Ltd (Colmans Mustard)
A very keen yachtsman; member of the Royal Yacht Squadron, the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club, and 'other local clubs'.
prev. Army Reservist 1932 to 1942 (Major). He went on active service to France with the Norfolk Yeomanry in 1939, returning with the evacuation of Dunkirk.
prev exp. 315 hrs. He had owned 3 aircraft:
- G-ABCD, a 1930 Avian IVM;
- G-ACTL, a 1934 DH Leopard Moth, and
- G-AFBC, a 1937 Percival Vega Gull.
Ferry Pool: No. 6
On Aug 5, 1942, he wrote to Cmdr Bathurst from 'Gastlings, Southill, Biggleswade':
"My dear Bathurst,
I have been expecting to turn out the guard for you at Barton this past 10 days on one of your routine inspections but have been disappointed in that so far.
This is a job to end all jobs as far as I am concerned and have enjoyed nothing so much in years: if you can kindly arrange to forget my existence until the winter afterwards it will be A1 by me!
I have drawn Paull for Instructor and he is first class, as are, I shd think, most of your team here."
He transferred to the Administrative Staff from 1 Dec 1942, as Assistant to the Chief Establishment Officer - essentially, a Personnel Officer, a job for which he was expected to be "occasionally flying".
On the 1st January 1943 he wrote this set of 'Handling Notes':
I venture to put forward for your consideration the suggestion that you should cause to be promulgated amongst O.C.s and Adjutants of this Organisation some technical instruction on the above subject - either orally or in writing.
There is no dispute that the average pilot has more than the Human Average of Prima Donna Complex embedded in his temperament, and it appears probable that, more often than not, it will also be found that this Complex is highest in the best pilots and progresses geometrically with Anno Domini.
The Prima Donna may be defined for this purpose as one who can perform desirable - or even remarkable - feats of virtuosity over almost indefinite periods, granted only that a favourable atmosphere is maintained around her by the thoughtful provisions of four opportunities:
1. To exhibit Personality by indulging in a few little whims.
2. To blow off steam about Everything to a Sympathetic and Untiring Ear.
3. To receive occasional Encouragement or Praise.
4. Never to be criticised - or, if this must be done once in a while, then to have it so well wrapped up in the Chinese or Irish Manner that she may get the Idea without loss of 'face'.
It is undeniably a great nuisance to have to worry about such apparent trifles, especially in wartime, but the fact remains that our job is not to remake human nature, but to try to make the absolute best of the material that happens to be available, and I have a feeling, based on all too little experience admittedly, that we may sometimes be apt, in a natural attempt to produce a well-run and well disciplined show, to pay too little attention to the delicate art of handling our Prima Donnas.
The recent Meadway incident seems to illustrate this. The Army have an excellent and wise tradition that no superior officer should come within striking distance of a soldier who is under the influence of alcohol: I seriously suggest that for at least 24 hours after landing an aircraft, a pilot - if he has any pride at all - will be feeling so low and bloody-minded that it will be well worth his Superior Officer spending a few seconds thought before coming within verbal striking range of him.
... During the four months I spent in E. and AFTS I served under two or three C.O.s and several adjutants, but I do not think any one of them ever took the trouble to find out anything about me as an individual (except possibly my name and flying record) and I suspect that much the same would be true of Meadway. The latter, as it happened, was an easy going type whom you could get anything out of round the the fire over a glass of ale, but practically nothing over the Orderly Room Table or on the Mat, and armed with this knowledge I still believe that ATA might have made a useful servant out of him."
He went on to suggest that "O.C.s and adjutants be impressed with the need for knowing their personnel more intimately than they now do, and ...for future appointments the quality of being a Good Mixer be designated a sine qua non for adjutants, and a Major Qualification for O.C.s."
Sadly, he died shortly after in a bizarre accident:
d. Sunday 17 Jan 1943 (Died in ATA Service) - in Hurricane II KX441 which made a normal landing at Sherburn, but struck a very wet patch and nosed over onto its back.
Alan drowned, in about 18in of water, before he could be rescued.
His obituary in the Eastern Daily Press concludes: "Generous, capable, and with the keenest zest for life and all its interests, throwing himself with all his varied gifts into all that he undertook, he inspired those around him to give also of their best. Only those who knew him well realised the depth and sincerity of his desire to help his fellow men, and his loss to those who knew him is an irreparable one."
He was cremated in Leeds, and his ashes were scattered from an aircraft, piloted by Douglas Fairweather, flying over Southampton Waters on the 29th January.
Father: William E Humphrey, mother Harriet V
Ed. Gresham School, Holt; Jesus College, Cambridge
prev. RAF 1940-41 AC2 pilot under training; Sep 1941 Royal Navy
Address in 1942: Holton Hall, Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin
d. 20 Aug 1943 in Spitfire VIII JF844. The aircraft dived out of cloud into the ground at Luckley Farm, nr. Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire, and was destroyed. "The pilot was probably flying too near the cloud base and inadvertently entered a patch of low cloud, thereafter losing control of the aircraft."
Buried Whitechurch Cemetery, County Dublin, Ireland
Father: Richard William Jackson [a retired builder], mother, Mary Elizabeth [Turbyfield]
Ed. Cheltenham Central School
m. 1930 Elsie May [Martin], 1 son
prev. Transport Contractor (own business); RAFVR Sgt, 2 Jun to 10 Dec 1941
prev. exp. 17 hrs on DH Moth
Address in 1942: 54 Eldon Rd, Cheltenham
Postings: 4FPP, 3FPP
"A keen pilot of average ability who completed by flying the Hurricane very well. "Inclined to be careless at times... a good navigator"
In Jun 1944, he requested a transfer to 9FPP (Aston Down), to be near his wife, who had been suffering from poor health and was unable to get any domestic help, but this doesn't seem to have happened.
Reprimanded in March 1945 for Loss of Ferry Pilot's Notes
Three accidents, two definitely not his fault:
2 Dec 1943, he was initially blamed for overshooting a landing in Defiant TT.1 AA493. However, it was subsequently discovered that the approach speed published in the ATA Pilot's Notes was incorrect if the turret had been removed, so he was exonerated, and the figure amended.
- 7 Aug 1944, during a take-off from Crosby, the navigator's escape hatch of his Beaufort I JM546 detached and damaged a propeller
d. 23 May 1945 in Tempest V NV666 which disappeared during a flight from Hawarden to Kirkbride.
By the 3 Jun 1945 no further news had been received, so they presumed that he had crashed into the Solway Firth, or the Irish Sea.
On the 6 June, his wife Elsie wrote to the ATA: "Of course I have realized for some time that there was no hope of the safe return of my husband. Naturally it was a deadful shock to my son and me, and I have been quite ill over it...I must admit that I will find this rather difficult financially ... I have had many offers of loans from relatives, but daren't accept them until I know what position I shall be in with regard to re-payment"
The ATA continued to pay Reginald's salary [£370 a year] until presumption of death was formally established, and eventually paid the £2,500 insurance to Elsie on the 21 Jan 1946.
"my husband was very proud of being a member of ATA and loved his work"
Commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial
and on Cheltenham's War Memorial:
with thanks to Reg's grandson, David, who also tells me: " My grandmother did not talk about him much (it was old and tragic news to her), and neither did my father (I suspect that he did not know his father well as he was sent to boarding school when young and may not have seen a lot of him)... I found out quite by accident that he is commemorated in Cheltenham when visiting (I was born in England but have lived for most of my life in Canada). I did not know the memorial was there, walked past it quite by luck and was astounded to see his name as I had no idea it was there."
Father: Dr. Ray Oakley Miller, mother Laura C [Crump]
Parents' address: 715 South Serrado, Los Angeles
Nancy's 1937 school photo
Studied psychology at Occidental College and UC Berkeley
She sailed from Montreal to join the ATA on the 30 Jul 1942 with Opal Anderson. [They sailed on the 'Winnipeg II', which was torpedoed and sunk on its return trip.]
Sailed to the US in September 1944 on the 'Queen Elizabeth' with fellow American ATA pilots Ernest Ewing, Keith Williams, and Harry Smith. She then flew back as a supernumary pilot in Liberator KH303, 26-29 Oct 1944. She says she "wedged up against the door between the cabin and the bomb-bay, as the dinghies took up the rest of the room." Even though they flew back via Bermuda and the Azores, her experience of the flight itself was being very cold, cramped and uncomfortable,
She later recalled that, in Britain "You could fly the same route for a year before you could put the map away. At Luton, you could get lost just circling the airfield"
After ATA, sailed back to the US via Nova Scotia on the 18 Aug 1945 with Edith Foltz Stearns, and Louise Shuurman.
In 1947 she become the world’s fourth licensed woman helicopter pilot.
m.1956 J Arlo Livingston; they moved to Juneau, Alaska in 1960 and ran a helicopter service, Livingston Copters Ltd. until 1976.
Nancy in the early 60s in Alaska
Arlo died in 1986.
m.1991 Milton Stratford (d. 2008)
Wrote 'Contact! Britain!' in 2010
in 2014 - San Diego Union-Tribune
12 June 2019 (Dot Wilson)
"I loved all the flying, the freedom, doing what I liked to do. It was wild and woolly at times. I was a lucky person in my career. I smile. I have absolutely no regrets.”
Ed. Modern School, Streatham
m 1937 Jessie B G [Pitceathly]., 2 children
prev. RAF 1934-6 Sgt Pilot 1940-42; Link Trainer Instructor. Press Telegraphist
prev. exp. 50hrs
Address in 1942: "Gwendreath", Liskey Hill Crescent, Perranporth, Cornwall
Postings: 12FPP, 6FPP, 16FPP, 2FPP
One accident, his fault:
- He landed heavily in a Beaufighter X and slightly damaged the port wing tip.
"A quiet, well-disciplined officer"
d. Jan 1990 - Exeter, Devon
Address in 1939: 123 Ring Road, Farnley, Leeds
prev. A Woollen Manufacturer
Father: Józef Piłsudski, Polish statesman who served as the Chief of State (1918–1922) and First Marshal of Poland (from 1920), Mother: Aleksandra [Szczerbińska]
prev: Student at Newnham College, Cambridge (studying architecture)
prev exp: 20 hrs (100 hrs on gliders) in Poland
Address in 1942: 6 Spottiswoode St, Newington, Edinburgh (living with her mother).
Later moved to 12 Eversley St, Liverpool 8
m. 1944 Lieutenant Andrzej Jaraczewski, an officer in the Polish Navy.
in 1943 and 2011
d. 16 November 2014 - Warsaw
Father: Gerald Stapledon ("of Calcutta, fourth son of William Stapledon of Lakenham, Northam, N. Devon", d. 1944), mother Eleanor Maud [Halliday], ("eldest daughter of Lt-Col S C Halliday, late R.A.") of Upton, Hartley Wintney, Hants
Ed. Rosemead, Littlehampton
prev exp: 34 hrs 30min on DH Moth, Hornet Moth, Magister, Whitney Straight in Malaya ('A' Licence No 76 gained in the Straits Settlements)
Sailed from Calcutta to London aged 4, with her mother and younger sister Maud Winifred in 1919, to Singapore in September 1935 and back from Bombay to Plymouth in Apr 1936.
m. Flt-Lt John Anthony Allen (d. 16 May 1941 in Singapore, in a training accident). Their son Christopher John was born 13 Jun 1941, but died aged 10 months in Cape Town, en route from Singapore.
Two accidents, both her fault:
- 2 Apr 1943, taxying her Auster III MZ186 without sufficient care, the propeller struck a marker flag
- 22 May 1944, the tail wheel of her Beaufighter broke off after a heavy landing
m. Lt-Cmdr Keith Marshall (a daughter, Geraldine Mary b. 1958, d. 1979)
d. 7 May 1994 - Yelverton, Devon
Mother: Caroline D Walker, [b. 26 Jan 1881, divorced] of Bignals, Beaulieu, Hants
Ed. St Cuthbert's School, Bournemouth
prev. a "photographic student"; WAAF (Acting S/O) from Sep 1939, stationed at RAF Hornchurch, Essex
prev. exp. 3 hrs on DH Moth
Postings: 15FPP, 6FPP
4 accidents, 2 her fault:
- 14 Mar 1943, a forced landing in Hurricane I after engine failure
- 22 Dec 1944, a wheels-up forced landing in Spitfire IV RM904 after the undercarriage selector lever stuck in the 'Up' position
- 31 Aug 1944 Reprimanded for "taxying with insufficient care"; her Auster V RT526 collided with a parked Auster at Rearsby
- June 1945 "Anne Walker (later Duncan) took off from Somerton airfield [in a Supermarine Walrus] at Cowes in a crosswind, a hazardous performance with all that double wing. She swung, finishing up at the end of the take-off run in a haystack. She was knocked out and the whole caboosh went up in flames. Luckily a baker’s boy was cycling along the lane beside the aerodrome boundary. He pulled Anne out of the conflagration, then rescued his bike plus some of the singed stuff. (Mary Ellis – A Spitfire Girl’)
She made a slow start; "her over-confidence tended to make her careless", but became a "keen, hard-working pilot ... progressing well onto more advanced (Class 4) types"
"Throughout this pilot's reports one gets the impression of casualness or carelessness, this I believe is greatly due to her manner which she should endeavour to rectify"
m. 1948 in London, Alexander D Duncan, an aeronautical engineer and salesman for the aviation division of R.K. Dundas.
d. 19 Nov 1988 - Beaulieu, Hants, leaving £349,395
Father: Denis Hurley (a retired police superintendent), mother Elizabeth Mary [Madigan]
Ed. Christian Brothers School, Dublin
prev. RAFVR 25 Nov 1940 - 19 Jan 1942 (LAC Cadet Pilot) at Reading
prev. exp. 93 hrs on BA Swallow, Tiger Moth, Magister
Address in 1942: 30 Clondarf Rd, Dublin / 75 Cambridge St, Victoria, London SW1
March 1942: "Last November I made an unsuccessful attempt to join your organisation as a pilot. If you will be good enough to read on I think I can now show some reason to suppose I could measure up to your medical exam now, if you give me another chance."
John explained that he had recently been rushed to Charing Cross Hospital for an operation on a perforated duodenal ulcer. "I had been a stomach sufferer, on and off, for many years ... now that that is all over, I feel pretty good, and without the accompanying pain."
They did give him a second chance, (obviously), and he passed both the medical and the flying test.
Postings: 8FPP, 16FPP
"Good type of Irishman" (!)
"A steady and reliable pilot whose flying is methodical and his drill good. A good officer."
2 accidents, one his fault:
- 24 Feb 1943, he taxied his Argus FK347 into a "small brick structure - "7ft x 5ft x 3ft" and damaged the wing
d. 18 Dec 1943, when ferrying Hampden AD736 from Aldergrove to Hawarden. He approached the landing at Hawarden "rather low" and the port engine failed. The aircraft, turned, rolled over and crashed inverted. "Insufficient evidence to determine responsibility."
Buried Mt Jerome Cemetery, Harold's Cross, Dublin
In Loving Memory John Denis Hurley 30 Clondarf Road Died 18th December 1943
Also My dear Husband Denis John Hurley
Died ... June 1956 Aged 79 Years
Diana's sister (see Ramsay, Diana Patricia)
Ed. Endcliife, Eastbourne; Paris
resident 'Howletts', nr Canterbury
First solo age 16 at Kent Flying Club in September 1933 ("Flight")
prev: Ambulance Driver from Aug-40
prev exp: 2hrs
[Contract Terminated by ATA]
m. 1948 Eric Comyn Boucher
d. 17 Dec 2004 - Kent
For more about 'The Flying Ramseys' see Ramsay, Diana
m. Edward C J Lowen, separated 1940/41 due to him having many affairs with other women. At the time of Nancy joining ATA in 1942 he was not paying the rent for her home.
"Very fast shorthand and typing ... but very careless"
"She became a stenographer for ATA but with pressure of rent not being paid, and being from a working class background ATA would not advance her any money towards keeping a roof over her head, and her work suffered.
She was dismissed from ATA - family believe she then worked at Bletchley Park.
In February 1949 she took her own life in Brighton."
Biographical details from Andrew Bird
Father: Norman Charles Seemann, mother Beatrice Maud [Grey, d. 1926]
m. 1931 in Barnet, Robert Lewis Beverley, (original surname Baker, based in S. Rhodesia in 1942)
Her brother, Norman Walter Keith Seeman, was killed age 25 in a car accident in 1934. Patricia was injured in the same accident and was "carried into court", which decided that former racing driver William Berkeley Scott was responsible for the accident due to "careless, reckless and dangerous driving."
Address in 1942: Stone House Hotel, Hatfield
Joined ATA originally as an MT Driver
Postings: 1FPP, 5FPP
Class 3 Pilot
Reprimanded and fined 3 days salary in Feb 1943 for 'Neglect of Duty'
4 accidents, 2 her fault:
- 1 May 1943, a forced landing in a Hurricane after a hydraulic failure
- 20 Jul 1943, while taxying 'without sufficient care', her Spitfire Vb hit a stationary Beaufighter [Severely reprimanded]
- 29 Nov 1943, she landed her Proctor LZ651 crosswind on wet grass, disobeying airfield 'runways only' signals, skidded and hit an obstruction [Severely reprimanded and suspended without pay for three days]
- 13 Apr 1945, a wheels-up forced landing in Mustang IV KM217 after the selector lever jammed
d. 27 Feb 1948 in Miles M.65 Gemini 1a G-AJZI owned by St. Christopher Travel-Ways Ltd, which crashed at Ridge Park, Wallington shortly after take-off from Croydon airport.
She was acting as co-pilot to Wing-Cmdr William Herbert Whetton; he and the 2 passengers were injured in the crash.
When Mary joined the Air Transport Auxiliary in 1942, she had a security check-up from the US Authorities:
"Subject is described as being about 36 years old and was divorced from Dr. Harris Preston Pearson. She was born in Greensboro, North Carolina on July 12, 1905 and is the daughter of Francis H and Frances M Nicholson; both described as being native born Americans.
Her parents reside at 2400 Walker Avenue, Greensboro N.C. for the past 30 years and own their house at this point. Her father is about 70 years old and is employed as a salesman by the Cole Chemical Co. of St. Louis Missouri. He has been here for several years and prior to that was with the North Carolina Bank & Trust Co. for a number of years. Public records disclose that he filed a petition in bankrupcy on June 28, 1930 and was discharged on October 16, 1930. The family is well regarded locally and informants state that subject's parents are not known to have ever engaged in un-American activities.
Subject obtained her early education in Pomono, Cal. and later attended Guilford College, Guilford, N.C., Women's College of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, N.C.
She has done considerable flying and it is reported by our correspondents that she is the first woman in North Carolina to receive a commercial pilot's license. She had been employed by the Hickory Memorial Hospital, Hickory N.C. for about one year as business manager, but had to resign from her position in October of 1936 due to an injury sustained in an accident. She later was engaged on airport promotional work for the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, and in June of 1937 entered the employ of Miss Jacqueline Cochran, 300 5th Avenue, NYC, doing private secretarial work. She is employed at the above business address and also at 435 East 52 Street, NYC where Miss Cochran maintains Apartment #9-A. This latter party operates a cosmetics business but is well known as one of the outstanding aviatrix in this country.
Subject is highly regarded as to character and habits and is said to be a member of the ninety-nines which is an outstanding women's aviation organisation, as well as the National Aeronautics Association.
She is not addicted to the use of intoxicants or narcotics and is not connected with any labor or political organizations. Informants state that subject has never engaged in any un-American or subversive activities.
Subject had resided with her parents since birth up to 1936 when she moved to Hickory, N.C. in keeping with the requirements of her position at that time. She gives another former residence as 435 East 52nd Street, NYC. This is the residence of Miss Cochran and building management authorities at this address advise that subject never lived here but is well known to them in connection with Miss Cochran.
She has been living at 333 East 53rd Street, NYC since May of 1938 and leases a two rooms apartment at a rental of about $60. per month. She lives alone and is reported to be a satisfactory tenant here. Informants at the various places of residence advise that subject associates with good reputable persons coming from good class families, and in all quarters checked the opinion was expressed that subject is thoroughly American in her sentiments."
She also had to complete a 'next of kin' form, naming her father; the form was witnessed by Emily Chapin, a fellow American ATA pilot who also joined the ATA in August 1942. She gave her religion as 'Christian Scientist"; her flying hours to date were 606 hrs 36min, making her one of the more experienced women to join the ATA.
In more detail, she gave her education as:
As for her detailed flying history, she said she "began flying July 21, 1928 at the Raven Rock Flying School, Portsmouth, Ohio. Received ground instruction and 17 hours flying time. Private license at Greensboro, North Carolina October 17, 1929. Limited commercial license at Winston Salem N.C. October 17 1929. Carried passengers on week-ends at Winston Salem until Oct. 1934.
Transport License in Wilmington, N.C. July 4th 1934. Barnstorming on week-ends in small North Carolina towns, including stunting exhibitions until February 1936. Started flying school in Hickory N.C. instructing 15 primary students between June 1 and September 20 1936. Various flying around New York and North Carolina since that time. Over 250 hours cross country flying. 7 hours link training.
Ships flown: Taylorcraft, Luscombe, Waco 10, Pitcairn Orowing, Monocoupe, DH Moth, Waco 9, Eaglerock, Challenger, Fairchild 21, 22, 24, Commandaire, Travelaire, Spartan, Cutiss Robin, OX Bird, Waco C, Waco N, Jensen Trainer, Pitcairn, Fleetwing, Beechcraft Kittyhawk, Waco F, Great Lakes, Fleet, Stinson Reliant, Stinson 105, Rearwin."
All of which was sufficiently impressive for them to offer her a position straight away.
She arrived in the 8th and final group of American (and Canadian) women aviators, together with Mikkie Allen, Emily Chapin, Gloria Large, and Bobbie Sandoz.
She started her training course but, perhaps surprisingly, seems to have found it hard going to begin with; she was signed off sick for two weeks for 'Debility/ Reactionary exhaustion' in October 1942.
On the 10th December, Cadet Nicholson had he honor to report that:
"On December the 9th, I lost my black leather handbag with black shoulder strap containing - in addition to the usual cosmetic items, handkerchief, purple fountain pen - a black leather pocket book holding the following important items:-
American Passport; Alien Registration Certificate; National Registration Card, Clothing Coupn Book, Personal Ration Card, 19 pound-notes, Autographed American Dollar note, Address Book and family photographs.
The last time I saw the handbag was when I placed it in Locker No. 13 at 09:30 hours, and I missed it at 17:00 hours when I prepared to leave the airfield for the day.
I have made a careful search of the locker and have retraced my movements during the day without success in locating trhe missing article.
I have the honor to be, Sir, Your obedient servant, Mary Nicholson, Cadet"
.. all of which sounds pretty serious, but I'm afraid the outcome is not recorded in her file.
Anyway, less than 3 weeks later, she passed the training course and was duly promoted to 3rd Officer. She was W.97 - the 97th woman pilot in the ATA (out of an eventual total of 168).
Early 1943 therefore found her flying 'Class 1' (light single-engined) aircraft like the Fairchild Argus and DH Tiger Moth, until she went on the training course for 'Class 2' (advanced single engined) in February, passing that in March and being promoted to 2nd Officer. Her confidential report says:
"In the I.F.T.S. this pilot did some 75 hours flying and proved a steady pilot who took a great interest in her work. In A.F.T.S. she reached a good standard in technical subjects and in her navigational flying. Her Class 2 flying was steady and good. In Training Pool her work was excellent and she has all along impressed her instructors as being a cautious pilot who is out to do the best ferrying job she can. Her behaviour as an officer was good and she should prove a useful ferry pilot at any Pool, and is now capable of flying all Class 2 aircraft up to and including Spitfires."
Pauline Gower wrote to Mary's parents on the 13 May 1943:
"Your daughter Mary has given me your address as I feel I must write to you myself to tell you how well she is getting on. She is just about to pass out from her training and she has shown great powers of hard work and intelligence during the time she has been in this country. Every day she is proving her ability as a pilot and I am very pleased with her in every respect.
You will be interested to know she has now flown both Spitfires and Hurricanes and you can understand how pleased she is to have handled these aircraft which played such a prominent part in the Battle of Britain.
With kind regards, Yours Sincerely, P. Gower, Commandant Women"
Mary was posted to No. 12 Ferry Pool (Cosford) on the 22nd of May 1943.
That same day, the 22nd of May, Mary was killed when her Miles Master W9029 crashed at 17:00 hours at Littleworth, near Worcester. According to an eye-witness, the airscrew came away from the aircraft before it crashed and burst into flames.
Later technical analysis showed that a failure of lubrication to the propeller reduction gear caused a ball race to fail, and the propeller and reduction gear flew off. On gliding down the aircraft struck some farm buildings. Mary was deemed to be 'not at fault' for the incident.
Her funeral was on the 29th May. Pauline Gower is named as 'Senior Pilot to attend' on the official forms for the funeral, but Giles Whittell (via Ann Wood) states that "Gower failed to attend the funeral, even though Nicholson had been based at White Waltham. Sometimes, just when they most needed to be warm, the Brits could be breathtakingly chilly."
Whittell, Giles (2008-09-04). Spitfire Women of World War II (p. 218).
Pauline now had to write another, ghastly letter to Mary's parents, less than a month after her previous one.
"I do wish to express my very deep sympathy to you both on the loss of your daughter Mary. It grieves me very much to have to follow my last letter to you with this one of sympathy.
As I remarked to you before, your daughter was doing very well and you have every reason to be extremely proud of her. She was a good pilot, a hard worker and full of the spirit which we need so much these days.
She will be much missed by her many friends in this country and all those with whom her work brought her in contact.
Again, let me tell you how very much I feel for you in your loss.
With kind regards, Yours Sincerely, Commandant Women"
Even worse, Mary's mother had written to her on the 11th May, and the letter arrived after Mary's fatal accident. It is a normal, chatty family letter:
My Dear Mary,
I was overjoyed to receive your cable Sun a.m. Was sure a message would come from you and nothing did me so much good as to know you are well and happy.
Had cards from David, Ruth and H. And Frank & I. gave me a navy slip.
No news from Herbert, but hardly expect him to think of such things, and Julia is too busy decorating their home. She doesn’t write to her own mother, so guess I can’t expect it.
They have a lovely home and were decorating and putting in handsome new rugs from wall to wall.
Harold and Ruth have a very comfortable, attractive aptm., large enough for them, but not for company. The baby girl has arrived, & is named Ann Frances. I was so anxious for them to name her Mary Webb, and would like Ann Webb much better or Cole if they wanted to use my name. As it is Ruth has named them both for her Bro and Sister, but I think she was partial to Ann. I guess Harold doesn’t have much say so, and as Dad wrote Herbert I don’t appreciate having my name stuck in as tho for appeasement. Dad and I sent Harold $50.00 and Frank added $25, as he is hard pressed with this big expense coming on almost before he could get the other baby paid for. Eddie is not a bit like Harold, except his eyes are blue, has a long face and perfectly straight hair that won’t lie down, but is a fine sweet little boy. I hope the girl will look like the Nicholsons.
Ruth has her hands full, has help only one day a week. Harold did all the spring cleaning. He is a sweet boy as you know and so proud of his babies.
Re and Nancy are lovely girls, and beautiful, and both very bright. Re gets high grades and takes part in all the school activities. Nancy is a lively bird, beautiful big blue eyes, and sings so well, she catches tunes from the radio and sings with it so well. We enjoyed our visit with them, but have had a time catching up with my work. Have the garden in fair condition now, but have done no spring cleaning. We are raising 50 chicks in the yard, so as to having something to eat.
I went to entertain some of the soldiers all along and they like fried chicken.
Frank told me you had directed him to give me $50.00 for class instruction. I had just made my application to Mrs. Matters of Great Neck, N.Y., feeling sure the money would be supplied as I having been saving some for a time. She has her class in late summer, and I do not know yet if she can take me as they have only 30 in a class. If I do go, I sure wish you were in N.Y. I appreciate so much your thoughtfulness. But will wait to take the money later. I have my hands full with all the work here, garden, and Reading at Ch., which takes much time. I am wearing a real pretty navy sheer with lace collar, and hope to find a pretty lavender or orchid later.
We sent you a box recently, containing a w. Bottle, the man at W.Rich & Co. gave Frank with their compliments. I will get off some orange juice to you soon. Tell me if their is any special thing we can send you.
David is liking his work & is Cpl. Aren’t we proud of him, he is in the office and doesn’t have K. P. which suits him. Earl Garrett joined the Navy. Cousins Tom & Sola both passed on recently.
We have two nice quiet couples in the house now, Capt. and Sgt., & their wives & don’t enjoy smelling bacon grease and cigarettes early in the morning, but glad to help out in the very congested condition, and it makes me get up early. Lots of people I meet send messages to you.
Had a letter from one of your friends saying you are well and writing, tho we don’t get letters from you often. Dad is in W. Cas for a few days. Please write soon.
Much love Mama.
Mary was the only American woman to be killed on active service with the ATA.
Geooffrey Hudson kindly tells me that, in 2019, "on the anniversary of her death, I and a small group of fellow historic aviation enthusiasts/researchers finally marked the site of the crash of her Miles Master II in Littleworth, Worcesterhire. We felt that the fact that she was something of an aviation celebrity in North Carolina and beyond, was involved with Amelia Earhart in the founding of the Ninety-Nines’s and yet her death and crash site was unmarked was something of an insult to her memory. She was an exceptional woman.
We therefore placed a memorial plaque on the wall adjacent to the barn that her aircraft struck and burnt. The Memorial Service was conducted by the Rev Mark Badger and the plaque unveiled by John Webster of the ATA Association. We interviewed two surviving witnesses to the crash and a third later came forward. The event was covered by local news media including the BBC;-
The crash site is on private property but the current owners of the location are, with prior notice, happy to allow visitors to attend."
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip files):
prev. a Motor Salesman
Father: Sir Herbert William Gepp, "mining metallurgist and manager, public servant, industrialist and publicist"; mother Jessie Powell [Hilliard]
m. May 1940 in Toronto, Flt-Lt Richard Gething
3 accidents, none her fault:
- 12 Dec 1942, forced landing in Avro Tutor K3276 following engine failure
- 30 May 1943, her Argus EV785, was hit by Spitfire VII R7211 being taxied by Mary Wilkins, damaging the Argus' propeller and the Spitfire's wingtip. "The pilot's [Wilkins] judgement was probably impaired by the effects of an accident two days earlier. She should have been medically examined before flying again and O.C. 15FPP is therefore held responsible"
- 15 Aug 1944, a forced landing in Swordfish III HS553 after a petrol leak into the cockpit.
She sailed back to Australia in November 1944 on SS 'Nestor'
"She returned to Australia, and in early 1945 joined the crew of Lancaster bomber "G for George" as public relations officer for its tour of Australia to raise money for the Third Victory Loan Appeal.
In the 1940s, Mardi also worked briefly for The Age as a society reporter.
When Richard returned to the Air Ministry in late 1945, Mardi joined him to resume life together in a small village south of London. Their two children were born in 1947 and 1949. Mardi continued her flying career as a member of the RAF Volunteer Reserve until Richard was posted for two years to Singapore.
Later the family was stationed in Northern Ireland, then in Scotland, before Richard (now an Air Commodore) worked a final stint at the Air Ministry in London.
In 1959, the family returned to Australia, settling at Red Cliffs, near Mildura. Here Mardi's and Richard's interests turned from powered aircraft to gliders. They became enthusiastic members of the Sunraysia Gliding Club, joined during school holidays by their children, who became solo pilots soon after their 15th birthdays.
Mardi, a keen member of the Australian Women Pilots Association (AWPA), became the first female licensed gliding instructor in Australia, and for a time held the women's altitude record for a glider flight (13,000 feet). Mardi and Richard both became nationally accredited gliding instructors and taught new club level instructors around Australia.
In 1966 they moved to the Gepp family property at Kangaroo Ground near Melbourne, from where they continued their Australia-wide gliding activities. In retirement, they travelled widely around Australia and overseas, visiting wartime and service friends and colleagues. They also took the opportunity to drop into any gliding centres on their route.
When Richard died in 2004, their wonderful partnership in aviation had lasted more than 64 years.."
Mardi Gething's obituary written by her daughter Mary-Jane Gething and published in The Age newspaper on Aug 11, 2005
d. 16 Jul 2005 - Templestowe, Victoria, Australia
Father: Felix W Sandoz, mother Frances, both of Evans, Stephens, WA
Ed. Colville High, B.A. in Sociology from Whitman College, Walla Walla WA
prev. pilot, secretary, social worker
prev. exp. 310.55 hrs
"In the professional airshows in 1940 she did a solo strip tease performance. She would climb into the plane fully dressed, right down to the spike-heeled shoes and the gloves, take off, and start dropping articles of clothing over the side for the benefit of the audience. The climax was when she landed, descending from the plane still fully clothed."
Address in 1942: 1518 S Hale Ave, Corcoran, CA
Postings: 15FPP, 6FPP
3 accidents, none her fault:
- 14 Mar 1943, whilst taxying her Harvard, the port wing hit a dispersal worker;
- 28 Oct 1943, forced landing, without damage, in a Fairchild Argus after complete engine failure, and
- 9 Feb 1944, forced landing, again without damage, in a Spitfire after she found that she could not throttle back the engine below 3,000 rpm due to a technical defect.
"An excellent ferry pilot. She allows nothing to interfere with the job. Discipline excellent.
m. Aug 1943 in Kensington, London, First Lt. or Capt., King's Royal Rifle Corps, Peter David Leveaux (3 children; inc. Guy David, b. 1944). Peter's father died while serving with the Royal Navy. He and Roberta met in a pub called 'Shepherds' in Mayfair..
Sailed to New York on 21 Aug 1943 with Opal Anderson, Evelyn Hudson, Margaret Lennox and Catharine van Doozer, and after her leave period this is presumably when she made a return transatlantic flight as supernumerary crew, probably in a Hudson.
Sailed back to the US on 2 Dec 1945 on the 'Queen Elizabeth' with fellow ferry pilots Ann Watson Wood, James MacCallum, Margaret Lennox and Gilman 'Ben' Warne.
Roberta and Peter moved to the US in 1949.
Peter (who became a US citizen in 1955) became the eastern sales manager for the Jostens Manufacturing Co. of Owatonna, Minnesota.
They lived in Westport, Connecticut in 1960 and Portland, OR in 1995
Interviewed in 2000 for NASA's Johnson Space Center - see:
Father: Charles Hall Chapin, Advertising Manager for the White Rock Mineral Co. in NYC (d. 1960)
Ed. Wellesley College, MA
Next of kin: (mother) Mrs Dorothy [Traill]
prev: File Supervisor for Standard Oil Co of New Jersey
prev. exp. 203 hrs
Address in 1942: 291 Rye Beach Ave, Rye, NY
She was reprimanded in April 1943 for "careless taxying resulting in accident, when the propeller of her Master II struck a marking flag.
2 other accidents, one her fault:
- 27 Jul 1943, forced landing in a Spitfire, which was damaged, "due to an error of judgement on the part of the pilot" (the hood blew off in flight. Presumably she was held to blame because she had failed to secure it properly);
- 16 Nov 1943, she made a forced landing in a Swordfish which developed high oil pressure and temperature.
(2nd L) with Bobby Sandoz and 'a couple of fellow Yanks' at the Red Cross Club, 1943
She flew 18 types of aircraft (Class 1 and 2) with the ATA.
"A keen and hardworking pilot whose confidence appeaqrs to have been shaken by her recent (Jul-43) accident. Discipline good."
Later a WASP, then an engineer for General Precision Laboratories and the Singer Corporation.
d. 23 Jul 1978 - Briarcliff Manor, Westchester County, New York
Her wartime correspondence is in the Texas Woman's University Collection:
Father: William A Allen, mother Jeanette
Ed; Hawthorne High School, American School in Tokyo, Columbia University, NYC
prev. Mechanical Dept, Curtiss Propeller
One of the original members of the 99 Club of women aviators.
She and her mother had visited the UK, in 1930
prev. exp. 325 hrs
Address in 1942: 70 Warren Ave, Hawthorne, NJ
- 12 Sep 1942; she overshot her landing in a Hart, applied the brakes too harshly and the aircraft turned over.
Off sick from 22 Sep to 5 Oct 1942 with bronchial catarrh, and 18 Nov 1942 to 7 Feb 1943 with 'post-operation debility'
m. 23 Aug 1945 in St Louis MO, Major Joseph Watkins Carter, US Army Signal Corps. They met in London and had been engaged since Christmas Day 1942.
They divorced sometime before 1953.
After ATA, Myrtle served with the WASPs.
but went to stay with her husband in Italy from 5 Nov 1946 to 14 May 1947, and then spent two years in Japan, 1951-53
m. 1953 in Paterson., NJ, Carl Henry Willer
Later a secretary with the US Treasury Dept; moved to Florida in 1965 from Washington DC.
d. 10 Jun 1966 - Tampa, FL (Age 49)
Ed: St. Thomas' College, Ceylon
Arrived 13 Nov 1936 in the UK from Australia
Address in 1942: 70 Cherry Hinton Rd, Cambridge
m. 1941 Doreen A [Warwick] in Cambridge
prev. RAF Sgt, Jan 1940 to Apr 1942: 601 (City of London), 65 Squadrons
prev. exp. 311 hrs on Tiger Moth, Hart, Audax, Master, Hurricane, Spitfire
Postings: 1FPP, 16FPP, 3FPP, 6FPP
Suspended, reprimanded and grounded:
- Suspended for 1 day in Jul 1943 for 'breach of flying discipline'
- Aug 1944, Reprimanded for failure to report to 3FPP on the correct date, and
- Grounded for 3 days also in Aug 1944 for 'misuse of home to duty petrol'
2 accidents, one his fault:
- 17 Apr 1943, his Spitfire overran due to brake and flap malfunction
- 15 Apr 1944, when his Barracuda sank back to the ground on take-off, due to the fact that he had neglected to put the elevator trimmer in the correct position.
"He flies well but is inclined to be a little 'smart' about it."
"Has carried out all his duties as a ferry pilot satisfactorily but requires constant supervision in regards to discipline"
"Any further breach of flying or general discipline on the part of this officer is to be referred to the Commanding Officer for 'disposal'" [whatever that means!]
His wife Doreen lived with him in Cambridge until 1946, but they appear to have separated before 1947.
He then moved to Chelsea, and married again in 1969.
d,. 2003 - London
Mother Lena Storme Clapham, father Arthur, a chemist.
Jane had New Zealand Pilot's "A" (Private) Licence (No. 291) issued 14th August, 1931 and had completed 113 hours 40 minutes solo flying on D.H.60, D.H. 82, Miles Hawk, and Taylor Cub, but the license had expired in May 1939. She was working as her father's assistant at 10 Plunket Street, Wanganui in late 1941 when she contacted the ATA to see if they could offer her anything. The reply was somewhat guarded:
"It would appear from your previous experience that you would make a suitable ferry pilot, but we must advise you that any steps you may take to join this organisation are your own responsibility entirely and any expenses incurred in connection therewith must be borne by yourself."
It was then March 1942 when she wrote to Pauline Gower at 'Hadfield, England':
I am writing to enquire whether there are any vacancies for a qualified pilot in your organisation. I am twenty seven years of age and very interested in flying, having my pilots' license with approximately 120 hours flying time.
If you consider that there are any opportunities for me, please advise me and also what steps it will be necessary for me to take."
She sent a note from her old instructor at the Western Federated Flying Club, Flt-Lt Ian Keith:
"I have known Miss Jane Winstone from approx. 1930 when she first commenced flying under my tuition. She proved a very apt pupil and went solo very quickly. From then on she practised continually and represented our Club (one of the largest in New Zealand) in open non handicap competitions for landings, against senior men pilots and was successful in attaining first place each time she competed thus winning the Pageant Cup for the Club.
Her flying has always been consistent and she has never caused the slightest trouble through breaches of regulations etc. She also displays a keen sense of responsibility and I have no hesitation in recommending her to anyone regarding her services in a flying capacity."
In July, the ATA also checked up with her friend Miss Trevor Hunter, another New Zealander who had joined them the previous November. She said that she'd be fine:"Jane is used to responsibility, and is a very stable character"
Jane travelled to the UK in July, clutching letters of introduction from none other than the Prime Minister of New Zealand and the Honourable W.J. Rogers, Mayor of Wanganui. Both letters "testify to her qualifications as a flyer and state that Miss Winstone was the third lady in New Zealand to qualify as a pilot."
She attended a flying test (and had her medical) on the 28th July. The report was encouraging; she "flew better than expected after a break of 2 years. Good hands; confident; capable of being trained for ferry duties."
You might think that, in the face of this overwhelming chorus of praise, the ATA would snap her up straight away. Not quite; they left her to cool her heels for a few weeks, until W.H. Sutcliffe from Rolls Royce tried to move things along:
"10th August 1942
Dear Mr McMillan,
I am writing to you on behalf of one of our test pilots Flt-Lt McKenzie, who has asked me if I could persuade you to hurry along the appointment of a Miss Jane Winstone whom you have already tested. Apparently she was engaged to his brother who unfortunately is missing on one of the recent raids. She has travelled all the way from NZ to join him, and it has come as a bitter blow to find him missing.
Apparently you cannot employ her as a pilot for another month, but could you find her a ground job in the meantime? She is brooding away the time in London with just nothing to do. Your help would be very much appreciated."
It worked. Jane started her training on the 19th August 1942.
Things did not go smoothly at first; "her flying was only moderate and she had considerable difficulty with navigation probably because of the big change in flying in England." She also had several breaks owing to illness - in fact, she was mostly off sick from the 23rd November 1942 to the 4th February 1943.
Things improved after that; she did 30 hours ferrying of Class 1 types, "working hard and showing common sense in the way she tackled her work" and then a further 56 hours ferrying of Class 1 and 2 types - Fairchild, Master II, Martinet, Hurricane, Swordfish, Auster, Proctor, Harvard, Lysander and Spitfire - where "all her work was steady and capable." She was promoted to 2nd Officer on the 25th August 1943.
Sadly, she was killed on the 10th February 1944 as she took off in Spitfire IX MK616 from Cosford. The engine partially failed, picked up twice, then failed completely, and the aircraft stalled and spun into the ground 2 miles north of the airfield, in Tong, Shropshire.
She was buried on the 15th February at Maidenhead. In April, Trevor Hunter asked for some flowers to be placed on her grave but a year later Sqn-Ldr V. S. Howarth wrote to Cmdr Barbour at the ATA: "While on a recent visit to Maidenhead, I visited the grave of the late Jane Winstone, who was a very close friend of mine. I intended to photograph the grave so as to send prints to her parents in New Zealand, but was most grieved to find that the grave did not show any signs of the care and attention one would expect ... I might add that the graves of other ATA pilots in this particular cemetery were in a similar condition."
They agreed: "Unfortunately, the Cemetery which is owned by a Company, is not very well kept. The only staff is one aged gardener to help the Superintendent, and they cannot keep pace with the work. It is hoped that the Cemetery will be taken over by the Maidenhead Borough Council, and that would probably help matters."
[At the time, the cemetery was owned by The Maidenhead Cemetery Company; it was eventually taken over by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in the 1950s.]
The graves are now well tended by CWGC:
Jane's fiancé, Angus Carr MacKenzie, was later officially assumed ‘lost at sea’.
After the war, Trevor Hunter took Winstone’s logbooks to Wanganui and gave them to Jane’s mother.
Father: Maj. Olans/Olaus Charles William Johnsen DFC (1889 –1960), a WWI flying ace - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olaus_Johnsen;
Mother: Ethel 'May' [Bowater] (1896 - 1990)
Pamela had 6 brothers and a sister.
Grand-daughter of Sir Frank Bowater, Lord Mayor of London 1938-9, and Lady Bowater.
Ed. Benenden School (as was Lettice Curtis, btw), and Munich
prev: Sub-Editor for a women's magazine; volunteer ambulance driver
She had this piece published in the 'Mid Sussex Times' in June1937:
"FRAGMENTS OF TO-DAY.
The limp, wet bodies
Of burnt, semi-nude humanity
Sweating London’s grime on sunbaked sand ;
Automata, fragments of suburbanity,
Coming from months of toil on office stools !
Drunk by painted lips of painted fools
Who flee from life to bars, and bridge, and balls :
To whittle time away until Death calls.
But, O remember
The straight young limbs
Diving off rock in the moonlit bay—
Cutting the crest of a foam-tipped wave.
Thoughts thought from the depth of the uncut hay
About Life and Death, space and infinity ;
Sailing Before fresh, salt-laden breezes
Which often rise to fierce and yelling gales.
Down to moorings with sunset in your sails. "
She was also quite an accomplished golfer, competing at the Hayward's Heath Ladies Autumn Meet in September 1937.
In 1939, she and her sister Sheilagh were two of the 10 maids of honour to "the new Lady Mayoress [of London], Lady Bowater"
Mid Sussex Times, 8 Nov 1938
The Sketch, 15 Mar 1939
Address in 1942: Gravetye Manor, East Grinstead, Sussex
Started in Flight Operations until 23 Aug 1943
Ab initio pilot
2 accidents, neither her fault:
- 23 Oct 1943, a forced landing in Magister P6371, after partial engine failure
- 23-Sep-44, during an emergency landing in Spitfire IX PV232 following a loss of oil pressure, the aircraft ground-looped and was damaged.
m. 11 Mar 1944 Flt-Lt Dr. Richard Braddyl Tulk-Hart, who was stationed at RAF Old Sarum, Wilts (d. 1996)
Address in 1945: 'Tainters', Piltdown, nr. Uckfield, Sussex
In 1948 she wrote, with Margaret Morrison, 'Paid to be safe', "A romantic novel of love and high adventure, told against the authentic background of the band of daring women who ferried the war planes."
"Miss Morrison, who has a big following as a writer of romantic fiction, here enlists the aid of a woman pilot who served with Air Transport Auxiliary during the war. This ensures an authentic background for the story of a girl who comes back to England after the fall of Singapore and personal tragedy, to find new hope and an exciting career in the ranks of the A.T.A."
d. 24 Jun 2010 (age 91)
Prev. Exp: 6 hrs solo
Mother: Nancy (Meates) Father: Francis Vaughn (dec'd); her only sister lived in America.
Member of the Civil Air Guard in pre-WWII, ATA in WWII.
Taniya first applied to the ATA on 21 Mar 1941:
“In response to your appeal for ferry pilots, I wish to volunteer. I joined the Civil Air Guard at Redhill Aerodrome Surrey in September 1938, and gained my ‘A’ licence in May 1939. I have done approximately 30 hours flying (6 hours solo) on D.H. Gypsy I. I am 21 years of age, physically fit, and after the Civil Air Guard was disbanded I worked for 6 months at Headquarters Fighter Command Special Duties Branch as a plotter. I should be very grateful if you would inform me whether there is any possibility of my being accepted for ferry pilot duties”
They said “Nope”:
“I am afraid your experience does not come up to the required standards”
So in Jan 1942 she joined the WRNS, as a staff car driver.
She persevered, however, and applied again in August 1942. One of her ‘referees’ gave her this ringing, if slightly weird, endorsement:
“I have known Taniya Whittall 7 years as her people are neighbours of ours. And I would say she was quite trustworthy and reliable if in a position of access to secret information. Rather more so than is normal, as she is not talkative and has a head on her shoulders.”
... in any case, her initial assessment was OK:
“8 Aug 1942 – Avro Tutor 25 min. Take off (1) Poor (2) Fair. General flying “good – she possesses air sense.... A very good average pilot. Smooth and accurate handling ... intelligent and very keen. She has plenty of confidence; in fact if she had any more she would definitely be over-confident.”
and she was accepted on the 16Sep 1942 as a Pilot Cadet, later being promoted to Third Officer in Jan 1943, and Second Officer in Jun 1943.
She did have a couple of accidents in 1943:
- 10 Sep 1943 in Spitfire XI EN341; undershot landing
- 24 Nov 1943 in Spitfire VIII JF895; heavy landing, followed by ground loop,
But when she was killed, it was as a passenger in a Lancaster I R5672 which crashed near Caistor at 17:00 on 8 Apr 1944.
Yorkshire Post, 12 Apr 1944: "WOMAN PILOT IN AIR CRASH ONE OF 9 KILLED From Our Own Correspondent GRIMSBY. Tuesday A verdict that she was killed accidentally in an aeroplane crash while travelling as a passenger was returned at Lincolnshire Inquest this afternoon on a woman ferry pilot, Second Officer Taniya Whittall (24), of the Air Transport Auxiliary, whose home was at Baskings, Selsfield, East Grinstead. Sussex.
She was one of nine people killed in an aeroplane which crashed near Caistor on Saturday. It was stated that she, with Wing Commander Campling and a Flight Engineer, boarded the machine at one Lincolnshire aerodrome to fly to another.
Gerald Richard Simpson, a student, said he saw the machine near Caistor flying at about 300 feet and losing height. The engines seemed to splutter and stop. There was an explosion and the machine crashed in flames. Squadron Leader James N. Ogilvie said the machine was completely wrecked and fragments scattered over wide area. He picked up A.T.A. cap, a powder compact, and a pilot's licence granted to the woman."
The compact and her wrist watch were salvaged, the rest destroyed. Taniya was not on duty at the time (it was her first day on leave), having delivered an aircraft the day before.
With thanks to Bill Merry
She was buried at West Hoathly; her mother received a cheque for £2,500 from the insurance.
Her mother said “ She loved her job, and was never so happy as when she was at it.”
Father: George, a leather merchant; mother Ethel May [Johnson]
Ed. Manwoods, Sandwich
prev. road transport driver; LAC 125667 in RAF 1940-41 (discharged on medical grounds)
Address in 1942: 23 Tredworth Rd, Gloucester
Postings: 9FPP, 6FPP, 1FPP, 14FPP, 4FPP
Reprimanded 26 Jul 1944 for Loss of Ferry Pilots Notes;
Demoted to Third Officer for 3 months from 21 Oct 1944 for "a flagrant breach of flying discipline". A witness said "At about 14:50, I heard an aircraft diving low over the airport buildings, and on looking out of my office saw a Mosquito do a roll at low altitude over Ringway Airfield. The starboard engine was feathered."
His C.O. at 14FPP, Bobby Wardle, said "There is no room at Ringway for irresponsible pilots of this type and I consider the ATA is better without them. I therefore request that F/O Spain is removed from this Pool forthwith."
4 accidents, none his fault:
- 14 Apr 1943, when he landed his Hurricane IIc and then discovered that the tailplane and rudder had been damaged by loose stones thrown up by his port wheel;
- 29 Dec 1943, a brake defect caused him to taxy his Albacore into the nose of a parked Whitley;
- 1 Aug 1944, another brake defect, this time in a Hudson, led to a broken-off tailwheel, and
- 9 Dec 1944, Commended for a forced landing in a field after engine failure in a Proctor.
"As a pilot he has worked hard and well but he is apt to let his boisterous youth take the upper hand."
He died 28 October 1945 (aged 22) as the result of an accident during the 'winding up' dinner and dance in the Officers' Mess at Ratcliffe Aerodrome.
Johnny Jordan (q.v.) said he attended the party with a woman friend, and got there at 9:45 pm. He met Spain during the evening. They were close friends at Ratcliffe. They had a few glasses of beer together; beer was the only drink. At about midnight some of the officers dared the girl who had accompanied him to throw her glass through the bar window, and she did so. The Adjutant (Capt. Rome) then appeared, and Jordan and Spain (who were 'merry') tried to get him to get a cigar from his office. He resisted, and raised his arm, and the glass struck Spain in the eye and broke. From what he could see there was nothing deliberate about it.
Henry was taken to Leicester Infirmary but failed to recover from the anesthetic after an operation.
Returning a verdict of Accidental Death, the coroner remarked that "of all people the Air Force [sic] were entitled to enjoy themselves. It was however a great pity that this farewell party was marred by what was really nothing more than a bit of horseplay, and that only by a few."
prev. F/O in RAFVR 1939-41; Test Pilot for Airspeed
prev. exp. 3,843 hrs;
- 1930 Avro 616 Avian IVM G-ABDP- 1931 DH.80A Puss Moth G-ABMC
- 1936 BA Swallow L25C Mk.2 G-AEKG
"A keen and efficient pilot and a good officer"
d. 2003, USA
father: James Charles Bird
Ed. at Warlingham Council School, and Croydon Polytechnic.
m. 1937 Vera Mabel [Nye], 2 children
prev. an inspector for Tollerton Aircraft Services Ltd - from 1937 in Croydon and then from 1939 in Tollerton, Notts.
Address in 1942: The Bungalow, Highbury Rd, Keyworth Notts.
"Very trustworthy, can be left on his own and will work under any conditions."
Salary at start: £5.5.0. per week, plus £2.12.6. per week subsistence allowance.
Recommended for promotion to Senior Flight Engineer in August 1943, together with Flt. Engineers P.S. Brown and C.E. Duffill: "Although they are slightly under the required time, they have worked extraordinarily hard and well and are all first-class engineers. I feel that they well deserve the benefit of the extra three or four weeks which they lack to bring them up to the official qualifications but, if they fail to obtain their promotion now it will mean a further six months before the possibility comes round again."
The documentation of his promotion hasn't survived, but in any case he died within 6 months:
d. 24 Jan 1944 (Died in ATA Service) - Halifax JP182 flew into Eel Crag 4 miles SW of Braithwaite, Cumbria, during a snowstorm. Pilot Flt Capt Bernard Short (q.v.) also killed.
Much more detail at http://www.yorkshire-aircraft.co.uk/aircraft/lakes/jp182.html
buried Edenbridge Cemetery, .
[The headstone says 'Senior Flight Engineer', so his promotion must have been approved.]
His children, Richard and Brenda, were 5 and 2 at the time.
On the 5 Feb 1944, his C.O. Frankie Francis wrote to HQ ATA; "At the funeral the other day, I had intended to speak to his widow about his equipment and the disposal of his car, but she was in a very distraught state, and I thought it would be kinder to write to her and ask when she would be prepared to come and see me... I have accordingly written to her, but have not yet had a reply."
"It is understood that Vera and the two children have very limited resources on which to live."
On the 14th, Vera replied:
"Dear Sir, I am writing to thank you for the money order of £10 you sent me which I recieved safely. Again I thank you for all you have done for my and still doing through these weary days."
She also asked for permission to move her furniture from the rented house in Keyworth down to Warlingham in Surrey, which is where all her relatives lived.
Then on April 11th, Vera wrote this rather heartbreaking letter:
"Dear Sir, I have recieved parcel on the 8th of my husband things, but there are a few thing I would like to know if they could be found that is a pair of Blue Stripe Pyjamas also a Brown leather zip shaving cases which he carried in his A.T.A. bag as the towel was return which was alway carried to-gether, if it can be found I should be very pleased as it was a present to my husband, also about the 2 watches he had on him one was wrist watch the other a pocket watches which he carried in his little pocket off his Tunic where is knife was alway kept,
The Post Office here tell me that I can get a government Pension acording to my husbands wages, Could you tell me if this is true, or how I should go about it, I would like to now the name of the A.T.A. Pilot who was killed with my husband, as it only gave my husband name on the 24th and two(?) more on the 23rd. I am wondering why this is.
Again I thank you and all at the A.T.A. for what you have done for me and my children. Your Truly, V.M. Bird"
The ATA insurance for Flight Engineers was £1,500.
Also had Gliding Licences AB&C
prev: Officer I/C Ambulance Section
prev. an engineering draughtsman
d. 6 Dec 1942 (Died in ATA Service) - Magister L8233 spun in near Letchworth, Herts 1.5m SSW of Baldock.
Marked as a red spot on this map::
prev. a Maths Lecturer, Raffles College Singapore;
Flt Lt. in the Malayan Volunteer Air Force, Sep-40 to Aug-42
Postings: 3FPP, 7FPP, 16FPP
"A sound pilot of good average ability who made rapid progress."
later published several aeronautical engineering papers, e.g. "Supersonic laminar boundary layers on cones, (Aeronautical Research Council. Current papers, no. 1063)" (1969)
d. Sep 1991 - Dover, Kent
d. 16 Oct 2016 - Bampton, Oxfordshire
Her son, Graham, has kindly sent me "Molly's Story":
Molly Rose was born on 26 November 1920 in Cambridge, England. Her parents were David Gregory and Maude Marshall. Her father formed Marshall Motors in 1909 and later Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group. She had two older brothers, Arthur Marshall and Ronald. Ronald died of meningitis in June 1907. With four older sisters and one younger she was brought up in quite a lively household. Margery (b 1908), Dorothy (b 1910), Violet (b 1913), Mary (b 1916) and Brenda (b 1927). Her mother, Maude, died in 1930 when Molly was 10 years old and she and Brenda were, to all intents and purposes, brought up by their older sister Vi.
After schooling at Slepe Hall, St Ives, Molly was sent to Paris to a finishing school - that of Mademoiselle Le Dieux at 8 Avenue de Villaire - from January to June 1938. Having enjoyed flying as a passenger in her brother Arthur's de Havilland Gipsy Moth, it was unsurprising that on 1st June 1938 she passed her pilot's licence (Number 14624). Her father, David Marshall, developed the Marshall Motors business he set up in 1909 and her brother, Arthur, formed and ran the Cambridge Flying School. On returning from Paris Molly's father suggested she became an apprentice engineer in the hangars of the family business. She agreed and, over years, became an accomplished engineer.
In 1938 she met a Cambridge undergraduate called Bernard Rose who was studying music at St Catharine’s College. He completed his degree and in September 1939 started his career as a tutor in music at The Queen’s College, Oxford. Molly and Bernard were married in Hove Parish Church on 23rd December 1939 (David Marshall had retired to his house in Hove by that time and gave Molly away).
Upon declaration of war, Bernard volunteered for active service and by 1940 he had joined the Northamptonshire Yeomanry, a tank regiment. In 1942 he volunteered as a reserve officer for the military operations in North Africa. Her father David Marshall died on 9th July 1942, falling off his horse whilst riding on the Downs in Sussex.
Molly was contacted by ATA in August 1942: as she was to remark – “I had just lost my father, and my husband was on a ship to the Middle East. The two men in my life had gone and so I joined the Air Transport Auxiliary on 16 September 1942. As I could not seek permission from Bernard to join ATA I thought that if I sent a jolly good photograph of me in ATA livery, then he would be sure to approve!” Bernard received the photo on his arrival in Cairo and was thrilled with the photo – but worried about the risks. Prior to joining ATA, Molly had a total of just 18 hours 50 minutes of solo flying.
After her initial training, she started flying Magisters in September 1942 at Barton-in-the-Clay, instructed by Joan Hughes Flight Captain William Hampton and others. Her first ATA service flight was in a Magister on 6th November 1942 from Yatesbury to Odiham and by the end of November 1942 she had also trained on the Fairchild Argus, ATA’s favoured taxi aircraft. On 16th January 1943 she flew her first Hurricane and her first Spitfire on 2nd September 1943. On 24th October 1944, after further conversion training to qualify for flying Class 4 aircraft types, Molly delivered her first Wellington bomber from Squires Gate (Blackpool) to Moreton Valence (Gloucester).
Molly Rose spent most of her time with ATA based at the all-women Hamble Ferry Pool (FP 15) under Commander Margaret Gore.
To start with Molly had rather boring lodgings near the Hamble Ferry Pool. However: she approached her good friend, Diana Barnato, and suggested that, as Diana tended to spend most nights in London, Molly should take over her room in The Bugle Pub. Diana agreed!
Molly’s only accident was flying a Swordfish III (NF 262) on 13th May 1944 on a journey across the Wrekin. The Accident Report stated: “The aircraft forced landed in a field, after complete engine failure and was severely damaged” and concluded: “The pilot is held not responsible for this accident.” Molly, in her Imperial War Museum interview, said: “I was taking a Swordfish down from Shifnal to the south and the engine cut out going over the Wrekin and I had to force land. The fields round there seemed extraordinarily small and, having chosen a field and doing as rough an approach as one obviously would if you hadn’t got any engine but heading into wind and aiming at this one, I didn’t know that the field was slightly downhill and on the other side of the hedge there was a young lad ploughing. To avoid him I had to swerve hard left, whereupon the aircraft turned over and a very angry woman got out of the aircraft, and because it had got secret equipment on it I had to get the boy to mount guard on it while I went and telephoned. The RAF had to come from Cosford and mount guard overnight – this was a Saturday and I was extraordinarily unpopular in the mess because they had a dance on and two chaps had to miss the dance!”
On Monday 5th June 1944 Molly and her colleagues noticed a vast gathering of small ships in the mouth of the River Hamble. She records: “The night it all started there seemed to be added tension to the activities on the river and I remember taking a radio to bed to hear the next morning on the six o’clock news that the invasion had started and knowing that Bernard would be in it.” So, D-Day had commenced.
Molly said: “Seven days later he was posted “Missing, believed killed”. My first information of this was from a colleague of his, a fellow officer, who wrote to me, and his letter was the first thing I got saying he had seen Bernard’s tank burning and there was no way anyone could have got out of that tank – that he had seen it shot up and burst into flames. What he didn’t know was that Bernard was getting someone else out of another burning tank at that precise moment so wasn’t in his own tank that was blown up. I did not know this for six weeks and during that time I had a communication from the War Office saying Captain Bernard Rose was missing and then: he was “missing, believed killed”. My Commanding Officer and the ferry pool down at Hamble were extremely good to me. They had all known Bernard and so were very sympathetic to me, and after three days I reported back for duty and it was accepted that I was capable of going on working and this was a great blessing.
“At the end of six weeks I got a card from Bernard’s POW camp.” Bernard was in Oflag 79, a POW in Brunswick and had been marched and transported by filthy trains and trucks across France and Germany to Bavaria.
In September 1944 Molly was promoted from Second to First Officer.
Bernard was released from his prisoner of war camp on 24th April 1945 and on 23rd April Molly had her last solo flight delivering a Spitfire XIV from Lyneham to Lasham. Her last flight with ATA was on 24th April as co-pilot, with Maggie Frost as the pilot, in a Fairchild from Wroughton to Hamble.
Her record with ATA was delivering 486 aircraft during World War II, with 38 different types of aircraft, 705 hours and 45 minutes flight time and including 276 Spitfires. She never piloted a plane again: “if you have flown a Spitfire, there is nothing to compare”!
Meanwhile, Marshall, the family business at Cambridge had devised a revolutionary procedure for the rapid training of pilots and their flying instructors; during the Second World War the Marshall Flying Schools trained more than 20,000 pilots and instructors for the RAF, and its methods continue to be used by the RAF to this day.
After the war, she raised three sons with her husband Bernard and became a Justice of the Peace in Oxford. She was active raising funds for various charities in Oxfordshire, was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for Oxfordshire in 1983 and was awarded the OBE for Services to Oxfordshire in 1990. Molly also served as a Parish Councillor in the village of Appleton in Oxfordshire.
Bernard moved from The Queen’s College, Oxford to Magdalen College in 1957 as Informator Choristarum (organist and master of the choristers) and a Fellow in Music. He became a distinguished musician and is credited with laying the foundations for the reputation the Magdalen Choir has to this day.
After the publication of the book ‘Spitfire Women’ written by Giles Whittell, Molly and the remaining ATA ladies became in demand for media activities. These included an appearance as a judge in the TV programme “The Great British Menu” in 2014, having the Teversham Primary School named “The Rose Outdoor Learning Centre” and interviews on BBC Radio Oxford.
Molly and Bernard lived in Bampton (Oxfordshire) from 1946 until 1974 when they moved to live in Appleton Manor. In 1986 they moved back to Bampton to live in Bampton House.
Bernard died of emphysema in November 1996. She died of a heart attack on 16 October 2016 at the age of 95. Bernard and Molly are buried in the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin, Bampton Oxfordshire.
As the BBC had recorded an interview with Molly just before she died, the interview was used as part of the 2016 Remembrance held in the Royal Albert Hall, with David Dimbleby commenting: “Sadly the estimable Molly Rose recently passed away”. She had been due to join her ATA friends, Mary Ellis and Joy Lofthouse, in parading in the middle of the Royal Albert Hall in front of the Queen and the Royal family.
After Molly’s death in 2016 the Station Commander of RAF Brize Norton, Group Captain Tim Jones, suggested there should be a memorial tree and plaque at RAF Brize Norton. The family asked that Molly’s good friend, Mary Ellis (nee Wilkins), also be mentioned on the plaque. Mary’s family farmed at Brize Norton Manor Farm in her childhood – very local connections! The dedication took place in February 2017 and Mary was present.
In 2018 the Rose family was asked if they would agree a trophy, to be awarded to the winner of the women’s inter-services rugby final, could be named “The Molly Rose Trophy”. The family readily agreed and below is a photograph of the Chairman of the RAF Rugby Union, Air Commodore Steve Lushington, with the 2018 winning captain, Flight Lieutenant Chrissy Siczowa.
Many thanks, Graham.
IWM interview here: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80009749
prev. an Art Teacher
Address in 1937: 54 the Esplanade, Greenock, Renfrewshire
m. c.1946 William Evans
Lived in Vancouver, B.C. and/or Seattle, 1949-50
d. Feb 1988, Stroud, Glos
Not in 'Forgotten Pilots' or 'Brief Glory'
Father: Henry William Pond, mother Dorothy Rosie [Piggott]
Ed. County Girls School, Cambridge
prev: Secretarial/Clerical, Marshalls of Cambridge
prev exp: 11hrs 10min on DH Moths
m. 1940 RAF F/O (pilot instructor) Renford Percy Davey [widowed - Renford d. 9 May 1941, shot down by an intruder at Sibson, Leics during a night training flight]
m. Apr 1942 in Swindon,
Derrick Stephen 'Steve' Davies (b. 6 Feb 1907, a solicitor)( 2 daughters and a son John Anthony Renford Davies)
exp in ATA:
Magister: 100hrs 40min;
Hart: 11hrs 50min;
Fairchild: 14hrs 05min;
Tutor: 1 hr.
[Resigned 11 Mar-43]
Her daughter tells me: "Incidentally the reason she resigned in 1943 was because she became pregnant - with me"
The family moved to Egypt in 1947, and to Kenya in 1953
d. Dec 2008
Ed,. Eton, Trinity Hall Cambridge
prev. a Produce Broker
Address in 1924: The Grove, Esher, Surrey
"An English racing motorist. He was three times holder of the World Land Speed Record, in 1938, 1939 and 1947, set at Bonneville Speedway in Utah, US. He was awarded the Segrave Trophy in 1947. He was killed in 1952 whilst piloting a jet powered speedboat attempting to break the World Water Speed Record on Loch Ness water in Scotland."
d. 29 Sep 1952 - Loch Ness
father: William Charles Surry Abrams, mother Elizabeth Louise [Budden]
prev: Secretary with Imperial Airways; ambulance driver
prev. exp. 8hrs 35min on Gypsy Moth
Address in 1942: 95a Coombe Lane, Bristol
Postings: 5TFPP, 15FPP
"This pilot came to ATA with very little experience. She worked hard in Class I flying and reached a good standard. She should make a useful ferry pilot and a good officer"
- 8 May 1943, her Spitfire Vb AD555 landed with flaps up, overshot and was seriously damaged after she felt unwell during the circuit
m. 1943 Flt-Sgt Philip Lindley Hanson-Lester, RAF, prev. a theatrical producer (2 children Phillip b.1944, Taniya b. 1946, marriage dissolved)
Off sick from 8 Sep 1943 - Contract Terminated Feb 1944
m. 1956 in Cheshire, Philip Rodney Wallis Robinson
11 Mar 2016
"Like many of her generation she sees nothing special in what she did"
d. 18 Aug 2017 - Morgannwg House Care Home, Brecon, Wales
Her granddaughter Taniya Morris told me "You may have noticed my name & the unusual spelling of ‘Taniya’. My mother & I were named after Taniya Whittall who is also on your list of ATA pilots. I was also a military pilot - serving 17 years in the Army, flying Gazelle & Lynx helicopters in the Army Air Corps & commanding 652 Sqn AAC. So it runs in the family!"
Father: Jan Radwanski
Ed. Military School, Technical School, Warsaw
prev. Polish Air Force from 2 Jan 1936; RAF (F/O, 300 Sqn) to 1 Oct 1942
Awarded Polish Bravery Medal
prev. exp. 1,030 hrs in Moth, Harvard, Battle, Hurricane, Spitfire, Mustang, Oxford, Blenheim, Whitley, Hudson, Wellington, Beaufighter and 'Lockheed'
He also had a narrow escape on the 8 Nov 1941, when piloting Wellington Z1271 which iced-up and force-landed in France: "W/O Nowakowski, W/O Kudelko, W/O Iwanowicz, all PoW; F/O Taras, P/O Radwanski and Sgt Chrzanowski evaded capture."
Reprimanded 20 Jun 1943 for 'neglect of duty' - failing to attend for fire guard and night duty pilot.
One accident, his fault:
- 27 Mar 1943, one wheel of his Botha I L6488 lodged against the side of the perimeter track, the aircraft swung and the tail struck a compressor trailer
"A sound and conscientious pilot" ... "A good all-round ferry pilot who has now delivered a great number of aircraft"
"There was pilot with this name flying up to at least the 1960's in the UK"
Naturalised 26 Sep 1961: "Restaurateur, Pilgrims Corner, Margery Grove, Lower Kingswood, Surrey."
From 1963, he was the proprietor of the Mill House, Brighton Rd, Salfords, Surrey and also owned 'a restaurant in London'.
d. 16 Sep 1987 - Maidenhead, Berks
Father: Maj Kenneth Hutchison Smith (b. 1885 in Totonto, Canada, "an architect and builder of some of the most delightful homes in the Midlands" - see http://www.historywebsite.co.uk/articles/electronic/suburbs/khsmith.htm),
Mother: Hilda Mary [Green]
Brother: David Windle Hutchinson Smith AFC, RAF, who became "the second largest producer of blue cheese in the United Kingdom, after Stilton"
prev: Farm Worker
Off sick from 16 Feb to 1 Apr 1943 with influenza
m. 1957 in Bridgenorth, Shropshire, Harold Percy Clover, Dedham Hall, Dedham, Essex (d. 9 Apr 1974)
Diana d. Oct 1975 - Dedham, Essex
Her brother David assumed legal guardianship of Diana's son, Charles R H Clover (b. 1958); Charles later became the environment editor of the Daily Telegraph.
Ed. Hull Grammar School
m. 1939 Norine E [Pascal]
Address in 1939: 311 Highfield, Kington-upon-Hull, Yorks
prev. Ground Engineer, Aircraft Inspector for Imperial Airways and Blackburn Aircraft Co.
prev. exp. 21 hrs in Cirrus, Gipsy and Puss Moths
Postings: 5FPP, 7FPP, 16FPP
Two accidents, one his fault:
- 24 Jul 1943, his Proctor III hit another aircraft after swerving during landing, due to badly-adjusted brakes;
- 17 Oct 1944, he again swung off the runway on landing, this time in a Warwick III. "Error of judgement on the part of the pilot, landing in difficult conditions."
"Motorist Fined For leaving a motor car stationary without front or rear lights, and for failing to immobolise the car during darkness on December 3, 1941.
Gilbert Redvers Todd, 33. formerly of Palmer-avenue, Willerby, and now working near Glasgow, was fined 10s in each case at the East Riding Court to-day. In a letter to the court he explained that at the time he had just had an exhausting journey, and had lef the car for five minutes in order to collect a suitcase." Hull Daily Mail - Wednesday 28 January 1942
"A keen, hard working pilot"
14 Apr 1945: "F/O G. R. Todd is due to leave the country immediately to take up work overseas."
d. 16 Jan 1989, Hull
Father: Bernard George Chadwick [d. 1916 in Flanders], Mother: Millicent [Kettle]
[Checkland was his grandmother's maiden name]
Ed. St Lawrence College, Ramsgate
m. 1929 in Eton, Bucks, Marjorie Joan [Crockford], 2 children
prev. RAF 1930-32 then Oct-40 to Feb-42 (Sergeant Pilot)
prev. exp. 1,436 hrs plus 8 hrs 45min night
via Richard Durrant
Together with Raymond Gordon, formed Premier Aircraft Constructions Ltd in 1936, based at Maylands Aerodrome, Romford, to market the Gordon Dove, but this was unsuccessful and Mervyn was declared bankrupt in 1939.
Address in 1942: 119 Riverview Gardens, Barnes, SW13
Later moved to 44 Ingrave Rd, Battersea, SW11
"slight limp left leg"
Postings: 16FPP, 9FPP, 2FPP, 6FPP
Suspended without pay for 2 days in Feb-43 for "breach of airmanship and breach of flying discipline"
2 accidents, both his fault:
- 5 Jan 1944, when his Auster III landed in a strong and gusty wind with flaps down (contrary to pilots handling notes) and tipped onto its nose;
19 Mar 1944, when he did exactly the same thing in an Argus, except this time the wingtip was damaged - "The attention of C.O.O. is drawn."
"A keen, hard-working and well behaved officer. He is not over-confident, but as a pilot he is not quite as good or as quick-witted as he thinks he is."
At 2 FPP, "although he has been on the strength of this Pool for seven months, has been away for three of these due to sickness and conversion to Class 3."
"An intelligent and careful pilot who shows great competence. A well disciplined officer who has been of great value."
m. Oct 1946 Joan Edith [Nobbs], 3 children
d. 3 Nov 1971 - Brent, London
With thanks for the family and other research by Richard Durrant
Ed. Warsaw Technical University (Diploma in Engineering)
m. to Zofja
prev. Polish Air Force from 1933; RAF Aug 1940-1942 (F/O, based at Boscombe Down)
RAF Serial No P0881
prev. exp. 200hrs on RHD 8, RWD 5, RWD 13, PZL 5, RWD 17, RWD 1D
Address in 1942: Gunville, Ratfyn Rd, Amesbury, Wilts
later 'The Willows', London Rd, Twyford, Berks
Postings: 5TFPP, 16FPP, 1FPP
via Krzysztof Kubala
"Intelligent and keen and although not a polished pilot is steady and safe"
Pakistan Air Force (PAF) post-WWII, based in Karachi
Senior Maintenance Staff Officer, Headquarters No. 2; Group PAF; Group Captain, PAF from Jan 1958
Visited USA in 1959
From 1960, Air Commodore, PAF
d. 8 Jan 1980 in a car accident - Karachi, Pakistan
"Turowicz made significant contributions to Pakistan's missile/rocket program as a chief aeronautical engineer. In Pakistan, he remains highly respected as a scientist and noted aeronautical engineer."
Mrs Kershaw from Jan 1944
d. 3 Apr 1944 (Died in ATA Service) - with Douglas Fairweather (q.v.)
Commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial:
Father: Emile John Lussier DFC [b. Illinois, RAF in WWI, Squadron Leader in the RCAF in WWII]
Mother Vera [Fleming, Canadian]
Her father's parents were born in France and England, her mother's parents were American and Canadian.
The family moved to Rock Hall, Maryland in 1924, where they ran a dairy farm.
Ed. Rock Hall High, Washington College, University of Maryland
She and her sister Nita competed in the 1940 and 1942 South Atlantic Association Outdoor Swimming championships for the 'Kings of Columbus' team; Betty won the 100m breaststroke race both times, and was third in the 220 yd freestyle in which Nita came second.
Nita, 18, and Betty aged 20
She learnt to fly under the Civilian Pilots Training program.
prev. exp 240hrs
Betty and Nita both wrote to Jackie Cochran in Mar 1942 hoping to join the ATA but were rejected; Nita joined the RCAF Women's Division instead, but Betty built up her flying hours and then used her Canadian birth to volunteer directly as a British citizen.
Address in 1942: 815 North Charles St, Baltimore MD
She wrote a series of articles for the Baltimore Sun during her time with the ATA. One, called 'Wartime England from the Sky' describes a delivery flight. It ends:
"Slowly the coast began to take shape... There was the Channel with its foaming breakers rolling in upon a gray-white beach. Several rugged cliffs added that painted-there-on-purpose look to the scenery. In between two of those imposing cliffs my destination aerodrome sprawled like a lazy spider stretching out its legs. I glanced once more at the quiet green countryside, the calm, blue sky, the monotonous rolling waves and throttled back to land in the midst of the bustling activity of England at war."
ATA Total flying hours: 197, on Tiger Moth, Magister, Master, Hart, Fairchild, Auster.
[Resigned to join OSS]
Post-ATA, a member of US OSS (Office of Strategic Services) - X2 counter-espionage unit, analysing messages from German units. She also helped to establish a network of undercover agents to spread misinformation in Algeria, Italy, Sicily and France.
Her fiance, Lt. Charles Thomas Chittum USAAF, was killed in a car accident in July 1943.
m. 1945 in France, Ricardo Sicre aka Richard Sickler, USAAF, also ex-OSS (4 sons) (divorced 1975)
Post-WWII, Special Correspondent of the Baltimore Sun, living in France.
Amid my Alien Corn (1957);
'One Woman Farm (1959);
'Intrepid Woman: Betty Lussier's Secret War, 1942-1945' (2010)
['Intrepid Woman' is an interesting account of her time with the ATA and OSS.
Unfortunately, it has a few passages where Betty has clearly mis-remembered the events. For example, in April 1943 (just before she left the ATA) she says that her classmate and friend, "Tanya" met her death. "It was an ugly end for vivacious Tanya, with her long blond hair, her cornflower-blue eyes, and her sunny nature. The engine of the Oxford she was to deliver cut out on takeoff. She had no speed to do a dead-stick, straight-ahead emergency landing. The Oxford went engine first into the ground and exploded."
Apart from the fact that an Oxford has two engines, Taniya Whittall (who was indeed a classmate of Betty's) was still alive until April 1944, and did not die in an Oxford, but as a passenger in a Lancaster. Betty may have mixed up Taniya with Irene Arckless, who died in an Oxford accident in January 1943.
Betty then describes a fellow pilot cadet: "Another American pilot, Betty McDougall, was accompanying me. She was one of the "older women" whom Jackie Cochran had brought over from the States". Not quite right; Elizabeth Anderson Macdougall (also a classmate of Betty's) was Scottish, and had joined the ATA independently.
Betty also says she left the ATA in April 1943 because she was told she would not be allowed to fly to Europe after D-Day, and describes the build-up of forces ready for the invasion; the problem here is that, a) when she left the ATA, the (June 1944) invasion was not even agreed, let alone planned in any detail or resourced, and b), the person who decided that women were not to be allowed to fly to Europe (which they eventually did, actually) was Trafford Leigh-Mallory, who didn't take up his post until August 1943.]
In 2008, at the time that Gordon Brown presented medals to the surviving members of the ATA, she said "They paid us the same as men and advanced and promoted us just as if we were real citizens. It was the first time I saw equality with men, and that really amazed me."
d. 30 Nov 2017 - Rock Hall, MD
RAF from 23 Jan 1941 to 19 Nov 1942
d. 26 Oct 1943 (Died in ATA Service) - Hurricane IIc LE262 struck hillside at Kinniside Cleator, Cumberland, 10 miles E of St Bees Head, in bad weather
buried St Laurence Church, Upminster, Essex
Father: Ernest Isaac Frost, a country parson; Mother, Olive Jessie [Thornton]
(First solo 1 Aug 1939)
Address in 1942: The Rectory, Fulborough, Sussex
prev: from May 1941 WRNS, HMS Forward
Off sick from 21 Dec 1943 to 8 Mar 1944 due to an appendectomy
One accident, not her fault:
- 5 Aug 1945, three propeller blades of her Barracuda III RJ492 were found to be chipped, reason unknown
Maggie (far left) at the unveiling of the ATA Memorial in Hamble-le-Rice, 2010
d. 4th August 2014 - Aberystwyth
prev. a Mining Engineer
Address in 1932: c/o Messrs. Osborne & Chappel, Ipoh, Perak, F.M.S. (Malaysia)
d. 27 Sep 1980, Eastbourne, E Sussex
Address in 1945: Baliol College, Oxford
Father: Francis Alexander Marsh, "Trading Business"; mother: Eliza Ann Grace [Lawrence]
m. 1942 in Bromley, Florence Elaine [Berryman]
prev. An Accountant; RAF from 21 Dec 1940 to 30 Nov 1942
prev. exp. 112 hrs on Tiger Moth, Harvard, Master, Spitfire in the UK and Canada
Address in 1944: 35 (later, 48) Roslin Way, Bromley, Kent
Postings: 3FPP, 7FPP
"Has not proved satisfactory at this Pool [3FPP]. He is slow in obeying orders and gives the impression that he feels that obedience to an order should not clash with his own convenience. As a pilot he is over confident and does not use his head."
"[7FPP] Discipline: Improved ... should show more keeness in his job but otherwise handles his aircraft in what appears to be a safe manner ... will not be ready for Class 4 until he loses his over-confidence"
- 18 Feb 1943, forced landing in Hart K6522 at Luton after he saw smoke coming from the engine (coolant leak)
d. 29 May 1944 - his Beaufighter NV195 disappeared on a ferry flight from Sherborne to Lossiemouth. A similar aircraft was seen (by two fishermen) to crash in the Firth of Forth at about that time, and then a fuel tank belonging to this aircraft was discovered on 30 May by a Mr. Martin Thorburn, a painter from North Berwick.
1 Jun 1944 - "Thank you for your letter received this afternoon. It was, as you say, very much of a shock for me. Somehow one expects these kinds of things with Bomber or Fighter Command but not so much with ferrying.
I suppose you have no idea how the accident occurred. Was it due to a fault in the aircraft or in the engine? Or was it the weather? He was usually very careful - more than ever lately as I am expecting a baby in September, Please give me any further information as soon as possible. Yours Sincerely, Florence E Marsh"
Their daughter Janet was duly born in September 1944.
Francis' body never being found, he was finally presumed deceased on 2 Feb 1945.
Commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial:
Father: Edwyn Walton 'Jim' Hayward CBE, OBE, a director of John Martin's department stores [d. 1933], mother Eileen Frances [Russell, originally a New Zealander]
Moved to the UK when 5 years old [but wrote 'Australian' on his application form]
m. 1941 in London, Peggy Alice Georgina [Farmer]
prev. RNVR; Fleet Air Arm 27 May 1940 - 4 Sep 1942 Temp. Sub-Lieut (Air) on HMSs Furious, Argus, and Eagle
prev. exp. 200hrs in Tiger Moth, Magister, Battle, Gladiator, Master, Proctor, Swordfish, Albacore, Skua, Roc, Fulmar, Hurricane
Address in 1942: c/o H L Farmer, Esq., 31 Eresby House, Rutland Gate, London SW7
Discharged as unfit for First Line flying - he was "consistently ill at sea"
Postings: 9FPP, 1FPP
Two accidents, one his fault:
- 15 Dec 1943, he undershot the runway during a forced landing in Walrus HD916 after engine failure and/or bad weather; he sustained head injuries and concussion, and spent 3 weeks in hospital at East Grinstead.
d. 21 Apr 1945 in Fairchild Argus II HB595, which crashed 3/4 m west of RAF Lasham.
He had arranged to sleep in the aircraft, which needed to be at White Waltham early the next morning, after attending a function in the RAF Mess. He may have lost track of time though, as he took off at 03:30, failed to fully open the starboard fuel cock, and crashed.
Buried Maidenhead - 21W Section D
Ed. St Pauls School
m. Dec 1934 Mary Gertrude [Burton] in Stroud, Glos.
prev. an 'Engineering Representative'
prev. exp. 394 hrs plus 1.45 hrs night on Tiger Moth, Magister, Lysander, Oxford, Blenheim, and Wellington.
Address in 1942: The Woodlands, Malpas, Newport, Mon.
Seconded due to a) lack of night flying experience, and b) being of a 'highly nervous type'.
"A keen and sensible type of N.C.O. who should prove a useful ferry pilot. He was somewhat slow in emergency but he possesses good air-sense and is unlikely to come to grief."
" A very nice type whose flying is unfortunately not too good. He is under-confident and does not use his head but tries very hard."
d. 10 Mar 1944 (Died in ATA Service) in Wellington II W5385 which after an excessive take-off run, rose slowly and then struck trees 1/4 mile N
Technical examination showed the elevator trimmers and trimmer control to be in the 'fully nose-down' position. "Evidence also showed that the pilot did not do the preliminary cockpit check in the normal fashion, since he took over the aircraft with engines running and did not run them up. The pilot appears to be to blame for this accident."
"Always in the thoughts of wife Mary and son Peter."
In April 1944, Mary wrote to the Under-Secretary of state for Air, the Rt Hon Harold Balfour, to ask for his help: "As you know it was always understood that Peter should follow on at his father's school St. Paul's and he should be starting this coming winter as a boarder. Public Schools as you know are somewhat heavy on the pocket consequently it is imperative that I leave no stone unturned to improve my pension."
She reckoned that, due to Charles having being seconded from the RAF as an NCO, her pension would only amount about 2 guineas a week. He was unfortunately not eligible for the ATA death insurance payment of £2,000.
Peter did start at St Paul's, but by September 1945 Mary wrote again to say that she found her RAF pension "quite inadequate to cover his expenses and tuition."
Could the ATA, therefore please help them to emigrate to the USA? She wanted Peter to finish High School, and then Harvard "at my fiance's expense". Perhaps they could allow her 'free or reduced passage by way of practical appreciation of my husband's services and death?"
They said, well, no, or to put it another way: "It does seem that there is no justification and no argument that we could put forward in any way that will enable us to assist her in her request." Perhaps her fiance could stump up a bit extra?...
Anyway, Mary married Irvin B Miller in Sep 1946 in Newport, and sailed to New York in July 1947, stating that she was intending to stay in the USA.
B.Sc. (Lon) at King's College, 1940
Address in 1942: 34 Marlow Rd, Maidenhead
prev. RAF 21 Oct 1940 - 15 Dec 1942
prev. exp. 127hrs in Tiger Moth, Harvard, Oxford, Wellington, in UK and S. Rhodesia
"Although the above-named member of the RAF is a clever and intelligent fellow, it is unfortunate that he suffers considerably from air-sickness. If he could overcome this difficulty, he should prove to be a very good ferry pilot."
17 Aug 1943, he was held to blame for a take-off accident in a Wellington.
"All through his training he has been exceptionally keen, well behaved and willing but his flying has been rather erratic and not as sensible as would be expected from his experience and intelligence."
d. 11 Oct 1943 (Died in ATA Service) in Hurricane I L2026 which crashed at Cranage Farm, Kilmany, Fifeshire, after engine failure.
buried Baptitst Chapel, Marlow Rd, Maidenhead (where his father Arthur was the minister)
"He was a popular young man; he was a member of the Maidenhead Tennis Club and his wide circle of friends deeply mourn his loss."
In 1939, he worked for Warwickshire County Council on (honestly) "Egg Laying Trials"
prev. RAF from 3 Mar 1941
prev. exp. "some experience on fighter types, including Spitfires", in UK, Miami and Oklahoma, USA
3FPP from 24 Jul 1943
"gave the impression of being casual and rather uninterested.. this may be only his manner but he should realise it is apt to give the wrong impression to others"
"An average pilot who has tried hard and made normal progress"
One accident, not his fault:
- 23 Jan 1944, the accident in which John Hawkey was fatally injured and Pilot Officer Edward Vincent suffered severe burns; his Beaufighter was hit by a Mustang landing on the wrong runway at Hawarden.
Eric was admitted to Derby Royal Infirmary and then RAF Hospital Cosford with burns to his face and hands, transferred to the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead on 19 Oct 1944 and became a member of 'The Guinea Pig Club' - one of 649 Allied Aircrew treated there for burns injuries.
m. 1946 in Cambridge, Muriel Maud Allgood; one son Rupert b. 1947
d. 24 Nov 1983 - Derby