British Pilots (born abroad)
[Seconded from RAF]
Alexander Sansonevitch Agaronoff -> b. 27 Oct 1913, Samara, Russia 4 Jul 1944 to 15 Apr 1945
Ed. Denstone College, Uttoxeter, Staffs
Arrived from India in 1926 to attend school; 1931-32 in Egypt; naturalised British, 1935
Next of kin (Mother): Mrs R Martin, of Denvale, Old Wokingham Rd, Crowthorne, Bucks
prev: Estate Agent; RAF 1942-44
Also known as "Alexander Sterling"
Address in 1944: 21 Pembridge Sq, London W2
Postings: 5FPP, 3FPP
One accident, his fault:
- 21 Mar 1945, he ran off the track whilst taxying Martinet RG994 in windy conditions; when he tried to get back on the runway one wheel fell into a concealed drain, and the aircraft nosed over.
"He showed signs of overconfidence, but otherwise his work was carried out satisfactorily"
[Contract Terminated by ATA]
Applied to be discharged from bankrupcy in April 1945: "lately carrying on business as Sterling & Co, 177, Regent St, and Piccadilly House, Piccadilly Circus". His hearing was on 17 April.
d. Aug 1994 - Chelsea, London
W.91 First Officer
Mrs Joan Mary Allen
b. 4 Dec 1914, Shillong India 15 Jul 1942 to 30 Sep 1945
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
M.202 First Officer William Arthur Andrews b. 2 Feb 1906, Gibraltar 28 Dec 1940 to Apr-43
Educated at King's College School, Wimbledon
prev. RAF 1925-29: Short Service Commission as Probationary P/O & to CFS Upavon, 26 Sep 1925; Confirmed as P/O, 26 Mar 1926. 19 Sqn, 30 Sep 26; F/O, 12 Apr 27; 23 Sqn, 12 Mar 28; 41 Sqn, 18 Aug 28.
On the 3 Apr 1929, he was fined £15 for being drunk at the wheel of a motor vehicle & £5 for driving in a dangerous manner at West Side, Wimbledon Common. When told that he would be arrested, he replied "I have been on the loose. I have had 15, or maybe 17, whiskies with a friend".
Possibly as a consequence, he resigned his Short Service Commission on the 31 May 1929.]
[details thanks to Steve Brew]
Then to National Flying Services Ltd, Hanworth Pk, in Oct 29.
Pilot for Air Commerce Ltd, Sudan, 1937
Address in 1940: The Croft, Sandown, I.O.W.
Postings: 3FPP, 4aFPP, 8FPP
"A capable pilot on heavy aircraft, does not like flying single engined aircraft... nice personality but apt to be forgetful."
Resigned from the ATA in Apr-43
d. Mar 1977 - Isle of Wight
W.138 3rd Officer Edith 'Ditty' Beaumont + -> b. 24 Aug 1917, Berne, Switzerland 20 Sep-43 to Sep-45
via Michael Mackenzie
Mother (Emily) and father both German.
After Edith was born in Switzerland, she and her mother Emily moved back to Bavaria, then Emily married, in 1920, RAF Flying Officer (Later Air Commodore) Frank Beaumont (prev. RFC, PoW in WWI, 1935-38 Air Attaché, Prague, 1942-45 Director of Allied Air Co-operation and Foreign Liaison, 1945- Air Attaché, Belgrade)
Ed. Heathfield School, Ascot
British Nationality 1936
prev. private secretary to the Prime Minister of Yugoslavia
with June Cole in 1945 (with thanks to Michael Mackenzie)
Gave up flying in about 1947, after a leg problem.
m. 1948 Dr. Charles Petri (divorced)
m. 1953 James Young Mackenzie (2 sons)
d. 1 Dec 1991
Her son Michael kindly tells me that "Our mother told my brother that there was a fellow pilot in whom she was interested and on good terms with. One day, she went into the Mess and, while talking to somebody else, saw this man across the room and said, “Ah there is XXXX. I must go and say hello”, whereupon the person to whom she was talking said words to the effect of “But do you not know? He died in a crash.”
"Our mother was not given to drama, indeed quite the contrary."
W.46 First Officer Jean Lennox Bird b. 8 Jul 1912, Hong Kong 1 Aug 1941 to 30 Nov 1945
Father: Col. L G Bird DSO, OBE, of The Old Farm, Beech, nr Alton, Hants
Ed. Manor House, Limpsfield
WAAF ASO from 16 May 1940 to 31 Jul 1941
Postings: 5FPP, 15FPP, 4FPP, 6FPP
Class 4+ pilot
6 accidents, 3 her fault:
- 15 May 1942, her Spitfire BR236 ran into an umarked soft patch when landing, and nosed over
- 26 Jun 1942, she stalled Albacore L2174 attempting a forced landing, after the windscreen became obscured with oil
- 18 Nov 1943, after taking off in Anson R9757, she bent down to retrieve a Form 700, inadvertently pushed forward the control column, and wrecked the undercarriage in the subsequent crash.
- 15 Mar 1944, a spectacular-sounding crash in Hudson III T9426; on take-off, due to insufficient speed the port wing dropped and hit the ground, and the aircraft cartwheeled. However, she was held 'not to blame'.
- 17 Jul 1944, she was unable to correct the take-off swing of her Spitfire IX PL162, ran off the runway, ground-looped to avoid some workmen, and nosed over
- 16 Apr 1945, a jeep ran into her Mosquito VI HR136 while she was taxying, and damaged the starboard undercarriage
"An extremely sensible, keen and good pilot on whom one can rely... must guard against giving a wrong impression by her difficult manner" - Margot Gore, her C.O.
Awarded her RAF 'Wings' in Sep 1952, the first of 5 women (all ex-ATA pilots) to do so when serving with the short-lived (1 Feb 1949 - 1954) Women's Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (WRAFVR). The others were Benedetta Willis, Jackie Moggridge, Freydis Leaf and Joan Hughes
In 1956, Veronica Volkersz wrote that Jean was one of only 7 women flying commercially: - "Jean Bird flies a Miles Aerovan on aerial survey" - and concluded that "The tragedy is that for women, commercial aviation is now - except, possibly, in Russia - a closed field."
[The others were Jackie Moggridge, Monique Rendall, Suzanne Ashton, Zita Irwin, Diana Barnato-Walker and Freydis Leaf]
d. 29 Apr 1957 in the crash of Miles Aerovan 4 G-ASIF belonging to Meridian Air Maps. "... evidence was given that the aircraft had been fitted with an incorrect spare part"
Full biography here: Jean Bird - Wikipedia
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip files):
M.449 * Commander Maitland Walter Sabine Boucher b. 19 Dec 1888, Port Elizabeth SA 24 Jun 1941 to 11 Sep 1943
Capt Boucher R.N. in 1931
Rear-Admiral Boucher from Jan-41
"Admiral Boucher had been one of the pioneers of the Fleet Air Arm having obtained his RAF wings in 1925. When he joined ATA he started like any other pilot in EFTS and worked his way up through the ATA School." Lettice Curtis
After a particularly bad landing whilst on the training course, he was 'carpeted' by his instructor Jimmy Weir. He apologised and then said "And may I say that in 20 years in the Navy, I have never had such an excellent and comprehensive ticking off."
O.C. ATA Northern Area, 1943
Returned to the Navy as a Commodore and was put on convoy duty; in December 1943 he commanded Convoy JW55B taking supplies to the USSR, which was the target of the German battleship Scharnhorst. Scharnhorst was intercepted and sunk by Royal Navy forces in the Battle of the North Cape.
d. Jun 1963 - Maidenhead
M.508 Captain Francis Walter Bourne b. 9 Dec 1904, Faizabad, India 20 May 1941 to 30 Nov 45
Father: Walter Kemp Bourne, mother Evelyn Frances
Ed. Royal Naval College
m. Barbara Frances
prev. Lieut. in Royal Navy 1918-28; RAF F/O; Poultry Farmer, Commercial Flying. Ambulance Driver 1941
Address in 1941: Leighton Brow Lodge, Parkgate, Cheshire
Postings: 16FPP, 14FPP, 3FPP
1 accident, not his fault:
- 12 Mar 1943, forced landing in a Wellington after port engine oil pressure dropped.
"An experienced pilot, consistent and hard-working"
from May 1944, 2nd-in-command, No 14 FPP (Ringway)
d. 1 Nov 1967, Hove
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
M.758 First Officer Aubrey Kingsley Bower + b. 4 Apr 1909, Colombo, Ceylon 10 Jun 1942 to 30 Nov 1945
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
[Training Pool Adjutant 5 Aug 42 to 27 Nov 42]
b. 28 Jun 1912, Cape Town, South Africa
30 Jul 1940 to 11 Jun 43
Lettice, Jennie, Audrey, Gaby, Pauline, near Oxford
RAeC 1935 ATA RAeC 1948
Father: Charles Cecil Broad (a farmer and inventor, m. 1939 Daisy [Bigglestone], d. Nov 1941), mother Dorothy
The family moved to Sussex in Jan 1922, when Jennie was 9
Ed. Bournemouth High School
Flight, April 1937: "The chief attraction of the weekend was a demonstration of the Hillson Praga monoplane by Miss Jennie Broad. After she had put the machine through its paces, numerous members took the opportunity offered of going up with her in the machine."
According to the Blue Mountains Advertiser (Katoomba, NSW), Fri 18 Nov 1949: “Miss Jennie Broad first graduated as a pilot in 1934, and to add to her experience qualified as a ground engineer. By this she helped to meet her flying instruction expenses in overhauling engines for airline companies and working as a club engineer. She had many jobs in aviation, including flying passengers to air rallies in Holland and Belgium and demonstrating and selling light aircraft. Through the experience she gained in this field, she became England's first woman test pilot."
prev. Ground Engineer, W.A.A.F, (transport driver, then Assistant Section Officer, code and cypher).
prev. exp. 250hrs on Whitney Straight, Miles Hawk & Falcon, DH Moth & Puss Moth, Hillson Praga, Avian in Hololand, France and Belgium as well as UK.
Address in 1940: Hillside, Tongdean Rd, Hove, Sussex
Postings: 5FPP, 15FPP
Class 3 pilot
Off sick from 19 Mar to 1 Apr 1941 with 'Pyrexial Debility'; 25 Jul to 9 Aug 1941 with 'Neuralgia & septic throat'; 25 Sep to 19 Oct 1941 with 'Pharyngitis' and 9 Feb to 6 Mar 1942 with 'Psychasthenis'
Contract terminated by ATA
(twice, actually - firstly on 5 Mar 1942, reinstated 23 Nov 1942, then 11 Jun 1943, on Medical Grounds)
4 accidents, 3 her fault:
- 8 Dec 1941, her Dominie X7449 nosed over, for reasons unknown
- 15 Dec 1942, a heavy landing in Spitfire Vc JG716 caused the port undercarriage leg to collapse
- 27 Mar 1943, she collided with a distributor trolley being towed by a tractor [Reprimanded]
- 21 May 1943, taking off in long grass, for some reason she thought the undercarriage of her Barracuda P9787 was "collapsing", so she selected 'Undercarriage Up'. "No fault found"
"A keen and intelligent pilot of good average ability"
"She then joined a welfare organisation for the Royal Air Force and after a few weeks' training in Germany went to the Middle East, where she operated clubs on R.A.F. desert stations in Egypt and Iraq.”
After WWII, Jennie moved to Australia 'as a refugee from British bureaucracy' (reportedly saying "Australia is the only country in which to live these days"), and in 1951 joined the WRAAF as a 'Flight Officer, Administrative'.
By then, she had made her political views perfectly clear; she didn't like that there Socialism:
"In August 1948, I returned to England." she said. "When I had left, the country had had five years of the toughest time. They had had all the horrors of the blitz bombs, the doodlebugs and so on. But I had returned expecting to find my country free of some of the rules and directions of war. When I left the people had a tremendous hope for the future and were proud of the part their country had played. I spent two of the unhappiest months of my life there. Gone was the spring in the step of the people. They were tired and content to accept the rules that had been laid down for them. The queues were longer than ever. The people were living mainly on whale meat and fish. We got one egg every six weeks.
I could not understand it at all. But slowly it came to me. It was in 1945 that the Socialists took over. They came with the old Labour Party understanding on the part of the people. But it was not long before Mr. Attlee had nationalised everything he could lay hands on. Taxes were on such a scale that the worker found it paid him better to stay away from work at regular intervals. A large number of girls in the Post Office admitted that they had deliberately lost a day a fortnight because it paid them better to do so.
In 1947, we introduced the 'Engagement Order.’ In 1735 compulsory labour was abolished in England but it rested with a Labour Party to re-introduce it.
To-day there are at least three men who are serving terms of imprisonment because they refused to accept the work that was offered to them. Refusal to take the job offered means imprisonment. You see the people are gradually again being enslaved. In England, owing to the nearness of war, we had gone further along the road to compulsion in everything and Labour was presented with an already working scheme for the carrying out of their policy. In that regard the Labour Party in Britain was in a better position than was the case in Australia. We have our identity cards. If I move from town in town I have to register and re-register. When I return to England if I go abroad I have to register again. I decided to leave.it. We had won the war but lost our freedom. Nobody is allowed to follow his own will. If he works overtime, he is summoned and fined. In Australia they had been in danger of going along the same path but they had recovered in time and realised what it meant”
The Biz (Fairfield, NSW), Thu 15 Jun 1950: "MEET JENNIE BROAD Fairfield residents have noticed an attractive young woman chatting with women in the shopping centre. It was Miss Jennie Broad, one of those courageous women who was a test pilot in Britain during the war. Charming and feminine, Jennie Broad has proved herself courageous during the war; and no less now is she displaying courage of a high degree.
Knowing the pitfalls of socialism in Great Britain, and the hardships it has brought upon the people who should now be enjoying a measure of relief from wartime restrictions, Jennie Broad came to Fairfield, when she heard 'a woman was standing for Parliament to oppose Socialism'. Although Miss Broad belongs to no political party, she says that she has seen the ill-effects of Socialism on family life, and she felt it her duty to come to Fairfield, meet the family people, and warn them to shake Socialism from their backs before it is too late.' Miss Broad speaks from personal experience, and she says she will address any gathering of women who, want to know the facts about Socialism and how it affects working people."
Mary Elllis wote: "I did hear that Jennie had married a Frank Roche of Bush Pilot Airways in Cairns, Australia and that in 1954 they both flew a Dragon Rapide from England to Australia. The aircraft was to be fitted out as a special flying ambulance to help those in need in the rural parts of South Australia. Frank Roche was killed the following year in a crop-spraying accident and Jennie, then a widow, moved away."
d. 30 Jun 2005 on Norfolk Island, Australia
"Jennie Broad 28 Jun 1912 to 30 Jun 2005. Pilot, Air Transport Auxiliary"
Di Ennew kindly tells me that "I spent 2 years on Norfolk Island, a small Australian territory (pop.approx.1600) about 1800km east of Australia in the Pacific Ocean. We bought a house there and by strange coincidence Jennie Broad, one of your ATA pilots, was my direct neighbour.
She was quite reclusive and in the 6 years she was my neighbour prior to her death, we did not meet nor talk, as when offered the opportunity to meet by the seller of our house, she very promptly refused the invitation. She was well known on the island for her directness and it was wonderful to read about her. I knew she had had an amazing life in the ATA and I only wish she had been able to meet my father to share their experiences of England."
W.2 * First Officer Mrs Grace Brown b. 2 Feb 1897, Pietermaritzburg, Natal, SA 27 May 1940 to 28 Dec 1940
Address in 1940: Woodland Rise, Seal, Sevenoaks, Kent
Next of kin: husband, Anthony Brown MC. [d. Dec 1954. He was English, 16 years older than her, described as a 'Managing Director of a Printing Company' [Brown, Knight and Truscott], and they met in South Africa in the 1920s. He was there on business, she ran a driving school, they married and travelled together from South Africa to England in March 1926.
They lived at 'Broomhill', Southend Rd, Beckenham, Kent, and had one son, Philip, b. 1930; he later became a commercial pilot, encouraged by Grace.]
"Mrs. Grace Brown flew for Air Dispatch (Mrs Victor Bruce's airline)".
"Air Dispatch Ltd was founded on 9 July 1934, and in 1935 started operating weekend freight (later also passenger) services from its base at Croydon Airport to Le Touquet and Le Bourget, Paris. In April 1935, Commercial Air Hire started passenger shuttle services between Croydon and Heston airports, under the name Inner Circle Air Lines, using GAL Monospar ST-4s. In 1935, Commercial Air Hire purchased an Avro 642 Eighteen16-seat airliner (G-ACFV) for newspaper delivery contracts, and Air Dispatch shared its use for bullion-carrying, excursions, joy-riding flights and scheduled passenger services, until mid-1936. [Mildred] Bruce was co-managing director, with Eric E. Noddings, of both closely linked companies, that were merged in 1936 as Air Dispatch Ltd. Wikipedia
In 1935, she flew Redhill Aero Club's Puss Moth to Brussels.
r, with Gabrielle Patterson, in 1940 (Forgotten Pilots)
She was an early recruit for the ATA in May 1940 (actually, she joined just as the evacuation of the BEF from Dunkirk was taking place) but soon had to discontinue ferrying due to "getting into a poor state of health and being unfit for flying duties" - a confidential note some two years later says that "between ourselves, a little elbow-lifting was attached to it"
She asked for 3 months unpaid leave, on the understanding that ATA could offer to continue with her services at the end of it.
In the event, when she started back in December, she wrecked the port undercarriage leg of an Airspeed Oxford by selecting 'Undercarriage Up' instead of 'Flaps Up' after landing, and was dismissed shortly afterwards.
[Contract Terminated by ATA 28 Dec 1940]
During WWII, "Mrs (Grace) Brown astonished RAF pilots when she landed at an advanced airfield in France during the German attack, carrying consignments of blood for the wounded." An Illustrated History of the RAF (BoB 50th anniversary edition) by Roy Conyers Nesbit.
Her grand-daughter kindly tells me that "She was actually the first woman to fly to the Front, flying blood to the British Expeditionary Force as it retreated to Dunkirk. She was one of the first six female pilots to hold the 'B' Licence (Commercial) in the U.K. She was also a huge character:-)
After the war, I don't think she flew again. She seemed to enjoy buzzing around the country lanes in the sidecar of a motor bike, driven my by father. When Anthony died they had huge death duties to pay so had to sell up and move to a small house, still in Sevenoaks. She died in 1956, I believe. "
M.53 First Officer Michael Frederick(?) L Bruce-Porter
b. 15 Dec 1912, Bombay
(15 Dec 1914 on RAeC Cert.)
1 May 1940 to May-41
Michael Porter, 1938
Address in 1940: 3 Ashburn Gardens, Gloucester Rd, London SW7.
Wife: Anne Hester Mary Layborne (nee Popham, m. 1939) lived at Carr House, Broxford, Hants, then later 22 Sefton Rd, Hook
prev. 2nd Lieut. RNVR Sep-39 to May-40
[Contract Terminated by ATA - Disciplinary Reasons]
later m. 1954 Jean L Jorgensen, in Falmouth
Mysterious. It looks like this Michael Porter, born in Bombay in 1912 or 1914, changed his name to Bruce-Porter between 1938 and 1939. Anne Hester Bruce-Porter is listed as next of kin on his ATA form; her marriage in June 1939 was certainly to a Michael F L Bruce-Porter.
W.3 * First Officer
Mrs Lois Butler
3 Nov 1897, Montreal, Canada
15 Feb 1940 to 31May 1945
RAeC 1929 King's Cup 1933 Lois and Winnie at Hatfield
the "beautiful" [so said Harald Penrose] wife of Alan Butler. (Later, the 'Flying Grandmother')
Her first husband (Lieutenant-Colonel Hugh William Knox-Niven) having died in 1923, she married Alan Butler in 1925; together they had a daughter and a son.
15th in the Women’s Combined Alpine Skiing at the 1936 Winter Olympics, skating for her native Canada (although she was a member of the British Team before that).
1942 caricature by 'Sammy' Clayton
Completed more than 1,000 hours, in 36 types of aircraft.
2 accidents, neither her fault:
- 24 Jan 1942, the wing flaps of Hurricane AG202 were damaged by water from melting snow, during a precautionary landing at Abingdon
- 6 Aug 1942, a forced landing at Cranwell in Anson DG761, after starboard engine failure
Post-WWII, the Butlers moved to Rhodesia and bought a tobacco farm, but eventually moved back to Studham Hall, Bedfordshire.
She owned a 1930 DH.80A Puss Moth G-ABGX, which was sold in France in December 1934, re-registered as F-AMRX and whose registration was finally cancelled in 1936.
d. 17 Aug 1970 in Piraeus, Attiki, Greece from a heart attack while on holiday, and is buried in Studham.
M.588 First Officer Umberto 'Anthony' Combi - b. 22 Jun 1902, Poona, India 1 Jul 1941 to 30 Nov 1945
Father Italian; [Anthony Combi served in the Italian Army 1890-1898], Mother British
Ed. Cathedral High School, Bombay
m. 1939 Catherine A [Groom]
prev. Technical Adviser, the Combi Electric Co. Ltd, Slough, Bucks
Address in 1941: 4 Hurstfield Drive, Taplow, Bucks
Postings: 1FPP, A.M.F.
"A very willing and hard working pilot. During this winter [1944-5] he has shown good ability and sound judgement. Discipline very good."
Earlier, though, he did have a number of accidents for which he was held responsible:
- 18 Sep 1942, he taxied a Spitfire into a starting trolley;
- 23 Nov 1942, undershot a landing in a Blenheim;
- 8 Jan 1943, piloting an Oxford, he accidentally knocked the main switches to 'on', and a ground crew member was injured when an engine fired when being turned over by hand, and
- 15 Feb 1943, he failed to control the swing during takeoff in a Wellington and the aircraft skidded sideways.
d. 1980, Harrow
W.44 First Officer Mary Berta de Bunsen b. 29 May 1910. Madrid, Spain 1 Aug 1941 to 1 Aug 1945
Mary was born in Madrid, the daughter of Sir Maurice William Ernest de Bunsen, Bart, GCMG, GCVO, CB, the British Ambassador there.
"Miss Mary de Bunsen, the youngest daughter of Sir Maurice and Lady de Bunsen, is making her debut this year" - The Bystander, 1928
She had been dragged round dances and hunt balls by her parents in the hope of finding her a suitable husband - these were, of course, in short supply after the carnage of WWI. "I was far too innocent to realise... that with a lame leg [after a childhood attack of polio] and horn-rimmed glasses I stood no chance whatever".
She ws an aeronautical journalist, especially writing about women pilots - see http://www.afleetingpeace.org/index.php/pioneering-women?filter_tag=24
When WWII broke out, she joined the London Auxiliary Fire Service as a driver, and then, on the 1 May 1941, the London Auxiliary Ambulance Service.
"In May 1940 Air transport Auxiliary tested my flying and turned me down, for I was very rusty and the standard for women was still high. But it was a bitter moment, for those of us who were accepted that day had the dewy, sparkling look of souls reborn"
Wrote "Gliding with the Germans" in 1940
Address in 1941: Redwode, Chiddingford, Surrey
Postings: 5FPP, 15FPP, 16FPP, 7FPP
"Wears spectacles. Slight Limp"
Class 4+ Pilot
- 2 Jan 1942, an error of judgement in Hurricane L1975, but she was not held responsible as she had "never passed through T.P."
- 2 May 1942, a wheels-up landing in Spitfire P7623 after the selector lever jammed
- 2 Sep 1942, her Spitfire EP825 nosed over after she taxied into an unmarked soft patch
- 9 Sep 1942, a poor landing in Spitfire Vb (Tropical) ER266 damaged one undercarriage leg
- Nov 1942, the undercarriage of her Spitfire Vc ES111 collapsed on landing, due to a fault
- 26 Dec 1942, yet another Spitfire (MB327) undercarriage collapse; this time she was held to blame as she had failed to control the swing in a crosswind landing
- 5 Oct 1944, a forced landing in Avenger II JZ427 after the engine cut intermittently
- 21 Dec 1944, the starboard engine of her Hudson I P5419 caught fire when starting
- 20 Apr 1945, a forced landing in Anson I PH693 after suffering low oil pressure and high engine temperature
"This pilot has been a great asset to the Pool, (7FPP), both as regards to her flying and also in respect of social activities. She voluntarily undertoook the duties of Mess Secretary, and has been tireless in her efforts to make a success of everything she has undertaken"
She wrote the excellent "Mount up with Wings" in 1960, about her life, her time in the ATA, and her life-saving heart surgery.
d. 1982 - Weymouth, Dorset.
[Seconded from RAF]
J Phillippe Ducler des Rauches b. 26 Apr 1914, British Mauritius 26 May 1944 to 15 Apr 1945
Father: Philippe Ducler des Rauches
m. 12 Feb 1947 Marise Sauzier
F.C.C.S; Gen. Se. Mauritius Sugar Producers' Assoc.; Sec. Mauritius Ch. Of Com. And Mauritius Ch. Of Brokers 1946-53;
Mem. Maurtitius Labour Advisory Brd., Vice-Chair. Maurtitius Employers Federation
W.81 First Officer Maureen Adele/Adel/Adela Chase Dunlop - b. 26 Oct 1920, Quimes, Buenos Aires 15 Apr 1942 to 30 Nov 1945
Yes, that picture, 1944
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
M.--- First Officer Roderick Ayscough Fraser Farquharson b. 26 Aug 1908, Peradeniya, Ceylon 20 Sep 1939 to 4 May 1940
A descendant of Henry VII.
A Tea Planter
m. 1936 in Liverpool Joan Staveley [Boumphrey], 2 children (Gail b. 1946 and Gordon b. 1949)
Joan also gained a pilot's certificate in Ceylon, in 1939:
Owned G-ADJN, a 1935 BA Swallow 2, which he wrote off in an accident at Lympne in September 1940.
His younger brother George Evelyn married 'Jill' Rees, also of the ATA.
Roderick left the ATA to join the RAF - Pilot Officer from 6 May 1940, Flying Officer from 6 May 1941.
AFC in January 1944 (when he was a Flt-Lt with No 46 Maintenance Unit, RAFVR)
A Squadron Leader by 1946, when he and J.P. Obeysekara both flew Austers from the UK to Ceylon.
Emigrated to Rhodesia in 1958
d. 25 Oct 1984 - Hillcrest, Natal, South Africa
M.368 * First Officer George Bruce Stewart Fellows b. 24 Aug 1909, Mysore India 12 Apr 1941 to 30 Nov 1945
prev. an engineer
d. 15 Jul 1979 - Torremolinos, Spain
"Hail to the blithe spirit"
buried Cementerio Inglés de Málaga
Sheila A Garrett - b. 18 Nov 1916, Marionville, Missouri, USA 3 Apr-44 to Jun-45
a.k.a. Sheila Browning
Father: Albert Alvin Garrett
Next of Kin: Lt. Mrs. Lee G Morse (sister, aka Lynn Browning); 8500 Holloway Dr, Hollywood, CA
Far right, representing "Missouri" in 1935
She appears as an uncredited extra in the 1936 movie "The Great Ziegfield" (This appears to be her only pre-WWII acting job; however, her sister Lynn Browning was signed to Warner Bros. and appeared in 11 movies between 1932 and 1940, until her career was cut short by a car accident).
m. 28 Jun 1936 in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Harry [a.k.a. Henry] Frederick Wilcoxon, an English Actor born in Dominica, BWI, [he was 30, she was 19]
She and Henry travelled together from the UK to the USA in May 1937 on the "Queen Mary", and here they are shortly aftwerwards, "christening the old swimming hole at his Malibu Mountain Ranch [in California, and called 'Seven Oaks']":
The Los Angeles Times
"The former Sheila Garrett, now Mrs Henry Wilcoxon, looked so good to a sheik of the Ageyli tribe that he tried to buy her from the British actor. The sheik offered 10 Pounds British, gold, three she-camels, a quantity of grain, a jewelled dagger, a prayer rug from the palace of the Emir at Mecca, and several hareem girls."
"Sheila and Harry Wilcoxon tossed an outdoor gala at Sevenoaks Ranch. They hired a blimp to fly over and drop favors with numbered ribbons and raced a flock of pigeons back to town. Guests with ribbon numbers corresponding to the winning pigeons got prizes."
They were divorced on 1 Jul 1937 - "An interlocutory divorce decree was granted today to Mrs Sheila Wilcoxon, known in films as Sheila Garrett. She testified that Wilcoxon always left her at home when visiting his ranch and was rude to her. Her sister, Lynn Browning, corroborated her evidence."
So in June 1938 she sailed back from Quebec to the UK, alone, and stayed there until October 1938, returning to the USA once more on the "Queen Mary".
Next, we find her living in France at the outbreak of WWII, and sailing back to the USA on 19 Sep 1939. In the 1940 US Census she is listed as a "Model - Dresses", renting a house in E 54th St, NYC.
And somehow, between 1940 and 1944, she managed to learn how to fly, having apparently shown no interest in it before then. Her ATA file says she had been a "flying instructress" and to have served in "War Training Service US Navy".
She then travelled from New York to Liverpool, arriving on the 10 Mar 1944 to join the ATA.
Address in Apr 1944: 12-13 Montague St, London WC1
She was taken on as a pilot cadet, and promoted to 3rd Officer on 12 Aug 1944.
After the ATA, Sheila travelled back to the USA from Liverpool on 3-16 July 1945.
m. 3 Mar 1946 George Alfred Moszkowski (b. 1894 in Warsaw) in Habana, Cuba
"Sheila Garrett was a very close friend of my mother’s. After the war she had a long-term on and off relationship with author Robert Ruark (Something of Value). She used to come and stay with us at our home in Mexico City for long periods, sometimes with and sometimes without Robert.
On one occasion she arrived by taxi in the middle of the night, having totally destroyed her beautiful white Chrysler 300 by hitting a rock (at about 100mph, according to her) somewhere on the highway driving down from the US. I believe the rock survived!
My mother used to stay at her flat in London on her visits. I knew her very well; she was very tall [actually, 5ft 8in, but described as 'tall build'] and absolutely gorgeous!"
In the 60s, she lived in Long Valley, NJ, but also had:
...a flat at 7 Greycoat Gardens, London SW1
She appeared in 7 episodes of a TV series called "Bonsoir" in 1962, as "herself".
"Towards the end of her life she lived in San Pedro near Marbella, Spain and married Bill Vanderveldt who had been a boyfriend decades before and had never really fallen out of love with her - they were blissfully happy together in Spain until Sheila sadly predeceased Bill. We visited on numerous occasions, including one trip when Sheila and my mother (both in their 60s) drove Sheila’s unairconditioned right hand drive Mini Countryman from Andalusia to San Sebastian to catch the ferry to the U.K.All the memories I have of Sheila are extremely happy ones. As our American cousins would perhaps say, she was “quite a gal!"
M.--- * First Officer Francis Stanislaus 'Tad' Gonsalves DSO, DFC b. 7 May 1915, Georgetown, British Guiana 27 May to 18 Jun 1940
Father: Manoel Gonsalves da Silva, Mother: Helena [Ferreira]
3 sisters, 3 brothers; the family sailed to the UK in July 1919, when Francis was 4.
RAeC Certificate,12403, dated 16 Oct 1934, at London Aeroplane Club
Address in 1934: 25 Holmstall Ave, Burnt Oak, London
prev. Ground Engineer
Pilot Officer, RAF, from 25 Sep 1940; F/O from 25 Sep 1942; Sqn Ldr from 6 Jan 1945
DSO in 1945:
"This officer has operated with considerable success with bomber and fighter aircraft. On one occasion, while patrolling an enemy airfield, he attacked two Messerschmitt no's, destroyed one and damaged the other. In September, 1944, he was detailed to attack a certain objective. On reaching the target the port engine failed Height was rapidly lost but Squadron Leader Gonsalves refused to abandon his aircraft. When his height was only 1,000 feet he restarted the port engine and found that it was working sufficiently well to allow him to maintain height. In this condition he crossed the North Sea and executed a successful landing with only sufficient oil remaining for a few minutes flying. Squadron Leader Gonsalves displayed great skill and devotion to duty. " - London Gazette No. 36799, Dated 1944-11-17"
Wing Cmdr, 1946
m. 9 Oct 1948 in Seaford, East Sussex, Elizabeth [Simpson] (d. 1954)
"Plane skims children's playground
WHILE two airmen struggled to avoid crashing in Dukes' Meadows Chiswick W.. last night, children below swarmed on slides and swings and four men played bowls.
The plane, a two-engined [Airspeed] Consul, returning to Croydon from Southport. Lancs, had run out petrol. The radio-operator, Eric Astle of Shirley, Southampton, said afterwards: 'The pilot. Francis Gonsalves, had get down quick. He looked for a piece of open ground. We skimmed across allotments and crashed through railings. He did magnificent job to save lives'. The airmen were not seriously injured" - Daily Herald - 16 July 1949
Following this incident, he was prosecuted by the Ministry of Civil Aviation for failing to ensure the plane had sufficient fuel. He pleaded guilty, and was fined £30 plus 5 guineas costs.
m. Jul 1954 in Chelsea, London, Jean M [Love]
Emigrated to Canada in 1957
Address in 1972: Cranmore Rd, Victoria BC. He is listed as a "Manager, Car Rental" and Jean as a Teacher
d. 18 Jan 1954 - Victoria, BC, Canada
Buried Royal Oak Burial Park Cemetery, Victoria, BC, Canada
* Personnel File Missing
W.64 First Officer Beatrice Glanley 'Betty' Grant b. 21 Jul 1913, Calcutta, India 16 Dec 1941 to 30 Nov 1945
Father: Walter Neil Cardiner Grant, an East India Merchant, mother [Tindall]
Stepmother: (from 1923) Beatrice Blanche [Glanley]
"of 12 Hyde Park Place, W.2 and The Thatches, Angmering-on-Sea, Sussex (late of Calcutta)."
Postings include: 1FPP
2 accidents, 1 her fault:
- 16 Nov 1942, she landed Hurricane II HW861 in poor visiblity, the aircraft swung off the runway and tipped onto its nose
- 13 Jan 1943, the flaps and brakes failed to work in Spitfire IIc MB258 when landing, and the aircraft overshot.
m 28 Jun 1943 Norman Lambert Hayman also of the ATA, [a reception was held afterwards at Claridge's] but they appear to have separated sometime before 1947.
"Between 90 and 100 Cheshire Women's Junior Air Corps Cadets were taken up for 20 minute flights in the £1,600 Argus bought by the Corps last year.
Mrs Betty Hayman, of Lonton, 34-year old ex-ferry pilot, who flew Spitfires during the war, wore a navy costume, wedgees, and silk stockings to fly the Argus" - Manchester Evening News, May 1948
In September 1949, she and her stepmother Beatrice sailed to South Africa, apparently intending to settle there, but they returned in July 1950.
m. Mar 1964 John Edward .A. d'Aguilar
Lived at Dungate Manor, Reigate Heath
d. 25 Jan 1990 - Reigate, Surrey
M.421 First Officer Godfrey Albert Chichester Greene
b. 25 Sep 1911, Dublin 22 Apr 1941 to 30 Jun 1945
Ed. G.C.S. Dublin, National School Kildare St.
prev. RAFVR 16 Jan 1939 to 18 Sep 1940, Sergeant Pilot under training
prev. a 'Ladies Court Hairdresser' in Paris, then a technical assistant at Plessey in Ilford
m. Jun-42 Madeline Clare [Grigsby] in Maidenhead [d. 2009, Wallasey]
Address in 1941: Littlewick House, Littlewick Green, Maidenhead
Postings: 6FPP, 16FPP, 14FPP, 1FPP
Had 5 accidents in 1942, 4 of which were his fault; he managed to damage a Walrus [failed to control swing], a Hurricane [forgot to lower undercarriage], 2 Masters [hard landing collapsed undercarriage, and hit a post whilst taxying] and a Spitfire [undercarriage leg failed to lock down, that one was not his fault].
Contract Terminated in Apr-42 but re-instated; "This pilot has been given a second chance, a further course of training in the School... He has not given entire satisfaction. As a pilot he appears now to be average but his reports indicate that he requires driving."
"General flying poor, take-off and approaches below standard", but "A keen and willing pilot within his limited capabilities."
Also damaged 2 more Spitfires in 1943, but neither was his fault.
d. Jul 1995 - Wallasey, Merseyside
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
M.418 First Officer Edward Louis Hazeldine b. 19 May 1911, Paris 16 Apr 1941 to 20 Sep 1944
father William Augustus Hazeldine, mother French. Living in France at the outbreak of WWII
6ft 4¼in tall; 'scar on left of throat'
Ed. Cheltenham College
prev. Clerk, Private Secretary to Produce Merchants
prev. exp. 50hrs single engined in France
Address in 1941: Greenways, Hillside, New Barnet, Herts
Next of kin his brother, F. W. Hazeldine, later (1941) changed to his wife Mary G [Smith]
Postings: 15FPP, 6FPP
'A steady pilot and an excellent officer. His keenness and sense of discipline are excellent... was quick to adapt to the Stirling."
Contracted tuberculosis of the lungs ('Koch's disease') in Jul 1943 and appears not to have flown after that.
Address in 1948: 188 Chiltern Court, Baker St., London
m. 1978 Cecilia Mary H [Jones] (d. 2000)
d. Jul 1984 - Chichester, Sussex
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
W.150 3rd Officer [Adi] Sophie Evelyn Veisa Mara 'Beausie' Hennings b. 16 May 1915, Navabatu, Vanua Balavu Fiji 29 Nov-43 to Feb-45
Sadly, no photo... this is the best I can do; a picture of her younger sister Mara marrying Roderick Miller in 1952:
Father: Gustav Mara Hennings (b. Dec 1868 in Lakeba Island, Fij, d. 17 Apr 1955 at his plantation home on Naitauba Island)
1955 - Pacific Island Weekly
[Naitauba Island is the red dot, Lakeba Island is where 'Tubou' is, to the SSE]
[Fiji became a British colony in 1874, so had a Governor from then on; Sophie was related to the last King of Fiji, Ratu Seru Epenisa Cakobau, because her great-grandfather (Ratu Kamisese Mara Tuimacilai Kapaiwa) was his cousin (and was executed by him in 1859 :-))
Ratu Seru Epenisa Cakobau in 1883
Mother: Elizabeth [Vogel], (m. 1912),
[Sophie had two sisters, plus a half-brother born to Gustav's 'partner', Palu Miller]
"[Sophie's grandfather] William Hennings and his brothers established the cotton industry in Fiji... scarcely an island exists in northern Lau which has not belonged to or has been connected with the Hennings family at one time." - Pacific Island Weekly
Sophie and sister Elizabeth travelled on the SS 'Mariposa' in 1936, described as 'Half Caste Fijian German'.
[The Hennings brothers were from Germany, so Sophie presumably qualified as British due to Fiji being a British Colony.]
prev: M.T. Driver for ATA
Postings include: 5TFPP, 15FPP
Ab initio Trainee
- 5 Oct 1944, she made a heavy landing in Spitfire V R7205, the starboard undercarriage leg collapsed and the aircraft ground-looped
- 24 Mar 1945, a tyre burst on her Argus II HB632 on landing, and the aircraft veered off the runway
m. Oct 1951 in London, Cyril Montague 'Penny' Pennington-Richards, a film director
d. Jun 1991 - Chichester, W Sussex
Cadet -> Operations Officer
Evelyn [Gertrude or Constance] [Hyam or Higham] + b. 25 May 1914, Boston MA 8 Jul-42 to 24 Feb-43
[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):
M.44* Flight Captain William Lovett 'Stewart' Keith-Jopp b. 29 Jul 1891, British India 11 Sep 1939 to Nov-45
WWI pilot; he lost an arm and an eye.
Commended for "valuable service in the air", 14 Jun 1945
d. Dec 1956, Cambridge
M.363 * First Officer Frederic Ives Lord
b. 18 Apr 1897, Manitowoc, WI 21 Apr 1941 to 20 Apr 1943
As a Captain in the RFC, 1917
"Recognised as one of the greatest of US World War aces with 12 victories, Major Lord holds the DFC and Bar, the Croix de Guerre, the Order of St. Anne, the Order of St. Stanislaus and the White Army Medal."
- left home at 16 and joined the state militia on the Mexican border, then
- Joined the RFC, renouncing his US Citizenship to do so, and was credited with shooting down 12 German aircraft (although he later told people it was 22) and one balloon. In one engagement, he single-handedly attacked 20 German planes, shot down two and scattered the rest;
- he then went north into Russia to lead a squadron fighting near Archangel in the Russian Civil War, at one stage "blasting the enemy with empty whisky bottles";
- he then "killed time" by fighting for the Government in the Mexican Revolution of 1921 and from then until 1932 he barnstormed in the US with a flying circus.
- He then fought for the Chinese Government against the Japanese in Shanghai and Peiping;
- 3 years later he was fighting for the Government in Honduras,
- And in 1937, [of course], he fought in the Spanish Civil War against German and Italian air forces.
He then operated a flying school for a few years, but found it "pretty dull" and tried to rejoin the RAF when WWII broke out, but they obviously felt that the ATA was a more sensible place for a 47-year-old pilot.
d. 21 Jul 1967 (age 70): he was murdered in Apple Valley, CA.
He was found in a desert cabin belonging to Norval Elma Austin, which "was a shambles, with broken bottles all over the floor, giving every indication of a struggle."
The body was identified by his wife. She later said that Frederic was physically unable to do much work around the house, and had hired Norval to do yardwork and other heavy chores, but had fired him "several times".
Norval was arrested 2 days later, and found guilty of second-degree murder in 1968. He died in 1982.
W.101 2nd Officer Elizabeth Anderson MacDougall - b. 6 Mar 1915, Singapore 16 Sep 1942 to 31 Aug 1945
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
W.148 3rd Officer Jean Alston Mcpherson b. 22 May 1921, San Francisco, CA 15 Nov 1943 to 14 Aug 1945
Father: Clement Gordon Hope McPherson, Mother: Lila May [McDonald]
Ed. Poles Convent, Ware, Herts
prev: Driver for US Army
Address in 1945-6: 26 St Mary Abbotts Court, London W14
ab initio pilot
m. 18 May 1945 in London, Sub-Lieut Christopher Edwin 'Kit' Lovell-PankRNVR
Entry Visa for Brazil, 8 Apr 1946. At the time her son, Dorian Christopher, was 10 weeks old.
m. Oct 1957 in Chelsea, London, Argentine Ambassador, Alfredo de Oliva-Day
3 more children: Martin, Laila and Dianna
d. 7 Aug 1979 - Cape Town, SA
M.471 First Officer Joseph Gaston Naz b. 13 Mar 1908, Curepipe, Mauritius 6 May 1941 to 10 Aug 1943
Father: Joseph Lois Naz (A member of the Institution of Civil Engineers)
Educated at Bedford School, Stanislas College Paris. B.Sc.
m. 1933 Eileen Winifred [Barrett], 2 children
Next of Kin: Dr P L Naz, Kingston & District Hospital
An Electrical Engineer; R.A.F. Reserve Officer Jun-28 to Nov-39
Address in 1941: 72 Handside Lane, Welwyn Garden City, Herts
Postings: 15FPP, 3FPP, 14FPP, 1FPP (Communications Flt)
"A keen and competent pilot", "Above average as a pilot; apt to be a bad time-keeper."
d. 26 Jul 1962 - St Albans, Herts
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
First Officer Earle Donovan Nicol + b. 13 Aug 1915, Mahama, Ceylon 12 Aug 1942 to 31 Dec 1945
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
W.128 2nd Officer Cecile Eva Rosales Power b. 26 May 1920, Mhow, India 26 Jul 1943 to 31 Oct 1945
Father: Major R Power, of Stoke Hill House, Taunton, Somerset
Ed Westonburt School, Tetbury
In December 1923 she was in "The Enchanted Prince.", a "bright little play beautifully staged by the pupils of Hopedune School in the Station Cafe, Portrush"... "Miss Cecile Power, a tiny tot of three years, was quite captivating."
prev: FANY (First Aid Nursing Yeomanry); Driver in ATS from 8 Nov 1940
prev exp: 4hrs 45min in Hornet Moth
Address in 1943: A.B.S.D., Southmead Hospital, Bristol
Postings: 15FPP, 12 FPP, 5FPP, 2FPP, 3FPP
One accident, not her fault:
- 7 Jul 1945, when making a crosswind landing in Seafire LR788, the aircraft weathercocked, damaging a wheel fairing
"This pilot came to ATA with very little experience but has worked hard and steadily... a sensible and reliable pilot."
"Tremendously keen and hardworking... Discipline excellent"
In November 1947, she joined ex-ATA pilot Monique Agazarian (q.v.) as a pilot for Island Air Charters / Island Air Services (IAS) which flew Proctors and Rapides between Lands End and the Scilly Isles, pleasure trips to Le Touquet and scheduled services to Deauville from Croydon.
m. Jul 1948 in Taunton, Richard Vernon Derwent Moger
d. 5 Nov 1990 - Petersfield, Hants
W.24 Flight Captain Eleanor Isabella 'Susan' Slade b. 10 Jan 1904, Hong Kong 1 Nov-40 to Jul-44
1928 c.1935 ATA, with Graham Head
"Efficiently managing the day-to-day business [of the King's Cup] was dynamic little Susan Slade... herself a pilot of considerable ability who has her own Moth". C G Grey
In Holland, with Lyndsey Everard et al
On one flight with her elder sister Betsy in 1938 over Germany, having missed their destination, they came down at the Berchtesgaden; Herr Hitler was away at the time, but the servants gave them a conducted tour.
Rallye Aerien, Chateau d'Ardenne 17-19 May 1930 with Adelaide Cleaver
She won the first All-Ladies Race at Sywell, Northants in September 1931 (the Hon. Mrs Victor Bruce was second).
On the 21st May 1940, Susan wrote to Cmdr Gerard d'Erlanger, the head of the ATA, whom she knew quite well from before the war. She said:
I'm writing to ask if you will have any vacancies for ATA girls - I did apply originally but I had to give up the idea as Airwork refused to release me under about three months & I could not even attend the flying test as I couldn't be spared on the day it took place.
The situation is slightly different now. It seems fairly certain that we shall be turned out of Heston at any moment & apart from running the show here the rest of my work should only take about one week per month, which I feel someone else could be found to do. I should have a certain amount of clearing up to do naturally & so, as the date of the evacuation is unknown, I cannot say when I would be free.
I also feel that having spent 11 years in learning something about flying, I would be more useful at the present moment making use of this knowledge. I have already filled in the forms & if you think you could make use of me I could probably come for a test any time.
I shall be very grateful for any advice you can give me."
Susan was, indeed, one of the most experienced women aviators in the country - on her original application form, dated the previous December (1939), she quoted a total of 579 hours (1 of them night-flying) on "DH60, DH80, DH85, Avro Avian, Cadet, Klemm, Bluebird, and Puss Moth, in the British Isles, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Hungary, Poland and Switzerland."
In support of her new application, Airwork's Managing Director M D N Wyatt wrote this, in September 1940:
"Miss E. I. Slade was employed by this Company from February 1929 to June 1940. Her duties entailed the management of the Airport Hotel and Restaurant and she also had considerable responsibilities in connection with the Airport Club. During the time she was employed by Airwork Limited she carried out her duties satisfactorily, and we can confidently recommend her for any position of trust."
She eventually signed up on November 1st, and reported for her Flight Test on the 24th, with this outcome:
"Miss Slade is assessed a pilot of average ability. Her chief fault is inaccurate turns; difficulty is also experienced in settling down on a Northerly course."
Not brilliant, then, but at least Mr McMillan then went on to say "It is recommended that her appointment be confirmed".
Susan duly started, and by January 1942 was being recommended for promotion to Flight Captain by Marion Wilberforce (Officer Commanding No 5 Ferry Pool, q.v.): "I have every confidence in recommending First Officer Slade to be considered for promotion on February 15th. She has shown great devotion to duty, accepted responsibility, and taken over command of the Pool when necessary."
This despite the first of her little mishaps - on 6 Aug 1941, she made a heavy landing in a Miles Master at Brize Norton, and was deemed to be 'at fault'.
The powers that be more-or-less concurred: 'First Officer Slade works hard, and in the absence of O.C. No 5 FPP (i.e. Marion Wilberforce) in fact takes over Command of the Pool. She is conscientious and hard working [I think you already mentioned that, actually], but hardly to be classed as a full time pilot".
["hardly to be classed as a full time pilot" is rather an odd thing to say, don't you think... what can they possibly mean?]
Her flying instruction report, unfortunately, makes less than inspiring reading; she "had considerable difficulty at first and her progress has been slow throughout. She has a temperamental nature and it was necessary to change her instructor."
I'm inclined to think that this was a clash of personalities between her and the original instructor. I haven't come across anyone else who thought that Susan was 'temperamental'; quite the opposite, in fact - for example, in December 1942, the replacement instructor reports that she is a 'keen pilot with a most likeable personality".
Anyway, the following January (1943), here we go again; she over-corrected landing a Mosquito, and the undercarriage collapsed. Again, she was deemed to be 'at fault'.
People were starting to get the (mixed) message; her confidential report from her Commanding Officer in February 1943 says she "has carried out her duties as Flight Captain in a very satisfactory manner. Her sense of discipline is good, and she is a capable organiser and can always be trusted to do her job efficiently and well. She should make a good Second in Command."
... followed by the usual sting in the tail: "An average pilot".
In March 1944, she was driving back in the dark to her billet after duty, turned a corner and ran into a lorry. She said it wasn't showing any lights (the driver said, oh yes it was) but in any case she hit some scaffolding which was sticking out of the back of the lorry and had some considerable injuries to her head and face, needing dental and other repairs. She was off work for a month, returning to duty on the 13th April.
Three months later, she was dead; on the 13th July, piloting Wellington Z1690, she crashed after take-off at Little Rissington. The aircraft "turned through 50 deg to starboard, lost height, crashed in a field and was totally destroyed."
The Gloucester Echo reported it thus; "DIED IN SWERVE TO AVOID VILLAGE. RISSINGTON INQUEST A 40-years-old woman's dive to death in a service 'plane she was flying over the Cotswolds, and her swerve to avoid crashing on a village, were described at an inquest held at Little Rissington on Thursday.
The inquest was on Eleanor Isabella Slade, a single woman, who held the rank of Flight Captain in the Air Transport Auxiliary and the Coroner (Mr. J. D. Lane) recorded a verdict of "Death by Misadventure." Capt John Denys Mead, Air Transport Auxiliary, said that Miss Slade was the daughter of the late Marcus Warre Slade, a barrister, and of Mrs. Slade, of Minerva House Farm, Stanwell Moor, Colnebrook, Bucks. She was detailed on July 13 to take a 'plane to a certain R.A.F. station.
Dr. John Terence Gardiner, serving as a Flying Officer and medical officer at an R.A.F. station, stated that he was informed of a crash and, on arriving on the scene at 6.40 p.m. he found the aircraft on fire. He examined the body of the pilot and in his opinion death was due to multiple injuries and burns. After a number of technical witnesses had been heard, Police Special-Sgt. Sidney Taylor, stationed at Great Rissington, stated that at 6.15 p.m. on July 13 he saw a number of 'planes in flight, one of them flying low and heading for the village. It swerved, and Sgt. Taylor heard it crash about half a mile away in a field known as Whaddon, on Glebe Farm, Great Rissington.
CAUSE UNKNOWN A maintenance engineer was unable to account for the crash.
Recording his verdict of 'Death by Misadventure,' the Coroner expressed sympathy with Miss Slade's mother and her colleagues, and spoke of her courageous act in swerving to avoid what would almost certainly have been a crash on the village, involving perhaps the lives of several people. "
I have found references to this accident claiming that 'elevator trim' was suggested as a cause, but I have found no evidence for this; on the contrary, both the official investigation and the subsequent inquest found 'insufficient cause to account for the accident.' The starboard engine was being examined at one stage, but nothing seems to have come of that.
The wreaths at her funeral were from just about everyone she worked with:
"With love from Peter and Winnie Fair;
With deepest sympathy from Ken Howitt;
With love from Lois Butler;
With deepest sympathy from Engineering and Instruction Officers and Staff, ATA Thame;
With deepest sympathy from Station Officers and Personnel ATA Thame;
C.O. ATA & DWF on behalf of ATA;
Mrs Gerard d'Erlanger;
O.C. and Staff Officers No 5 TFP;
Pilots and Clerical Staff No 5 TFP;
Instructors, Staff and Pupils IFTS, and
O.C. No 12 and Pilots"
Brief Glory - The Story of the ATA - says "her death in the air was an irreparable loss to the Thame Ferry Pool and to civil aviation".
All of which goes to show that, even with her perceived limitations as a pilot, Susan Slade was a hard-working and trusted administrator, and an extraordinary, talented and much-loved lady.
r., with ??, Connie Leathart, Lady Runciman, HH Leech, Flt Lt Clarkson
Susan lived at Mallard's Court, Stokenchurch and is buried in Stokenchurch..
a 1927 DH.60X Moth (G-EBSA), then
a 1929 DH.60G Gipsy Moth (G-AAIW), and
a 1931 DH.80A Puss Moth (G-ABLX).
W.92 First Officer Anne Walker b. 15 Apr 1917, Peshawar, India 17 Jul 1942 to 31 Oct 1945
RAeC, 21 Aug 1939
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
M.107 Flight Captain Gareth Wyndham Hadrian Wallcousins
b. 11 Nov 1903, New York,
but moved to the UK as an 11-month old
17 Jun 1940 to 6 Jun 1944
m. 1934 Dorothy M [Deller], 1 child
prev. an Artist; Flt-Lt, AAF Aug-26 to Aug-31, Flt-Lt in RAFO from Aug-31 to Aug-36;
Aircraft press advertising; air traffic control officer; assistant test pilot
Address in 1940: Seafield Drive, Ayr, Scotland
Address in 1942: c/o Mrs Deller, 5 The Maples, Upper Teddington Rd, Hampton Wick, Middx
Postings: 4FPP, 4aFPP, 16FPP, Marston Moor
12 Dec 1941 - Suspended for 1 day after going AWOL
"Carries out his duties as a Flight Leader in an efficient manner and is a very good all round officer."
He was involved in two recorded accidents:
- 7 October 1942, when he landed a Spitfire Vb wheels-up on the runway; he had forgotten to lower the undercarriage;
- 9 Feb 1943, when the engine of his Typhoon caught fire when starting, and a member of the ground crew was injured.
He apparently had at least one other unreported accident and suffered concussion, and then, on the 22 Apr 1944, he had what was described as a 'fit' which later proved to be 'epileptiform in nature'.
On the 25 May 1944, ATA's Chief Medical Officer (Commander A Buchanan Balfour), recommended it was essential that Gareth permanently give up his flying duties. ATA considered offering him a non-flying job, but "in view of the difficulty which he seems to have found in making both ends meet on pilot's pay, it seems doubtful whether he wold accept a lower rate of pay for an administrative post."
They decided that, in view of the fact that Wallcousins was "an old ATA employee who has done us very well", they would offer him the option of resigning, working for BOAC, or undertaking training as an Operations Officer-cum-Adjutant. However, eventually his contract was terminated with 3 months' notice.
In 1949 Gareth became seriously ill with a brain tumour and died on the 10 Dec in Henley Hospital. His widow Dorothy, (having been left with two daughters), claimed compensation from the Ministry of Pensions, feeling that his death was due to the after-effects of his ATA service.
Commander Balfour agreed with her, but the claim was initially turned down. She carried on applying, but it took another 6 years for the Ministry to agree to give her a pension..
Afterwards Dorothy said "Perhaps I shall not get much - £2 or £2 10s a week."
M.962 3rd Officer Joseph Francis [Jose Francisco Jorge Santiago] Wheelock b. 20 Jul 1913, Managua, Nicaragua 18 May 1943 to 27 Nov 1944
Father: Thomas Wilfred Wheelock (b. 1874 in Lima, Peru); Mother: Maria Benita [Corazo], both of Managua, Nicaragua
Ed. Alabama University (BSA)
prev. exp. 34.5 hrs on single engine light planes
prev. a Coffee Planter
Address in 1943: 9 Taviton St, Euston London WC1
Rejected by RAF as medically unfit - "bilateral nerve deafness"
"Mr Wheelock is the owner of coffee lands here in Managua and has left behind him considerable wealth as much as a very comfortable life with a high social standing and a host of friends and relatives"
His flight test report says "Left S. America to help with the war. A keen and alert type who should be given a chance" and "Rather talkative but keen"
The ATA hurriedly checked, and "Confirmation that Nicaragua is actually at war with the Axis has been received from the Foreign Office"
Postings: 5TFPP, 2FPP, 7FPP, 3FPP
17 Aug 1943: he had a little 'misunderstanding' with the RAF Duty Officer at RAF Ternhill over how much fuel he needed; "although a flight of 35 to 40 miles could easily be accomplished within safety limits, it must be remembered that the pupil is a temperamental foreigner who has been instructed always to ensure that the tanks of the aircraft are full before a cross country flight."
On the 18 August, he was given permission to wear shoulder flashes bearing the word "Nicaragua"
By the 26 Sep 1943, he had reached a "lowly" Class I standard, but he "had to be taken off Hart training as he did not appear able to manage this type"
"His future flying will have to be carefully watched as, although he is keen and willing, his ability is limited."
He sustained a broken collarbone when hit by a taxi Anson in August 1944, and returned to the USA from 11 Sep to 15 Oct 1944.
d. 27 Nov 1944 in Mosquito VI NT147 piloted by First Officer Allen Pollock, which hit a flock of birds on a ferry flight from Hawarden to 44MU Lixell via Kirkbride. They arrived at Kirkbride with the port engine feathered, and crashed when attempting to go-round after the undercarriage indicator showed the wheels unlocked. F/O Pollock only suffered superficial cuts and bruises, but Joseph was fatally injured on the head.
Buried Carlisle Cemetery
His will left the benefits of his life insurance of 3,000 USD "in loving remembrance, divided thus:- Two thousand dollars to my mother and one thousand to Rosita Arguello Solorzano. I beg that my mother forgives me for all the trouble I have caused her". He left his house in the Avenida Hospital to his son, Armando Solis, when he should reach the age of 25.
And his estate amounted to 121,226 Nicaraguan Cordobas!
W.51 * First Officer Mrs Benedetta Willis b. 25 Jan 1914, Famagusta, Cyprus 1 Sep 1941 to Aug 1943
Father: George Albert 'Bert' Day, a civil engineer; mother Eva, of Bridge Cottage, Chertsey
She sailed to the UK with her parents, sister Pamela, brother Anthony and a servant in 1924, aged 10
She sailed alone to visit Malta from Jul to Sep 1932
She bought G-AAIU, a 1929 DH 60G Gipsy Moth which she called 'Vagabond'.
m. 1938 in Loleham-on-Thames, Middlesex Charles Henry Willis, who had been her instructor at the Insurance Flying Club. He had competed in the 1937 King's Cup, coming 11th out of 27.
She sold 'Vagabond' to the Cotswold Aircraft Co after her marriage, and it was scrapped in Feb 1939.
They then ordered G-AFRJ, a 1939 DH.94 Moth Minor, but did not register it and it was sold to the RAAF as A21-9 and crashed in Aug 1944.
They had two children before WWII.
Prev: Architect's Assistant
prev. exp. Civil Air Guard
Charles joined the RAF, was awarded the AFC in 1940, and became a Squadron Leader.
[Contract Terminated by ATA, because she was pregnant]
Daily Mirror - 7 Jun 1948
"They spent most of their anniversary in the air - Squadron Leader Willis giving flights to cadets and Benedetta doing forced landings in an exercise at Chobham, Surrey. The cadets soon found out about the anniversary, and they are seen above crowding around and cheering"
Awarded her RAF 'Wings' in August 1953, one of 5 women (all ex-ATA pilots) to do so when serving with the short-lived (1 Feb 1949 - 1954) Women's Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. The others were Jean Bird, Jackie Moggridge, Freydis Leaf and Joan Hughes
"Her husband is also a pilot. They have four children, two girls and two boys." "Her present relaxation is sailing"
d. Dec 2008 - Bembridge, IoW
interviewed here: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80008287
W.127 2nd Officer Mrs Irene Mary Ellis Wilson b. 22 May 1919, Madras India 1 Jun 1943 to 31 Oct 1945
Father: Lt. William Ellis Jones, RNVR, Mother: Nan, of 'Isfryn', Eddisbury Rd, W. Kirby, Wirral, Cheshire, and Bombay
Travelled to the UK in 1923
Ed. Howells School, Denbigh. N Wales
m. 14 Feb 1940 in Hoylake, Cheshire, 2nd-Lt Denis Vivian Ellis Wilson RHA (d. 26 Nov 1941 on war service)
prev. Bank Secretary; MT Driver with ATA from 16 Mar 1942
[ab initio pilot]
M.86 Flight Captain Alfred Harry Norman Woolcott b. 24 Mar 1912, Cork 1 Jul 1940 to 31 Jul 1943