Ceylon (Sri Lanka) Pilots

  • Bower, Aubrey Kingsley

     M.758 First Officer  Aubrey Kingsley Bower 
      + flag UK b. 4 Apr 1909, Colombo, Ceylon  10 Jun 1942 to  30 Nov 1945

     ata aubrey bower 1938 1938

     ata aubrey bower ATA    

     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


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

  • de Neve, Aimee (W.168)

      W.168 3rd Officer  Mrs Aimee (or Aime) de Neve 
      b. 19 Aug 1919 Gampola, Ceylon  8 May 1944 to 30 Sep 1945 

     aimee de neve 1945   RAeC 1945


    The Final 7 Women Pilots - Betty Keith-Jopp (W.167), Sue Alexander (W.163), Joan Arthur (W.166), Ruth Russell (W.165), Annette Mahon (W.164), Aimee de Neve (W.168), Katharine Stanley Smith (W.162)



    nee Aime Gholdstein Jonklaas

    Father: Ernest Gholdstein Jonklaas, a proctor of Gampola, Mother: Amelia Beatrice Cecile 'May' [Daniel], from Sutton, Surrey

    Two brothers, Ernest and Cecil; one sister, Evelyn Ninette

    [Ernest attended Brasenose College, Oxford, played tennis at Wimbledon and represented Oxford University in a tournament in Newport, USA in 1925. He m. Alice Cox, from Woodmere, Long Island, USA in 1926]

    Ed. convent in South India

    She and her mother visited the UK in 1925, and Aimee moved to the UK c.1935

    Address in 1939: Hendon, London NW, described as a 'Commercial and Secretarial Student'

    prev: WAAF

    m. Oct 1940 in Marylebone, Rev. Tom Ryder, from New Chapel, Horwich, Lancs

    m. 25 Sep 1943 in London, F/O Gilles Peter Cornelia de Neve  322 (Dutch) Sqn, RAFVR (d. 16 Jan 1944 in Spitfire Vb AD428 in a training accident nr Hawkinge, Kent)

    Ab initio pilot:

    In 'WAAF with Wings', by Yvonne Eveleigh, Aimee described moving on to the Harvard as "Very exciting! The Harvard felt so powerful after all the light aircraft and Marks (her instructor) liked to give me quite frightening shocks to make sure I was awake!"... "My first Spitfire flight was unbelievable! This beautiful aircraft was actually all mine for a brief time. I was rather worried when I had to do several circuits, as a RAF aircraft had done a belly landing, and I had all the red flares, etc. thrown at me".

    Postings: 15FPP, 6FPP


    Gained her Royal Aero Club Certificate No 20545 on 11 Sep 1945, as part of the 'ATA Wings' Scheme.

    Address in 1945: 56 S. Molton St, London W1

    m. Oct 1945 iin London, Jan Mowinckel Helen, a Norwegian naval officer from Bergen (three children, Teeny, Erik and Jan Ernest, b. 1946, 1949 and 1953)


    m. 1996 in London, Mark G  Williams, whom she met in Sri Lanka

    Lived in Brighton, Sussex


    d. Jul 2000 - Spain

    Her ashes were interred in 'an English village' on 20 Jul 2000

    "Man, woman or child, Aimee made time for them, and if she met a person for the first time her enthusiasm for life left a stranger breathless. Intelligence, bounding energy, beauty and charm were Aime."

    see http://www.sundaytimes.lk/000820/plus5.html

  • Farquharson, Roderick Ayscough Fraser

     M.--- First Officer  Roderick Ayscough Fraser Farquharson 

    flag UK

     b. 26 Aug 1908, Peradeniya, Ceylon  20 Sep 1939 to 4 May 1940 

      ata roderick farquharson 1929      


    A descendant of Henry VII

    prev. 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 Farquharson, married Joan Ursula Newnham 'Jill' Rees, who was later an MT Driver in the ATA, in 1940.



    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


  • Nicol, Earle Donovan


     First Officer  Earle Donovan Nicol
       + flag UK b. 13 Aug 1915, Mahama, Ceylon  12 Aug 1942 to  31 Dec 1945

     ata earle nicol 1937 1937


    Ed: St. Thomas' College, Ceylon

    Arrived 13 Nov 1936 in the UK from Australia

    ATA Earle Nicol RAeC Certificate 1937

    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

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

  • Perera, Clarence Sheldon

     W.--- Cadet  Clarence Sheldon Perera
       b. c.1919, Colombo, Ceylon  3 Apr 1943 to 13 Jun 1943 




    Arrived via the USA in September 1941 on the SS 'City of Exeter' with fellow Ceylon RAF cadet volunteers:

    - Ekanayake Edward Amerasekera, aged 25 b. Kegalla

    - Frederick H Brohier, age 21 b. Colombo

    - Ponniah Balachandran, age 27 b. Jaffna

    - Mervin Rex de Silva, age 22 b. Colombo (and Mrs F G de Silva, from Bambalapitiya)

    - Leonard Shelton Flamer-Caldera, age 26 b. Ramboda (and Dr. J B Flamer-Caldera, from Mt. Lavinia)

    - Kenneth Graydon Joachim, age 31 from Colombo (and Mrs C J Joachim, from Colombo and Havelock Town)

    - Emile D P M  Jayawardena, age 23 b. Moratuwa

    - St Elmo Masefield Muller, age 20 b. Colombo (and Dr. W M Muller, from Colombo))

    - Mohamado Maharoof Omerdeen, age 21 b. Matale (and Mr(s?) S Y Omerdeen, from Matale))

     - L Osborne

    - S A Noel Peiris,

    - J Justin A Perera

    - Patrick S A Periera

    - R O’Brien Van Cuylenburg

    - L D H Wanigasekera


    (and Mr K C Perera, from Rabama, Mrs E M Mendis, from Moratuwa)


    see also Ceylonese Middle Class Will to Fight for Britain in WW Two — in the RAF | Thuppahi's Blog (thuppahis.com)


     Ceylonese Enlisting in RAF during World War II: More Data | Thuppahi's Blog (thuppahis.com)


  ATA Organisation


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  • EFTS / IFTS - Elementary / Initial Flying Training School
  • AMF / Air Movements Flight (1942–45)
  • AFTS - Advanced Flying Training School (1942–45)


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