Northern Irish Pilots
W.113 2nd Officer Irene Joy Ferguson b. 30 Oct 1915, Lurgan, Co. Armargh 1 May-43 to Oct-45
prev: Electrical Showroom Attendant, then a Technical Civil Servant in the Ministry of Aircraft Production (MAP)
Address in 1943: Langham House, 89 Hide Rd, Harrow
Postings include: 7FPP, 15FPP
2 accidents, neither her fault:
- 3 Nov 1943, forced landing after engine failure in Swordfish NE862,
- 12 Dec 1944, another forced landing, in Argus I LV804 after loss of elevator control
Mr Jonathan Ferguson from 1958
The Times, Saturday, Jan 11, 1958:
"FERGUSON - The register containing particulars of the birth of Irene Joy Ferguson, of Holden Rd, London, N.12, has been corrected to read 'male' instead of 'female' and 'Jonathan' instead of 'Irene Joy'. (Signed) Jonathan Ferguson."
and on Jan 13:
"Change of sex by woman pilot
Miss Irene Joy Ferguson, a wartime ferry pilot now employed by the Ministry of Supply, stated at the weekend that she had undergone a change of sex and would in future be known as Jonathan Ferguson. The register containing particulars of birth have been amended.
Mr. Ferguson, of Holden Rd, North Finchley, Middlesex, is aged 40. He joined the Ministry of Supply in 1941 and is a chief experimental officer employed on aircraft research and development. It is understood that the alteration to the birth certificate will not affect his employment in the Ministry.
From May 1943 to October 1945 he - as a woman - was a ferry pilot in the Air Transport Auxiliary and held a commission for five years after the war in the W.R.A.F.V.R. (flying list).
Mr Ferguson flew about 1,000 hours as a ferry pilot and after the war became - still as a woman - adviser to the air section of the Girl Guides Association."
d 31 May 1974 - Bracknell, Berks
W.9 First Officer Mabel Glass b. 1 Apr 1913, Whitehead, NI 8 Jul 1940 to 17 Apr 1944
Father Harry M. Glass, 9, Whitehall, London SW1.
A well-known pre-war racing aviator; prev. exp. 523 hrs on Avro Cadet, D.H. Moth, and B.A. Eagle, in "Egypt, Italy, France, Hungary, Germany, and the North African Coast."
Mabel, her sister Sheila and their pet tortoise, at the Tynwald Air Race in 1938 (they were disqualified for making a wrong turn at the start.)
And their pet tortoise's name was George.
Owned 1931 D.H. 60G Moth G-ABOE, then 1934 B.A. Eagle G-ACPU.
prev. a WAAF, A/C/W 2 from 22 Sep 1939
Address in 1940: 'Arnlui', Cranley Rd, Guildford
She answered the question on her ATA application form "Are you prepared to serve?" with "Very much so!"
Postings: 15FPP, 6FPP, 5FPP, 16FPP, 12FPP
"F/O Glass is a very good pilot and exceptionally keen. She has worked hard and conscientously but is inclined to lack imagination when flying. Her tendency to push through very bad weather has now been checked."
"A very keen strong pilot. No work is too much for her."
However, she was reprimanded twice for taxying without due care; once when her Anson hit a parked Spitfire after skidding on a wet runway, and then when her Hudson ground-looped and sustained damage to its port rudder, flap and aileron. On the second occasion she was docked 3 days pay.
Post-WWII, Mabel, Sheila and their mother settled in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa.
c.1953, holding the President's Cup of the Zululand Flying Club
National Library of Australia
Mabel continued to compete in aviation races until her death.
d. 4th Nov 1967 - Westville, Durban, South Africa.