M --- Cadet John Tait Abernethy b. 30 Nov 1915, Glasgow 2 Aug 1942 to Nov-42
[Contract Terminated by ATA - held responsible for accident to Hind 25 Oct 1942: stalled whilst landing]
M.1123 * 2nd Officer Charles Robertson Beverley b. 5 Mar 1899, Keith, Bannfshire, Scotland 3 Jul 1944 to 31 Mar 1945
RAeC 1935 [photo missing]
prev. an Engineer
Address in 1935: 212 Wilmslow Rd, Cheadle, Cheshire
d. 17 Jan 1963 - Cheshire
M.205 First Officer Ian Campbell Chalmers b. 12 Jun 1914, Edinburgh 23 Dec 1940 to Sep-45
prev. P/O in RAF
m. K M Chalmers
Address in 1940: Ross on Wye, Herefordshire
"An officer who tries hard but has had some bad luck."
M.78 First Officer Leonard Massie Cheer b. 20 May 1914, Aberdeen 23 May 1940 to May-41
Address in 1940: Thirlmere, 12 Greenway, Anlaby Pk, Hull
Postings: 1FPP, Prestwick
Suspended from all duties for two days in early May 1941 for "continued unpunctuality".
[Contract Terminated 25 May 1941 by ATA - Disciplinary Reasons]
d. 25 Sep 1942 when a Sub-Lieut., RNVR, in Fairey Fulmar II DR636, 795A Squadron Tanga, which force-landed on hilltop in darkness 45 miles south of Tannarive, Madagascar.
M.293 First Officer Vernon Cheer b. 1 Mar 1913 or 1914, Aberdeen 4 Mar 1941 to Feb-44
brother of Leonard Massie Cheer (M.78)
m. Sep 1941
Address in 1941: 12 The Greenway, Anlaby Pk, Hull, Yorks, then
14 Fonthill Terrace, Aberdeen
prev. a motor engineer and garage proprietor;
Pilot Officer in the Air Defence Cadet Corps Apr-40 to Dec-40
Also worked for Blackburn Aircraft Co. in Hull, Yorks.
Postings: 2FPP, 4,FPP, 4aFPP
Accident in Walrus 9 Jul 1942: when landing, a/c dropped wing, hit violently and caught fire. Pilot is held responsible.
Jan-43: "A good officer whose flying is now quite satisfactory, but still receiving treatment after his recent accident."
d. Jun 1973 - Holderness, Yorks.
(Seconded from RAF)
Frederick William Christie b. 5 Dec 1917, Aberdeen 13 Jul 1944 to Oct-45
The ATA Benevolent Fund reported in 1958: "On 6 Sep 1944 while flying a Miles Magister he crashed at Toddington, Herts. He was based at Thame at that time, and had taken off on a test flight from Barton. He was admitted to Luton and Dunstable Hospital, suffering from concussion, fracture of the spine, fractures of both femurs, fracture of ankle, and shock. He has a complete loss of memory concerning the accident and has never recovered his memory about the events before or after the accident.
He was in L&D for about 6 months and the under treatment for several months as an out-patient at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. This was followed by a period in the RAF Hospital, Halton, and at Loughborough Rehabilitation Unit, finally returning to Halton. Altogether his treatment occupied nearly three years."
"Since his return to work his health has been poor - he suffers from stomach trouble, and also has nervous symptoms and sleeplessness. Also he told me he worries about trifles which a normal person would not consider.
He struck me as a very genuine person and not someone who was cadging."
The Fund agreed that a sum of between £50 and £60 should be awarded "towards the cost of a holiday for Mr and Mrs Christie and the two dependent children."
W.--- Cadet Helen Riddell Clark b. 6 Sep 1917, Selkirk 8 May 1944 to 10 Jun 1944
Father: W M Clark
Ed. Dame Alice Owen's School (then in Islington, London - now Potter's Bar, coincidentally)
prev: Insurance Typist, Meteorologist
Address in 1944: 428 Mutton Lane, Potters Bar, Middlesex
[Contract Terminated by ATA]
m. 1949 Philip (Greberg) Clark
d. 1963 - Brechin
M.468 First Officer John Close b. 27 May 1902, Kelvin Side, Glasgow 16 May 1941 to Oct-43
m. Amy Clifford Florence
prev. a bus driver for London Transport;
Staff Sgt, Royal Artillery Sep-36 to Sep-38;
RAF Link Trainer Instructor Feb-40 to May-40
Address in 1941: 5 Fairway Terrrace, Muswell Hill, London N.10
Postings: 1FPP, 5FPP
"A difficult man to assess - proved himself equal to one emergency and yet has made silly mistakes when everything was going right."
"A careful pilot of average ability. His progress has been marred by a long period of sickness."
"Slow generally and judgement rather poor, but improved later and by working hard showed great progress... somewhat underconfident."
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
[Seconded from RAF]
Archibald Campbell Couser b. 5 Jan 1920, Falkirk 7 Sep 1943 to 17 Aug 1944
Father: Archibald Couser
prev. Post Office Telephone Engineer; RAF (LAC)
Address in 1944: 75 High Pleasance, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
One accident, not his fault
- 9 Feb 1944, his Magister was in a "slight collision in mid-air" with another Magister, denting the ends of his propeller.
"A very keen and alert type who has, on the whole, shown average progress and ability although he is a little inclined to rush himself at times in his enthusiasm."
d. 17 Aug 1944 (age 24) as a passenger in Oxford PH235, piloted by First Officer Thomas Frank Thompson (M.841).
Ferrying from Airspeed's factory in Portsmouth to 44 MU Edzell, Angus, Scotland; for an unknown reason (possibly hitting HT cables), the aircraft dived into the ground at about 17:30 near Holmes Chapel, Cheshire.
The other passenger, Third Officer John Douglas Dale (M.968) was also killed.
Buried 22 Aug 1944 in Camelon Cemetery, Falkirk: Sec 12 Grave 662.
"Killed on Active Service in Cheshire, Eng."
Dearly Beloved Son of
ARCHIBALD & LILY COUSER
Died 28th Oct. 1947,
Aged 58 Years.
Also the above
Died 5th Jan. 1980
Aged 85 Years
"Mr and Mrs Archibald Couser, 75 High Pleasance, Falkirk, received official intimation last week that their only son, Third Officer Archibald Campbell Couser, Air Transport Auxiliary, had been killed on active service.
Third Officer Couser, who was 24 years of age, a native of Falkirk and a former pupil of Falkirk High School. On leaving school, he obtained employment in the telephone engineering department of Falkirk Post Office, and continued in that until he proceeded to service with the Royal Air Force in May of last year. In September last he was transferred to the Air Transport Auxiliary. Since his lamented death, his parents have received many letters offering condolences in their bereavement, including one from Sir Stafford Cripps, Minister of Aircraft Production, who wrote: “His work for the Air Transport Auxiliary was, as you know, extremely important to our war effort, and we can ill afford to lose such a valuable pilot and officer as your son had proved himself to be. His loss will be greatly felt by all his colleagues."
Mr A. H. Brown, telephone manager of the South- West Telephone Area, also wrote expressing regret, adding that Third Officer Couser had held the respect and esteem ‘of all his colleagues in the department and that he was of an extremely zealous and industrious nature, and would undoubtedly have had a successful career in the Post Office. Sympathy from the High School was expressed in a letter from the rector, Mr A. C. Mackenzie. In civil life, Third Officer Couser’s chief interest outside of his work was music. He was an accomplished pianist, and was associated as such for some time with the Imperial Dance Band. He was also fond of swimming and skating." - Falkirk Herald - Saturday 26 August 1944
M.--- 2nd Officer Francis Cyril Delacour De Labilliere b. 8 Mar 1900, Perth, Scotland 15 May to 7 Nov 1940
Father: Rev. Charles Edgar Delacour de Labilliere, Mother: Evelyn Georgina [Harington] of Langatoch Vicarage, Monmouth (later moved to Heatherlands, Bingham Ave, Lilliput, Dorset)
RAeC Certicate 16356, 20 Sep 1938 at Portsmouth Aero Club
prev. a book-keeper; Assistant Flying Instructor to the Barnstaple and N Devon Flying Club; RAF Link Trainer Instructor
prev. exp. 363 hrs
2 accidents, both his fault:
- 29 Jun 1940, he persisted too far in bad weather and got lost in a Tiger Moth
- 3 Nov 1940, damaged his Puss Moth after landing in a field
Contract Terminated - "Disciplinary reasons, in respect of both his flying competence and also his conduct both on and off duty"
"We cannot possibly recommend you to consider his application [to BOAC]"
Temporary Sub-Lieut then Lieut, RNVR from 28 Feb 1941 - 1945
Address in 1947: The Mount, Studland, Dorset
Royal Aero Club Certificate 22595, 14 Apr 1947
d. 29 Aug 1952 - Southern Rhodesia
M.124 Flight Captain The Hon. George Edward Dutton b. 23 Sep 1912, Beauly 2 Jul 1940 to Dec-45
A student in 1929
* King's Commendation for valuable service in the air
Charles' brother (see below)
Next of kin: Father, Lt-Col James Huntly Sherborne, 6th Baron Sherborne, Sherborne Park, Cheltenham, Glos.
Ed. at Stowe
prev. Foreign Office (Communications) Aug-39 to Jul-40
prev. exp. 250 hrs
Postings: 1FPP, 2FPP, 15FPP
"A pilot of exceptional ability, and a successful Flight Captain, inasmuch as his high qualities as a pilot set a good example to others. His quiet disposition and lack of natural aptitude for leadership prevent him from being an outstanding Flight Captain as well as an outstanding pilot."
m. Joan Doreen East 1945; Pauline Stewart Robinson 1959
d. 21 July 1981, Hereford
M.520 First Officer Norman Brock Ewing b. 13 Apr 1904, Glasgow 4 Jun 1941 to 31 Oct 1945
Father: John Mitchell Ewing
Ed. Hutcheson Boys School
Next of kin: (Sister) Miss Nora Ewing
prev. a Garage Proprietor (Torrance Garage, East Kilbride, Glasgow)
prev. exp. 142 hrs on DH Moth Minor, Gipsy III, Tiger Moth, Hornet Moth, Leopard Moth, Moth Major
Home Address in 1941: St. Helier, Norwood Drive, Whitecraigs, Giffnock, Renfreshire
Postings: 4FPP, 4aFPP, 4bFPP, 10FPP, 3FPP
"A dependable pilot of average ability and a willing worker."
King's Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air
d. 1973, Suva, Fiji
M.104 Flight Captain Douglas Keith Fairweather b. 25 Oct 1890, Glasgow 11 Sep 1939 [* 11 Jun 1940 as pilot] to Apr-44
(Mother Margaret, née Eureka)
Educated in Glasgow and Berlin; FCIPA, MIESS.
Chief Petty Officer in the RNVR, 1915-19
prev. Assistant Air Attache in the Hague
A Chartered Patent Agent - Cruikshank and Fairweather, 86, St Vincent St, Glasgow, with offices in London and Manchester.
prev exp. 1456 hrs. Owned Leopard Moth G-ACXH
* When Douglas took his test at CFS Upavon on 25 September 1939, he was graded 'D' [Douglas was rather overweight...] and therefore 'unsuitable for ferry work'. His contract with ATA was therefore cancelled on the 1st November, and it took them until the following June to set up their Air Movements Flight and re-start his ATA career as its first C.O..
Douglas wrote to the ATA on 3 Jun 1940: "I think I am due you a line to thank you for keeping the Chester job open until Thursday on my account. The job which you offered is not only tempting but would prove to be more pleasurable than any other now in sight, particularly in view of the possibility that I might not be grounded completely.
If the worst happens, I propose to train down to about 15 stone, so as to fit the RAF harness and go back to try my luck with Squadron Ldr. Cox at Upavaon. I have only to drop a pound a day to be ready for Cox in August, or for the Derby in 1945."
Early days at White Waltham, Anson taxi pilots - Ronny Malcolm (M140), Douglas Fairweather (M104), Jim Kempster and Harry Ellis (M139) (Brief Glory)
He was off sick for 4 months in 1941 and had to have an orchidectomy; when he was recovering, Gerard d'Erlanger (Head of ATA) wrote to him: "It was nice to hear from you and I am glad that the surgeon is satisfied with your progress. Perhaps he has made a new man of you which will be cause for rejoicing all round".
Took command of 4b Ferry Pool, Prestwick, from November 1941 to August 1942.
"An excellent pilot and a most hard working officer who has never spared himself in the slightest. He has served me with absolute loyalty. He has a strong, somewhat excitable, character and a good heart. He has great influence, particularly with the American pilots whom he handles well. He is quite unorthodox and generally seems to get his results in a somewhat disorderly manner."
Not everyone appreciated Douglas' sense of humour; his C.O. MWS Boucher reported on 19 May 1942: "I have today reprimanded Capt Fairweather for 'conduct prejudicial to the interests of the ATA' despite his good qualities... I have been influenced by numerous instances of petty indiscipline which although small in themselves cannot be permitted to accumulate unchecked by official censure. I have handed to Capt Fairweather a list of his typical shortcomings and discussed the matter with him in detail."
d. 3 Apr 1944 (Died in ATA Service) - Anson N4895 lost in Irish Sea on ambulance flight White Waltham to Prestwick to pick up patient (with Nurse Kershaw). His body was washed up on the west coast of Scotland on the 22nd April.
"I was most distressed to learn that Douglas Fairweather was missing... He was such a great personality that his loss will seem a personal tragedy to many - as it does to me. I will of course write to his wife [Margie Fairweather q.v., who herself died a few weeks later]. How sad that he never saw the long awaited baby. My sincerest sympathy in the loss of such an old associate, such a fine pilot, and such a lovable character." Jack Keeling.
M.455 First Officer Alexander Dickie Ferguson b.3 Nov 1912, Glasgow 1 May 1941 to 30 Nov 1945
Educated at Fettes College, Cranwell College
RAF Pilot Officer Sep-31 to Apr-34, 111(F) Sqn RAF Hornchurch flying Siskins and Bulldogs
m. 1943 Denise Germaine [Dartnall] in Maidenhead
an Instructor in Air Navigation, for Air Schools Ltd.
Address in 1941: 26 Weymouth Mews, Weymouth St., London N1
Postings: 6FPP, 3FPP, 4aFPP, 4FPP 5FPP, and AFTS as instructor
"An excellent officer and reliable pilot", but developed "a rather worrying disposition and would probably overcome this if he mixed more with his collleagues."
d. 3 Apr 1986 - Bournemouth, Hants
"Elder son of the late Professor and Mrs A R Ferguson of Cairo and Edinburgh and father of Christopher." The Times [actually Christian A J Ferguson, b. 1947]
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
W.--- Cadet Dorothy Joyce Forbes b. 15 Nov 1915, Dundee 1 May to 29 Jul 1943
Father: Henry Nelmes Forbes, mother: Elsie Kathleen [Smith]
prev: Welfare Supervisor for British Industrial Plastics
prev exp: 3hrs
Address in 1939: 369 Hagley Rd, Edgebaston, Birmingham
- 29 Jun 1943, a forced landing after engine failure in a Magister
[Contract Terminated by ATA]
d. 22 Mar 1967 - Edinburgh
M.413 First Officer John Wright Gibbs b. 28 Mar 1915, Queensferry, W. Lothian, Scotland 4 May 1941 to 21 Apr 1944 (as pilot)
prev. a salesman (Gents Tailors), and a Ground Instructor for Marshall's Flying School, Cambridge
m. , one child before 1941
RAFVR Sgt in General Duties Branch, Apr-39 to Aug-40, exp. 70 hrs solo
Address in 1941: 34 Elfloda Rd, Cambridge
Postings: 4FPP, 4aFPP, 1FPP, 10FPP
He had 4 'at fault' accidents:
- 30 Jun 1941: overshot on landing in Fairey Battle P6668;
- 24 Oct 1941: his Hurricane BE341 collided with a Blenheim in bad visibility [suspended for 3 days without pay for landing late and in bad weather];
- 22 Mar 1942: failed to control landing swing in Spitfire Vb BL775, swung off runway and nosed over, and
- 11 Jun 1942: failed to control swing (again), but at least there were extenuating circumstances in that he was making a single-engine forced landing in Beaufort W6498 at the time.
He was then injured as a passenger in yet another 'landing swing' accident on 22 Apr 1943; "Consolidated Catalina FP321 swung on landing after a training flight and sank. The accident on Cumbrae involved Captain Ernest Cook, Flight Captain Jose Carreras from Spain, and Flying Officer Gibbs, who all survived the accident, but sadly, the body of Flight Engineer Harold Frank Peter Waldron was never found. Flight Captain Jose Maria Carreras, who was a former Spanish Civil War pilot, was instructing on the seaplane when through no fault of his own, the aircraft crashed."
"Mr J.W Gibbs, for many years afterwards Air Safety Officer for BEA, was a co-pilot when the plane crashed.
“Gibbie, as he was known by everyone, found himself swimming in the water with the wing floating close by with one of the crew sitting on it. When he put up his arms to grab the wing he found, for the first time that his right arm had been taken off at the shoulder as he was flung from the plane.”
"A good officer whose flying was entirely satisfactory."
Transferred to Admin (Air Accidents Investigation Officer) Apr-44 [at a salary of £525 a year.]
Off sick from 29 Nov 1944 to 13 Apr 1945 - "Reporting to Canadian Hospital"
When he returned to flying, "This pilot flew the Moth and Argus well and is perfectly safe on those types. These two aircraft are at the moment the limit of his ability due to his physical handicap."
"Occupational Ability: Average. Very good but inclined to be erratic."
"General Remarks: With growing experience his judgement is improving. At first he was inclined to be a little emotional and prejudiced in his judgement, and to be argumentative, but he is settling down."
ATA contract terminated Jan-46.
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
M.251 Flight Captain James Smith Halliday MBE b. 22 Jun 1908, Rothesay, Bute, Scotland
15 Feb 1941 to 12 Jan 1945
Ed. Morrison's Academy, Crieff
m. 1937 Dorothy Henderson [Shaw], 1 daughter
prev. exp. 102 hrs
prev. a Garage Proprietor; Observer Corps Sep-39 to Jan-41
Address in 1941: Firwood, Newton Mearns, Scotland
Postings: 4FPP, 6FPP, 4a FPP, AFTS (as instructor), 16FPP
"A very capable officer and reliable pilot who shows great keenness at all times."
d. 13 Apr 1974 - Glasgow
M.24 Flight Captain Donald Ian Menzies Kennard b. 3 Apr 1895, Prestwick 11 Sep 1939 to Sep-42
prev. Scots Greys, Highland Light Infantry;
RFC then RAF 1914-1919, 1921-22 (retired due to ill health)
pre-WWII racing and professional pilot - about 7,000 hrs exp on light types
d. 15 Sep 1942 (Died in ATA Service) - Liberator III FK217 swung on take off at Boscombe Down, hit a hangar and caught fire. Flt-Eng FH Moseley also killed; 2 other aircraft damaged.
Tony Phelps (q.v.), who was due to fly in the Liberator, wrote about it later: "Not Ken. It just couldn't be Ken. One of the Grand Old Men of flying. A founder member of the ATA and one of the best pilots who ever lived."
His ashes were scattered off the coast of Scotland on 22 Sep 1942.
Thelma Olga Leith
b. 14 Mar 1916, Toronto 18 May-43 to 17 Aug-43
This may well be her, at the Inverness Games in 1934 (The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News)
Father: Thomas Geoffrey Leith (Canadian); Mother: Olga Renfrew Schwartz
Next of kin: (Aunt) Mrs Robertson-Eustace
Ed. Luckley College, Wokingham
prev: ATS Subaltern from 1938 (MT Driver)
prev exp: 28hrs
Address in 1942: Merethold, Wrecclesham, Farnham, Surrey
One accident, her fault:
- 6 Aug 1943, she made a rough landing in a Hart, the port wing touched down and the a/c ground-looped.
Contract Terminated by ATA
m. 1946 Capt. Jack Murray Wall, in Hampshire
d. 25 Nov 1989 in South Africa
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
M.27 First Officer John Stewart Leslie b. 8 Oct 1913, Edenside, Fifeshire 22 Jan 1940 to Feb-43
Ed. St Andrews College, then Madras College
prev. Flt-Lieut in RAF 1932-38, then Lieut in RN 1938-39
Postings: 4FPP, 4aFPP, 8FPP, 14FPP
Suspended for 2 days without pay in May-41 for 'continued unpunctuality'
"Very good pilot, inclined to be careless with money... he reported to No 8 F.P. with his uniform in a disgraceful condition."
M.133 First Officer Stirrat 'Mac' Love MBE b. 18 Mar 1913, Glasgow 22 Jul 1940 to 7 Oct 1941
Ed. Glasgow High School
prev. a flying instructor and Assistant Aerodrome Manager:
"MIDLAND AIRCRAFT CO. (REARSBY), LTD.—Private Company, registered April 29. Capital, £1,000 in 1,000 shares of £1 each. Objects: To carry on the business of manufacturers and repairers of aeroplanes, balloons, airships and flying machines of all kinds, etc. The permanent directors are : Stirrat Love, Assistant Aerodrome Manager; Frank B. Gardner, tobacconist; Henry M. Scottoni garage proprietor." Flight, May 1939
"Mr. Love has been associated with the County Flying Club almost since the outset. Before he became one of the keenest of flying men, Mr. Love had some interesting adventures afloat - an ordinary seaman, he sailed to Durban, South Africa, to Hongkong, and Dairen. He also made trips to Canada and India, and then joined a whaling vessel for a journey to the Antarctic. He is a native of Glasgow." Leicester Daily Mercury, 1939
In 1939, he injured his right hand when it was struck by a propeller: "he was swinging the propeller before taking off again when the engine suddenly fired and a blade of the propeller struck the back of his hand. The force of the blow lifted him from the ground. He was taken to the Leicester Royal Infirmary with a badly lacerated hand."
Address in 1940: 99 Millbrae Rd, Langside, Glasgow
Postings: 1FPP, 4FPP
5 other accidents, 2 of them judged to be his fault.
"Fair pilot" but "After considerable experience this pilot shows no ability to concentrate on fast aircraft"
MBE in 1971; "recently retired trom his post as operations control superindendent for B.E.A. in Germany"
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
M.978 * 3rd Officer David Douglas Mackenzie b. 28 Dec 1921, Crieff 20 Sep 1943 to 31 Jul 1945
David attended Morrison's Academy, Crieff and Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh where latterly his sporting talents were first noticed. The second World War interrupted any athletic plans and after several refusals due to stomach ulcers David was commissioned into the RAF in 1941. A pilot of both fighters and bombers in the European theatre, his interest in flying continued for the rest of his long life.
d. 4 Aug 2005.
W.21 * First Officer Audrey Evelyn Macmillan b. 11 May 1915, Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire 26 Jun 1940 to 31 Aug 1945
Father: Hugh Miller Macmillan, a shipbuilder
Address in 1934: Ferniegar, Helensburgh
Postings: 15FPP, 5FPP, 1FPP
One of the ATA's 'two Audreys' [along with Audrey Sale-Barker]
Veronica Innes says that "Audrey had an adorable white pekinese puppy, named Wun Wing Lo, which she used to carry around in a parachute pack. He must have been the most air-minded dog of his generation."
Mary du Bunsen says "The two Audreys, who were very good pilots, had a special line of feminine vapours. "My dear," one or the other would exclaim in the mess, "I've got my first Hudson (or Mitchell, or whatever it might be) and I know I shall crash and I've got a pain (cold, temperature, etc)". And they would totter out, leaving a trail of handkerchiefs, lipsticks, handbags, etc., which would be picked up by willing (male) hands. They would then fly whatever it was superbly to its destination, where they would be assisted out of the aeroplane and the same pantomime would take place. "
At least 5 accidents, 1 her fault:
- 28-Nov-42, she collided with a petrol drum while taxying in Fairchild EV809
- 15-Jan-43, a forced landing in Mosquito IV DZ427 after a hydraulic failure meant the undercarriage would not retract
- 5-Aug-43, the tail wheel of her Argus HM182 collapsed whilst taxying
- 11-Nov-43, she bent the undercarriage of Mosquito VI LR291 during a crosswind landing
- 24-Dec-43, another Mosquito, another undercarriage problem: Mosquito XVI MM277's undercarriage collapsed on landing. The previous pilot (who happened to be Senior Commander Philip Wills, the Head of the Accidents Section of ATA), had made a heavy landing earlier but not reported it - he was blamed.
m. 1944 in Glasgow, Neil Campbell Mackenzie (divorced, 1 daughter b. 1946)
In October 1947, she was an early recruit for the newly-formed WAAFVR:
m. 1952 in Dunbartonshire, Sir Philip Lee Brocklehurst[b. 1887; he had been a member of the Nimrod Expedition in Antarctica of 1907–1909, led by Ernest Shackleton] and became Lady Brocklehurst
They lived at 15 Belgrave Mews South, London SW1, and Swythamley Park, Macclesfield, Cheshire.
"By all accounts, she never really settled in Swythamley. At one point she tried in vain to rescue her father's ship-building business and finally ended up living in London." - Swythamley Historical Society, via Alan Weeks
c. 1963, at the Women of the Year Luncheon (The Times)
Sir Philip d. 28 Jan 1975
d. 13 Aug 1975 - St Marylebone, London, leaving £350,323
M.91 * Commander James McGuinness OBE b. 4 Nov 1896, Motherwell 16 Sep 1940 to 30 Nov 1945
RFC from 4 Feb 1916, RAF from 1 Apr 1918 to 1926
prev. a fabric worker
"MAN IN CHARGE
Commander James McGuinness, a Motherwell man, showed me to-day round the station he commanded here at Prestwick. Commander McGuinness has, since he arrived early in the war, put several hundred pilots through his hands, averaging 50 at a time - the normal station strength." Daily Record, November 1945
d. 1 Jul 1974 - Blantyre
M.75 Flight Captain John Michie b. 21 Oct 1914, Renfrew 13 May 1940 to 10 Aug 1943
Father: Maj. David Kinloch Michie DSO, OBE, DL, JP, Provost of Renfrew [d. 1949], Mother Jane Lumsden [Walker]
[His ancestor, also Donald Kinloch Michie, was indicted in 1845 for 'wickedly and feloniously, and willfully, maliciously, and unlawfully" shooting at 4 people, "whereby they were wounded severely in the face, side, arms, and various parts of their bodies." He ran away, was caught, convicted and sent to be 'transported beyond seas for seven years." Not strictly relevant, I know...]
Ed. High School, Glasgow and then M.A. Course, majoring in geography and meteorology (see later)
prev. A Civil and Mechanical Engineer
Lieutenant, Highland Light Infantry from May 1935 to Aug 1939
Address in 1940: Deanside House, Renfrew
Postings: 4FPP, 14FPP, 16FPP, 4aFPP
He was demoted from First Officer to Second Officer for 4 months from 20 May 1941, "to be re-instated subject to a favourable report from his C.O."
I'm not sure entirely what happened; the record says "Allegations concerning weather met. reports not proved by Court of Enquiry." It sounds like he made some critical comments, (based on his prior knowledge, presumably), which were not found to be correct.
In any case, his C.O. at 4 FPP (Frank Ashton White) reported in October 1941 that "After demotion to 2nd Officer, he has shown the right spirit and is an excellent pilot. Reinstated to 1st Officer after 4 months."
Off sick from 14 Sep to 29 Oct 1942 with bronchial pneumonia, but 'made a good recovery'
Class V ( Halifax, Liberator, Stirling and Fortress) pilot.
Contract Terminated 11 Aug 1943
Post-WWII, Projects Manager for British Eagle International Airways until its demise in 1968.
d. 14 Apr 1988 - Windsor and Maidenhead, Berkshire
"Captain John Michie had a long and distinguished career in civil aviation during which his skill, knowledge and unfailing courtesy and humour have enriched the lives and experience of all he came in contact with. His many friends in aviation will long remember him." Flight
M.231 Flight Captain James Allan 'Jim' Mollison MBE b. 19 Apr 1905, Glasgow 1 Oct 1940 to May-45
Educated at Glasgow and Edinburgh Academies.
RAF commission in 1923, transferred to reserve 1928, then a lifeguard and air-mail pilot in Australia.
Made many record flights:
- Australia to England. July/Aug 1931. 8 days 19hrs 28min
- England-Cape (first flight by West coast Route) Mar 1932 - 4 days 17hrs 5min
- First solo Westward North Atlantic flight. August 1932
- First solo westward south Atlantic flight, and first flight England-South America, February 1933
- First flight England to USA (with Amy Johnson) July 1933
- England to India (with Amy Johnson) October 1934. 22 hours
- New York-Newfoundland-London (North Atlantic record crossing coast-to-coast 9 hours 20min) October 1936
- England-Cape by eastern route, November 1936. 3 days 6hrs.
m. Amy Johnson, 1932 (divorced 1936)
with second wife Phylis Hussey, 12 Nov 1938
One of the greatest solo pilots of the 1930s, but well past his glory days by the time he joined the ATA; through his constant drinking over the years, he had developed a very florid complexion, and in order to disguise it he had taken to powdering his face. When teased about this he said, "One must think of one's public, you know"
Hugh Bergel thought that he was "an infinitely nicer man than seemed possible after all the things that I had heard and read about him."
Despite his drinking, Jim completed over 1,000 delivery flights on 62 different aircraft types; he reckoned that, on a conservative estimate, he delivered not less than £15 million pounds worth of aircraft.
"...One cannot be young for long, and it has always been my practice to live for the moment."
d 30 October 1959 - Roehampton, from alcoholic epilepsy.
[Seconded from RAF]
Ian Macdonald Munro [Scottish, but] b. 3 Nov 1902, Birmingham 25 Jul 1944 to 15 Apr 1945
W.125 3rd Officer Lesley Cairns Murray b. 22 Jan 1917, Edinburgh 1 May-43 to Apr-45
Prev. Exp: 6 hrs solo
Having learnt to fly under the Civil Air Guard scheme in 1939, Lesley first applied for the ATA in March 1941:
Mrs Clayton suggested that I should write to you for information with regard to the possibility of joining the ATA.
I am enclosing my pilot’s log book from which you will see that I have not had very much experience [she had 6 hours solo]. This is due to the fact that I started flying under the CAG Scheme, and had to have my lessons at the weekends whenever possible, or on occasional evenings after work. Civilian flying was stopped very shortly after I got my A Licence. My log book seems to be complete with the exception of one trip, dual, to Le Bourget, France, and an hour’s landing practice, solo, on about the last flying day before the war.
I know that it is impossible to judge future possibilities on such limited experience, but my instructor at Horton Kirby Flying Club seemed quite confident that I would make a good pilot, and suggested that I should take an instructor’s Licence with a view to teaching there.
I would be most obliged if you would keep my log book and licence until such time as you think it possible for me to have a test or an interview.”
It proved to be a long wait. Meanwhile, she joined the Volunteer Ambulance Corps, continued to send letters asking to join the ATA, and continued to get rejection letters back.
Finally, two years later in March 1943, she got an interview with Pauline Gower, and went for her flying test. It’s a wonder she could remember anything at all about flying an aeroplane, but she scraped through somehow:
“A highly educated girl but appeared nervous during the examination [blimey, there's a surprise]. Somewhat under confident but careful.”
On the 22nd May 1943, she finally got her long-awaited call-up to the ATA, and grabbed the chance with both hands. Her final training report in July 1944 says this:
“This pilot promises to become a ferry pilot of high order. She tackles all her work with quiet confidence and it is difficult to believe that she had so little experience prior to joining ATA. Her discipline and appearance are both excellent and she will be an asset to any Pool she joins.”
Sadly, she died within a year; on the 20 April 1945, her Hudson V AM854 got out of control and spun into the ground near Popes Field, Taplow, Berks.
buried in Chislehurst cemetery, Kent
Cadet Geoffrey Bernard Regan also died with her.
M.--- * First Officer Iain Ramsay b. 2 Sep 1906, Isle of Islay, Argyll and Bute, Scotland 3 Dec 1940 to 18 Feb 1941
Father: Capt. Iain Ramsay, Mother: Gwladys Marie de Grasse [Evans], of Kildalton, Isle of Islay
RAeC Certificate 11409 dated 3 Sep 1933, taken at Hanworth Club (NFS)
Address in 1933: Carse-by-Tarbert, Argyll
prev. Imperial Airways pilot
m. 1936 in Chelsea, London, Freda [Landen]
Pilot Officer, RAF from 17 May 1941
d. 30 Apr 1942 in the crash of D.H. 95 (Flamingo) R.2764, nr Great Ouseburn Village, Yorks
"When approximately 3 ½ miles north of Great Ouseburn, Yorks and flying at a height of about 2,000ft. a defect developed in the starboard engine which caused No.7 cylinder to become detached from the crankcase. A fire broke out almost immediately in the neighbourhood of the starboard engine nacelle and was of sufficient intensity to cause the starboard wing to break off at a point just outboard of the engine bearers and also to cause the starboard engine to break away. The fuselage, port wing, port engine and port undercarriage unit fell to the ground and burst into flames."
Buried Kilnaughton Old Churchyard, Isle of Islay, Argyll and Bute, Scotland
Memorial Plaque in Great Ouseburn
* ATA file not seen
W.--- Cadet Hilda Edmiston Scarth b. 19 Apr 1921, Dunoon 29 Jan to 6 Apr 1944
Father: Ninian H Scarth, Mother: Janie Finlay [Hutcheson], of 6 Lockend Rd, Bearsden, Dunbartonshire
Ed. Laurel Bank School for Girls, Glasgow; University of Glasgow
Address in 1934: 121 Southbrae Drive, Jordan Hill, Glasgow
Sailed from Buenos Aires to the USA in Feb 1934 with her mother
Address in 1939: 28 Falkland St, Glasgow W2
prev: Technical Assistant, Ministry of Supply from 28 Aug 1942
Visited Canada (and the Niagara Falls) in Jul - Aug 1939, on what appears to have been a 'school trip'
Ab initio pilot
m. Basil Brockett Parrish CBE, Director of the Aberdeen Marine Laboratory, and they lived with Hilda's mother Janie at 82 Queen's Rd, Aberdeen until her death in 1970.
Hilda was a committee member of the 'Tenovus' medical research charity in 1980.
They moved to Denmark in 1982, and Basil became General Secretary of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, in Copenhagen.
Son Philip (d. 1998, age 35) , daughter Janet emigrated to Australia/NZ
Basil d. 1993
Hilda d. 20 Dec 2001 - Christchurch, NZ
M.346 * First Officer John McBride Victor Sillars b. 7 Nov 1897, Brodick, Bute, Scotland 18 Feb 1941 to 30 Nov 1945
Father: John Sillars (a farmer, d. 1932), mother: Ellen Elizabeth [Denny], of West Mayish, Brodick, Arran, Scotland
prev. RFC from 23 Jul 1917; RAF Lieut. 1 Apr 1918 - 16 Sep 1919 (107 Sqn, 18 Sqn, RAF Army of the Rhine); machinist
"He flew to France on 13th June, and shot down his first two enemy machines on 7th July after an exciting encounter at an altitude of 15,000 ft."
prev. exp. on DH6, BE2c, RE8
Address in 1939: 4 Iona Crescent, Slough
m. 1939 in Uxbridge, [Jones]
One accident, not his fault:
- 29 Jul 1943, a forced landing in Defiant I T3957 at Speke, after a blocked filter caused a rise in oil temperature and a drop in pressure
Address in 1975: 1 Western Ave, Ensbury Park, Bournemouth
d. 12 Jan 1975 - Bournemouth
* File not seen
M.---- * First Officer Adam Taylor Smith b. 12 Feb 1910, Darvel, Ayrshire 25 Jan to 21 Feb 1941
Father: Tom Smith
RAeC Certificate 11319 dated 13 Aug 1933, taken at Scottish Flying Club in DH Moth
Address in 1936: 22 Campbell St, Darvel, Ayrshire
prev. a Picture House Manager; Air Traffic Control Officer at Liverpool Airport
m. 31 Dec 1939 in Oxton, Audrey Margaret [Green]
Pilot Officer, RAFVR from 21 Feb 1941
Post-WWII, he became Director of Operations in the Civil Aviation Department in Pakistan. However, in 1950 he was convicted of fraud, and jailed:
"ADAM TAYLOR SMITH SENTENCED
Former Civil Aviation Official Gets 2½ Years for Cheating and Forgery
KARACHI, Sept. 13 (APP).—Mr. Adam Taylor Smith, former Director of Operations, Civil Aviation Department, Government of Pakistan was today found guilty of committing fraud against the Government of Pakistan, of abetment of forgery, and of breach of the Indian Aircraft Rules and sentenced to a total of two and a half year's simple imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 4,600.
Delivering a 49-page judgment to-clay, Syed Mohammed Baqar, Special Judge, found Mr. Adam Smith guilty under Section 420 and 465 of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced him respectively to two years' simple imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 4,000, in default of which further simple imprisonment with a fine of Rs. 500, two months. Both sentences will run concurrently.
Also found guilty of breach of Rules 5 and 7 (2) of the Indian Aircraft Rules, 1937, as adapted by Pakistan, Mr. Adam Smith was further sentenced to a penalty of Rs. 100, in default of which to undergo simple imprisonment for 15 days. After the sentence had been passed, Mr. Adam Smith told the Special Judge that he would appeal against his conviction, adding "I will fight it myself."
He requested two days' parole in order to file his appeal as he "had no legal adviser" and "was not versed with legal details." The Judge, however, said he could not grant him the parole and gave him time till the rising of the court to file his appeal with the High Court.
The Special Judge also complemented the Inspector, Mr. Abdul Qadir, and the Sub-Inspector, Mr. Abdul Karim, of the C.I.D. for their vigilance in detecting and proving the crime.
CRIME OF NECESSITY
Before passing the sentence, the Special Judge said "I cannot close the judgment without expressing my regret that the accused, who occupied a high post and a position of trust in the Pakistan Government, should have committed such degrading crimes, as the offences of cheating and forgery are considered to be, and should have tried to deprive the Pakistan Government of a valuable Dakota.
"He tried to impress upon me that he was, and still is, a great well wisher of Pakistan. But it seems that his interests in the welfare of Pakistan cease when his own personal interest is involved.
"It was, no doubt, a crime of necessity which made him desperate. He was confident that on account of his influence, which he seemed to possess over Mr. Ispahani, Chairman of the Orients, he would be able to purchase one or two Dakotas from the Orients In spite of the opposition of Capt. Stack [*] and Miller. He did succeed in getting one Dakota, but at the same time Capt. Stack and Mr. Miller also succeeded in getting a condition imposed in the sale agreement that they will have the first option to purchase the Dakota in case the accused wanted to sell it.
"Before this condition was imposed the accused had already entered into an agreement of sale with Messers. Board and Daver and Israni and had accepted, if not the full price, at least Rs. 63,000- from them. He thus found himself on the horns of a dilemma. If he were to cancel the sale, he would lose the big profit of Rs. 60,000 which he expected to make by that sale, and if he accepted it, he would not be able to give the delivery of the Dakota and to get its clearance outside Pakistan because of the Orients and Pakistan Government. He must be presumed to have known that under the notification of September 6, 1943, mentioned above, there was complete prohibition for export of aircraft outside Pakistan.
"The temptation was thus too great not to follow an honourable course of returning the money to Messers Board and Daver and expressing his helplessness in the matter. He succumbed to that temptation in conspiracy with Messers Board and Daver and committed the present shameful crimes.
"He most probably took the chance and might have thought that he would escape the clutches of law, but due to the vigilance of the C.I.D. and other Government officials he could not succeed. They not only detected them, but successfully proved them, which goes to their credit.
"In view of my findings recorded above, I hold that the accused is guilty under Section 420 and 465 of the Indian Penal Code and has also committed breaches of Rules 5 and 7 (2) of the Indian Aircraft Rules, 1937, as adapted by Pakistan Government."
The learned Judge then passed sentence on the accused.
Mr. Adam Taylor Smith was sent to jail this evening, when he failed to file an appeal against his conviction by the Special Judge. Till 1 p.m. this afternoon, Mr. Adam Smith had no consel and, it is, learned when one did later make a bail application before the Deputy Registrar, it was not accepted on the grounds that details were lacking.
Mr. Adam Smith, it is understood, will make another application tomorrow. " - Civil & Military Gazette (Lahore) - Wednesday 14 September 1949
* [ Captain Thomas Neville Stack was killed when run over by a lorry in Karachi on 22nd February 1949]
- Civil & Military Gazette (Lahore) - Tuesday 14 February 1950
Civil & Military Gazette (Lahore) - Friday 05 May 1950
"The Appellate Bench of the Sind Chief Court, while confirming the charge of defrauding the Government of Pakistan, on March 20, had acquitted Mr. Smith from the other two charges—forgery and violation of the Indian Aircraft rules. The Appellate Bench had also reduced the earlier term of sentence from two and a half years' simple imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 4,000 to four months' simple imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 1,000. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council rejected the petition of Mr. Smith, without calling on Counsel for the Crown. Mr. Smith has been lodged in the District Jail of Karachi. It will be recalled that Mr. Smith was tried and sentenced for defrauding the Pakistan Government of a Dakota, by permanently exporting it out of Pakistan."
Adam, Audrey and Adam Jr. (aged 1¾) sailed back to the UK from Pakistan, arriving 29 August 1950
* File not seen
W.--- Cadet Dorothy Margaret Stewart b. 26 Aug 1918, Edinburgh 8 May 1944 to 1 Jul 1944
Father: Thomas W Stewart, Mother: Annie C [ ] of 'Dunvegan', Hailes Approach, Colinton, Edinburgh
B.A. Hons in History
prev: WAAF 4 yrs
[ab initio pilot]
1 accident, deemed to be her fault:
- 25 Jun 44: a heavy landing in a Magister which damaged the main spar centre section
[Contract Terminated by ATA]
m. 13 Jul 1946 in Cambridge, Flt-Lt Ivan Humphrey Jones Morgan LDS, (a dentist, remarried in 1971, d. 2006) from St Neots
Daughter Susan b. Oct 1947, son Anthony b. Jul 1950
Address: 7 Worts Causeway, Cambridge
d. 12 Feb 1990 - Cambridge
M.161 First Officer Malcolm Ferguson Stewart b. 19 Jan 1909, Boston, Mass. 21 Oct 1940 to 8 May 1941
in 1927, age 18
1938 (Boston Globe)
Father: Alexander Stewart, (b. Scotland). Mother: Christine [Ferguson] (b. Nova Scotia)
Nationality: "Scottish, Canadian and Honduran"
6ft ; blue eyes, brown hair
Ed. Hyde Park High, Harvard (Naval Science; B.A. in International Law, 1930)
prev. US Army Air Corps 1932-37 (Lieut); Honduran Air Force Jan 1938-Oct 1940 (Captain); Commercial Pilot
In Honduras, he was head of the school of military aviation for the Republic of Honduras, "one of the most responsible jobs ever given to an American in Central America"
m. 15 Dec 1934 in Portsmouth, NH, Jean [MacLeod]
Address in 1940: 40 Alaric St, W Roxbury, Mass.
Arrived in the UK 11 Nov 1940 on the SS Duchess of Atholl, with his fellow ferry pilots Howard Charles Alsop (M.165), - Donald Lee Annibal (M.163), Robert Olyn Gragg (M.173), Dan B Jacques, Charles John Smith, Francis Bender and Roy Edwin Wimmer.
Off sick in Mar 1941 with influenza
2 accidents, 1 his fault:
- 15 Dec 1940, unable to start the engine of his Fairey Battle after landing in wet weather
- 12 Jan 1941, forced landing in a Hurricane; he persisted too far in bad weather
Shortly after his return to the US (4 Jun 1941), he registered for the US Draft:
By Jul 1942, he was in the USAAF attached to TACA "on a special mission with the US Army Engineers", based in Trinidad. His job there toook him to "British Guiana, Surinam, Curacao, Aruba, Venezuela, Antigua, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Barbados, and other Caribbean areas"
m. Olga (one son, Robert N)
Chief of the Honduran Air Force
d. 13 Jul 1949 (age 41) - Tegucigalpa, Honduras
M.738 First Officer Hugh Taylor b. 9 Dec 1915, Edinburgh 20 May 1942 to 10 Mar 1945
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
Mrs Marion Katherine Ogilvie Wilberforce
b. 22 Jul 1902, Aberdeen 1 Jan 1940 to 1 Aug 1945
Father: John Charles M Ogilvie-Forbes, the 9th Laird of Boyndlie, Aberdeenshire, "a dour character who studied for the Anglican priesthood but was converted to Rome by Cardinal Newman and devoted most of his time after that to serving the Vatican as a Papal Chamberlain." - Dublin Evening Herald
Mother: Anne Marguerite
One of 7 children
Ed. Convent of Jesus and Mary, Stony Stratford; Somerville College, Oxford (Agriculture)
"At Oxford she took a keen interest in sports: she was an accomplished exponent of ju-jitsu and was a member of the women's mountaineering team. She also acted in the productions of the university's French Club."
She owned G-EBQV, a 1927 DH.60 Moth, (withdrawn from use in 1936), and then G-ADMP, a 1936 DH.87b Hornet Moth which was impressed as BK837 on the 5 Sep 1940, and written off in 1941: "She used them to ferry livestock to and from her Essex farm, Nevendon Manor, sometimes from as far afield as Hungary."
Nevendon Manor, Wickford, Essex
She entered the Hornet Moth for the 1936 Cotswold Handicap Air Race, held to celebrate the opening of the Gloucester and Cheltenham Airport.
"From 1929 she had also taken a keen interest in the work of the Fairbridge charity whose aim was to take orphaned children from overcrowded British cities and find them homes in agricultural communities in the Dominions. In the late 1920s and early 1930s she visited Canada and Australia to look over farm schools there. She continued her involvement in the Fairbridge Farm Schools until late in her life. Having no children herself, she often had Fairbridge children to stay with her for extended periods."
m. 1932 in Ventnor, IoW Robert William Francis Wilberforce, a solicitor
["Her husband-to-be was for some time undecided between the state of matrimony and a vocation to the priesthood, eventually deciding to test the strength of the latter by spending six months in a monastery. When this period was over Marion was at the monastery gates to collect him"
prev. Flying Instructor and Charter work for Southend Flying Club
prev. exp 900 hrs
One of the 'First Eight' women pilots in January 1940:
Marion far right
Postings: 5FPP (as CO)
4-engine (Class 5) pilot
1942 caricature by 'Sammy' Clayton
Off sick from 31 May to 10 Aug 1943 after a thyroidectomy
3 accidents, one her fault:
- 8 Apr 1942, the hood of her Battle V1234 came loose and blew away
- 25 Sep 1942, landing at Little Rissington in Tomahawk AH901, she swung off the runway to clear a vehicle and the aircraft tipped over
- 23 Jan 1944, she collided with a Jeep in her Spitfire. She was not held to blame as "the jeep stopped within a few feet of her; she could not reasonably have seen it in these conditions."
She declined an MBE.
"Marion Wilberforce was the quintessential 'Atagirl': resourceful, daring and skilled, with more than a touch of eccentricity in her make-up."
She carried on flying until she was 80, in the second of her Hornet Moths which she called the "Old Lady's Bath Chair":
Aberdeen Evening Express, 1970
She was also Master of the Essex Union Hunt in 1970, and had to apologise to a local family after their little girl's tabby cat was found dead near the route the Hunt had followed. She visited the family's caravan, apologised, offered sympathy and "offered to replace the cat."
d. 17 Dec 1995, aged 93 - Stroud, Glos.
Buried St Joseph Roman Catholic Churchyard, Bishop Thornton, Harrogate Borough, North Yorkshire, England
[Unacknowledged quotes are from her obituary in The Times]
M.835 * First Officer Roderick Williams b. 20 May 1899, Inverness ?? Oct 1941 to 4 Feb 1945
Father: Lewis Charles, mother Catherine Isabella [MacDougall) of 11 Paton St., Haugh, Inverness
Served two years apprenticeship (May 1915 to Jul 1917) in the motor garage of the Rose Street Foundry and Engineering Company in Inverness
RFC from 31 Jul 1917 (Farnborough, 39 Sqn from Jan 1918, 45 Sqn from 26 Mar 1918
RAF from 1 Apr 1918 (Camel, then SE5 pilot from 9 Oct 1918) Invalided to England 19 Dec 1918 then ground duties only.
Transferred to unemployed list, 1 May 1919
prev. 17 years at Chapman, Ltd., Motor Engineers, Inverness; Instructor at Inverness Gliding Club
m. Isobel Ann Hood [Menzies]
Address in 1945: Catherine Cottage, 9 Ardross Pl., Inverness
d. 4 Feb 1945 (Died in ATA Service) in Barracuda III PM859, which crashed into two semi-detached houses at Timperley, Cheshire during "unauthorised low flying" on a ferry flight from Ringway to Kirkbride.
Manchester Evening News, with thanks to Michael Warburton
A later resident of the (rebuilt) house, discovered that Roderick had been billeted there whilst stationed at Ringway, and the assumption therefore is that Roderick was circling the house at low altitude and either lost control or suffered an engine failure. The inquest was held in camera. Roderick's ATA Personnel file is missing, so we may never know exactly what happened..
M.96 First Officer Frederick George Shaw Wilson b. 6 Feb 1905, Maxwellton, Scotland 29 Apr 1940 to 24 Sep 1944
Ed. 'HMS Conway'
m. 1928 Elizabeth Murral [Doyle]
prev. F/O RAF, 1925-32; a Seaman
Address in 1939: 24a Denzil Ave, Southampton
Postings: 1FPP, 2FPP, 3FPP
- 12 Oct 1940, suspended without pay for 7 days after landing at base without instructions;
- 24 Mar 1941, again suspended for 7 days, this time for a "financial misdemeanour"
10 accidents, 6 of them his fault.
Initial assessment was "a rough pilot, works hard, but has had careless accidents; discipline not very good" but by 1941 he was "becoming a useful pilot", and in 1943 was assessed as "a sound pilot of average ability".
Off sick from 28 Mar to 25 Apr 1944 with "fatigue and hypertension", and then on 21 June he landed a Beaufort with its undercarriage retracted; when they examined the aircraft they found that he had mistakenly fired the fire extinguishers instead of the undercarriage emergency cartridges.
On 2 Sep 1944 his C.O. wrote that "F/O Wilson has been with ATA for a very long time and has moved a very great number of aircraft. It is my opinion that he is losing faith in himself as a pilot and is troubled with nerves. He has been off sick a lot recently and should be given a very careful check before he resumes flying."
Contract Terminated 24 Sep 1944
d. Apr 1978 - London