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.