M.656 First Officer  Rev. William Byrd Lee Milton 
 flag usa   b. 17 Aug 1907, Baltimore, Maryland 22 Jun 1941 to Feb-43 

 ata william milton 1942 1942



Brother of Rev. Marshall McCormick Milton, also an ATA pilot - 'The Flying Parsons'. (see above)

m. to Frances Gordon Thornton, from Fredericksburg, 1 daughter.

prev. Priest (Rector of St John's Episcopal Church and Merchant's Hope Church, Prince George County, VA);

Civil Engineer. Chemist.

2nd Lieut., US Army 307th Cavalry Reserve Jun-29 to Jun-34.

Said he had owned a Taylorcraft, Piper Cruiser, and "Stinsons"

Address in 1941: Fredericksburg, VA

Postings: 8FPP 

"Extremely keen and steady type. This pilot tries very hard but lacks natural aptitude and is inclined to be heavy-handed."

 "He would make a good officer if he talked less and paid more attention to his appearance."

Head of ATA Gerard d'Erlanger replied to him in October 1941; "In reply to your memorandum of October 9th, I sincerely appreciate your offer to act as honorary chaplain to the ATA, but regret that I cannot see my way to acquiesce thereto. [which I think means "No"].

Thank you nevertheless for the suggestion."

While on leave in Virginia Beach in July 1942, William sent a nice postcard to Flt Captain Stock, the Establishment Officer for the ATA:

  ata william milton postcard front

ata william milton postcard back

1 incident and 1 accident:

- 4 Nov 1942, Hampden force landed after engine problem.

- 14 Nov 1942, Martlett IV swung after take-off and starboard undercarriage collapsed. Pilot to blame.

 Beaufort I

d. 23 Feb 1943 (Died in ATA Service), ferrying Beaufort DX118 from 44 MU Edzell to 5 OTU Long Kesh, N. Ireland which suffered starboard engine failure "on a type on which single-engined flight is critical" and crashed on Brownhart Law, near Makendon, Northumberland.

ata william milton crash site Map Coords 55.383333, -2.333333

In 2014, Jim Corbett found "a lot of wood and plexiglass from the nose section" on Brownhart Law:



See https://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.co.uk/crash_sites/pennines/bristol-beaufort-dx118-brownhart-law/

His CO, Bert Yardley, wrote: "Milton was a strange personality, and had a strange mentality towards his job. My pilots usually go straight to destination. The Royal Observer Corps have plotted Milton for me and I find he rarely takes a straight line, but wanders all over the place. He left Edzell about 2 hours before the other four pilots and it is my carefully considered opinion that he employed his usual method - getting above the cloud (against which he has been warned) and in this case got lost. Instead of going back to where he knew it was clear, he thought he was further East than he actually was and thought to break cloud over or near the coast, with disastrous results. From experience I know this to be a most treacherous strip of country and cannot be trifled with."

A silver chalice was presented in 1948 to St John's Episcopal Church, Hopewell, in his memory.


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

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