Prev. Exp: 30 hrs solo
Joan was educated 'privately' in South Africa, and moved from there to Northumberland in 1926, aged 13, with her family - father Walter (a farmer), mother Eda, 2 elder sisters Brenda and Eda, and brother John.
She then went to the College of Domestic Science, Atholl Crescent, Edinburgh, and from there she became Catering Manager for Airwork at Heston, working for Susan Slade (q.v.); she earned her RAeC Certificate in 1937, in Gloucester.
She originally applied to the ATA in December 1940 (Susan had started with the ATA the month before), citing as her next of kin her sister Brenda Anderson, of Dyce, Aberdeenshire. By then she had 60 hours flying experience, of which half were solo, on "Moth I, II, Avro Cadet, Cirrus Moth, Leopard Moth, and Whitney Straight".
Things then moved quite quickly (Susan must have put in a good word), and the following February (1941) she went for a test; Margaret Cunnison reported that she was "worth training and has the makings of a good pilot. Needs about 5 to 8 hours dual".
As was often the case, she was then told to stand by, as there was no vacancy.
And then a vacancy came up in July; they wrote to her and said "Can you report September 1st"; she wrote back and said "Sorry, no - Airwork need me until October. I am very disappointed indeed."
"Never mind", they said, "we can wait", and she duly started on the 15th October 1941. She was billeted in North Mimms (you may know it, lovely place) at 2 guineas a week.
She trained on the Miles Magister: "Her general flying is fair and shows average ability, but as her navigation was not yet up to OC standard, I have recommended further training. She misjudged a forced landing, but appears to understand the necessary procedure... average ability, keen, sensible; enthusaism apt to outweigh caution in selecting weather".
She was appointed Cadet on the 15th Feb 1942, then Third Officer 6 days later. She was off sick for a few weeks in March, with a chest infection then tonsillitis.
Sadly, she was then killed on the 20 Jun 1942, in Master I N7806 which spun into the ground when approaching to land at White Waltham. The official report said it was due to "a spin caused by stalling on a turn during a landing approach, for which it has been impossible to find a reason."
She was buried in Maidenhead Cemetery (Sec. D. Row K.K. Grave 24.); her pall bearers were Pauline Gower, and her fellow Third Officers Winnie Pierce, Louise Schuurmann, Katie Williams, Mary Wilkins, Irene Arckless, and Benedetta Willis.
Pauline wrote that "her general character and behaviour were excellent in every respect", and her sister Brenda added that "we know that she was very happy in her work at White Waltham and that, if it had to happen, she would most certainly have wished to die as she did, flying."