Her father was a banana importer who lost everything in the Wall Street crash of 1929.
Ed. 1yr Lousiana State University
prev. Flight Instructor
Address in 1942: 1424 Philip St, New Orleans, LA
"The southern beauty packed a scarlet ballgown with her flying gear and set off for England where she put both to good use. She met and married a Canadian airman and was widowed - all in quick succession" RAF Museum
Mrs Bragg - her husband, Pilot Officer Richard Edward Bragg, was killed 13 May 1943 hen his Halifax JB924 was shot down by a nght-fighter near the village of Wijnaldum, North Netherlands, killing 7 of the 8 crew (the 8th became a PoW). Richard and Dorothy had married in Nottinghamshire in June 1942.
[Actually, it appears that Richard was British, born in Nuthall, Nottinghamshire, and Dorothy met him on the boat from Canada.].(My thanks to Mark Alexander-Holmes for pointing this out.)
Dorothy (centre) with Jackie Sorour and Rosemary Rees with Spitfire IX, August 1942 - with thanks to Adam Hewitt
Postings: 5FPP, 15FPP
5 accidents, 3 her fault:
- 24 Jun 1942, she taxied her Tiger Moth into another aircraft;
- 11 Sep 1942, she had to land her Hurricane with the undercarriage up after the selector lever stuck;
- 20 Dec 1942, she hit another stationary aircraft (a Spitfire Vc, being piloted by Mary Wilkins), while taxying, also in a Spitfire;
- 29 Jan 1943, she discovered her Spitfire's port flap had been damged by "surface water" after landing on a grass airfield (not her fault), and
- 27 Mar 1943, "Pilot adopted line of take-off which caused her to strike a fence, which was invisible to her from her starting point, but of which she was aware."
Her instructor Marcus Hale described her as "a complex character, difficult to assess fairly in writing. She obviously is a capable pilot and at times appears to be really keen, but in everything else but the actual flying from A to B she is completely undisciplined and in some ways sheerly indolent."
"She proved a difficult pupil as she is inclined to be self willed and showed a bored attitude to the whole affair."
Later on, "A capable pilot whose discipline whilst on ferrying duties has improved."
Sailed to New York from Greenock in 1943, arriving 28th July, with fellow ATA pilots Virginia Farr, Ann Watson Wood, Grace Stevenson, John Yingst, Lionel Kay and Mary (Zerbel) Hooper. She then returned as supernumerary co-pilot in Mitchell FV967, 15-21 Sep 1943.
Off sick from 29 Dec 1943
m. 1946 David, Earl Beatty RN, son of Admiral Beatty of WWI Jutland fame, and thus became Countess Beatty. He was "a good soldier but a poor politician, a man of short temper and a chronic husband", she said later.
While married to David, Dorothy had a long-standing affair with Anthony Eden, the future Prime Minister of Britain.
m. 1954 Abram Hewitt, a millionaire American horse breeder (d. 1987)
She moved to Lexington, Kentucky, then in 1993 to Paris, Virginia.
m. 1998 in Warren, VA
2000 (The Times)
d. 9 Nov 2006 - Winchester, VA
Her son Adam told me: "It’s interesting to read the comments of her supervisor, Marcus Hale, which I had never seen before, describing her as a complex and difficult person. She came from a gothically dysfunctional family in New Orleans and I believe she was probably bipolar all her life - undiagnosed - for that goes with what we always saw, she was either slumped in a chair somewhere completely disinterested or a roaring ball of energy, going off on a whim to places like Uzbekistan or Indonesia in her 80s!"