W.162  3rd Officer Katharine Mary Stanley 'Katie' Smith 
 flag england b. 1 Sep 1919, Croydon  8 May-44 to Sep-45 

 W162 Smith Katharine  ATA

 katherine hirsh 1945  RAeC 1945    

The Final 7 Women Pilots - Betty Keith-Jopp (W.167), Sue Alexander (W.163), Joan Arthur (W.166), Ruth Russell (W.165), Annette Mahon (W.164), Aimee de Neve (W.168), Katharine Stanley Smith (W.162)



Father: Alfred Ernest Stanley Smith MC, a solicitor (d. 1947); Mother: Jennie Drayton [Pitts] (d. 1967)

Ed.  St. John's School, Bexhill-on-Sea

Prev. Costume staff of the Westminster Theatre, London; 

Womens Land Army 12 Apr to 6 Oct 1941 ("looking after pigs and chickens in a Mental Institute at Teddington");

WAAF from Dec 1941, Meteorological Officer stationed at Aldergrove, N. Ireland


Address in 1941: 45 Normanton Rd, South Croydon, Surrey

Her elder brother Edward was a fighter pilot, serving in the Battle of Britain and ending WWII as a Wing Commander:

see https://bbm.org.uk/airmen/SmithES.htm

Ab initio pilot

Postings: 5TFPP, 15FPP, 7FPP

3 accidents:

- 15 Oct 1944, her Tiger Moth T5368 was blown onto its nose by a "heavy" aircraft taxying ahead of her

- 28 Feb 1945, the port tyre of her Swordfish III NS133 burst on landing, cause unknown.

- Jul 1945, a heavy forced landing in Fairchild KK477 after engine failure, breaking the undercarriage and tipping the aircraft onto its nose

Of the last accident, she wrote "The pay-off was that later that same day HQ phoned Ratcliffe and asked them to send in Fairchild 477, it was due to be broken up. Our operations cheerfully told them not to worry, we'd already broken it up for them!"


m. 5 Jun 1945 in Croydon,  USAF Sgt. Arthur Zachary Hirsch Jr, from Woodbury, Connecticut, USA (They had met at Aldergrove, where he was with the US Weather Office)

Gained her Royal Aero Club Pilot's Certificate (No 20497) as part of the ATA's 'Wings' scheme on 8 Aug 1945

 "Katie and her husband became involved with theatrical work, thus reviving their original interests" - WAAF with Wings

d. 16 May 2010 - Rose Lane Adult Care Home, Prescott, AZ, USA

" On April 1, 1946 she and Zach arrived in the U.S. and she obtained her U.S. Citizenship in 1951 in Worcester, Mass. Kay worked for Dennisons Stationery Store in New York from 1946-47. From 1965-73 she was on the costume staff at Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, MN. In the off season, costume staff at the Minnesota Opera Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, Minnesota Opera, Minnesota Children's Theatre. From 1973-79 she was on the costume staff McCarter Theatre, Princeton, NJ. From 1979-84 costume staff at the Dallas Ballet, Dallas Opera, Dallas Shakespeare-in-the-Park, SMU, Six Flags Over Texas.

In 1984 Kay and Zach moved to Prescott where she was the Resident Costumer at the Prescott Fine Arts Associations Community Theatre until 2008. During this time Kay designed and made costumes for over 110 Theatre productions. Kay was involved in the Girl Scouts serving as a Brownie Leader for 6 years, Girl Scout Troop Leader for 6 years, Senior Girl Scout Leader for 4 years and was the Girl Scout Coordinator in the Elementary School. She was involved in the Cub Scouts as a Den Leader for 4 years and her Den was selected by Howard Sanden, Brown & Bigelow Calender-printer artist to be painted on the annual Cub Scout Calender. Kay was an Executive Board Member of the Yavapai Humane Society for 10 years and originated the Santa Paws, Dog Show, and PR slide promotion programs. She was also a member of the British War Brides Association and 99's (Women's Pilots Association)." - https://www.ruffnerwakelin.com/obituaries/KatharineKay-Mary-Stanley-Smith-Hirsch?obId=487953

Arthur d. 2015

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

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