[Seconded from RAF]
William Edward Charles Wootton 'Bill' Abney b. 7 Jan 1921, Upminster 19 May 1944 to Apr-45
son of Henry Charles Wotton Abney (1881-1953)
Address in 1944: West Lodge, Upminster, Essex
prev. RAF, and An Actor:
[Wikipedia: He "played Reverend Copley on Coronation Street in 1977, and Jim Lorimer in 1980. His other television credits include The Adventures of William Tell, Crossroads, Special Branch, Play for Today, All Creatures Great and Small, Robin's Nest and The Return of Sherlock Holmes.
Abney was educated at Cranleigh School and the Central School of Speech and Drama.
As a film actor, Abney appeared in Horrors of the Black Museum (1959), Never Take Sweets from a Stranger (1960), Two-Way Stretch, (1960), Cone of Silence(1960), The City of the Dead (1960), Hitler: The Last Ten Days (1973), The Legacy (1979), North Sea Hijack (1980) and Curse of the Pink Panther (1983).
As a writer, Abney wrote the story for "Poor Butterfly" (1969), an episode of Journey to the Unknown (TV series).]
Ferry Pool: 9
d. 26 Jun 1997 - Lambeth
from The Times, Tuesday, 8 July 1997: "Deaths: Abney, William, suddenly and peacefully on June 26th. Much loved friend of Barry and dear brother of Annabel and uncle of Robin Dewhurst and family. Service at Mortlake Crematorium, July 15th."
W.100 2nd Officer Daphne Elizabeth Abrams
b. 11 Mar 1916, Plymouth
23 Sep 1942 to 13 Feb 1944
via Taniya Morris
father: William Charles Surry Abrams, mother Elizabeth Louise [Budden]
prev: Secretary with Imperial Airways; ambulance driver
prev. exp. 8hrs 35min on Gypsy Moth
Address in 1942: 95a Coombe Lane, Bristol
Postings: 5TFPP, 15FPP
"This pilot came to ATA with very little experience. She worked hard in Class I flying and reached a good standard. She should make a useful ferry pilot and a good officer"
- 8 May 1943, her Spitfire Vb AD555 landed with flaps up, overshot and was seriously damaged after she felt unwell during the circuit
m. 1943 Flt-Sgt Philip Lindley Hanson-Lester, RAF, prev. a theatrical producer (2 children Phillip b.1944, Taniya b. 1946, marriage dissolved)
Off sick from 8 Sep 1943 - Contract Terminated Feb 1944
m. 1956 in Cheshire, Philip Rodney Wallis Robinson
11 Mar 2016
"Like many of her generation she sees nothing special in what she did"
d. 18 Aug 2017 - Morgannwg House Care Home, Brecon, Wales
Her granddaughter Taniya Morris told me "You may have noticed my name & the unusual spelling of ‘Taniya’. My mother & I were named after Taniya Whittall who is also on your list of ATA pilots. I was also a military pilot - serving 17 years in the Army, flying Gazelle & Lynx helicopters in the Army Air Corps & commanding 652 Sqn AAC. So it runs in the family!"
M--- Cadet Albert Ernest Adams b. 23 Aug 1916, Dudley 5 Jul 1943 to Sep-43
prev. a draughtsman, then Fleet Air Arm, 1942-3
d. 6 Sep 1943 (Died in ATA Service) - Hart K6526, heavy landing at Thame on a training flight, 2 Sep 1943. The aircraft somersaulted onto its back and caught fire; Albert suffered extensive burns and was taken to RAF Halton hospital. He did not wish his wife informed 'as she is expecting a baby some time this week'.
M.351 First Officer Charles Arthur Adams b. 8 Jan 1906, East Ham, London 25 Mar 1941 to 11 Nov 1941
prev. a London Transport driver, later inspector
RAF from Jun-40 to Mar-41 (Sgt, Link Trainer instructor)
Address in 1941: 51 Wilson Rd, East Ham, London E6
[Contract Terminated by ATA - Disciplinary Reasons]
d. Dec 1957 - Lambeth ?
M.795 John Cecil Adams
M --- Cadet John Henry Adams b. 20 Jan 1921, London 29 Apr 1942 to Jun-42
prev. a General Clerk, then RAF from 1941-2
[Contract Terminated by ATA - Unsuitable]
[Seconded from RAF]
Kenneth John Adney b. 7 Dec 1922, Cinderford, Glos. 11 Jun 1943 to 15 Apr 1945
Ed. East Dean Grammar (School Cert.)
prev. radio engineer with GEC; RAF from Dec 1941
Off sick from 25 Feb to 17 Mar 1944 after a flying accident (report missing)
One other accident:
- 23 Oct 1944, the propeller of his Spitfire IX PV312 was damaged when the tail rose on landing downwind at Ratcliffe at 17:40pm. He felt unwell, probably because he'd had nothing to eat all day.
m. Oct 1945 in Barrow upon Soar, Leics, Patricia Clayton [Barratt]
Took his 'A' Certificate in July 1947, at Auster Flying Club
Address in 1947: 516 Loughborough Rd, Birdsall, Leics.
Emigrated to Australia 1948-57 but then returned to live in Surrey
W.143 3rd Officer Marie 'Monique' or 'Aggie' Jacqueline Agazarian b. 17 Jul 1920, Carshalton, Surrey 18 Oct 1943 to 30 Sep 1945
Father: Le Von Berge Agazarian, originally from Armenia who fled to the UK in 1911, owner of an electrical company; mother: Jacqueline Marie-Louise de Chevalier, from France
Ed. Sacred Heart Convent, Roehampton (School Certificate, 5 credits), RADA and Paris
prev. from Apr-41, VAD attached to East Grinstead Hospital then RAF Uxbridge
Address in 1943: (mother) 7 Park Mansions, Knightsbridge, London
[ab initio pilot]
Two of her three brothers died in WWII; one in the RAF, the other in SOE
Completed "500 hours in Spitfires, Mustangs, Typhoons, Barracudas and Hellcats" as a Class III pilot.
After WWII, she gained her commercial licence and in July 1947 became a pilot for Island Air Charters / Island Air Services (IAS) which flew Proctors and Rapides between Lands End and the Scilly Isles, pleasure trips to Le Touquet and scheduled services to Deauville from Croydon.
Ex-ATA pilot Cecile Power also joined IAS, in November 1947.
Monique became Managing Director of IAS, then Chairman and Chief Pilot.
Island Air Services' first Dragon Rapide, (callsign 'Uncle Fox', although allegedly when Monique was pilot it was 'Auntie Fox''), in 1950. (c) Air-Britain
m. 20 Jul 1949 in Brompton, London, Capt Raymond Charles Rendall (also of IAS, divorced 1973), three daughters Annette Francine, Mary and Lou-Lou
She competed in the King's Cup air race in 1950 and 1952.
In 1956, Veronica Volkersz wrote that Monique was one of only 7 women flying commercially: - "Monique Rendall is chief pilot and managing director of Island Air Services" - and concluded that "The tragedy is that for women, commercial aviation is now - except, possibly, in Russia - a closed field."
[The others were Jackie Moggridge, Jean Bird, Suzanne Ashton, Zita Irwin, Diana Barnato-Walker and Freydis Leaf]
IAS ceased trading in 1959. After it closed, she was a pioneer in promoting flight simulation with Air Training Services Ltd, and published a manual on advanced instrument-flying procedures.
Having reverted to her maiden name, she lived at 84 Park Mansions, Knightsbridge, and d. 3 Mar 1993 from cancer, leaving £140,949.
"The sad loss of this splendidly professional airwoman, brilliant tutor, hugely energetic, ebullient, and lovable friend will be felt deeply by all who knew her." - The Independent
W.--- Cadet Jean Mary Akerman b. 17 Dec 1922, Camberley 8 May 1944 to 3 Jun 1944
with David Crichton, 1946
Father: Maj-General William Philip Jopp Akerman CB, DSO, MC, Director of Staff Duties Artillery, Army Headquarters India (Retired 1942, d. 1971); mother: Olga Phyllis [Steevens, d. 27 Dec 1922, i.e. when Jean was 10 days old]
Step-mother: Annie [Alexander] from 1925. Two step-sisters, Rosemary and Susan.
Ed. Bedgebury Park, Goudhurst, Kent
prev. WAAF (WMTS India)
Address in 1944: "Rotherwood", Churt, Farnham, Surrey
[ab initio pilot]
[Contract Terminated by ATA]
m. 25 Apr 1946 in Churt, Flt-Lt Dr David Stewart Crichton MBE, MB, ChB; one daughter Susan (Penny) [Buckley] 1948-2016
d. 13 Jun 2018 - Salisbury
M.948 First Officer Thomas Aldren b. 5 Aug 1920, Lancaster 19 May 1944 to 13 Aug 1945
Parents: Richard Aldren, Isabella [Roberts] of 13 Mill St., Lancaster
prev. Local Government (Clerk, Public Health); RAFVR from 9 Jul 1940
Admitted as a "Freeman" to the roll of the City of Lancaster in 1938
m. Jul 1944 in Lancaster, Joan [Boulton]
"TWO WELL-KNOWN members of the Lancaster Amateur Dramatic and Operatic Society were married at St. , John's Church. Lancaster, on Monday. They are F.O. Thomas Aldren, formerly employed at the Lancaster Health Office, and now a Ferry Pilot in the Air Transport Auxiliary, only son of Mr. and Mrs. R. Aldren, of Mill Street. Lancaster, and Miss Joan Boulton (who is on the staff of the Canadian Treasury), younger daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. Boulton, of South Road. Lan- caster."
Address in 1945: 21 South Rd, Lancaster
d. 1 Mar 1953 at Royal Infirmary, Lancaster
"EX-R.A.F. OFFICER Death at 32
A Flight-Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force during the war, Mr. Thomas Aldren aged 32, of 21 South Rd, Lancaster, died in Lancaster Infirmary on Sunday. He had been in the infirmary for the past three weeks undergoing treatment for heart trouble.
A native of Lancaster, he was educated at Lancaster Royal Grammar School. When he left school he became a clerk In the Corporation Health Department. In 1940 he joined the Royal Air Force. He gained his wings in 1941 and was commissioned as a flying Instructor. In the the latter end of 1943 [sic] he was transferred to the Air Transport Auxiliary, and ferried many planes across the country. He returned to the R.A.F. and at the end of the war was demobbed as a Flight Lieutenant. He was married at St John's Church Lancaster, in 1945 [sic].
Following his war service he went to Nottingham where he quailfied as a Sanitary Inspector and became a meat and food inspector.
He returned to Lancaster in October 1951 but since had not been able to carry on his work owing to ill-health. An ex-member of Lancaster Golf Club, he was a former winner of the George Thompson Trophy, and a very keen player. He was also a former member of LADOS and a member of the Vale of Lune Rugby Club.
His wife survives." - Lancaster Guardian
[Seconded from RAF]
Wilfred Hector Aldrich b. 1 Sep 1919 5 Sep 1944 to 30 Apr 1945
d. Sep 2000 - North Somerset
W.163 3rd Officer Susan Mary Aurea Alexander b. 19 or 20 Apr 1920, Horncastle Lincs 8 May 1944 to 30 Sep 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: Capt William James Alexander (a Company Director, Motor Trade, d. 1947), mother: Mary Jeanette [Rawnsley] (d. Jul 1941) of Raithby Hall, Spilsby:
Raithby Hall, the home of the Rawnsley family
Ed. Benenden, Kent (School Certificate)
Address in 1944: c/o L S Dodds Ltd, Spilsby, Lincs
[Ab initio pilot]
- 31 Jan 1945, in Swordfish II LS215; she failed to keep the aircraft straight on take-off, and it swung, hit a snow ridge and turned over
Gained her Royal Aero Club Pilot's Certificate (No 20753) as part of the ATA's 'Wings' scheme on 22 Nov 1945
d. 9 Jul 2000 - Taunton, Somerset
M.--- First Officer Cyril Geoffrey Marmaduke Alington b. 19 Aug 1914, Richmond, London 4 Oct 1939 to Nov-41
The youngest of four brothers.
In 1933, a public schoolboy in Hythe, Kent; by 1936 a student at the de Havilland Technical School.
ATA Contract Terminated 4 Aug 1940; he then continued as a part-time pilot until 10 Nov 1941.
later, a test pilot for Fairey.
d. Aug 1987, Poole
M71 * Pilot
Cyril Percy Allen
b. 28 Jun 1901, London 12 Aug 1940 to 2 Apr 1941
Father: Benjamin (Benno) Aron, a hat and cap manufacturer, d. 1 Jul 1941. Mother: Kathleen Hannah [Jacobs]
Changed surname to Allen c. 1939
m. 1925 in Amersham, Bucks, Amy L [Townsend]
RAeC Certificate 9487 dated 4 Oct 1930, taken at London Aeroplane Club
Address in 1930: 55 City Rd, London EC2
prev. RAF from 1933 (Resigned 14 Mar 1939); Engineer; Probationary Temporary 2nd Lieut, RN
2nd Lieut, Royal Army Ordnance Corps from 9 May 1942
Surname reverted to Aron c. 1959
m. 1959 in Kensington, London, Jane [Webster]
Address in 1964: 23 Palace Gardens, Kensington
d. 31 Mar 1980 1980 - London
Buried Willesden United Synagogue Cemetery, Willesden, London Borough of Brent, London
* Personnel File not seen
W.70 First Officer Helen 'Naomi' Allen b. 25 Jun 1913, Folkestone 24 Feb 1942 to 31 Oct 1945
1935, with Cobham's Flying Circus
mother: Lady Heron-Maxwell, of 5 Staverton Rd, Oxford
prev: Secretarial / Lecturing on Gliding and Parachuting
Parachuting with Cobham's Flying Circus in 1935; she made over 100 descents.
See http://www.afleetingpeace.org for the story of Cobham's Air Circus
The first woman Silver Badge (Soaring) holder in the UK, and one of the founder members (with Lady Bailey, Joan Price, and Amy Johnson) of the Oxford Gliding Club
m. 2 Mar 1938, Francis Cecil Howard Allen (d. 28 Jan 1939 aged 34 in Austria, after an operation for a duodenal ulcer.)
[According to my mother-in-law, who knew the family, "Apparently it was quite a straightforward operation, he woke up, said 'Hello Darling' and then promptly had a heart attack and died", but Naomi wrote that it was 6 days after the operation.]
"Scar on left side of neck"
Address in 1942: 2 Dalmevey Ave, London SW16
Postings: 6FPP, 15FPP, 1FPP, 4FPP
with Jean Bird in a taxi Anson, 1942 [all photos with thanks to Nick Thomas]
Reprimanded in August 1944 for "Loss of Ferry Pilot's Notes", and in May 1945 for "taxying with insufficient care"
6 accidents, 4 her fault:
- 15 Oct 1942, "careless taxying" crosswind in Hawker Audax K5599; the aircraft tipped onto its nose
- 9 Jan 1943, she overshot a landing in Spitfire JG953
- 22 Mar 1943, she landed without lowering the undercarriage of her Mustang 1a FD443
- 17 Nov 1943, a forced landing in a Seafire III, after the port cannon fairing blew off in the air
- 18 Dec 1943, she overshot a landing in Spitfire IX BS401, after encountering very bad weather and turning back
- 15 May 1945, she failed to control her Warwick BV343 while taxying, and one wheel fell into "an excavation at the side of the track"
"A really keen pilot of average ability who wants hard work. Her temperament is unusual and her attitude towards criticism is inclined to be resentful"
"Her technical knowledge is below average" [she admitted this was true]
Moved to Los Angeles in 1948
m. 1957 Howard D Thomas (a Real Estate agent) (divorced); one son, b. 1958, Nick - who has written a wonderful biography about her, using her diaries, called "Naomi the Aviatrix"
d. 1983 - Leisure World, Laguna Hills, CA
M.163 First Officer Howard Charles Alsop b. 21 Mar 1909, Manchester 19 Oct 1940 to Feb-41
Address in 1940: 41 Clifford St, Hartford, CT
prev. pilot; 3 yrs in 118 Observation Sqn, Connecticut NG, 4 yrs AAA Aerial Survey
Sailed to Liverpool to join the ATA, arriving 11 Nov 1940, with fellow American pilots Charles Smith, Donald Annibal, Francis Bender, Robert Gragg, Dan Jacques, Malcolm Stewart and Roy Wimmer.
Later joined Eastern Airlines
(Seconded from RAF)
John Sharp Ambler b. 24 Jun 1905, Heaton, Bradford 28 Jan 1943 to 15 Apr 1945
1939 - Yorkshire Aero Club
Father; Sam Ambler, mother: Emily Beatrice [Sharp], of Hoyle Court, Baildon, Yorks
One sister, Ruth Beatrice (m. 1923 Emerson Lyman Fisher-Smith, m. 1935 Geoff Morris). His elder brother Lieut. Edward Sharp 'Ted' Ambler (b. 1898) 2nd Bn Scots Guards, d. 8 May 1918 in France
Ed. Shrewsbury School
A bit of a tearaway in his youth:
"SMASH - THEN FINES. Said to have been racing, John Sharp Ambler, spinner, Hoyle Court, Baildon, and Laurence B. King, of Helsley. near Chester, were each fined £5 and costs at Otley yesterday for driving motor cycles to the danger of the public.
It was stated that when near the Junction Hotel, the machine which King was riding met with an obstacle, and it shot from under him. King turned several somersaults and fell on the road. Ambler ran into the kerb about six yards beyond. " - Leeds Mercury - Saturday 22 March 1924
"BAILDON MOTOR CYCLIST'S SPEED John Sharp Ambler, worsted spinner, Hoyle Court, Baildon, was summoned for driving to the danger of the public at Baildon on November 12. It was stated by Police Constable Cooper that he was standing in a garage along Otley Road about 2.05 p.rn. when the defendant dashed past on a motor cycle combination at an exceptionally fast and dangerous speed. The constable ran out on the footpath, about seven yards from where hod been standing, and the machine then was 110 yards away.He saw the defendant later, and after some hesitation, Ambler replied that he did not pass until 2.15 p.m., and was driving very carefully.
Mr. W. T. Scholes for the defendant, submitted that the police hod made mistake in their man. The defendant went to Baildon Station to catch the 1.57 p.m. train to Bradford, but missed it. He returned home, got into his motor clothes, and rode to business. It was 12 minutes past 2 when he passed the public clock at Shipley. Defendant said he had not to be at business until 2.30, and he did not travel at more than 17 miles per hour. He mentioned that he broke the machine on the journey, and it took four days to mend it. After hearing other evidence, the magistrates found the defendant guilty. It was stated that he had been lined £5 for a similar offence at Otley in March last year. He was now fined £5 and his licence suspended for two months." - Shipley Times and Express - Friday 12 December 1924
"CROSS-ROADS CRASH. John Sharp Ambler, worsted spinner. Royal [sic] Court. Baildon was fined £10, with £4 6s. 6d. costs, at Scarborough to-day, for driving dangerously.
Mr G B Parker, prosecuting, said Ambler drove down Holbeck Road at 50 miles hour and at the cross-roads caught a mailvan driven by Herbert King, who was thrown out and injured. Ambler denied that was driving at such a speed, and said he had slowed up to 15 mph at the cross-roads." - Yorkshire Evening Post - Friday 5 May 1933
prev. a 'worsted spinner'; RAF from May 1941
prev. exp. 190 hrs on DH Moth, Oxford, Wellington
Two accidents, both his fault:
- 13 Jul 1943, his Henley L3399 struck a camouflaged hut when taxying - Reprimanded for "taxying without proper care"
- 16 Mar 1944, he stalled his Barracuda on approach, the port wing dropped and the port undercarriage leg collapsed
"An excellent officer and a sound type of pilot who generally has made such good progress as to warrant every confidence in him making a first rate ferry pilot"
"He is not happy in fast aircraft in bad weather and is not ashamed to admit it"
m. 1958 in Kensington, London, Mrs Gwenda Amy Allbrook [nee Oakden] (d. 2000)
Address in 1973: 4 Angel Court, Compton, Surrey;
d. 15 Jun 1974 - Compton, Surrey
M.378 First Officer Sylvanus 'Syl' Anderton b. 21 Jul 1907, Bolton 25 Apr 1941 to 30 Nov 1945
prev. A motor trader and motorcycle racer; he and his brother James founded Anderton Bros. Motor Cycles Ltd. in Bolton, Lancashire in 1935.
Served for 6 months in the Civil Air Guard, as a Unit Leader.
Address in 1941: 18 Lever Edge Lane, Great Lever, Bolton
Postings: 3FPP, 14FPP
In September 1944 his CO, Stan Ogden, wrote "Has been a member of this Pool since Dec 1942. He has proved a willing worker. He uses his head as a pilot and does not attempt to fly in weather beyond his capacity. His discipline has been a good example to more junior members of this Pool."
Wikipedia: "In 1949 he competed in his first Isle of Man TT event with brother James in the pits. He also competed in the Ulster Grand Prix 1949 to 1951."
Owned G-AMZI, a 1953 Auster J-5F Aiglet Trainer.
d. Dec 1983 - Bolton
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
M.942 * 2nd Officer Alexander Norman Angus b. 11 Jan 1911, Welling, Kent 12 Jul 1943 to 31 Aug 1945
father: Arthur James Angus, mother Lilian Clara [McNally]
prev. a cycle mechanic
Address in 1939: 'Hillcrest', 15 Orchard Terrace, Upper Wickham Lane. Welling, Kent
W.47 2nd Officer Irene Arckless b. 28 Dec 1915, Uppingham 1 Aug-41 to Jan-43
Prev. Exp: 53 hrs solo
Irene was one of those ordinary working-class girls who, by sheer enthusiasm and determination, and with the help of the subsidised Civil Air Guard Scheme, learnt to fly in the years before WWII. She managed to amass over 50 hours solo between 1937 and 1939. Amy Mollison (Amy Johnson as was, and she were only the daughter of a fish merchant in Hull) once snootily dismissed someone as "the typical CAG Lyons-waitress type".
You've probably met someone like Irene; bubbly, a bit cheeky, innocent, irreverent - 'high spirited', if you like that sort of thing, a complete pain if you don't - and probably exactly the sort of person who would get right up Captain The Hon. Margie 'Mrs Cold Front' Fairweather's nose. Which she indeed did - and of that, more later.
Anyway, in her first letter, dated 11 Mar 1941, having heard Lord Londonderry's appeal on the wireless the night before, she applied: "I wish to put forward the following for your approval, and I will be most grateful to hear from you if you think that my services could be of use in connection with the ATA... I was studying for my 2nd class navigators certificate and intending to take a 'B' licence but the war stopped all that I'm afraid.
I am 25 years of age, height about 5ft 4. I would very much like to get into the ATA, particularly as my fiancé is a prisoner of war in Germany (Flt Lt lockyer) and as he is no longer able to fly his beloved spitfires, if I can carry on his good work I would love to do so. I am swotting up all the information I can get hold of with regard to v.p. airscrews, superchargers and boost pressure, as we did not have any of those on our poor old gypsy moths, hornet moths etc!"
She closed by "Hoping I can do my bit for our dear old country."
They invited her for a flight test, and on the 31st March she wrote:
"Dear Mr Wood
First of all I better give you an explanation of this letter! A few days ago I wrote to W/Cdr G. Tuttle asking if he could tell me anything about the prospects of the A.T.A. I had already submitted my application to them, and have since had a letter asking me to go to Hatfield for a flight test. I have arranged to attend at Hatfield on Tuesday, April 8th at 10-00.
I have had a letter from Geoffrey today, and he gave me your name and address, and told me to write to you, so I trust you will forgive the liberty I am taking.
What I want to know at the moment, and before I go to Hatfield next Monday - I am travelling down to London on the 7th instant, is - I might as well come straight to the point! - do you know what kind of machines they are using at Hatfield for the flight tests? I would be most grateful if you could drop me a note and let me know what to expect to handle - 'cause I want to be as well prepared as possible. I have handled Gipsy II, Hornet Moths, Fox Moth, and several of the ultra light types, such as Pragas, Taylor Cubs etc. I am hoping I don't have to do the test on a completely strange machine - if they have Tiger Moths there I shall be quite happy, as they are very similar to Gipsys as you know. If it will be in order for you to inform me what I will be most likely take the test on, I shall be most grateful to you."
He sent a telegram back which (even before the days of auto-correctign smartphones) managed to read "Tiger Mothers for initial test".
She was well into her stride now. Here she is, writing to ATA Adjutant Kitty Farrer on the 9 Apr 1941:
First of all I would like to say how pleased I am that I was successful in passing my flight test yesterday, and that I am looking forward very much to coming down to take up duty. I already feel I shall be very happy with you all, as everyone was very nice to me yesterday. I do sincerely hope it will not be long before you send for me - you know I am honestly very anxious to get down to what I term 'a real job of work'.
There was one thing I forgot to ask you yesterday, a rather important one as well! The question of salary!!
I know the rates as published in 'Flight' but whether these apply to male and female, or only the former, I do not know, will you be kind enough to tell me exactly what the scale is?
From what you said yesterday, I gather I shall be at Hatfied 'under training' for about a month, & during this time I take it flying pay will not be applicable. I should like to know just how I shall be fixed as regards salary, so that I can make necessary arrangements here before I leave, i.e. (so that if necessary I will have sufficient cash to last me until I draw my first pay).
I am asking you this because I have recently transferred my Bank balance to War Bonds, & naturally do not want to have to 'cash in' on these if not necessary. I think you will quite understand my asking - I hope so anyway.Further, if there are any special subjects I can 'swot' meantime, will you send me a list? I am swotting up Met: Navigation, etc, and also my morse - I don't know whether the ATA ever have need to use the latter, but it may be useful at some time or other.
Believe me Mrs Farrer, this job of work I am going to do, & I shall do my utmost to do it well, means an awful lot to me, I told you my fiancé F/Lt Lockyer is a prisoner of War, & to me now, every 'plane we can deliver to the Great Lads of the RAF, means one day nearer to the time he will be home, & everyone carefree & happy again. You don't know Tommy, but he is a grand fellow, & a damn good pilot, he has over 3,000 to his credit! My record is a mere detail beside that isn't it?
To me, however, his 3,000 hours means an awful lot, & whenever I fly, I always try my best to do it well, I've his good reputation to uphold you see. You'll probably think that a very sentimental reason, on the other hand, maybe you'll understand what I mean.
By the way, I think I could get off with a fortnight's notice, so if perchance if I could start with you in May, will you let me know. Here's hoping I can start then.
Forgive me for taking up so much of your time with this letter please, I started it with the intention of being very business like! but I'm afraid it's got to be a personal letter in the end - hasn't it?
Hoping to be with you all very soon.
She wrote back to Mr Wood to say thank you, and that "I passed the flight test successfully - in fact, I did very well indeed, so I was told by the Adjutant afterwards - she said "Your test was excellent". So you may guess I felt quite proud of myself!
Actually I surprised myself I must admit, because after being 'off' flying since the outbreak of war, I thought maybe I'd have forgotten a few things - however I hadn't, thank goodness! because this job means rather a lot to me as I told you."
20th April 1941, to Kitty:
"Dear Mrs Farrer,
Many thanks for your letter of the 14th instant. You know you make me feel very much at 'home' the way you write, and I know that I will be very happy with you all when I come to join you.
I think I told you I am at an E.F.T.S. at the moment, and British Air Transport, who are running the School, have a scheme for training boys to become engine experts! (we hope!) so after office hours, I am an apprentice! I am trying to put together all the numerous parts which go to make up an aircraft engine!!
I suppose I will be reaching the 'watchmaker' stage before too long - you know - one piece over! Where the heck does this go?!! I have learned quite a lot about 'twin' types, and already, in theory! I think I could fly 'em!! That remains to be seen, but I hope one day soon I shall be flying twin, or even more than twin types.
Optimistic aren't I! Strange to say though, right from childhood I've always felt more at home 'upstairs' than on the ground.
Here's hoping you will soon require some more pilots Mrs Farrer, I'm an awful pest aren't I? but I'm just longing to get started you know."
Nothing continued to happen...
5th June to Kitty:
"Dear Mrs Farrer,
Yes, it's that Arckless pest again! I am going to ask you something point blank, and leave it to you to decide what happens!
As so far there seems no possibility of me coming down to join you in the immediate future on the flying staff, I wonder if in the meantime there is any chance of a Ground appointment, either as a typist or clerical staff.
If there is any opportunity of work of this nature in the meantime, I would be perfectly willing to come down, and then later, when a vacancy exists for a pilot, I could be transferred to that vacancy.
I feel sure that I could make myself quite useful if there are any openings in this direction, but of course, as you will understand, I naturally want to start on flying duties as soon as possible.
I am sure you will think I am an awful nuisance, but as you have been so kind, I hope you will forgive me troubling you again. To be perfectly honest Mrs Farrer, this is between you and I entirely - I am sitting in the office here doing practically nothing all day and I don't like it!
You see, as Mr Brown, our Accountant, knows I am leaving to come to A.T.A. sometime, he has taken on someone else who is taking over my job, and the point is, that I am left without anything to do, except to watch that my job is done correctly by someone else!
Well, there you are, thats the position, and if you are able to help me, I shall be most grateful to you.
Thanking you in anticipation of your reply, Very Sincerely, Irene"
Nothing still continued to happen; eventually Irene took herself off to another job, so she must have been amazed to finally get the call to report on 1 August 1941.
She completed training (although she bumped into another aircraft when landing on the 11th August, due to 'bad airmanship'), went on to ferry work, and progressed through the ranks; she was promoted to Third Officer on 5 Feb 1942, then Second Officer on 1 Jul 1942.
On the 24 Feb 1942, ATA Senior Commander Pauline Gower invited Irene into her office to discuss a rather delicate matter. Irene was typically... forthright:
"Interview with 3rd Officer Irene Arckless
To Pauline Gower Dear Madam,
Further to interview of this morning, I would like to place the following statement on record as I feel it would be more satisfactory from my own personal view point. The matter being to me of a very serious nature, and effecting my good character, as such it has always been to date.
Reference the accusation made, and presumed to concern myself i.e. that at a certain aerodrome (unnamed) an unnamed duty pilot is reported to have said to me - when I requested the delivery chit to be signed - "I will, if you give me a kiss first".
I wish to emphatically deny these words, as never, on any occasion, has such a familiar attitude been adopted by any duty pilot wherever I have been.
Further, I would like to place on record that far from adopting a familiar attitude myself - I get my chits signed as soon as possible, and depart from the duty pilot's office.
Having served six months in H.M. Forces prior to joining A.T.A. I consider, that as an Officer and I trust, a lady, I know how to conduct myself both in and out of uniform.... "
Irene demanded a full and detailed enquiry, and went on,
"I would like to add that recently at a number of aerodromes visited, & by a number of people, I have been mistaken for another female member of the ATA, whether there proves to be any connection with the charge made & the above - will do doubt, after investigation, come to light.
I an Madam, Your Obedient Servant, Irene
Pauline (no doubt muttering under her breath 'For goodness' sake, calm down, woman'), replied:
"With reference to your letter to me of today's date, I would point out to you that you have not been charged with any offence. Certain matters have been brought to my attention and I took the course of discussing these with you in order to clear them up.
Under the circumstances I shall make a further investigation but in the meantime I am fully prepared to take your word concerning the particular instance mentioned in our conversation this morning."
... and that appears to have been the end of that.
The very next month (March 1942), however, a more serious matter came up, and she was grounded. Without boring you with all the tedious details of 'She said to me, so I said to her', etc, what happened was this:
On the 15th March, Irene ferried an aircraft from Catterick to Prestwick, via Carlisle. As she landed, who should be watching but Margie Fairweather, and she was not pleased by what she saw; "I noted the circuit and approach of the machine which ultimately turned out to be piloted by 3rd Officer Arckless. The final turn into the slight wind which was blowing, was done in a series of jerks, in the nature of flat turns, and the machine was then under-shooting by several hundred yards. The engine was now used to recover, and height was again gained. Thereafter the machine made a perfectly good landing on the grass. I was shocked to discover the pilot was 3rd Officer Arckless who is known to have some experience."
Margie confronted Irene, criticised her turns, the height at which she circuited the aerodrome, minutely cross-examined her on her knowledge of the valley, and queried Irene's explanation of a fuel leak for the large quantity of petrol taken on at Carlisle; (she asked for a 'Snag Report' and said "If it's found to be alright, it will be too bad for you", or words to that effect"); she also told Irene she clearly didn't know how to work an altimeter. Margie summed up her opinion of Irene in no uncertain terms: "Her whole bearing during our conversation convinced me, that her extreme confidence in herself as a pilot has no justification."
Irene, in turn, wrote, "Personally I feel that there is some personal prejudice existing in the whole of Captain Fairweather's attitude" and ended her report by stating, "my one ambition is to be an asset to A.T.A. and not a menace!"
As it happens, Irene came up with convincing arguments against all Margie's criticisms; nevertheless, she was sent back to School for a Check Flight, with the Chief Instructor, no less. I wonder if she could resist a slight smirk when the report came back:
19 Mar 1942
T/O I. Arckless
We have duly received your report dated 15 March regarding the above Officer, and thank you for writing.
Miss Arckless has had a flight check with the Chief Flying Instructor who has given us such a good report that we have no alternative but to return her to full flying duties.
Her explanations on your various points seem fairly satisfactory, but we shall, of course, keep this Officer under observation.
To be fair to Margie, she was just doing her job, and she was absolutely right to be concerned; the 15th of March 1942 was one of the worst days of ATA's existence, with 6 people dead in 4 separate crashes. Plus, Margie was a very experienced pilot and instructor; if she had concerns about the way Irene was flying, she was aprobably right. But in any case Margie and Irene's personalities and backgrounds were so different, they were perhaps bound to clash.
Pauline thought it best to transfer Irene anyway, with this note in her file:
"Miss Arckless suffers from over confidence and I am not at all satisfied with her ability as a Class I pilot. I should be grateful therefore if you would keep a careful check on her flying and general airmanship."
Irene's next mishap turned out entirely to her credit; on the 20 Aug 1942 she took off in a Mk I Hurricane, and the port undercarriage leg failed to retract. She wrote "I flew around for about 30 minutes trying to get port leg up, or starboard down, by the emergency methods... nothing happened, in any of these directions, the port leg remained down and starboard up.
After this I circuited the aerodrome, wiggled my wings, and made very amazing other actions. By amazing actions I mean: I trimmed aircraft to fly hands off as well as was possible under the circumstances, took both hands off and feet off everything and tried brute force to move the selector lever... during this period the aircraft certainly appeared to perform some remarkable antics!
I then did a further circuit and went in to land. Port wheel fortunately retracted and I made a normal crash landing."
She went back to School, but this time on a conversion course. Her final report was, again, positive:
"from A G Head, Temp. O.C. Training Pool
"a keen and safe pilot who has shown considerable initiative and resourcefulness. A likeable personality who is inclined to be rather high spirited but whose work is of a high standard. An extremely good navigator who will make a most useful ferry pilot.She had to cope with a difficult problem in a Hurricane with undercarriage selector trouble recently, and belly landed it with less damage than the Engineer Officer of the Station had ever seen before with similar circumstances. She was exonerated by the Accidents Committee, thus proving her School reports to carry considerable weight.All her work in Training Pool has been very satisfactory."
She had another accident, on 21 Dec 42; her Airspeed Oxford developed low oil pressure in its starboard engine and she had to force land. The incident was investigated and she was found 'not to blame'.
Sadly however, her next accident - less than 3 weeks later, in the same type of aircraft - was fatal. On the afternoon of Sunday 3 Jan 1943, her Oxford V3888 crashed onto a house on the outskirts of Cambridge when an engine cut during take-off. She was taken to Addenbrooks but pronounced dead.
I don't think Pauline Gower ever warmed to her, actually; rather than the usual fairly positive summary, she managed to damn Irene with faint praise: "her conduct and general character was satisfactory and she performed her duties conscienciously"
Buried Stanwix Cemetery, Carlisle. ATA pilot Ronald Porter (q.v.) is buried in the adjacent plot.
The Inscription reads:
"UNTIL THE DAY BREAK
Treasured Memories of
Second Officer ATA Ferry Pilot who was accidentally killed
at Cambridge while on Service 3 Jan 1943 Aged 27 Years
Beloved Daughter of William and Fanny Arckless
Also William Arckless Dearly Loved Husband of Fanny
Who Died 18 Dec 1965, Aged 74 Years
Also Fanny, Beloved Wife of William
Who Died 11 April 1987, Aged 92 Years"
The ATA Benevolent Fund went to visit her parents, to offer assistance, but reported back:
"Mr Arckless is an ordinary working man, being an organ-builder by trade and I understand that in recent years he has not been fully employed, hence the reason that I deemed it advisable to interview the deceased's parents on the question of the Fund.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Arckless have requested me to thank the Organisation and the Committee for the consideration shown to them, but they feel that, although their daughter contributed considerably to the home, they cannot under the circumstances avail themselves of any monetary allowance which the Committee may have sen fit to grant them as they feel there must be many more deserving cases, namely young widows left with small children."
Cairns Post, 15 Jan 1943; "Irene Arckless, daughter of a Carlisle organ-builder, was known as "the flying school-girl." She realised her school-girl ambition to emulate Amy Johnson. She made her first solo flight when she was 21. She was killed on the day after her 28th birthday [sic]. She had just returned to her station from four days leave. She was engaged to Flight-Lieutenant Thomas Lockyer, a prisoner of war in Germany.
Lockyer's father said last night "Tom and Irene had known each other since childhood. She took flying lessons as soon as she left school. When Tom joined the RAF, she was determined to get her 'wings as soon as he.”
She joined the RAF ferry service in October, 1941 [sic], after she heard that Lockyer was a prisoner. 'One of us must keep flying, she said'.”
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip files):
M.748 First Officer Henry Michael Andrew Armstrong b.19 Feb 1906, Lacock, Wilts 10 Jun 1942 to 30 Nov 1945
W.166 3rd Officer Joan Henrietta Arthur b. 5 Aug 1919, Ealing 8 May-44 to Sep-45
The Final 7 Women Pilots - Betty Keith-Jopp (W.167), Sue Alexander (W.163), JoanArthur (W.166), Ruth Russell (W.165), Annette Mahon (W.164), Aimee de Neve (W.168), Katharine Stanley Smith (W.162)
Father: George Arthur, a Civil Servant; mother Margaret, a nurse
prev. an insurance clerk
Address in 1945: 51 Hillfield Rd, W Hampstead, London NW6
[Ab initio pilot]
Gained her Royal Aero Club Pilot's Certificate (No 20488) as part of the ATA's 'Wings' scheme on 3 Aug 1945
m. 1948 in Hampstead, Eric G Barton
d. 5 Mar 1993 - Hatch End, Middx
M.245 First Officer William Anthony Artindale b. 21 May 1904, Sheffield 26 Aug 1940 to Aug-45
prev. a horticulturalist
[Contract Terminated, but re-engaged 3 Feb 1941]
d. 1991, Bournemouth
IWM interview here: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80009669
M.340 * 2nd Officer Lionel Hector Tracey 'Ash' Ashburner b. 17 Jun 1899, Seaford, Sussex 27 Mar 1941 to 30 Jun 1945
1971 1977 (both 'Flight')
father Rev. William Ashburner, [Rector of Dodington], mother Georgiana Alder [Rinder]
m. 1926 Gladys Violet [Sheriff]
prev a Planter in the West Indies
The Imperial War Museum has a 1971 audio tape of him: "REEL 1 Aspects of training as officer cadet with Royal Flying Corps, 1917: early interest in flying; period in army, 1917; basic training at Hastings; technical training at Denham. Period on flying training at RAF Eastchurch, 3/1918: reaction to former Royal Naval Air Service; first flight in Avro 504 K, 20/4/1918; opinion of instructors during dual flying training on DH6 and Avro 504 K; story of nearly throwing instructor out during loop; first solo in Sopwith Pup, 13/6/1918; influenza attack; first solo on Sopwith Camel, 28/7/1918; course as flying instructor at RAF Manston. Period as flying instructor at RAF Eastchurch, 1918: story of nearly flying out in loop; two-seater Sopwith Camel; method of recovering from spin. Demobilisation, 1919.
Period as sugar planter in British Guiana, 1920-1929. Passing air license during membership of Bristol and Wessex Flying Club, Filton and Whitchurch Airfields, Bristol area, 1929-1930. Period as rancher in British Guiana, 1930-1935. Period as member of B&WFC and Leicester Flying Club, 1935: aircraft flown; flights to various flying club airfields; Armistice celebrations, 11/11/1918-12/11/1918; development of commercial flying using flying boats in British Guiana; story of giving parents flights. Period prospecting for gold in British Guyana, 1935 -1938. Period flying with B&WFC, 1938-1939: failed attempt to rejoin RAF; question of communicating with control tower. Period as air traffic control officer at Croydon airport, London, 1938-1939: prior training course; question of competition between Imperial Airways and other airlines; types of passenger aircraft; use of Morse code to communicate with aircraft; use of map and pins to record aircraft position; method of landing aircraft by ear; flights of Air France aircraft in bad weather.
Period at Heston airport, London, 1939: review of services and aircraft; army cooperation exercises. Period as air traffic control officer at airfields at Perth, Aberdeen and Whitchurch, 1939-1943: initial rejection due to reserved occupation prior to acceptance on unpaid part-time basis as Class 1 aircraft ferry pilot with Air Transport Auxiliary, 4/1941; opinion of various aircraft flown. REEL 2 Continues: opinion of various aircraft flown; conversion course as Class II aircraft pilot; opinion of Spitfire; story of arrest by military police due to lack of uniform; near accident due to fatigue whilst flying Spitfire and consequent end of control tower duties, 9/1943. Period as fulltime ferry pilot with ATA, 1943-1945.
1977, "Flight"; "Lionel Ashburner from Sywell, Northampton was awarded the John Player Award for Achievement in General Aviation trophy and a £350 cheque for long service in Air Traffic Control. 'Ash' officially retired as an airways controller at Preston in 1963, but then became controller at Sywell, a post he held full-time into his seventies, becoming part-time only this year. He has long been known for an almost magic ability to talk 'temporarily uncertain' pilots into Sywell, aided only by his keen knowledge of Midlands geography."
d. 9 Feb 1986 - Bristol
See also http://www.sywellaerodrome.co.uk/
M.--- 2nd Officer James Stanley Austin b. 7 Apr 1890, Glastonbury 30 Apr 1941 to 21 May 1941
prev. a Mining Engineer, then a Motor Engineer
Royal Navy from 1915-18 then Army Air Corps to 1919
Address in 1938: "Alclutha", St George's Rd, Sandwich, Kent
d. 7 Mar 1982, Exeter
M.453 2nd Officer* Philip de Walden Avery b. 5 May 1909, London 16 May 1941 to 19 Nov 1942
Educated at Harrow
Pre-WWII amateur aviator who had owned:
- a 1930 Comper CLA.7 Swift, G-AAZD;
- a 1931 DH.60G Gipsy Moth, G-ABPT, and
- a 1933 Comper CLA.7 Swift, G-ACML
He also entered (the one and only) Comper Streak, G-ACNC, for the 1935 King's Cup Race, but withdrew before the start.
m. 1939 Ilona de Walyel
A Company Director (Minox Ltd)
Address in 1941: Old Mill Cottage, Wargrave, Berks
"An average pilot, with not too good a sense of discipline"
[* First Officer from 14 Aug-42 but demoted to 2nd Officer 2 weeks later for flying in bad weather, supposedly for a period of 3 months. However, his contract was terminated before this period ended.
The accident which caused him to be demoted was on the 15th August 1942, when he 'abandoned a Spitfire after running out of fuel through flying in bad weather'. The final straw was when, on the 16th November, he forgot to lower the undercarriage of a Hurricane when landing.]
In his defence, he did successfully force-land a Short Scion in September 1942 after engine failure; on the other hand, the Hurricane was the second aeroplane in which his cockpit drill had missed out this rather important item - he had also landed a Blenheim with its wheels up on the 30th August...
[Contract Terminated by ATA 'due to the number of at-fault accidents' (actually, the Hurricane was his 5th)]
Address in 1967: The Garth, Wellingore, Lincoln and Kafue National Game Park, Zambia"
d. Mar 1985 - Lincoln
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
M.667 * First Officer Ronald Wilfred Ayres b. 27 Jan 1919, Huntingdon 23 Sep 1941 to 31 Oct 1945
Manx Aviation & Military Museum
prev. an insurance company clerk
d. May 1998, Huntingdon
M.---- 2nd Officer Denis George Bach b. 22 Dec 1911, Birmingham 19 Aug 1941 to 23 Sep 1941
Prev. a Technical Engineer
Address in 1939: 16 Holly Rd, Handsworth, Birmingham
- 20 Sep 1941, in a Magister; "Pilot got lost and then took off after forced landing, contrary to existing regulations. Wheels of aircraft struck the top of the small hedge and the machine hit the ground."
Contract Terminated 23 Sep 1941
d. 4 Jan 1985 - Santa Barbara, CA
W.--- 2nd Officer
Hon. Lady Mary Bailey CBE
1 December 1890, London 15 Feb 1940 to 29 Mar 1940
photo: 1927, aged 37
Born in London but brought up mainly in County Monaghan, Ireland.
Her family's home was Rossmore Castle, which was a grand affair built in the 1820s, with turrets, a vast drawing room and servants' quarters, not to mention about 20 cottages on the estate:
Here she is, with her brother Willie, and parents (Mittie and Derry) on a set of steps by the house, in 1913:
Throttle Full Open
I visited County Monaghan in 2014 and asked in the local museum if they knew where the house was. 'Oh yes' they said, 'but it was demolished forty years ago'. It seems that it became severely infested with dry rot in the 1940s, was abandoned and, indeed, demolished in 1975.
Anyway, here's all that's left of it now:
Mary married South African mining magnate and white suprematist politician Sir Abe Bailey in September 1911 (so, she was 21, he was nearly 47; his first wife had died in 1902 and he already had two children). They then had five more children - 2 boys and 3 girls.
She learnt to fly at the London Aeroplane Club in 1926. She was the first woman to fly across the Irish Sea 'by the long route' from Chester to Dublin, the following August.
The following March (1928) she began a solo tour to Cape Town, via Malta and then Cairo. Here, her plane was locked away by order of the Governor-General of the Sudan to prevent her from continuing alone, so she contacted Dick Bentley (who had flown to the Cape a few weeks before) to escort her in his own aeroplane over the "dangerous area of the southern Sudan". She then crashed in Tanganyika, writing off her aeroplane (she said it was her fault), but Abe made arrangements for a replacement Moth to be delivered from Pretoria and she continued, despite having 'flu. Abe was there to meet her when she arrived at the end of April.
The return journey was made via the western 'French' route - the Belgian Congo, Angola and the French Congo. She finally arrived back at Croydon on 16 January, 1929, 10 months after she left. It was "undoubtedly one of the finest performances ever put up by a woman pilot."
Lady Bailey was "so modest, so vague and so charming", and was "surprised that anyone should make a fuss about her journey".
A Director of National Flying Services in 1929, (with Frederick Guest, Colonel the Master of Sempill, Alan Cobham, etc); she was also awarded the Brittania Trophy by the Royal Aero Club, and then made a Dame of the British Empire in 1930 for "services to aviation".
At the Chateau d'Ardennes in 1930
She was a guest at Amelia Earhart's reception at the RAeC in May 1932 - photo here.
In early 1933 she gave everyone a scare by disappearing for several days on another solo flight to Cape Town; thankfully, she had only got lost, run low on fuel and landed safely in the Sahara. [Bert Hinkler, who disappeared at about the same time, was killed in the Alps]. She then flew back to England and almost immediately went down with a bout of typhoid, but recovered in time to compete in the King's Cup later in the year.
After that, she concentrated on looking after their horses, giving and attending loads more balls and receptions, and marrying off their many children.
When Abe died in 1940, she settled near Cape Town (still keeping a house in Rutland) and died there 29th August 1960 aged 69.
King's Cup in 1927, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1933
Lady Mary's aeroplanes were:
a 1926 DH.60 Moth (G-EBPU),
a 1927 DH.60X Moth (G-EBSF, the one she crashed in Tanganyika),
the replacement DH.60X Moth (G-EBTG, which Abe bought in Nairobi);
a 1928 DH.60G Gipsy Moth (G-AABN);
a 1929 DH.60G Gipsy Moth (G-AAEE) and
a 1930 DH.80A Puss Moth, G-AAYA.
W.146 3rd Officer Rita Pauline Baines b. 13 Nov 1921, Stoke-on-Trent 28 Dec-43 to 30 Sep-45
Ed. Felixstowe College
prev: Rootes Securities Ltd, (a 'shadow' aircraft factory at Blythe Bridge, near Stoke-on-Trent); MAP from Nov 1942
Ab initio pilot cadet
Later 'Star Girl No. 2', air hostess for British South American Airlines: (see also Mary Guthrie , who was 'Star Girl No. 1)
m. 1946 Captain David Colby, an ex-Pathfinder Squadron Leader
"SEQUEL TO AIR ROMANCE
There was a sequel to an air romance at Trentham Parish Church on Saturday when a former transocean passenger air-liner hostess was married to a pilot in the employ of the British and South American Airways. The bride was Miss Rita P. Baines, the 25-years-old daughter of Mr. C J. Baines, head of Messrs C. J. Baines and Co. Ltd . colour manufacturers, of Stoke, and of Mrs, Baines. The Woodlands. Trentham. and the bridegroom. Mr. David Colby, the 26-years-old son of Mrs Colby. Oulton Broads. Norfolk, a former R.A F. squadron-leader and the holder oi the D.F.C.
The couple met last January when Miss Baines travelled as air-hostess and made a call at the Gambia (British West Africa) station of the airways company. of which Mr. Colby was station manager." Staffordshire Advertiser - Saturday 30 November 1946
[David d. 30 January 1948 (age 27) in the crash of British and South American Airlines' Avro Tudor IV G-AHNP 'Star Tiger', lost on a flight between the Azores and Bermuda. 6 crew and 25 passengers died.]
m. 1949 Christopher Johnson, MD of Johnson Bros Ceramics
"The marriage took place at the Priory Church of St. Bartholomew the Great. West Smithfield. London, on Monday, of Mr. Christopher Johnson. younger son of Mr and Mrs Frank Johnson. Kniveden Hall. Leek, and Mrs Rita Colby, daughter of and Mrs. C. J Baines. Woodlands. Trentham. and widow of Squadron-Leader David Colby. D.F.C. After the reception at the Dorchester Hotel. Mr and Mrs. Johnson left for their honeymoon, which is being spent in Italy." Staffordshire Advertiser - Saturday 20 August 1949
d. 2007 - Newcastle Staffs
M.--- 2nd Officer John Robert Baker b. 26 Jun 1915, London 26 Sep 1941 to Nov-41
prev. an electrician for the Borough of Stepney from 1932
prev. exp 25 hrs solo
L/AC in RAF 22 May - 4 Oct 1940. His 'reference' from them to the ATA says "After being reported extremely backward this ex-pupil was tested on 29th Aug 1940 after 5 hours dual on Oxfords, when it was found that he was definitely below average and completely lacking in air sense. His reactions were extremely slow, flying rough, cockpit drill hazy and judgement bad. He was therefore withdrawn from flying training. It is considered that this ex-pupil is entirely unsuited for the work of a Ferry Pilot".
Even his ATA flying test reported him as "keen, but painfully slow at times" and "very lacking in common sense".
Nevertheless, he was taken on as a Cadet.
... And died a few weeks later, in a flying accident.
d. 20 Nov 1941 (Died in ATA Service) - Miles Hawk Major DP848 (ex G-AENS) on training cross-country flight ran out of fuel and hit hill nr Priddy Wells Somerset in bad visibility.
M.51 Flight Captain Frederick Edward Arthur 'Bam' Bambridge b. 7 Mar 1897, Ealing, London
8 Apr 1940 to 31 Mar 1943 (as pilot)
to 30 Nov 1945 (as Flying Control Officer)
Father: Arthur Leopold Bambridge (d. 1923), Mother: Anna Charlotte Caroline [Siebert]
Royal Field Artillery (6th [Duke of Edinburgh's] Wilts Regiment, Commissioned 12 Apr 1915, in France from 28 Oct 1915), RNAS (Flight Sub-Lieut from 17 Sep 1917, 2nd Lieut), RAF from 1 Apr 1918 (Lieut)
As a Flight Sub-Lieut. in the RNAS, he was seriously wounded in March 1918. This accident, according to research done by his grand-daughter, was "whilst serving as reconnaissance scout in RNAS 2nd Squadron based at Bergues. On 22 March 1918 he and his gunner were hit by anti aircraft fire over Ostende. Bam and gunner Harry Lovelock managed to crawl out onto the wings of the DH4 biplane and witnesses described seeing plane initially diving then fluttering down like a leaf then diving again. Tragically Harry lost his grip and fell at about 1,000 feet from the ground. Bam hung on the tail until a few feet above the ground when he threw himself clear. The plane on crashing rolled over on top of him breaking his legs in several places. The true account was hushed up for the sake of gunner Harry's parents feelings."
In March 1919 he relinquished his commission on account of "ill-health (caused by wounds)" but was permitted to retain his rank.
In July 1919, Flight said (presumably referring to an earlier accident): "Lieut. Bambridge, who had the distinction of losing the tail of his machine at 15,000 ft. in France, and descending on the top plane more or less successfully, was in charge of the ground operations" for an air display in Liverpool.
m. Jul 1926 in Steyning, Sussex Vera Maud [Fullick]
His patent No 338,495 for 'Improvements in or connected with Braking Means for Aeroplanes and the like purposes" was published in December 1930:
"The braking force is applied directly to the landing wheels and undercariage.... My invention admits of several modes of application and according to one embodiment a bracket or like device having slots in angular or other suitable relation is employed in co-operative relation with and at each end of the axle of the landing wheels."
Address in 1940: Waimate, Gordon Rd, Whitstable
Postings: 6FPP, 1FPP, 4bFPP
Suspended in Jan 1941 for nine days for 'Accumulative Misdemeanours'
Suspended for 7 days in May 1941 for 'disregard of flying regulations at 33 MU Lyneham'
1 accident, not his fault:
- 18 Jun 1941, the wheels of his Anson got clogged in long grass, 'which prevented the pilot obtaining sufficient height to clear an obstruction'.
"This officer though limited in his flying activities for medical reasons has more than made up for it by his energy and organising ability in the Operations Room where he has proved himself a very great asset."
Transferred to ground duties 31 Mar 1943.
"Is a very conscientious officer. Unfortunately he is not good at handling his staff, and does not achieve a good team spirit."
Or, "A first class organizer and highly efficient Chief Flying Control Officer."
In September 1945 as the ATA was being disbanded, the Air Movements Flight held a 'Farewell Dinner'. The menu, and a 'poem' in the form of an ABC, have survived:
Aubrey Bower [M.758]
Bill [Guy] Harben [M.18]
Toni Combi [M.588]
Diana Hutchinson [W.107]
H. C. Mason
d. Dec 1966 - Elstree, Herts
His grand-daughter Fiona kindly tells me that "Bam's mother, Caroline Charlotte Anna Siebert-Charters, was a German aristocrat. His father, Arthur Leopold Bambridge, was an artist who exhibited several times at the Royal Academy and was a Member.
Bam's parents divorced when he and his elder sister Emily were small, in 1904. It was his mother who filed for divorce; she took Emily to Germany with her, leaving Bam with his father in England, apparently so that he did not get naturalised to being German.
Bam went to primary school locally in Wiltshire, then later went to stay with his uncle William, who was a Professor of Music and organist for Marlborough College. Bam spent 2 years at Marlborough, although not very successful academically I was informed by their archivist.
He joined the RFA in 1915, then RNAS. He was shot down twice in France, once whilst his passenger took aerial photos; the passenger was sadly killed, Bam was injured and thereafter always walked with a limp.
Bam met Vera when he retrieved her Alsatian dog after it had run off in fields near Shoreham airport. When he inherited his mother's money, he and Vera lived the high life - skiing in Switzerland, Cannes for the casinos (Bam loved gambling), and were friends with the Benetti brothers (racing cars). 'Bam' worked as a stunt pilot, carpenter, admin for BOAC in a London office, and also sold sun lamps.
Bam and Vera had four children, Angela, Anthony, Brian and John. John became a pilot in the RAF and also flew privately. My aunt, Angela, is the last one still with usBam joined up in the early days of the ATA; a friend of his from Whitstable, Herbert Mason (q.v.) was joining so he applied. At first he flew planes, then later was promoted to Flight Captain. You can see his name in the marvellous poem written at the end of the war for their final evening dinner party.
Bam and Vera separated around 1940, and divorced after the war. Bam remained in Maidenhead (near the old White Waltham ATA base), living in a small flat, and used to visit the old ATA base, by then an Aero Club. He also avidly read flying magazines sent to him by his sister Emily. Bam died of tuberculosis in hospital in Herts in 1966.
He was in contact with some of his relatives during those years including his cousin Philip whose wife told me how Bam lived a very simple life - "one plate, one cup,"less washing up", he said. He was fond of her small children, he was always a gentleman, had twinkly eyes and a lively smile.
The ATA ladies, Joy Lofthouse and Mary Ellis both told me in 2011 that Bam was a gentleman. He was often to be seen standing at the end of the runway at White Waltham, looking up into the sky."
W.119 3rd Officer Mrs Eirene Rosemary Banister b. 20 Jul 1919, Budleigh Salterton, Devon 12 Jul 1943 to 30 Sep 1945
1940 (The Bystander)
Father Richard Whittow (a Merchant and farmer), mother Eirene Frances Stewart [Tweedie] (m. 1910 in Colombo, Ceylon)
Address in 1939: Muryn, Brockenhurst, Hants
Sailed to the UK from Port Said with her parents in December 1938, then to the USA in June 1939
Civil Air Guard in 1939
prev. exp. 3 hrs on Gypsy Moth
m. 31 Mar 1940 in Brockenhurst, Lt. Peter Charles McConnel Banister RN, DSC (d. 19 Jul 1941 in HM submarine 'Umpire' which collided with a trawler off the Norfolk coast on its maiden voyage) (1 child, Carol b. 1941)
Postings: 5TFPP, 12FPP (Sec), 15FPP
Class III pilot
m. Sep 1947 in Hants, Hugh Digorie Seccombe (2 children: Celia b. 1948, Geoffrey b. 1949)
Moved to Guildford, Surrey and died there 1 Jun 2011
IWM interview (from 1989) here: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80009672
M.506 First Officer Albert Barker b. 16 Apr 1908, Shipley 6 Jun 1941 to 31 Oct 1945
Educated at Shipley Central School
m. 1934 May [Jackson]; 1 child
prev. Company Director, Valley Road Motors (Shipley) Ltd;
RAF Jul-40 to Apr-41, AC/2 Cadet
Address in 1941: 6 Hilton Ave, Frizinghall, Bradford
Postings: 7FPP, 8FPP
Off sick from 2 Dec 1942 to 23 Feb 1943, following a crash-landing in Wellington W5587 after complete failure of the port engine.
Suspended for 1 day in Dec-43 for Loss of Ferry Pilot's Notes;
Aug-44, reprimanded for low flying: "This pilot has not settled down at this pool, I have recommended C.O.O. to post him [back to 7FPP]. O.C. 8FPP
"An excellent Officer who, by his good flying and behaviour, has been a real asset to the Pool."
d. Mar 1981 - Staincliffe, N Yorks
W.59 First Officer Diana Barnato MBE FRAeS b. 15 Jan 1918, Camden Town, London 2 Dec-41 to Aug-45
Father: Capt. Joel Woolf 'Babe' Barnato (a financier, chairman of Bentley Motors and a racing driver), mother: Dorothy Maitland [Falk, divorced 1935]
Ed. Queen's College, London
prev. VAD nurse and with the Red Cross
prev. exp. 10 hrs
Address in 1941: Ridgemead, Englefield Green, Surrrey
Severely Reprimanded in May 1943 for "appearing at Windsor Races wearing trousers and side cap", and Reprimanded in Jun 1943, and demoted to 3rd Officer for 'divertion of operational aircraft"
m. 6 May 1944 in Englefield Green, Wing-Cmdr Derrick 'Derek' Ronald Walker DFC (d. 14 Nov 1945 in a flying accident)
Post-WWII, having gained her commercial licence she became a pilot for the Women's Junior Air Corps, giving air cadets air experience and training flights at weekends.
In 1956, Veronica Volkersz wrote that Diana was one of only 7 women flying commercially: - "Diana Barnato-Walker flies regularly for the Women's Junior Air Corps" - and concluded that "The tragedy is that for women, commercial aviation is now - except, possibly, in Russia - a closed field."
[The others were Jackie Moggridge, Monique Rendall, Jean Bird, Suzanne Ashton, Zita Irwin and Freydis Leaf]
She was awarded the Jean Lennox Bird Trophy in 1963:
Receiving the Jean Lennox Bird Trophy from Lord Brabazon, 1963 [RAeC]
On 26 Aug 1963 she became the first British woman to exceed the speed of sound, and the fastest woman in the world when she attained Mach 1.65 (1262 mph) in an E.E. Lightning T.4.
Wrote "Spreading My Wings" (1994)
d. 28 Apr 2008
"In later years Diana Barnato Walker took up sheep farming and was master of the Old Surrey and Burstow foxhounds for thirteen seasons, while continuing to fly for the Women's Junior Air Corps (renamed in 1964 the Girls' Venture Corps). She also became commodore of the Air Transport Auxiliary Association. She died of pneumonia on 28 April 2008 in a hospital near her sheep farm in Surrey, and was survived by her son, Barney."
M.699 * Edward Leslie Barrington M.C., D.F.C. b. 23 Jun 1895, Harborne, Stafford 4 Feb 1942 to 19 Oct 1943
Awarded the Military Cross 26 May1917 as a 2nd Lieut (temp Captain) in the Devon Regiment, "for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He succeeded in establishing telephonic communication with the front line almost immediately the objective was reached. He set a splendid example of courage and determination."
Later joined the RFC and RAF.
Flt-Lt in RAF in 1924, later Sqn-Ldr
- 27 Jul 1943, in Hellcat FN324; "during take-off the aircraft swung to port and sruck the marking post on a cart working out of sight over the crest of the runway"
d. 1976 - Cheltenham, Glos
M.689 * Senior Commander
Hon. Benjamin Ludlow 'Ben' Bathurst
2nd Viscount Bledisloe
b. 2 Oct 1899, Westbury, Wilts 1 Dec 1941 to 15 Dec 1945
Ed. Eton, Magdalen College, Oxford (B.A.)
2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery in WWI.
prev. a Barrister at Law; Squadron Leader in the RAF.
m 1933 Joan Isobel [Krishaber]
Postings: before Apr 43, ATA Chief Establishment Officer; from Apr 1943 Director of Services and Personnel
"In early 1944 [6 Apr] the ATA were called in to collect a Hudson from Holmsley South in the New Forest, which had been flown in from the Middle East and had been landed, one must suppose, at the first airfield in England that came into view. The task fell to Ben Bathurst, one of the senior members of the headquarters staff, who had only recently completed his Hudson conversion course. Nobody at Holmesley South had ever seen a Hudson but eventually, the crew satisfied themselves as to the serviceability of the aircraft and made their departure.
The runway at Holmesley South was a long one but even so, the Hudson even with full engine power refused to become airborne and the take-off ended in an adjacent field minus wheels and engines.Ben and his flight engineer were indeed lucky to escape."
"During the next few months three Hudsons were lost in similar circumstances, in each case the crew being killed. It was at this stage that Coastal Command put in hand an investigation which showed that all four Hudsons had recently returned from the Middle East where they had been parked out in the tropical sun. The sun and heat, it was decided, had split the rubber of the wing leading-edge de-icing boots causing a breakdown of the air over the wings. After this the rubber was replaced by metal sheeting." ELC
He also had another accident on 2 Jan 1945, when his Stinson Reliant FB669 landed at White Waltham minus an escape hatch, which must have blown off in flight, "probably due to insecure fastening."
"The Hon. and Mrs Benjamin Bathurst" Tatler, 1946
d. 17 Sep 1979
see his entry in https://en.wikipedia.org
M.559 First Officer Robert Edward Baugh b. 30 Nov 1900, Birmingham 18 Jun 1941 to 15 Mar 1944
Father: Robert Baugh, [d. 1946 in Rome], Mother Fanny Dingley [ d. 1935]
Ed. Kings Norton Secondary School, Birmingham
m. 1930 Hilda [Thomas]; 2 children [Samuel b. 1934, Miranda b. 1943]
RAF 1920-24, Flying Officer
prev. a Representative for Osmond and Sons, Ltd, Grimsby (a Cattle Medicine Manufacturer)
Address in 1941: Dorrington, Shrewsbury
Postings: 12FPP, 5FPP, 7FPP
He was a passenger in the crash of Anson N4929 at Scorton airfield on 18th November 1941. "The tail wheel appears to have jammed on landing and caused a swing to develop on the ground, the swing was uncontrolled and the starboard undercarriage leg appears to have collapsed resulting in the aircraft skiding to a halt with the starboard wing and aileron being listed as damaged."
Off sick 6 Feb to 9 Mar 1942 with dental caries;
Off sick 12 Sep to 30 Nov 1942 with concussion.
"His progress through the School was very slow, due partly to a long period of sickness, and a tendency to lack confidence. He is of a somewhat nervous disposition... as a pilot, he is about average."
"He is a modest man with a likeable personailty and the makings of a good officer."
[Contract Terminated by ATA 15 Mar 1944]
Post-WWII, he worked in Kenya (see below) and travelled back to the UK from Mombasa, alone, arriving on the 28 Nov 1958.
Hilda had travelled back to the UK, alone, in Aug 1956.
On 9 Dec 1959, he wrote to Diana Barnato Walker this sad little letter:
"Dear Mrs Barnato-Walker,
You may possibly remember me in the old A.T.A. days - but it is a long time ago. I was at St Pauls on Remembrance Sunday this year and saw you there, but did not have a chance to speak to you as I had to leave directly the service was over.
The purpose of this letter is to ask you if you can help me to get a job in Africa where I believe you have large interests. I have been in Kenya for the last few years doing irrigation and development work and planting. Before the war I was cotton-growing in the Sudan and Egypt. In Kenya I was in a government department working in the Northern Frontier Province, but in 1958 the scheme I was engaged on was abandoned owing to the financial recession, and I became redundant. I stayed on in Kenya for some time with friends hoping to get another job but there was nothing doing; during this time I had the misfortune to have a riding accident in which I fractured my skull and broke my hip-bone, and as I could not afford to pay the hospital fees out there I had to return to this country for treatment.
I am quite better now but have no qualifications for a job in this country, although I have tried very hard to get work I have had no luck. My money ran out some time ago and I have been (and am) living on a very small allowance from the National Assistance Board, which just pays for my cheap lodgings. I am most desperate to get work, and if you can put me on to anything I shall be more than grateful.
Yours Sincerely, Robert E Baugh
p.s. I am perfectly willing to do anything and go anywhere."
Diana passed the letter on to Mr Moore, who was the ATA contact point, and added:
"4 Jan 1960
Dear Mr Moore,
Here is the letter that I spoke to you on the telephone about. If you can do anything right away for him perhaps you will let me know?
I have no contacts now in South Africa, but suggest that when you have contacted Baugh re his present position, that I send his letter on to Mr and Mrs Alan Butler - she was Lois Butler of the ATA - & see if they have any ideas, or offers of employment. For they have a considerable estate in Nairobi.
Unfortunately they are away until mid February."
... And that is all I know, so far... (sorry)
M.585 First Officer Victor Richard Baxter-Jones b. 7 Jun 1918, Wells, Somerset 15 Jul 1941 to 31 Dec 1945
Educated at Jordan Hill College School, Glasgow
Trudy's 1939 RAeC Cert photo
m. 1940 Gertrude 'Trudy' [Eklid], 1 daughter
RAFVR Mar-Nov 1937
prev. Ground Engineer for Bristol Aeroplane Co
Address in 1941: 7 Market Hill, Calne, Wilts
d. 31 Jan 2014, Gainesville GA
"Mr. Baxter-Jones also became the senior concierge at Maxim's de Paris in Palm Springs, Calif. He was loved by all the hotel guests for his English appearance, accent and manners.
When World War II ended Mr. Baxter-Jones worked for the De Havilland Aircraft Company. This career took him from England to the United States in 1957. He lived in Rockford, Ill., Plymouth, Mich., San Antonio, Texas, and Palm Springs, Calif., until moving to Georgia in 1992. He loved the friendly people and beauty of the state of Georgia especially the birds, the wildlife and the climate.
He met the love of his life, Trudy at a flying club in England at the beginning of World War II. She had learned to fly and had made a solo flight before they married. He felt that it was too dangerous for a woman to fly during the war so she never flew again.
Mr. Baxter-Jones wished to be cremated and his ashes returned to his birthplace, in Wells, Somerset, England. A memorial service will be performed at a later date in his beloved Wells Cathedral.
Mr. Baxter-Jones is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Sue and Steve McMillian, Gainesville; granddaughter and husband, Shea Jaworski, North Little Rock, Ark.; great-grandson and great-granddaughter, Vincent and Anna Jaworski; and his niece, Penelope Baxter-Jones, Hampshire, England.
M.257 First Officer Peter Wellburn Bayliss b. 17 Jul 1915, Wolverhampton 18 Feb 1941 to Aug-45
educated at Charterhouse
an Iron Founder (Bayliss, Jones & Bayliis Ltd, Wolverhampton)
Address in 1941: 'Woodthorne', Tettenhall, Staffs
Postings: 1FPP, 6FPP, 12FPP, 14FPP
"A good pilot of sound average ability", but he was:
a) severely reprimanded and given 2 extra duties for 'Neglect of Duty' in Jun-43; "When detailed for night duty pilot and fire-watcher, he left the airfield on two occasions without permission" and
b) reprimanded in Feb-44 for taxiing a Proctor so carelesslythat the port wing hit a gate post.
He seems to have settled down later; his discipline was regarded as "satisfactory" by late 1944.
m. Aline Johncelyne Spiers (nee Pickin), also an aviator, in 1946
Flew Proctor II G-AKXZ in the 1949 Goodyear Race
He took out a patent in 1956: "Improvements in or relating to vices" (not that sort of vices, silly).
Later Director and Secretary of Brockmore-Bede Aircraft of the Brockmoor Foundry Co., Brierley Hill, W. Midlands.
d. 14 Nov 1992 - Titley Kington, Herefordshire
M.59 Flight Captain John Bayly MBE b. 23 Feb 1911, Leominster 29 Apr 1940 to Aug-45
Ed. Winchester, then BA from New College Oxford
prev. Coldstream Guards 2nd Lieut. 1929-31
a Timber Merchant
Address in 1940: Amberde House, Taunton
prev. exp. 540 hrs. Owned 2 aircraft:
- G-ACRD, a 1934 BA Swallow 2, and
- G-AEUX, a 1937 Miles Whitney Straight.
Postings: 1FPP, 2FPP, 6FPP, 7FPP, 9FPP (also seconded to AFTS, Air Ministry and RAE Farnborough)
"An excellent ferry pilot, an admirable officer and a charming person. If his reactions to a situation are not always conventional, they are always sound and sensible."
Feb-45: "His qualities are such that he has been appointed acting second-in-command of No. 9 Ferry Pool".
M.1009 3rd Officer John Anthony Harkness Beckton b. 16 Jul 1917, Brighton 4 Oct 1943 to 30 Jun 1945
W.--- Cadet Betty Bell b. 23 Sep 1919, Holborn, London 1 Apr 1942 to 2 May 1942
Father: Robert Norton Bell, 55 St Albans Park, Sidney Parade, Dublin, mother: Marie [Stemple or Stempel, d. 1939]
Ed. Westcliff High School, Essex
[Contract Terminated by ATA - "Unlikely to become an efficient ferry pilot"]
m. 1942 in Dublin, Matthew David Buchalter(?)
d. 7 Oct 1978 (?)
W.--- Cadet Dorothy Ritson Bell b. 27 May 1920, Carlisle 8 May 1944 to 25 May 1944
Father: Alfred Redmayne Bell (an agriculturalist, d. 1925 in Nigeria), mother: Ruth Dorothy [Ritson]
prev: Private secretary; WAAF
Next of Kin: (uncle) Alan Brewis Bell
Address in 1944: Cardrona, Wise Lane, Mill Hill London NW7
Contract Terminated by ATA - unlikely to become an efficient ferry pilot
m. 1945 in Paddington, John T Tierney (?)
M.489 First Officer Frank William Bell b. 7 Jun 1903, Lincoln 10 Jun 1941 to 12 Jul 1945
Educated at Gresham School, Holt then New College Oxford.
Associate Member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, in 1929
Father: William Thomas Bell
prev. an engineer for Robey & Co., Lincoln and an Inspector in the Lincoln City Special Constabulary from Aug-39
Address in 1941: Hillside, South Park, Lincoln
Postings: 6FPP, 3FPP, 5FPP
"A capable pilot and a good officer. With the exception of the Fulmar accident [when an undercarriage leg collapsed on landing] all his Training Pool work has been satisfactory".
Lincolnshire Echo, 16 Sep 1942:
"Ferry Pilot To Pay Damages
An accident near Saxilby Bridge on June 28 was referred to at Lincoln County Court when Frank William Bell, ferry pilot, South Park, Lincoln, defended an action for damages for negligence brought by Charles Freeetone Cansdale, fitter and erector, and his wife, Olive May, Bell St, Lincoln, who were given judgment for £98 3s 10d, and costs.
It was stated that a collision occurred just after Cansdale, who was riding a motor-cycle with his wife on the pillion, emerged from Mill Lane on to Saxilby Rd. Cansdale said that when he reached the junction of the lane and the road he stopped, looked both ways, and not seeing any traffic, went on the main road intending to turn right and go over the bridge.
He was almost on the crown of the road when he saw Bell's car come over the peak of the bridge. He (Cansdale) drove to his correct side of the road, and was straightening up when he saw Bell's car coming over the white line to his side of the road. In an effort to avoid the car he drove so that half the cycle was on the pavement. The car hit the rear of it. His wife was injured, and he was was off work two weeks.
Bell said he was travelling at about 30mph. After crossing the bridge he could see the motor cycle in Mill Lane. He expected it to stop when it reached the main road, but it did not. He braked hard, and went over to his offside to give the motor cycle a much space as possible. He did not agree that part of the motor cycle was on the pavement when the impact occurred.
P.C. Gough said there was a brake mark 69ft long caused by the car, commencing 8ft 9ins from the offside and ending close to the curb on its offside.
Judge Lanaman said that in swerving to the offside Bell made an error of judgement, but the degree of negligence was small."
d. Sep 1963 - Lincoln
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
M.2* First Officer Rupert Bellville b. 28 Dec 1904, Lubenham, Market Harborough, Leics. 1 Feb 1940 to Nov-40
His family had made their fortune in the mustard trade.
Ed. Eton (left in 1921)
Height: 6ft 4½ in. Fair hair, blue eyes.
In 1931, he was Venetia Montagu's personal pilot when they decided to tour Persia and Russia in her DH.60G Gipsy Moth G-ABFW. They left Heston on March 27th, reached Budapest on April 1, made a forced landing at Nisch, Jugoslavia, but were able to fly to Constantinople on the 13th April. 20 days later on May 2nd, "when flying from Teheran to Moscow, their machine crashed near Sabzawar, Persia, and, although the machine was burnt, they were both unhurt.”
It only took her a couple of weeks to find another aeroplane, however; she purchased a ‘Moth‘ in Iraq, and left for Astrabad, on the Russian frontier, on May 16. They arrived in Moscow from Tashkent on June 1st, and left for Berlin on June 3rd.
In 1934, he was described as "a very well-known air pilot, of Papillon Hall, Market Harborough, Leicestershire".
He was fined £10, plus 3 guineas costs, in 1936 for persistently smoking on board the Imperial Airways airliner 'Heracles'. He said at the time "I shall smoke if I like, I have always done so". The Times reported that Mr Bellville had joined the Auxiliary Air Force in 1926 and had flown "all over the Continent and all over Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Persia, India, Siam and China". The court was thinking about letting him off with a warning, but were put off by what they described as his "defiant attitude".
In late August 1937, he got himself into the Spanish Civil War (on General Franco's side) and was briefly taken prisoner by the republicans. Apparently, he had (wrongly) heard that Santander had fallen to the nationalists, so he flew himself and the head of the Gonzales Byass sherry firm there, with "a few cases of sherry for the officers of the victorious troops". When they landed at the airport, he discovered his mistake and was taken prisoner and forced to fly to Gijon, while his passenger was held as a hostage. I don't know what happened to the aeroplane... or the sherry!
Rupert was released 10 Sep, 1937, prompting a question in the House of Commons as to "in what circumstances, on whose authority, and at what cost a British destroyer was dispatched" to rescue him.
He sold Papillon Court the following year and thereafter gave his address as "White's Club, London."
His son Hercules ** was born in San Diego in 1939 (Rupert's then-wife was American).
He resigned from the ATA on 19 Nov 1940.
He gave his profession in 1946 as (trust me) "a bullfighter".
He was declared bankrupt in 1955.
d. 23 Jul 1962, London
His obituary said "Rupert's death will leave a gap in many places. He had a host of friends in London, Paris, New York, Spain, and wherever else his wanderings took him and these friends were of all sections of the community.
Rupert's tragedy was that he was born in the wrong age. He would have been an ideal companion for d'Artagnan or would have been in his element helping Francis Drake to singe the King of Spain's beard. These things being denied to him in this material age, he nevertheless contrived to find adventure in every walk of life. He fought bulls in Spain and became a brilliant air pilot in the years before the war. He also took part in the Spanish Civil War. He loved to gamble and some of his happiest hours must have been spent at backgammon tables all over the world and at the bridge table.
There were times, perhaps, when the world became too much for him but his many friends will remember him for his cavalier qualities and his companionship. To paraphrase the words from which his great friend Ernest Hemingway took the title of a book, "... never send to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee".
** His son Hercules, who became a famous film director and producer, died of lung cancer on 12 Feb 2009.
M.1049 3rd Officer John Leslie Bennett b. 17 Oct 1914, Manchester 29 Jan 1944 to Sep-45
prev. Sales Mgr for BO Morris, Birmingham, then a Sergeant in the RAFVR Oct-39 to Apr-41
His grandson kindly tells me that "Your website has prompted a conversation with my Mum (his daughter) regarding my Grandfather's life in the war - She informs me that that she thinks he had wanted to be a pilot in the RAF but had not passed the necessary exams, so instead became a rear gunner/bomber in Lancasters.
He spoke very little of his time in the RAF, but did regale a story of almost falling out of the gunning position in the Lancaster (through the floor), and of dropping bales of propaganda leaflets over Germany - they were supposed to cut the strings to let them flutter down, but instead just through them out in hope they would land on a German's head!
There is then a period of time that is unaccounted for, but my mum wonders if he had had some sort of breakdown from some comments he made very late in his life about spending some time in hospital. Then he spent 18 months in the ATA - my Mum remembers him talking about flying with the instruction manual on his knees as he flew all sorts of different planes!"
...and here are some of the photographs his grandson sent me:
W.45 First Officer Margaret Ellen 'Faith' Bennett
b. 12 May 1903, London
8 Jul 1941 to 31 Jul 1945
née Margaret Ellen Riddick
Father: Harry Riddick, mother Mabel
Ed. Selhurst High School, Croydon, Surrey
Her elder brother, Private Stanley Charles Riddick, d. 15 Nov 1916, aged 19, in France during WWI.
She married Hollywood film writer Charles Alfred Selwyn Bennett in 1930, and calling herself 'Faith Bennett', was an actress pre-WWII - firstly on the London stage:
"Faith Bennett, who will play lead in 'Recipe for Murder', a new play by Arnold Ridley, which opens at the Duke of York's Theatre on December 21" (1932)
... and then in many films, including 'Eyes of Fate', 'Hawleys of High Street' and 'The Pride of the Force' (1933), and 'Seeing Is Believing', and 'Master and Man' (both 1934)), although I've seen references to other films e.g. 'Love In The Air' and 'Atlantic Crossing'...
"In taste, quality and packing the equal of much dearer cigarettes but not quite so large; big enough, however, to last the full 10 minutes" (1937)
... and also played the Fairy Godmother in 'Cinderella', the Drury Lane pantomime, in !934
At the same time, she took up flying and passed for her 'A' Licence at Sywell Aerodrome in 1934 (which apparently included wearing 'weird and wonderful costumes' at the Novelty Dance held there in February:
With her instructor, Tommy Rose - see
(Faith and Charles, far right)
[Charles also took lessons, but doesn't seem to have gained his certificate]
In May 1941 she decided to 'do her bit': "Faith Bennett, actress and writer, is flying to England to ferry 'planes for the Royal Air Force [sic]. Mrs Bennett was born in London 30 years ago [sic]. Flying is her hobby. She holds both American and British licenses. ''One of my brothers died in the last war, another is in the Royal Navy, my sister is a censor at Bermuda - they are all doing their bit, and I want to do mine,' she said."
prev. exp. 296 hrs
Address in 1941: Falcon House, Sonning, Berks
Postings: 1FPP, 5TFPP, 15FPP
Off sick from 9 Dec 1941 to 6 Jan 1942 after her Hurricane crash, and 27 Oct 1943 to 13 Jan 1944 with 'concussion'
Rather unfortunate: 11 accidents, 3 her fault:
- 8 Dec 1941, she persisted too far in bad weather, stalled her Hurricane BD859 near the ground and broke the undercarriage
- 16 Feb 1943, the port leg of her Tomahawk AH802 broke off during landing
- 24 Feb 1943, in another Tomahawk AH845, the port undercarriage leg collapsed
- 16 Sep 1943, forced landing in a Hurricane after the landing gear locked up
- 10 Aug 1943, in Master I T8366, which veered off the runway and collided with a car, due to ineffective brakes
- 1 Oct 1943, her Hudson swung off the runway on landing, because the tail wheel lock had disengaged
- 20 Oct 1943, a taxying accident in an Anson, due to an error of judgement on her part
- 23 Jan 1944, her Mosquito suffered a 'strained' port undercarriage leg on landing - faulty indicator light
- 25 Apr 1944, forced landing in Seafire MB356, after the landing gear locked up
- 30 May 1944, the port undercarriage leg of her Barracuda II BV921 collapsed on landing
- 29 Jun 1945, she failed to control the swing when landing Mosquito XXV KB617
"Extremely keen and hardworking. Seems to have regained confidence" "Her navigation is somewhat unorthodox. Technical knowlege poor"
Class IV pilot
m. 1946 Herbert Henry Newmark, also an ex-ATA pilot:
d. 14 Mar 1969 - London.
Philippa Mary Bennett b. 22 Nov 1919, Birmingham 26 Jun-40 to Nov-45
RAeC 1 Jun 1937 (age 17)
Father: Capt. Philip Dennis Bennett (5th Bn, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, an architect, m. 17 Aug 1915, d. 24 Feb 1919 from influenza)
Philippa was born 9 months after her father died.
Mother: Doris Mary [Lowe, m. 1922 Ian Forbes Panton, he d. 1935]
Philippa's elder brother Dennis Labron Bennett was b. 20 Nov 1917, BA (Cantab), d. 25 Oct 1942 at El Alamein
Ed. Westonbirt School, Glos
Address in 1937: Ash Cottage, Harlington, Hayes, Middx
She was engaged to Francis Richard Bevan, RASC (previously a 'Mountie' with the RCMP) in May 1940.
Postings: 5FPP, 15FPP
Class 5 (4-engine) pilot
7 accidents, 3 her fault:
- 7 Sep 1941, in Hurricane W9124 at Hatfield, she collided with a Tiger Moth due to 'gross carelessness'
- 20 Oct 1941, she failed to control the landing swing of Tomahawk AH808, and ground-looped (at Colerne)
- 18 Nov 1941, a forced landing in Anson R3340 after port engine failure
- 20 May 1942, she taxied Anson AX537 into a narrow parking space, ignoring the signal made by a member of the ground crew, and the tail hit a starter trolley
- 9 Sep 1943, a forced landing in Halifax II BB135, after a battery exploded
- 28 Oct 1944, another forced landing, this time in Walrus I W3008 after she lost all brake pressure
- 8 Jun 1945, a fourth forced landing, in Barracuda II DR202 when she noticed the batteries were overheating (due to incorrect voltage adjustment).
Commended for "valuable service in the air", 14 Jun 1945
26 March 1946: "26-year-old Miss Philippa Bennett has been flying planes ever since she was 17. For 5 and a half years she flew with the Air Transport Auxiliary service, when she piloted all types of planes from 4-engined bombers to Spitfires. She got her B Licence in 1938. Now she is proposing to make a business out of what was her hobby and her war work; she has bought two high wing monoplanes with which she is starting her own air taxi service at Southampton Airport. She hopes to specialise in aerial photographic work.
Photo Shows: Miss Phillippa Bennett in her taxi monoplane at Southampton Airport"
The three aircraft Philippa eventually owned included the Foster Wikner Wicko GM1s G-AFJB and G-AGPE (the latter used for spares)
"When Geoffrey Wickner purchased a surplus Halifax bomber with the intention of returning to Australia he sold the Wicko to Philippa Bennett who used the aircraft in her air taxi service again out of Eastleigh. During that time the machine was extensively damaged in a forced landing, caused by bad weather when it ran over the edge of a cliff, fortunately without injury to the occupants. After repair the aircraft was sold but again was registered to Philippa and Lettice Curtis who raced the aircraft at a number of events under the race number 39. The handicappers were unkind to the Wicko and her pilot and the aircraft was not too well placed at any event. "
"Although exciting and fulfilling, it was not a financially viable enterprise"
m. Jul 1947 in Winchester, Wing Commander Maurice Booth DFC (3 sons)
"She later settled in the village of Durrington in Wiltshire where she owned and ran the village shop" - The Telegraph
d. 24 May 2007 - Salisbury
M.307 Commander Hugh Charles Bergel OBE b. 19 Nov 1905, London 7 Oct 1940 to 30 Apr 1945
Educated at Rugby School
m. Priscilla M Baumer, in 1930; 2 children before joining ATA
A "well known member of the gliding community" with his great friend Philip Wills (q.v.); in 1930 he received the Dent Cup ("in memory of Mr. David Dent, who did such good work for gliding in general"), for the year's outstanding performance, for his cross-country flight to Hornchurch, Essex, made with very little previous soaring experience.
Here he is in 1938 with Capt. Harold Balfour, the Under-Secretary of State for Air, in a Falcon III glider:
prev. an advertising copywriter with WS Crauford Ltd. From 1938, Sales and Advertising Manager for Desoutter.
Address in 1940: Stamford Brook House, London W.6
Postings: 1FPP, 16FPP, 6FPP, 4FPP, 4aFPP, 2FPP, 9FPP
'A keen and competent pilot, and an able and hardworking administrator.'
From 16 Jul 1942, ran No 9 FPP Aston Down 'in an eminently satisfactory manner'.
"He leaves ATA with an excellent record behind him." (Gerard d'Erlanger, O.C. ATA)
Wrote "Fly and Deliver - A Ferry Pilot's Log Book" (AirLife, 1982)
d. Jan 1986, London
[His elder brother Jack also joined the ATA in 1941, but died the same year in a flying accident]
M.264 First Officer John Graham 'Jack' Bergel b. 1 Mar 1902, London 2 Mar 1941 to Nov-41
prev. a journalist for the 'London Evening News' from 1925; "no previous employment"
His brother Hugh said: "Jack was nearly four years older than I was, so that we never overlapped at school, and were never quite as close to each other as I would have liked. All his working life had been spent on the London Evening News, which he joined as a cub reporter. By the time he left to join ATA he was, or had been, wireless correspondent, motor-racing correspondent, music critic, Rugby football correspondent, aviation correspondent and writer of the Diary. But for years his main job had been that of Dramatic Critic, and there must be some who can still recall the reviews he wrote over the initials J.G.B."
prev exp. 160 hrs
He originally applied in July 1940: "My brother Hugh tells me that the A.T.A. is still anxious to recruit ferry pilots. As I am despairing, after ten months, of getting into the RAF in any capacity - I've seen three [selection] boards who all lose interest when they find I'm over 30 and wear glasses - I would like to know if I am any good for your service - which sounds disrespectful, I'm afraid, but isn't meant to be."
He added: "I'm nothing like as good a pilot, naturally, as Hugh, but I can find my way; it always was my one aeronautical talent."
His brother Hugh had learnt to fly in 1928, and had already joined the ATA]
However, when he turned up for a flight test in September 1940, the report was that "this applicant's standard of flying is so low that he cannot be accepted for ATA duties even on light types".
By January 1941 the ATA had realised that it needed more pilots, even if they had to train them themselves. Accordingly, a second test was arranged for the 19th January; this time he was accepted, and duly started on the 3rd March.
By the 7th November, when he was posted to No 6 FPP, he had satisfactorily passed training courses on Classes 1, 2, 3 and 4 aircraft. Sadly, he was killed a week later.
d. 15 Nov 1941 (Died in ATA Service) - Blenheim Z6080 stalled on landing approach to Oulton. He "made his final approach too slowly, particularly having regard to the fact that it was a fully equipped Blenheim IV, with inner and outer tanks full."
[Hugh attributed the accident to a faulty air-speed indicator reading, "caused by water in the system, which in turn was caused by aircraft having to live their lives out in the open through all weathers."]
His mother said of him "Jack's happiest months were spent in the ATA".
M.499 2nd Officer Nathaniel Addison Berry b. 31 Aug 1905, London 10 Jun 1941 to Mar-42
prev. director and factory manager, Nathaniel Berry & Sons Ltd, piano manufacturers
Died in ATA Service - flying as 2nd pilot with F/O Thomas Bray (joined 1940) in Hampden X3130 which went missing 18 Mar 1942 after taking off from Kirkbride. Their bodies were later washed ashore - Nathaniel's was found on 11 Jul.
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
M.652 First Officer Neville Vezey Bertram b. 23 Dec 1910, Birmingham 25 Jul 1941 to Jan-42
prev. RAF 1929-34, No. 12 Bomber Squadron, R.A.F., Andover, Hants.
declared bankrupt in 1934, then went into advertising
m. Joan Grumbar in 1935
[Contract Terminated by ATA - Disciplinary reasons]
d. 1956, London
W.93 First Officer Mrs Patricia Gladys Beverley b. 22 Aug 1910, Egham Surrey 29 Jul 1942 to 31 Oct 1945
Father: Norman Charles Seemann, mother Beatrice Maud [Grey, d. 1926]
m. 1931 in Barnet, Robert Lewis Beverley, (original surname Baker, based in S. Rhodesia in 1942)
Her brother, Norman Walter Keith Seeman, was killed age 25 in a car accident in 1934. Patricia was injured in the same accident and was "carried into court", which decided that former racing driver William Berkeley Scott was responsible for the accident due to "careless, reckless and dangerous driving."
Address in 1942: Stone House Hotel, Hatfield
Joined ATA originally as an MT Driver
Postings: 1FPP, 5FPP
Class 3 Pilot
Reprimanded and fined 3 days salary in Feb 1943 for 'Neglect of Duty'
4 accidents, 2 her fault:
- 1 May 1943, a forced landing in a Hurricane after a hydraulic failure
- 20 Jul 1943, while taxying 'without sufficient care', her Spitfire Vb hit a stationary Beaufighter [Severely reprimanded]
- 29 Nov 1943, she landed her Proctor LZ651 crosswind on wet grass, disobeying airfield 'runways only' signals, skidded and hit an obstruction [Severely reprimanded and suspended without pay for three days]
- 13 Apr 1945, a wheels-up forced landing in Mustang IV KM217 after the selector lever jammed
d. 27 Feb 1948 in Miles M.65 Gemini 1a G-AJZI owned by St. Christopher Travel-Ways Ltd, which crashed at Ridge Park, Wallington shortly after take-off from Croydon airport.
She was acting as co-pilot to Wing-Cmdr William Herbert Whetton; he and the 2 passengers were injured in the crash.
M.3 Flight Captain David Goodchild Biggart b. 13 Jun 1916, W Hartlepool, Co Durham 22 Jan 1940 to Apr-42
Learnt to fly in 1936 at the Witney and Oxford Aero Club
On the 8 Mar 1941, his C.O. wrote that he was amongst those pilots who "have been outstanding in the way they have worked, and the example they have set".
d. 1999, New Forest, Hants
M.521 First Officer Leonard Oliver Biggs b. 2 Apr 1904, London 3 Jun 1941 to 30 Sep 1945
m. 1936 Molly [Child]; 1 child Penelope b. 1940
Was in Canada from Aug 1923 to Dec 1924
prev. a Departmental Manager (Sales) for British Cellophane Co.
prev. exp. 52 hrs on DH Moth, Blackburn Bluebird
Home Guard from Jul 1940 to Apr 41, Volunteer
Address in 1941: 22 Quantock Rd, Bridgewater, Somerset
Postings: 7FPP, 2FPP
Off sick (in hospital) from 11 Oct to 7 Dec 1943
"A good officer and an average pilot. Keen and hard-working. Progress should not be hurried in view of limited experience prior to ATA."
d. Nov 1995 - Surrey
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
M.201 First Officer Trevor Bertram Birkett b. 13 Dec 1912, Southsea, Hants 16 Oct 1940 to Aug-45
Educated at Radley
Address in 1940: 12 High St, Portsmouth
prev. a Solicitor (Messrs Brutton Birkett & Walsh, 132 High St Portsmouth)
Postings: 4FPP, 4aFPP
His Feb-45 recommendation for promotion (he was briefly a Flight Captain) calls him "an officer who sets a very high standard of discipline... during the past 12 months this officer has completed 364 hrs flying and has now flown all types of Class 5 aircraft, including Liberators.
He has spent 20 days on Accidents Investigation and I understand his work in this respect has been outstanding."
d. Jun 1983 - Portsmouth
(Seconded from RAF)
Frederick Arthur Bishop b. 4 December 1915, Bristol 19 Oct 1943 to Apr-45
Sir Frederick Arthur Bishop, (1915–2005), civil servant and director-general of the National Trust.
Joined the Inland Revenue in 1934.
1 Jan 1940 he married Elizabeth Finlay Stevenson (1915–1999), a fellow civil servant; they had two sons and a daughter.
RAF from Feb 1942.
"An ab initio pilot who immediately made steady progress and made great efforts to fly well... he can be assessed as a natural pilot of average ability"
Oxford DNB says: "Bishop returned to the civil service in 1947, initially in the Ministry of Food. There his abilities were soon recognized; within two years he was principal private secretary to the minister, John Strachey, and to his successors Maurice Webb and Gwilym Lloyd George. He was moved to be assistant secretary to the cabinet in 1953. He was an effective manager of the cabinet's economic business, and secretary of its building committee during the government's drive to build 300,000 houses a year, led by Harold Macmillan as minister of housing. He worked closely with the powerful cabinet secretary, Sir Norman Brook, who in 1956 secured his move to 10 Downing Street to become Anthony Eden's principal private secretary. His calm efficiency won the respect, and the ear, of an increasingly embattled prime minister. Some historians believe that even under Eden his advice, and his ‘hawkish’ views on international affairs, began to acquire the influence that was to be more marked under Eden's successor Macmillan.
Macmillan kept Bishop on when he took over as prime minister in 1957. Over the next four years Bishop played a key role in the policy process, exercising influence out of all proportion to his formal responsibilities. With a weak foreign secretary in Selwyn Lloyd, Macmillan relied heavily for advice on international affairs on his civil service private secretaries, whose primary loyalty was increasingly to him personally, treating them as a virtual ‘kitchen cabinet’ (Aldous, ‘Family affair’, 14), ‘more akin to American national security advisers than mere private secretaries’ (McNamara, 67). Working closely with his colleague Philip de Zulueta, Bishop did not hesitate to disagree with, and brief the prime minister against, the official Foreign Office line. He and de Zulueta have been described as the ‘“change agents” essential to any process of [policy] redefinition, [giving] access to ideas that had not been dulled by slow passage through the bureaucratic machine’ (Aldous, ‘Family affair’, 15). When in 1957 Macmillan wanted to ensure American collaboration in resisting communist infiltration into Syria, it was Bishop whom he sent to Washington for talks with the secretary of state, John Foster Dulles. Dulles was charmed and impressed by Bishop, declaring that there was ‘genuine, intimate and effective co-operation, stemming directly from Macmillan’ (McNamara, 100). Bishop often travelled with Macmillan, for instance to the Bermuda conference in March 1957 and to Moscow in 1959, the scene of a celebrated row between Macmillan and Nikita Khrushchov. His role and his influence were openly resented by the Foreign Office and the foreign secretary.
Bishop became deputy secretary to the cabinet in 1959. Although in principle he should now have been impartially serving the cabinet as a whole, he remained very close to the prime minister; he has been described as acting at this time in some respects as though he were still Macmillan's principal private secretary, advising him on European matters. During the protracted debates about Britain's relations with the European Economic Community (EEC), pro-Europeans used Bishop as their direct link to the prime minister. He was appointed CB in 1960, having been made CVO in 1957.
Bishop returned to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food in 1961. Even there he continued to be influential in international affairs, especially in relation to the EEC. One historian, Jacqueline Tratt, has described him as a leading member of the small group—including Harold Macmillan, Edward Heath, and Sir Frank Lee, permanent secretary to the Treasury—that connived to bring about a major change of policy orientation, almost surreptitiously planning and putting into action the ultimately unsuccessful first approach to the EEC in 1961. He also played a significant part in creating the National Economic Development Council. He intended this in part to rival a department he disliked, the Treasury, arguing that there was a need for ‘a more planned approach to the national economic problem … a partnership with employers and unions’ (Ringe and Rollings, 342–3). His draft terms of reference were reproduced largely verbatim when the creation of the council was announced by the chancellor of the exchequer, Selwyn Lloyd.
After three years in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food Bishop's government career seemed to be moving towards a climax when, in 1964, he was appointed permanent secretary of the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources, newly created by Harold Wilson. Wilson's aim was to speed up the planning process by removing it from what some saw as the dead hand of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government. Others felt that the new department, with a remit to bring forward more land for development by taxing landowners and developers, never had a chance. It was doubly unfortunate for Bishop both that his new minister, Fred Willey, was out of his depth and that the Ministry of Housing and Local Government was led by one of the most formidable civil servants of the post-war period, Dame Evelyn Sharp. She was determined that her department should lose no important responsibilities. Exploiting the access of her own minister, Richard Crossman, to Wilson, she fought ruthlessly to ensure, first, that the new ministry was given no real powers and, second, that it was wound up as soon as possible. Willey's complaints and Wilson's resentment were unavailing. Bishop, who had no illusions about either his ministry or his minister, found himself in a non-job. By June 1965 he had let it be known that he wished to resign from the civil service and Crossman was exulting in his diary, ‘He should be sent off as soon as possible. Let's get rid of him this summer’ (Crossman, 261).
Bishop was an able and well-liked public servant who, in his most senior Whitehall post, was unlucky to be frustrated by such fierce bureaucratic and political in-fighting. He left the civil service in 1965 and took a number of part-time posts, most notably on the board of S. Pearson & Son. In 1968–9 he was a member of a group of former senior officials set up to advise Edward Heath, then leader of the opposition, on reforms to the machinery of government. The Pearson board brought him into regular contact with Patrick Gibson, a committee member (and later chairman) of the National Trust. One result was that in January 1971 Bishop took up his final full-time position, as director-general of the National Trust. He succeeded another former senior official, Sir John Winnifrith, whose name he had suggested himself.
The National Trust, whose ethos Bishop was to describe as ‘amateurism, in the real and best sense of the word’ (Jenkins and James, 258), was trying to bring its style more into line with modern needs; it had opened its first shop in 1970, and during Bishop's tenure enlarged its professional staff and saw its membership double (to 500,000). Described by a former colleague as ‘by nature a manipulator and negotiator’ (Gaze, 235), Bishop used his Whitehall experience and contacts assiduously on behalf of the trust, in particular helping to secure valuable changes in the rules governing the tax treatment of bequests and gifts. Not all was smooth sailing, however: the 1975 annual report noted that ‘a high level of inflation will make it impossible to maintain the high standard of conservation which both members and the general public have come to expect’. When Bishop that year outlined to staff the executive committee's proposals for a 20 per cent cut in real expenditure, the need for this was hotly questioned and tempers ran high. But in general Bishop was popular, both with members of the trust's committee and with staff, for whom he obtained better salary levels and pension arrangements. His management style was described as ‘unobtrusive’, without undue intervention in matters of detail (Gaze, 244).
Bishop (Fred to his family, but Freddie more widely) took early retirement for health reasons from the National Trust in May 1975, having been knighted in January that year, and he and his wife moved to Cornwall. He had already been a member of the BBC's general advisory council (1971–75), a director of Pearson Longman (1970–77), and chairman of the Home Grown Timber Advisory Committee (1966–73); in Cornwall he took up directorships with English China Clays Ltd (1975–86) and Lloyd's Bank (1976–86). He continued to practise his skills as an amateur painter and his gift for friendship, not only with the Gibsons and others but also with Harold Macmillan, who visited the Bishops several times and remained in close touch until his own death. In 1987 Bishop and his wife moved to Hampshire to be closer to their grandchildren. He died at his home, Manor Barn, 65 Church Road, Bramshott, Hampshire, on 2 March 2005, of an acute transformation of chronic lymphatic leukaemia. He was survived by his three children, his wife having predeceased him."
W.73 * First Officer Mrs Patricia Annette 'Ann' Blackwell b. 30 Mar 1913, Putney 24 Feb-42 to Dec-45
Father: Major Bertram W Noble OBE ("Messrs. B. W. Noble. Ltd. insurance and reinsurance brokers, of London and Paris"), mother Kate Elsie [Buckland]
m. 24 Oct 1935 in Knightsbridge, George Wilson Blackwell
"They met at the International Marine Insurance Conference at Montreux in September 1933"
(George moved to Canada, then the USA in October 1945 and became an American citizen.)
Postings: 6FPP, 4FPP
Naomi Allen on the left, Ann 2nd right. 1942?
Ann in a Typhoon [photos with thanks to Nicholas Thomas]
At least 4 Accidents, 1 her fault:
- 9 Aug 1942, a forced landing in Fairchild EV771, with a broken connecting rod
- 7 Nov 1942, in Hurricane I L1877, forced landing with low oil pressure and high oil temperature
- 20 Nov 1944, she failed to control a crosswind landing in Seafire III BF499, swung and damaged the port wing
- 20 Feb 1945, the tail wheel of Proctor III DX229 collapsed during landing
m. 1948 in Maidenhead, Hugh McLennan Kendall
d. Feb 1992 - Isle of Wight
[Seconded from RAF]
Thomas Howes Blake b. 16 Apr 1913, Isle of Wight 6 Jan 1943 to 15 April 1945
Address in 1943: Apes Down, Calbourne Rd, Newport, Isle of Wight
prev. Legal Assistant, IoW Council; RAF 3 Apr 1941 - Dec 1942
Postings: 5FPP, 2FPP
d. Apr 1996 - Isle of Wight
M.768 First Officer Ernest Lynton Blow b. 9 Dec 1906, Dunstable 9 Sep 1942 to Dec-44
prev. F/O in RAFVR 1939-41; Test Pilot for Airspeed
prev. exp. 3,843 hrs;
- 1930 Avro 616 Avian IVM G-ABDP- 1931 DH.80A Puss Moth G-ABMC
- 1936 BA Swallow L25C Mk.2 G-AEKG
"A keen and efficient pilot and a good officer"
d. 2003, USA
M.150 First Officer John Kenneth Bodinnar b. 9 Jan 1906, Bristol 14 Aug 1940 to 3 Apr 1941
Father: Sir John Francis Bodinnar J.P., The Old Palace, Chippenham, Wilts
[Sir John Francis Bodinnar (1880-1958) was a Company Director (of, among others, the West of England Bacon Company, Ltd) and Mayor of Calne from 1925-27. "On the site of the Old Palace stood the house in which King Alfred is traditionally said to have burnt the cakes."
The Old Palace was bought by the Town Council in 1942 for new offices; it is now the Chippenham Museum.]
Mother: Mabel Frost [Latham]. [d. 1948)
Ed. Malvern College
prev. "various, including fruit growing and engineering" - spent 1926-35 in Canada.
Address in 1940: 5 Alexandra Court, Wembley Pk, Middx
m. 1937 in Kensington, London, Sheila Frances Grace [George, d. 1979]
Next of kin: (wife) Sheila, c/o "Branksome", Old Woking Rd, Pyrford, Surrey
Suspended for 2 days in Dec 1940 for infringement of flying regulations
2 accidents, 1 his fault:
- 6 Feb 1941, he hit a concrete block whilst taxying a Leopard Moth, having to avoid an approaching Hart
d. 3 Apr 1941 (age 35) (Died in ATA Service) - Hurricane Z3166 flew into a ploughed field at Gorse Lane, Tarleton, Lancs, in poor visibility.
He was held to blame for the accident, having persevered too long in bad weather. Douglas Fairweather was flying in the same area on the same day, and confirmed that the weather was so bad he had to curtail his own flight.
He had flown 98 hrs in delivering 105 aircraft for the ATA.
Buried in Maidenhead Cemetery, Sec. D. Row L. Grave 7
Sheila wrote to Gerard d'Erlanger: "May I send you my very sincere thanks for your flowers and sympathetic letter on the occasion of my husband's death.
Your kind remarks made me feel very proud of him and I am sure he would not have wished for higher commendation."
Flt-Sgt / First Officer
[Seconded from RAF]
John William 'Jack' Boilstone b. 28 Jun 1915, Stourbridge, Worcs 30 Jan 1943 to 9 Dec 1943
Father: Joseph Pearson Boilstone, a Farmer; mother: Dorothy May [Downing]
m. 1942 in Bromsgrove, Dorothy Margaret [Taylor, b. 1919]
prev. a Motor Tester; RAF from 5 Jul 1941, 10 OTU, Abingdon
prev. exp. 190 hrs on Stearman PT 17, Harvard, Vultee, Oxford, Whitley in UK and USA
Address in 1943: Hillingdon, Highfield Crescent, Blackheath, Birmingham
"A neat and steady pilot of good average ability who takes his work seriously and has the makings of a very good ferry pilot"
"He posseses a quick & keen personailty and his discipline has been exemplary"
One accident, his fault:
d. 9 Dec 1943 in Beaufort II LZ146 which stalled on approach to Kirkbride, dived into the ground 1000ft west of the airfield and was destroyed. Ferry from 44 MU Edzell to 40 APU Melton Mowbray.
Buried St Kenelm's Churchyard, Romsley, Worcs
"Constantly remembered by his wife, parents and all relatives"
FLT SGT J.W. BOILSTONE
FIRST OFFICER A.T.A.
LOVING MEMORIES ALWAYS
OF MY DARLING HUSBAND
WHO LOST HIS LIFE WHILE
ON DUTY AS A FERRY PILOT
DEC 9TH, 1943
AGED 28 YEARS.
OUR GARDEN OF MEMORIES
Dorothy later (1951) m. Alfred J Newman and d. 2008
W.155 * 3rd Officer
Mrs Rosemary Leslie [or Lesley] Bonnett
b. 1 Sep 1918, Bristol 21 Feb-44 to Sep-45
father: Percy Harrison Bell (2nd Lt in WWI, who gained an RAeC Certificate No 5298, in October 1917) , mother Adele Helene [Gellatly, a midwife, d. 1967 in S. Africa]
Grew up in South Africa (1924 - Jan 1936)
prev. a Secretary, typist
m. early 1942 Flt-Lt Dorian Dick Bonnett DFC
(39 Sqn RAF, d. 24 Oct 1942 in Lancaster I W4306, which crashed in England on return from a daylight raid on Milan)
[ab initio trainee]
Postings: 15FPP, 7FPP
2 accidents, both her fault:
- 14 Oct 1944, when taxying on wet grass and in windy conditions, her Argus I EV792 collided with marker flags
- 9 Aug 1945, taxying in Andon I AX319, she struck a motor sweeper and the aircraft was damaged.
Gained her Royal Aero Club Pilot's Certificate (No 20610) as part of the ATA's 'Wings' scheme on 3 Oct 1945
m. Oct 1946 in Surrey, Flight Captain Phillip Lambert Gibbs
(also an ex-ATA pilot)
m. 1949 in Kensington, London, Richard C Towers
Address in 1989: Garden Farm, Tufton, Haverfordwest
d. 25 Jan 1989
M---- Cadet Frederick George Bowles b. 26 Mar 1912, Newcastle on Tyne 16 Sep 1942 to Dec-42
prev. an engineering draughtsman
d. 6 Dec 1942 (Died in ATA Service) - Magister L8233 spun in near Letchworth, Herts 1.5m SSW of Baldock.
Marked as a red spot on this map::
M.776 * First Officer Edwin Arthur Boyes b. 17 Feb 1908, Bramley, Leeds 15 Jul 1942 to 30 Nov 1945
Address in 1939: 123 Ring Road, Farnley, Leeds
prev. A Woollen Manufacturer
M.4 Captain Francis Delaforce 'Brad' Bradbrooke b. 14 Mar 1895, Worcestershire 11 Sep 1939 to Aug-41
1935 (Flight) Brief Glory
Ed: Bletchley Grammar School, then Manitoba University
1914-16 3rd Canadian Mounted Rifles;
1916-1930 1st Lieut., Canadian Machine Gun Corps;
prev. an aviation journalist, on the staff of 'The Aeroplane'; had flown about 110 types of aeroplane
Seconded to AtFero 20 Mar 1941
d. 10 Aug 1941 (Died in ATA Service) - Liberator AM261 crashed into Goat Fell mountain on Isle of Arran after take off from Heathfield, Ayr (22 killed - 5 crew and 17 travelling as passengers)
9 of the victims were Canadian, 5 British, 7 American, and one was an Australian.
11 of the victims were pilots: Josiah James Anderson (Can), Daniel J Duggan (US), Watt Miller King (US), George Thomas Harris (US), Hoyt Ralph Judy (US), John James Roulstone (US), Harold Clifford Wesley Smith (Can), Jack Wixen (US), Capt. Ernest R. B. White (BOAC, ex-Imperial Airways), F. D. Bradbrooke, and John Evan Price (Aus).
10 radio operators, including Albert Alexander Oliver, George Herbert Powell and Herbert David Rees from BOAC, and one Flight Engineer, Ernest George Reeves (US), also lost their lives.
Flight said: "Canada shares with Great Britain the loss of Capt. F. D. Bradbrooke, who, although born in Worcestershire, has spent many years in Canada, where he learned to fly in 1928. Several years ago he came to this country to join the staff of The Aeroplane, of which he became assistant editor. He left that post to become editor of a little journal called The Aero Pilot. On its formation he joined the Air Transport Auxiliary and ferried aircraft from factories to service units, and finally he joined Atfero. He was a very experienced pilot"
"To say only that aeronautical journalism had lost one of its most important figures in the Atfero accident would be very much understating the case. Capt. F. D. Bradbrooke was much more than an aeronautical journalist. He was one of those amateur pilots who had helped to make private flying in this country, and was, at the same time, an "amateur technician " of no mean importance. He had a finger in every pie remotely connected with his primary interest and hobby, and was by way of being a humorist in his own inimitable way.
"Brad" was one of the most enthusiastic persons anyone could possibly meet, and his enthusiasm was catching. As a member of the staff of The Aeroplane he was an unstinting supporter of everything which he felt to be a "good thing," and a somewhat vitriolic opponent of anything which he felt to be useless or silly. When, for instance, the tricycle undercarriage was considered merely as a peculiar kind of throwback, " Brad " was vigorous in his praise, and I was with him when he flew the first tricycle type to appear in this country. The machine in question was a " safety-first " type, and until "Brad" started to expatiate (with his usual lack of professional "tightness"), I had been interested only in the slots and things with which the machine was fitted. It was Bradbrooke, in fact, who helped to make this country "tricycle conscious."
And that was only one of the many ideas which he had sponsored. What was more important is that he was prepared to put his enthusiasm into vigorous practice. In the course of his investigations he would fly almost anything anywhere. And I must say that in his search for truth (of the aeronautical kind) he risked his neck in one or two very queer contraptions so that he could at least give the designer an absolutely fair opinion—in print or otherwise.
At the beginning of this war he was one of the founders of Air Transport Auxiliary, and here again his enthusiasm was terrific. Later, when the Atlantic ferrying business started, he was one of the first to volunteer for the work, and was thereafter - until he started on the work itself - to be seen, so to speak, with a sextant in one hand and a textbook on astronomical navigation in the other. At odd moments he would hoist the sextant to his eye and compute his position—though he knew perfectly well where he was.
When there is peace and civil flying returns we shall miss "Brad", a very great deal. All this war-flying was only for him an interlude preparatory to returning to his greatest interest - civil flying. The only kind of flying which is really worth anything in the long run. Yes, we shall certainly miss him."
A memorial service was held each year on the anniversary of the crash at Lamlash Cemetery, Island of Arran.
ATA's insurance policy paid out £5,000 to his widow Joan, and £2,000 each to the families of the 3 radio operators.
Cassandra Felicity 'Fay' Bradford MBE b. 22 Sep 1915, London
1 May-41 to Sep-45
Address in 1941: Empshott Lodge, Liss, Hants
Postings: 5FPP, 12FPP
4-engine (Class 5) pilot
5 accidents, 2 her fault:
- 9 Jan 1941, when the rear cockpit cover of her Master fell off, damaging the tail;
- 26 Jun 1942, forced landing in an Airacobra;
- 13 Dec 1942, she failed to control the take-off swing of a Hudson;
- 30 Apr 1943, her Spitfire's port wing touched the ground on a difficult crosswind landing, and
- 11 Jul 1944, forced landing in an Anson.
A good natural pilot" "A capable pilot who is keen and quietly confident"
"Has proved to be a good second in command and was acting C.O. for 2 months with credit"
m. 1941 Cmdr Peter Hugh Bragg, RAF Boscombe Down
See her biography here - Felicity Bragg – solentaviatrix (wordpress.com)
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
M.204 First Officer Philip Penrose Bradley b. 25 Jul 1905, Nottingham 1 Jan 1941 to Oct-45
Ed. Bradfield College, Leeds; Lausanne and Zurich Universities. B.Sc.
a Company Director
Sgt pilot instructor in RAF; discharge on medical grounds, Nov-40
prev. exp. 2,398 hrs
[Resigned Aug-43, re-instated Apr-44]
"Reliable pilot and good officer when on duty. General behaviour off duty suspect owing to several police visits on private matters"
Hmmm... wonder why the police kept visiting... perhaps because he was (still) a terrible car driver...
Nottingham Evening Post - Tuesday 16 March 1937:
"CITY MOTORIST FINED £10
PENALTY BY WILTSHIRE BENCH
CAUSED TROUBLE TO POLICE
CONDUCT DESCRIBED AS VERY SLACK
Salisbury magistrates yesterday imposed fines amounting to £10 upon Mr. Philip Penrose Bradley, company director, giving an address in The Park, Nottingham, who surrendered to bail charged with five offences under the Road Traffic Act. When the cases were first before the Bench defendant did not appear, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. It was then discovered that he was in a nursing home, and the case was adjourned, bail being extended.
The charges were that he drove a motor car without having in force a policy of insurance; that he failed to produce a certificate of insurance; that he drove without a licence; that he failed to produce his licence, and that he, having been prosecuted for exceeding the speed limit, failed to produce his driving licence to the Clerk of the Court prior to the hearing of the summons.
At the hearing yesterday the Chief Constable (Mr. F. Nixon) said he was now satisfied that the defendant held a driving licence and that he had in force a policy of insurance at the time that the offence was committed, and he therefore asked that those summonses be withdrawn. This was agreed to, and defendant pleaded guilty to the remaining, summonses. Mr. Nixon said when defendant was stopped by the police he promised to produce his policy of insurance and driving licence within five days to the Nottingham Guildhall. This he failed to do. The Nottingham police made several unsuccessful efforts to interview him, and it was only few days ago that the insurance policy was produced. In January summons was sent to defendant for a speeding offence, and with it was enclosed a printed slip instructing him to send his licence to the magistrates' clerk the day before the hearing. On the day of the hearing defendant telephoned to say that he could not attend court, and that he put his licence in an envelope ready to post, but he had forgotten to send it. On January llth he was fined in that court for exceeding the speed limit, and an endorsement of his licence was ordered. He was instructed to produce his licence endorsement, but as no satisfaction could be obtained, further proceedings were instituted."
Tamworth Herald, Saturday 13 August 1938: "A collision happened at the Bodnets cross-roads, Bonehill, on Saturday afternoon, between a motor lorry driven by Herbert Young. Prospect Street, Old Kent Road, London, S.E.I, and a motor car, the driver of which was Philip Penrose Bradley, Malvern Road, West Bridgford."
Derby Daily Telegraph - Saturday 31 August 1940:
"PATROL CAR INCIDENT
Pleading "Not guilty" to driving a motor-car without due care and attention on March 11, Philip Penrose Bradley, Burnaston, was discharged. He was fined 5s. for failing to produce his driving licence and a similar amount for failing to produce his certificate of insurance. Inspector S. Bradwell said that a private car and police patrol car had to brake violently when Mr. Bradley suddenly stopped his car on the Nottingham road without warning. Mr. H. M. Clifford admitted that the only danger was caused by the speed of the patrol car."
His daughter tells me that "My father deserted my mother in 1946. They had been married for just a few years, and I never had the opportunity to get to know him. His visits were infrequent and, like my mother, he eventually re-married and had more children.
During the 1960’s he served a prison sentence. He embezzled a large sum of money from 'Kennings'. He had worked for Kennings for a number of years and became a company director. It was during his term in prison that he became ill and had a stroke. He was given early release but was eventually diagnosed with lung cancer and he died in 1968 in Nottingham."
"He came from a well known Nottingham family, they were lace manufacturers and also had leather works both in Nottingham and abroad. My mother was Philip's second wife. He married his first wife, Lilian, in the early 1930’s and they had one son, John, who sadly died from polio at the age of approx. 2 years. My mother was introduced to Philip by her older sister and they married early 1940’s.
I do know that he had owned at least two planes of his own. The first one, I was told, was purchased with money his father had given to him to buy a factory in Holland….Philip obviously had other ideas! Unfortunately my father told numerous lies both to his family and especially to my mother. I attended his funeral in 1968 but had not seen him for several years. I believe his third and last marriage was a happy one."
- a Leopard Moth,
- a 1929 Desoutter I, G-AAPK (bought in Dec 1937),
- a 1933 Comper Swift G-ACGL, registered to 'E Bradley' [presumably his father Ernest Frank Bradley], and
- a 1934 Miles M.2 Hawk, G-ACOC.
M.404 2nd Officer Stanley Orton Bradshaw b. 2 Feb 1903, London 29 Apr 1941 to 31 Oct 45
An aviation journalist (e.g. 'Flying Memories,' 1936) and a prolific and well-known artist, e.g. this from 1931:
and this, from 1936:
Address in 1941: Fivetrees, Wood Lane, Stanmore Middx
Postings; 1FPP, 6FPP
[Promoted to First Officer 29 Dec 1941, but demoted to 3rd Officer 21 June 1943 after being absent through injury following a forced landing in a Hurricane, from 27 Mar 1942 to 15 Nov 1942]
Jan-43: "After a long rest from flying owing to his accident this pilot failed to reach the necessary standard on his Class 2 refresher. He has bnow been checked out on Class 1 and after 3 months experience in this class should be given another trial."
By Dec-44 he had qualified for Class 2 and 3, and became "a good reliable and well behaved officer. His knowledge of the country and steady flying make him an excellent pilot."
d. 1950. Flight, 13 Apr: "It is with deep regret that Flight records the deaths, in an air accident at Boston last Friday, of Stanley Orton Bradshaw, pilot, and editorial contributor to The Aeroplane, and of his two passengers, E. J. Riding and N. C. Stoneham. Aged 47, Mr. Bradshaw had been a pilot since 1926 and, following wartime A.T.A. experience, had over 70 types of aircraft in his logbook. In addition, he was a noted aviation writer and painter of flying scenes. He had a happy way of transmitting his intense enthusiasm for aviation, particularly private flying, to all he met. Mr. Riding, also a writer, was an authority on aero-modelling and light aircraft. The third victim, Mr. Stoneham, was a member of the Redhill Flying Club."
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
Laurent Frederick Ronald Brandt b. 8 Mar 1909, Widnes, Lancs 25 Nov 1941 to Nov-43
Ed. Leicester Technical College
His mother's maiden name was Minnie Gertrude Willis; she was, apparently, the 7th daughter of the co-founder of the firm Freeman Hardy and Willis. On his marriage certificate, he is named 'Laurent Willis Brandt'
"'ATROCIOUS ASSAULT' ON BOY OF 13
LEICESTER MANAGER FINED
BENCH SAYS THERE WAS NO EXCUSE
What was termed by the Chairman as 'an atrocious assault' by a 23-year old Leicester man on a 13-year old boy was described at Leicester City Police Court to-day.
Laurent Frederick Brandt, a manager, of Friar-lane, Leicester, was fined £5, with the alternative of 26 days' imprisonment, for an assault on Eric Weston, a schoolboy, of All Saints Road, Leicester.
John Haylock, of Southgate, said he saw the boy pass a stationary car in Friar-Lane. "Just as the boy passed Brandt Jumped out from behind the car and kicked him," said Haylock." For ten minutes the boy did not seem to be able to stand up, and he had to be taken to the Royal Infirmary."
There seemed to the witness to be no reason whatever for the assault. "As I passed the car I said 'Are you letting a drop of wind out?' and then - the man jumped straight out and kicked me" declared the boy.
Brandt pleaded guilty, and said that the boy tampered with a sidelight on the car. Brandt 'raised his foot' to the boy because he was holding tools in both hands.
Miss Denise Branson, of Friar-Lane Leicester, said that she saw the boy tampering with a sidelight on Brandt's car.
"This was a most vicious and unprovoked assault" said the Chairman. "You may not take the law into your own hands even if the boy had meddled with your car. The only doubt the magistrates have is whether they should send you to prison without the option of a fine." - Leicester Evening Mail - Tuesday 1 March 1932
"RECEIVING CHARGE DISMISSED
Laurent Fredk. Ronald Brandt, 24, electrician, pleaded not guilty to receiving a silver cigarette-case and a sovereign-case, knowing them to be stolen, from James Arthur Blackburn at Great Clacton.
Mr. Bowman, prosecuting, said Blackburn had pleaded guilty to the theft. The property was taken from the house of Mr. David Jacobs while he was on holiday. Brandt said Blackburn gave him the articles a few days after he met him. He sold the case to buy something for a friend in hospital. Brandt was found not guilty and discharged, and Blackburn was sent to Borstal institution for three years." -Chelmsford Chronicle - Friday 26 May 1933
"'PLANE CRASH IN FIELD
Civil Air Guard Injured
Mr. Laurent Frederick Ronald Brandt. aged 30, a member of the Civil Air Guard. crashed at Harmondsworth on Sunday afternoon when flying an Avro Club Cadet two-seater. Mr. Brandt. who lives at Eastcote. was detained in Hounslow Hospital suffering from broken ribs and jaw, with several teeth knocked out. The plane was almost completely wrecked. A passenger in the plane, Mr. Mervyn Basden of Slough, was taken to Windsor Hospital with facial injuries. The crash was in Mr. Philp's field opposite the Technicolor building." - Uxbridge & W. Drayton Gazette - Friday 28 April 1939
m. 1935 Elsie Esme Florence [Fox], (separated)
prev. a radio engineer; Assistant Tester, (Control Room) Generating Station, LPTB
prev. exp. 150 hrs
Applied to join the RAF in Sep 1938 but was unable to join due to "unforeseen domestic circumstances", and again in May 1940 but was unable to obtain his release from his employers.
Postings: 8FPP, 3FPP, 6FPP, 1FPP
Two accidents, neither his fault:
- 8 May 1943, his Magister P2436 lost power after take-off, and he force-landed in a field without damage. He was a 2nd Officer, under training at Barton-le-Clay, at the time
- 3 Sept 1943, another engine failure, another forced landing, this time in a Hart (still under Training) (? - listed as J Brandt)
Appointed as an 'Approved Instructor' on 17 Apr 1943, but taken off instructional duties on 7 Sep 1943.
d. 25 Nov 1943 (Died in ATA Service) Beaufighter X LZ536 dived into ground out of cloud at Cronton Mapley Lancs, nr Burtonwood 8m E of Liverpool
The accident report says, "When accepting this aircraft at a handling Pool, the pilot failed to reveal that he had not flown the type before, did not obtain and read the Handling Notes on the type, failed to obtain a meteorological forecast, and continued too far in bad weather. The aircraft spun out of cumulo-nimbus cloud, crashed, caught fire and was destroyed."
Laurent had changed his next-of-kin from Esme, his wife, to his mother Minnie, but Minnie declined the offer of the £2,500 compensation from the ATA and it went instead to Esme.
His final estate, however, was only £288 (and funerals cost about 30 guineas in 1943, so it wasn't that)
(Seconded from RAF)
Ronald David Henry Brasher b. 3 Oct 1922, Yorkshire 20 Jun 1944 to Apr-45
prev. RAF, and an Engineer's clerk
d. 1986, Derbyshire
M.319 First Officer Dennis Gerald Brinjes b. 11 Feb 1918, Hornsey, London
21 Oct 1940 to Oct-45
(Ground Duties from Apr-44)
prev. aircraft engineer
Accidents Committee from Oct-44
d. 2011, Bideford
W.--- Cadet Joan Irwin Broadsmith b. 23 Jul 1917, Withington Chester 24 Jun 1942 to 23 Aug 1942
Empire Air Day 1939
Ed. Upper Chine School, Shanklin, IOW
prev: Ambulance Driver in Islington Green
prev exp: 30hrs solo
Her father, Harry Edgar Broadsmith (d. 1959 in Australia), was one of the original directors of Saunders-Roe.
"Adam Karolyi, right, with his girlfriend, Joan Broadsmith, in the cockpit of his plane. Adam was 21 when he died of his injuries after he crashed his plane in Sandown, just days before the Second World War started [actually G-AAAL belonging to the IOW Flying Club, on the 21 Aug, 1939]. He had planned to join the RAF."
[G-ABBX, in the photo above, also belonged to the Isle of Wight Flying Club].
Adam, 21, was flung from the wreckage but suffered 75 per cent burns and died in Shanklin Cottage Hospital the next day.
"His girlfriend, Joan Broadsmith, daughter of Saunders Roe’s managing director Harry Broadsmith, was so traumatised by Adam’s death she doused herself in paraffin and set herself alight but survived. "
See their story here: http://www.iwcp.co.uk/
In 1939, "Interested in aeroplanes since she was 14, and with a Flying Officer brother in the R.A.F., Empire Air Day is bound to hold a special interest for Miss Joan Broadsmith, of Cowes, who is working at Lee Airport, Sandown, to secure her ground engineer's licence. Miss Broadsmith, who is 21, is a member of the Civil Air Guard." Portsmouth Evening News, 18 May 1939
Address in 1942: 18 The Boulders, Binstead, Isle of Wight.
[Contract Terminated by ATA]
1961, in the Court of Appeal: "Joan Irwin Broadsmith (Spinster) v Dora Helen Mary McCubbin (Widow):
Lord Justice Sellers: "Miss Broadsmith, the court has heard your submission and we have had the judgment of the learned judge read to us. Having given the best consideration we can to all that you have said, we see no reason to think that the learned judge was wrong. His judgment appears to us to be right and unimpeachable, and your appeal must be dismissed."
d. Feb 1993, IOW
M.892 2nd Officer (Seconded from RAF) Thomas Bromley b. 10 Oct 1922, Wigan 18 Mar 1943 to Apr-45
prev. RAF, from Feb-1942, and an Analytical Chemist
M.100 First Officer Thomas William 'Tim' Brooke-Smith b.14 Aug 1918, Kirton, Lincs 27 May 1940 to 31 Oct 1942
Father: Thomas Edward Smith
Ed. Bedford School; Chelsea College of Aeronautical Engineering
prev. aircraft engineer - British & Continental Airways, Croydon from 1934; pilot for Air Despatch Ltd
Address in 1940: 31 Liverpool Rd, Chester
Suspended for two days with loss of pay in Apr 1942, for "flying in bad weather against orders"
2 accidents, one his fault:
- 1 Mar 1942, he stalled his Beaufighter during a crosswind landing and damaged the port wing
- 30 Apr 1942, after landing in a Boston, a tyre burst.
"above average. A very capable and experienced pilot"
later Chief test pilot for Short Bros. and Harland
"Mr Brooke-Smith is married and has two children, Simon and Selina. His principal hobby is shooting, and he also plays golf" 1951
d. 1991, Poole
(Seconded from RAF)
George Gilbert Brown b. 9 Feb 1922, Finedon, Wellingborough, Northants 20 Jun 1944 to Apr-45
prev. RAF, and an electric loco driver
d. Feb 2004, Coventry
(Seconded from RAF)
James Waldron Brown b. 6 Aug 1918, Liverpool 23 May 1944 to Mar-45
prev. a draughtsman
RAF from May-41 to May-44
d. 20 Mar 1945 (Died in ATA Service) - passenger in Anson I DJ471 (pilot Frank Hill, also killed) which collided with a Typhoon at RAF Aston Down, Glos.
Both aircraft were approaching to land, but neither pilot could see the other; the Typhoon struck the Anson from behind and above.
M.876 First Officer [Seconded from RAF] Kenneth William Brown b. 2 Jul 1920, Bulwell, Nottingham 28 Feb 1943 to Apr-45
prev. a teacher
First Officer (RAF Sgt)
[Seconded from RAF]
Eric Brunskill b. 10 Sep 1914, Spennymoor, Co. Durham 19 Nov 1942 to 23 Jan 1944
In 1939, he worked for Warwickshire County Council on (honestly) "Egg Laying Trials"
prev. RAF from 3 Mar 1941
prev. exp. "some experience on fighter types, including Spitfires", in UK, Miami and Oklahoma, USA
3FPP from 24 Jul 1943
"gave the impression of being casual and rather uninterested.. this may be only his manner but he should realise it is apt to give the wrong impression to others"
"An average pilot who has tried hard and made normal progress"
One accident, not his fault:
- 23 Jan 1944, the accident in which John Hawkey was fatally injured and Pilot Officer Edward Vincent suffered severe burns; his Beaufighter was hit by a Mustang landing on the wrong runway at Hawarden.
Eric was admitted to Derby Royal Infirmary and then RAF Hospital Cosford with burns to his face and hands, transferred to the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead on 19 Oct 1944 and became a member of 'The Guinea Pig Club' - one of 649 Allied Aircrew treated there for burns injuries.
m. 1946 in Cambridge, Muriel Maud Allgood; one son Rupert b. 1947
d. 24 Nov 1983 - Derby
M.1040 3rd Officer Charles Sykes Burnhill b. 9 Nov 1921, Leeds 28 Dec 1943 to 30 Sep 1945
(so may be wrong)
Ed. Roundhay, Leeds
m. 1944 Helen [Whitehead]
prev. Architectural Draughtsman for A Kershaw & Sons;
RAF Sgt, Jun-41 to May-43
Address in 1943: 41 Clifton Terrace, Leeds 9
later Back Bower Farm, Gee Cross, Hyde, Cheshire
d. Jan 2010 - Leeds
M.415 * Flight Captain Harold Burns b. 12 Jun 1913, Barnsley 20 May 1941 to 30 Nov 1945
m. 1938 Millicent [Parker]
prev. a motor engineer
Address in 1936: "Dundella", Bromley Rd, Congleton, Cheshire
d. Sep 1983 - Congleton
W.116 3rd Officer Mrs Daphne Alice Burnside b. 19 Mar 1918, London 6 May 1943 to 11 Sep 1944
Not in 'Forgotten Pilots'
Father: Major Nugent Winter Humphrys (Manchester Regiment, BEF from 14 Aug 1914, d. 1931),
Mother: Blanche Ada de Vivefay [Wilson] (m. Apr 1926 Sidney A Gaudion)
Ed. Wycombe Abbey
Sailed to Gibraltar with her mother in Oct 1935, was in Colombo in 1936, (Blanche sailed back to the UK in Jun 1937 and Aug 1938), sailed back to UK from Canada in Sep 1938
prev: Civilian Driver, French Diplomatic Corps
prev exp: 4hrs 30min in Magister, Hawk and Tiger Moth, inc. Palestine, Egypt
Address in 1939: Newton Abbott, Devon
Address in 1943: (mother) 4 Lawrence Mansions, Cheyne Walk, London SW3
m. 1940 William A H B Burnside (a wireless operator)
[ab initio trainee]
Postings: 5FPP, 12FPP, 15FPP
Class I pilot
One accident, not her fault:
- 28 Jan 1944, her Tiger Moth nosed over while taxying, due to a Liberator in front suddenly opening up one of its engines
exp in ATA:
Magister: 102hrs 25min;
Hart: 15hrs 20min;
Fairchild: 67hr 50min;
Moth: 7hrs 25min;
Swordfish: 3hrs 15min;
Harvard: 26hrs 20min;
Hurricane: 5hrs 25min;
Spitfire: 13hrs 50min;
Auster: 3hrs 35min;
Barracuda: 4hrs 45min;
Master: 4hrs 10min;
Miles Falcon: 1hr 05min;
Mustang: 1hr 10min;
Proctor: 1hr 25min.
She and William lived in 'Overmead', Lingfield, Surrey [until 1946, when he married Margaret H Grady]
M.704 First Officer James Richard Burton b. 26 Oct 1914, Selby Yorks 2 Dec 1941 to Aug-45
prev. aircraft fitter for Blackburn Repairs, Yorks.
Address in 1941: 61 Armoury Rd, Selby Yorks
d. 30 Aug 1945 (Died in ATA Service) - Firebrand IV EK635 stalled after takeoff from RAF Brough.
The Accidents Committee reported that the aircraft was seen to take off tail-down, and the undercarriage was retracted (thus increasing the nose-up trim); it then climbed to about 300 ft, stalled and dived to the ground.
buried Selby Cemetery
M.5 Captain Francis Joseph Bush b. 26 Apr 1904, Banbury Oxfordshire 11 Sep 1939 - Nov-41
prev. a Manufacturer and Company Director
prev exp 507 hrs. Owned a 1928 DH Moth G-AAAA, then a 1931 DH Puss Moth G-ABLG (which he bought from Margaret Fairweather)
Address in 1939: 76 High St, Watford, Herts
By the 6 Dec 1939, when he still hadn't started flying, he wrote to the ATA, "I was wondering if my Puss Moth (which is in tip-top order) would eventually be of use in the ATA, or do you advise me to try and sell it to be shifted overseas?
I am still at the above address [Green Park Hotel, Bournemouth] waiting for your instructions when and where to report for duty."
[His Puss Moth was impressed 18 Feb 41, and struck off charge for spares 12 Apr 44]
Certificate of Commendation "After a satisfactory test flight at Kinloss, F/O Bush set off on the 19th December 1940, in a Boston for Prestwick. After about 25 miles the starboard engine failed and F/O Bush feathered the airscrew. He then returned to Lossiemouth and landed there. In spite of the fact that the brakes were out of action, the landing was made without damage to the aircraft. He had never flown the type before, and the ATA at that time could not provide handling notes."
"He has beeen outstanding in the way he has worked, and the example he has set."
"A competent pilot and a very good officer"
3 accidents, 1 of them his fault.
d. 23 Nov 41 (Died in ATA Service) - Liberator AL562 engine caught fire and crashed into the sea south of Burrow Head, Wigtownshire, en route Prestwick to Hawarden.
2nd pilot, F/O EE Uhlich (USA) (q.v.) also killed.
'Gen' Genovese (q.v.) wrote later that "the ship was one of the first Liberators in England, but... through some grim blunder on someone's part the anti-aircraft crew had not been advised of its being a new addition to the British Air Force. Elmer Ulich (sic) was shot down and killed by British anti-aircraft fire."
The official accident report says "Insufficient evidence to establish cause but thought to be through bad weather causing aircraft to catch fire in the air."
The ATA insurers paid his mother Edith and sister Violet £2,000.
buried Maidenhead Cemetery
[Seconded from RAF]
Dennis Mills Butterworth b. 24 Apr 1921, Manchester 27 Apr 1944 to Apr-45
prev. a Commercial Artist
RAF May-40 - 1944
[Seconded from BOAC]
Kenneth Alfred Buxton b. 19 Sep 1916, London 1 Sep 1940 to 15 Jan 1942
Imperial Airways before WWII
Address in 1935: Welford House, Hampstead, London
The BOAC pilots seconded to the ATA were the mainstay of the Advanced Flying Training Unit from September 1940, but; they were all recalled to BOAC in January 1942.
Lettice Curtis says ""with the going of the BOAC pilots the school was never the same again, and certainly a lot of fun and gaiety went out of the instructors' room when it passed into the hands of the generally older professional instructors."
"With pilots like BOAC Captains Griffiths, Derrington Turner, Weston Taggart, Ken Buxton and last but no means least Jim Weir, there was never a dull minute."
"since the war he has been flying on the BOAC routes to North America. He is married and has two children"
W.--- Cadet Maud Agnes 'Molly' Calver b. 13 Apr 1910, Wix Essex 24 Jun-42 to 30 Jun-42 (7 days)
RAeC, 18 Oct 1936
(Member of London General Omnibus Co ("the Busmen's") Flying Club)
Daily Herald, 29 Jul 1936
Father: William Calver, mother Edith Annie
Ed. Mistley Council School
prev: Stewardess, Welfare Dept, London Transport
Next of kin (mother) Annie Plummer, 47 Victor Rd, Hythe, Colchester
prev exp: 14 hrs
Address in 1936: 9 Basedale Rd, Dagenham, Essex
Address in 1942: 58 Green Lane, Ilford, Essex
"Molly Calver pours out tea every day for the busmen at her London garage. Each time she hopes it will be the last time. She paid her subscription of sixpence a week when the London Transport Flying Club started"
"From bus garage canteen stewardess to air ferry pilot is the wartime change by Miss Molly Calver, only woman among the 1,200 members of London Transport's Central Buses Flying Club. She'll soon be leaving her job at Dalston to become a member of Air Transport Auxiliary. " - Daily Mirror - Wednesday 21 January 1942
m. Jan 1949 Joseph T Pulham
Daily Mirror 15th May 1953
"Molly Calver seated in her aircraft before taking off at Chobham. Molly is a stewardess employed by London Transport at their Romford Garage and has worked for the London Transport Board for 20 years, but only very few of her hundreds of workmates realised that she is 'an old sweat' aeroplane pilot during World War II.
Before the war, Molly was a pilot in the London Transport Road Services Sports Association Flying Club and, during the war years, was an Air Transport Auxiliary Pilot, ferrying all types of aircraft. "
Later Mrs Warr(?)
M.300 * First Officer Herbert Seddon 'Jock' Cameron b. 1909 30 Apr 1941 to 30 Sep 1944
m. 1931 in Staines, Patricia Harriet Louise [Watson]
prev. a ground engineer at Heston Airport
d. 1 May 1952 - Tripoli, Lebanon
buried Anglo-American Cemetery, Beirut
[Seconded from RAF]
Albert Bower Campbell b. 11 Jan 1913, Alderley Edge 10 Jun 1944 to Apr-45
prev. RAF A/C inspector
M.260 First Officer Bruce Campbell b. 9 Feb 1910, Harrow 18 Feb 1941 to May-43
prev. A Stockbroker
RAF Sgt Pilot 1938 then P/O Jun 1940
Later a test pilot with de Havilland
"In July 1955 Bruce Campbell, a long-time friend of mine, as well as owning a boat in the south of France, had a de Havilland two-seater Hornet Moth registered G-ADNE. From his boat, then in the south of France, he asked me to fly the Hornet down to Cannes for both of us to fly home in." Lettice Curtis
M.213 Flight Captain Thomas James McOran Campbell b. 15 Aug 1906, Plympton 21 Jan 1941 to Jun-42 (as pilot), then Technical Dept until Sep-44
Eldest son of Rear-Admiral George McOran Campbell, C.M.G.
Address in 1941: 'Jacques', Pipers Lane, Harpenden, Herts
Educated at St Edwards, Oxford; BA (Eng), Cantab
prev. 2nd Lieut, Royal Corps of Signals Aug 1926-Nov 1929, then an Aeronautical Engineer and pilot
m. Jean Emily [Mitchell] in 1928 (d. 1976)
(3 children before 1941)
Postings: 1FPP, 2FPP, 4FPP, 4aFPP, 6FPP, 15FPP
"A hardworking and methodical pilot, and a good officer."
"(Jan-42) Has done very little flying as a pilot lately, as he is employed on the engineering side on Liberator training."
"This officer's work on the collection of data for and the writing of handling notes is of a very high order. He is a very hard worker and has put in exceptionally long hours."
In May 1955, Flight reported: "Another Bristol appointment announced last week was that of Mr. James McOran Campbell as senior technical representative in Pakistan... In pre-war years Mr. Campbell was with de Havillands and Imperial Airways, and during the war flew as an A.T.A. pilot, later becoming a Hawker production flight development engineer and test pilot. He joined the Bristol engine division in 1951."
d. 4 May 1990 - Plymouth: a "much loved father, grandfather and great-grandfather... A very special and Christian life, greatly missed by all of us."
M.--- Cadet Herbert George Cant b. 21 Jun 1906, Clapham 22 Apr 1942 to 6 May 1942
ed. Acton Council School
m. 1929 Elsie Clarice [Reed]
prev. an Insurance Clerk, then a Drawing Officer Manager at Phillips and Powis Aircraft, Reading
Address in 1942: Winnersh Corner, Berkshire
On 5 May, Herbert stalled his Magister whilst attempting to land, causing a broken propeller and other damage. This led to...
Contract Terminated 6 May 1942 - Unsuitable
d. Jun 1982 - Basingstoke
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip files):
M.457 First Officer Anthony Carpenter b. 4 Sep 1913, London 27 May 1941 to Jun-43
Educated at Caterham School
m. 1940 Ruby Violet [Haines]
RAeC Certificates in 1936 (in an autogiro) and 1938
prev. A/C erection foreman, Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft Ltd
Address in 1941: 289 Alleseley Old Rd, Coventry
Postings: 6FPP, 3FPP
"A keen and conscientious officer, inclined to be a little slow."
d. 21 Jun 1943 (Died in ATA Service) - Wellington XIV HF136 crashed and burnt out at Hawarden. Port engine lost power immediately after takeoff, due to an electrical short-circuit which caused the port propeller to feather.
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
M.553 * First Officer Walter Raymond Carr b. Oct 1897, Carlisle 13 May 1941 to 31 Aug 1945
prev. a Company Director
Lived in Kenya during the 1920s and early 30s
d. 20 Apr 1957 - Hampshire
[Seconded from RAF]
Charles Leo Carter b. 19 Jan 1915, Manchester 29 Jan 1943 to Apr-45
prev. Newspaper photographer, then RAF from 1939
[Seconded from RAF]
Raymond Harry Carter b. 19 Feb 1921, Rugby 23 May 1944 to Apr-45
M.683 First Officer William Frederick Bertram Castle b. 13 Oct 1908, London 4 Nov 1941 to Nov-45
d. 1987, Weymouth
M.821 First Officer Mervyn George [Checkland] Chadwick b. 18 Jun 1907, Barnes, London 13 Oct 1942 - 30 Nov 1945
Father: Bernard George Chadwick [d. 1916 in Flanders], Mother: Millicent [Kettle]
[Checkland was his grandmother's maiden name]
Ed. St Lawrence College, Ramsgate
m. 1929 in Eton, Bucks, Marjorie Joan [Crockford], 2 children
prev. RAF 1930-32 then Oct-40 to Feb-42 (Sergeant Pilot)
prev. exp. 1,436 hrs plus 8 hrs 45min night
via Richard Durrant
Together with Raymond Gordon, formed Premier Aircraft Constructions Ltd in 1936, based at Maylands Aerodrome, Romford, to market the Gordon Dove, but this was unsuccessful and Mervyn was declared bankrupt in 1939.
Address in 1942: 119 Riverview Gardens, Barnes, SW13
Later moved to 44 Ingrave Rd, Battersea, SW11
"slight limp left leg"
Postings: 16FPP, 9FPP, 2FPP, 6FPP
Suspended without pay for 2 days in Feb-43 for "breach of airmanship and breach of flying discipline"
2 accidents, both his fault:
- 5 Jan 1944, when his Auster III landed in a strong and gusty wind with flaps down (contrary to pilots handling notes) and tipped onto its nose;
19 Mar 1944, when he did exactly the same thing in an Argus, except this time the wingtip was damaged - "The attention of C.O.O. is drawn."
"A keen, hard-working and well behaved officer. He is not over-confident, but as a pilot he is not quite as good or as quick-witted as he thinks he is."
At 2 FPP, "although he has been on the strength of this Pool for seven months, has been away for three of these due to sickness and conversion to Class 3."
"An intelligent and careful pilot who shows great competence. A well disciplined officer who has been of great value."
m. Oct 1946 Joan Edith [Nobbs], 3 children
d. 3 Nov 1971 - Brent, London
With thanks for the family and other research by Richard Durrant
M.54 * Flight Captain Arthur Edward Chambers b. 11 Oct 1913, Lowestoft 8 Apr 1940 to 20 Aug 1945
prev. a motor mechanic (Science Dept.)
Address in 1936: 16 Ellys Rd, Coventry
Postings include 8FPP
d. Jul 1993 - Waveney, Suffolk
(Seconded from RAF)
Laurence Alfred Chapman b. 13 Sep 1921, Upminster 19 May 1944 to Apr-45
M.80 First Officer Harold Chater b. 4 Sep 1908, Eastbourne 23 May 1940 to Jun-45
A Pilot; owned 1932 Avro 504K G-ABVC (ex F8834), known affectionately as "Screaming Annie".
"Mr. Chater, who has become well known locally for the amount of spare time he has put in at the [Cinque Ports Flying] Club building up an Avro 504 from spare parts. He has fitted an equally aged Bristol 'Lucifer' engine." (Flight, 1933)
He advertised it for £225 in 1936, but it appears not to have found a buyer, and its registration was finally cancelled in 1945.
Chief Instructor at the Kent Flying Club in 1939.
Postings: 1FPP, 6FPP, 9FPP, 14FPP
"A pilot of above average ability and a capable instructor. He does, however, easily lose interest and he would do well to show greater keenness and enthusiasm." (T A Gale, Chief Flying Instructor, Jan-43)
May-43: "This pilot, although posted here with a somewhat moderate report has not shown any of the bad qualities he was reported to possess... I find him a likeable individual."
Address in 1944: 1 Glynde Ave, Hampden Pk, Eastbourne
m. 1944 Susan Kathleen Speak Or Eastwood (an ATA driver at 6FPP)
He was still interested enough in aviation in 1965 to write to 'Flight': "My wartime ferry pilot [colleague] Tom Brooke-Smith said that flying a VTOL aircraft was like coming down a ladder for the first time. I saw the Hawker Siddeley P. 1127 at Farnborough last summer and decided that this sort of aviation was here to stay.
Having been a commercial pilot for 30 years I know that nothing annoys a customer more than unpunctuality at either end of the line. Whether you do 200 or 2,000 m.p.h. doesn't matter if he can't keep his appointment."
(Seconded from RAF)
Ronald Walter Francis Chifney b. 6 Oct 1918, London 19 May 1944 to Apr-45
M.6 * First Officer John Taverner Wilson Clark b. 9 Apr 1910, London 21 Sep 1939 to May-40
prev. civil pilot - 'B' Licence holder
prev exp. 483 hrs on DH Moth, Puss Moth, Hornet, Leopard Moth, Tiger Moth, Tomtit, Avro 638, 640, 504N, Avian
m. Oct 1934 in London, Norah [Penny or Ford] (one daughter b.1934)
Instructor's Report (Nov 1939) says "has no outstanding faults and has flown the Harvard, Battle and Blenheim very satisfactorily. He should be capable of flying all types."
Address in 1939: 'Crossways', Lower Babington, Wirral, Cheshire
Address in 1940: Meads, Pinkneys Green, Maidenhead, Berks (the home of his brother Paul')
Postings: Filton, 3FPP (White Waltham)
d. 25 May 1940 (the first pilot to die in ATA Service) - took off in Blackburn Botha L6160 from Yeadon but shortly after take-off, finding himself approaching two houses on high ground, banked steeply right and, in doing so, hit a stone boundary wall and crashed in Layton Rd, Horsforth, Yorks..
His next-of-kin (and Executor of hs will) was his brother, Lieut. Paul Clark, RN
buried Yeadon Cemetery, Leeds, Yorkshire
The £2,000 insurance money was paid to his widow Norah in October 1940, but on 15 August 1941 she wrote to the ATA:
I am wondering whether you could advise me or help me in the following manner:
I am left with a small daughter aged 7, and my living to earn, she will have to go to boarding school as I have no income coming in now.
[Is there] a possiblility of my getting a small pension, if not for myself, for my little girl to help towards her education, my husband's family are in Australia and I cannot get assistance from them, could you in any way possibly put me in touch with the right source of approach to anyone who could help me in this matter.
Thanking you in anticipation of a reply.
Norah Clark (Mrs)"
Nothing seems to have come of this, although an ATA Benevolent Fund file was opened for her (but not until July 1945).
M.90 * Flight Captain Charles Sidney Clarke b. 8 Feb 1896, Birmingham 12 Sep 1940 to 31 Jan 1945
RFC in 1917
Address in 1941: The Close, Olton, Warwickshire
M.507 First Officer Rodney Eyre Clarke b. 10 Nov 1915, London 20 Jun 1941 to 23 Jul 1942
Father: Francis Clarke
Ed. at Berkhampsted School
prev. RAF 1935 -1941 (F/O from 1940)
m. 1 Jan 1940 Sibyl Faith [Ingram-Johnson, divorced; d. 1993]; 2 children John b.1940, Pamela b. 1943
6 ft 4in tall
Address in 1941: Old Manor House, Squires Bridge Rd, Shepperton, Middx
"A pilot of fully average ability."
The 'Liabilities (War-time Adjustment) Act', allowed people who reckoned they were in serious financial difficulties owing to war circumstances to apply for help:
"ORDERS OF DISCHARGE. No 6. CLARKE, Rodney Eyre, now of Ship & Bell Hotel, Horndean, Hants, previously residing at "St. Vincent," Woodland Grove, Weybridge, Surrey, and formerly residing and carrying on business at the Ship & Castle Hotel, St. Mawes, Cornwall. Now Hotel Manager, previously Air-Transport Pilot, formerly HOTEL PROPRIETOR. Date of Order of Discharge—Jan. 21, 1944"
"M.S.A.E., F.R.S.A., A.M.I.M.I., F.Inst.D. Chairman, Continental Cars, Ltd, since 1943; General Manager, Connaught Engineering (Automobile and General Engineers), since 1949. b: November 10, 1915. London. Educ: Berkhamsted; A.E.T.C., Chelsea. Served apprenticeship in Electronics research, 1933-35; Royal Air Force commission (night-bomber Captain), 1935-40; Air Transport Auxiliary (Ferry Pilot), 1941; engaged in Motor Industry as from 1943. Club: R.A.C. Add: Connaught Engineering, Portsmouth Rd., Send, Surrey, and St. Vincent, Woodland Grove, Weybridge, Surrey. " Who's Who in the Motor Industry 1959
d. Jun 1979 - Surrey
M.911 First Officer Roger Grenville Clarke b. 5 Dec 1921, Leicester 10 Apr 1943 to Oct-45
W.30 2nd Officer
Edna Violet 'Sammy' Clayton
b. 26 Jul 1900, Hampstead, London 1 Mar 1941 to Feb 1942
The Sketch, 1942
Father: Barnett Samuel (a financial broker, d.1925), mother Annie Leah [Barnett] (d. 1933)
Ed. St Paul's Girls School; Slade School of Art
2 sisters (Amelia b. 1891, Olga Esther b. 1893, later Mrs Roys), 1 brother (Ivor Dudley b. 1894)
m. 5 Mar 1927 in Hampstead, Harold Clayton (later Sqn-Ldr with No 40 Group, Andover)
Address in 1936: 128 Dorset House, Gloucester Place, London NW1
prev. 1939- Dec 1940 Section Cadet Officer, Mechanised Transport Corps
prev. exp. 87 hrs on Tigers [sic], Hornet Moth, Puss Moth, Potez, Tanpin, Swallow in France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, America, Czechoslovakia, UK
Address in 1941: 36 Viceroy Court, Prince Albert Rd, London NW8
Harold and Edna contested the will of Edna's father, Barnett Samuel, in 1941.
Briefly, Barnett had left Edna a large legacy, but specified that she would forfeit it if she married someone "who is not of Jewish parentage and of the Jewish faith"
"This is a case in which the testator has sought, in the words of the Master of the Rolls, to direct the lives of his children from the grave... to control his daughter Edna's choice of a husband."
Now, Harold Clayton was an English Wesleyan, "not in any possible sense of the words a person of Jewish parentage, nor has he been at any time in any possible sense of the words a person of the Jewish faith"
... which sounds like an open and shut case, but No!
In a rather Dickensian twist, their appeal was (thankfully, IMHO) upheld as (I can only quote the judgement): "It is true that, on any possible construction of the clause Mr. Clayton was disqualified. But any possible construction is not the question: the actual construction must be certain: and as it is not the Appeal succeeds."
So there you have it. Hope that's clear.
[On her application form for ATA, Edna gave her religion as 'Protestant']
Described herself as an 'Artist' when emigrating to Kenya in Nov 1957 (and was either widowed or divorced at the time)
d. 13 Aug 1970 - Nairobi, Kenya
M.209 First Officer Geoffrey James Ian Clennell b. 29 Oct 1912, Letchworth 4 Feb 1941 to 17 Jul 1941
m. 1934 Joan Ossory [Dunlop - she was an M.T. driver with the ATA from 20 Jul 1942 to 27 Jan 1943], 3 children
prev. RAF Sep 1932 - Sep 1938 (Pilot Officer in 1934, promoted to Flt-Lt 8 Jun 1937); apprentice to Bentley Motors
A test pilot in 1939.
Address in 1941: 38 Richmond Hill Rd, Birmingham
Suspended for 2 days in April 1941 for "aerobatics"
"First Class pilot, very keen and hard-working. Occasionally has fallen down on small points of discipline."
Resigned to join RAF
d. 25 Feb 1942 when a Squadron Leader with 255 Sqn, RAFVR when crash landing Beaufighter II T3023 due to engine failure on final approach to RAF Coltishall.
P/O Harold Vincent also died of injuries sustained in the same accident.
buried Scottow Cemetery
Mrs Clennell wrote to Pauline Gower in May 1943, asking for help as she was "in very straightened circumstances."
Pauline passed it on to the RAF Benevloent Fund, who were already paying for her elder son's education (£25 per term).
M.824 * First Officer John Rhodes Cobb b. 2 Dec 1899, Beddington 23 Sep 1942 to 30 Sep 1945
Ed,. Eton, Trinity Hall Cambridge
prev. a Produce Broker
Address in 1924: The Grove, Esher, Surrey
"An English racing motorist. He was three times holder of the World Land Speed Record, in 1938, 1939 and 1947, set at Bonneville Speedway in Utah, US. He was awarded the Segrave Trophy in 1947. He was killed in 1952 whilst piloting a jet powered speedboat attempting to break the World Water Speed Record on Loch Ness water in Scotland."
d. 29 Sep 1952 - Loch Ness
3rd Officer [Seconded from RAF]
John Noble Cochrane b. 31 Jan 1923, Newcastle on Tyne 5 Oct 1943 to 15 Apr 1945
Father: Wilfred Theodore Claude Cochrane, Mother: Yseult Joan
Ed. Eton, Magdalene College Cambridge
prev. RAF Sep-42 to Oct-43
Address in 1943: Edenmore, Stranolar, Co. Donegal, Eire
2 accidents, 1 his fault:
- 1 Nov 1944, he landed his Spitfire VII with the tail wheel retracted, due to a technical fault [The Mk VII was the first Spitfire with a retractable tail wheel, btw] [The accident happened at Aldergrove, so I think this must be him, although the pilot is recorded as 'T.M Cochrane'];
- 2 Mar 1945, he seriously injured a pedestrian, naval rating A M Ducker, while taxying in a Swordfish. His attention was distracted by a motorcyclist coming towards him.
Address in 1947: 15 Alpha Rd, Cambridge
m. 1952 Georgiana Elizabeth Fane de Salis [4 childen]
He was a Development Engineer with Bristol Aeroplane Co. between 1947 and 1961, and was in the Scientific Civil Service at RAF Farnborough.
M.643 First Officer Euclid W. 'Ed' Coe b. 18 Jun 1912, Cleveland, TN 21 Jun 1941 to 21 Jun 1942
Father: John W. Coe, mother Retta [Hagler] both dec'd
Ed. High School, Porterville, CA
prev. Gas and Electric Welding; Mechanic. 1940-41 US Army Civilian Flyng Instructor in Albany, GA
prev. exp. 1800 hrs
Address in 1941: Main St., Richland Center, WI
Postings: 3FPP, 6FPP
Suspended for one day and fined £5 in Dec-41 for "failing to report to police on being posted to 3FPP", and then suspended for 2 days in Apr-42 for "low flying".
15 May 1942, his Spitfire broke an undercarriage leg during a forced landing following a drop in oil and brake pressure. Not his fault.
"A steady and reliable pilot and a good officer."
m. 1943 Mildred Kathleen [Christie] from NY [2 children]
Post-ATA, he joined RAF Ferry Command and was stationed in Nassau and Montreal, until 1946.
Later a test pilot for Canadair, operator of a number of flight schools, and owner of ABC Rentals in Glen Falls, NY.
d. 15 Oct 1990 - Glen Falls, NY (Age 78)
M.170 2nd Officer John Leslie Courtenay Coles b. 26 Aug 1905, London 19 Nov 1940 to 27 Jul 1941
RAeC 1934 (Photo missing)
Ed. "Douai Abbey. Russia. USA"
prev. RAF 1921-23; Signalman in Royal Corps of Signals 1924-26; Engineer Tool Maker; "Rough Rider"; Pilot for BOAC
prev. exp. 200hrs
m. Ivy Maude
Address in 1940: Kim, Powercourt Rd, Barton-on-Sea, Hants
Postings: 2FPP, 4FPP
Off sick from 29 Apr to 20 May 1941 with 'nervous debility', and from 12 to 27 Jul 1941 with 'cellulitis of ankle'.
Suspended for 3 days without pay for going AWOL in Jul 1941
"A pilot whose flying ability and sense of judgement I have no great confidence in."
"Has carried out the duties allocated to him satisfactorily."
Contract Terminated 27 Jul 1941 - Disciplinary Reasons
d. 24 Mar 1984 - Barnet, London
M.103 First Officer Alexander Collinge b. 2 Jun 1906, Oldham Lancs 10 Jun 1940 to Apr-41
A Secretary in 1931
In October 1933, he and his wife, and Mr. Gifford Hallam, made "a successful journey to Paris and return", and in 1934 he was a close runner-up to Alan Goodfellow in the Senior Landing Competition at Woodford.
Address in 1940: Flat 39, Parrawood Court, Didsbury, Manchester
M.552 * Flight Captain Harold James Whitfield Collins b. 4 Oct 1896, Kings Nation Worcestershire 6 May 1941 to 31 Dec 1945
Lieut., 16th Gloucestershire Regiment, RFC and RAF in WWI
Certificate of Commendation
"On the 10th February, 1944, First Officer Collins was ferrying a Walrus when the engine failed completely over mountainous country. He landed it undamaged on a bend of the River Devron between high banks, and managed to moor it successfully."
One accident, his fault:
- 10th Oct 1942, Tomahawk AH806 was being flown to Catterick on a delivery flight so the aircraft could join No.1472 A.A.C.Flight. It landed at Dishforth at 13.15hrs with its undercarriage retracted and was slightly damaged.
d. 5 Sep 1979 - Cannock, Staffs
M.629 2nd Officer Percival John Collins b. 6 Feb 1912, Woolwich, London 26 Aug 1941 to Jan-42
prev. A Civil Servant
d. 29 Jan 1942 (Died in ATA Service) - Hurricane V7001 crashed into hillside during snowstorm at Pen-y-Cae nr Ruabon
M.761 3rd Officer (Acting 2nd Officer) Alan Rees Colman b. 3 Jan 1901, Norwich 8 Jul 1942 to Jan-43
6ft 3in tall; educated at Eton and Cambridge
A Director of the family firm, J&J Colman Ltd (Colmans Mustard)
A very keen yachtsman; member of the Royal Yacht Squadron, the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club, and 'other local clubs'.
prev. Army Reservist 1932 to 1942 (Major). He went on active service to France with the Norfolk Yeomanry in 1939, returning with the evacuation of Dunkirk.
prev exp. 315 hrs. He had owned 3 aircraft:
- G-ABCD, a 1930 Avian IVM;
- G-ACTL, a 1934 DH Leopard Moth, and
- G-AFBC, a 1937 Percival Vega Gull.
Ferry Pool: No. 6
On Aug 5, 1942, he wrote to Cmdr Bathurst from 'Gastlings, Southill, Biggleswade':
"My dear Bathurst,
I have been expecting to turn out the guard for you at Barton this past 10 days on one of your routine inspections but have been disappointed in that so far.
This is a job to end all jobs as far as I am concerned and have enjoyed nothing so much in years: if you can kindly arrange to forget my existence until the winter afterwards it will be A1 by me!
I have drawn Paull for Instructor and he is first class, as are, I shd think, most of your team here."
He transferred to the Administrative Staff from 1 Dec 1942, as Assistant to the Chief Establishment Officer - essentially, a Personnel Officer, a job for which he was expected to be "occasionally flying".
On the 1st January 1943 he wrote this set of 'Handling Notes':
I venture to put forward for your consideration the suggestion that you should cause to be promulgated amongst O.C.s and Adjutants of this Organisation some technical instruction on the above subject - either orally or in writing.
There is no dispute that the average pilot has more than the Human Average of Prima Donna Complex embedded in his temperament, and it appears probable that, more often than not, it will also be found that this Complex is highest in the best pilots and progresses geometrically with Anno Domini.
The Prima Donna may be defined for this purpose as one who can perform desirable - or even remarkable - feats of virtuosity over almost indefinite periods, granted only that a favourable atmosphere is maintained around her by the thoughtful provisions of four opportunities:
1. To exhibit Personality by indulging in a few little whims.
2. To blow off steam about Everything to a Sympathetic and Untiring Ear.
3. To receive occasional Encouragement or Praise.
4. Never to be criticised - or, if this must be done once in a while, then to have it so well wrapped up in the Chinese or Irish Manner that she may get the Idea without loss of 'face'.
It is undeniably a great nuisance to have to worry about such apparent trifles, especially in wartime, but the fact remains that our job is not to remake human nature, but to try to make the absolute best of the material that happens to be available, and I have a feeling, based on all too little experience admittedly, that we may sometimes be apt, in a natural attempt to produce a well-run and well disciplined show, to pay too little attention to the delicate art of handling our Prima Donnas.
The recent Meadway incident seems to illustrate this. The Army have an excellent and wise tradition that no superior officer should come within striking distance of a soldier who is under the influence of alcohol: I seriously suggest that for at least 24 hours after landing an aircraft, a pilot - if he has any pride at all - will be feeling so low and bloody-minded that it will be well worth his Superior Officer spending a few seconds thought before coming within verbal striking range of him.
... During the four months I spent in E. and AFTS I served under two or three C.O.s and several adjutants, but I do not think any one of them ever took the trouble to find out anything about me as an individual (except possibly my name and flying record) and I suspect that much the same would be true of Meadway. The latter, as it happened, was an easy going type whom you could get anything out of round the the fire over a glass of ale, but practically nothing over the Orderly Room Table or on the Mat, and armed with this knowledge I still believe that ATA might have made a useful servant out of him."
He went on to suggest that "O.C.s and adjutants be impressed with the need for knowing their personnel more intimately than they now do, and...for future appointments the quality of being a Good Mixer be designated a sine qua non for adjutants, and a Major Qualification for O.C.s."
Sadly, he died shortly after in a bizarre accident:
d. Sunday 17 Jan 1943 (Died in ATA Service) - in Hurricane II KX441 which made a normal landing at Sherburn, but struck a very wet patch and nosed over onto its back.
Alan drowned, in about 18in of water, before he could be rescued.
His obituary in the Eastern Daily Press concludes: "Generous, capable, and with the keenest zest for life and all its interests, throwing himself with all his varied gifts into all that he undertook, he inspired those around him to give also of their best. Only those who knew him well realised the depth and sincerity of his desire to help his fellow men, and his loss to those who knew him is an irreparable one."
He was cremated in Leeds, and his ashes were scattered from an aircraft, piloted by Douglas Fairweather, flying over Southampton Waters on the 29th January.
M.214 Flight Captain Arthur Edward Henry Coltman b. 25 May 1906, Leicester 1 Jan 1941 to Nov-45
Address in 1941: 'Avion', 60 Edward Ave, Braunstone, Leicester
m. Hilda Hayward 1932 (2 children before 1941)
prev. Motor salesman, and then pilot for Taylorcraft Aeroplanes, Syston, Leics
RAF Sergeant - Link trainer instructor, Jun-Dec 1940
prev. exp. 153 hrs
Instructor from Jan-43: "A willing and hard working instructor who fits his present job better than he would a ferry pilot... his patience and placid temperament has undoubtedly been of great value in assisting backward pupils through the elementary stages of their training."
d. Sep 1997 - Market Harborough, Leicestershire
M.976 2nd Officer Arthur Harry Cook b. 29 May 1909 in Bletchley, Bucks 14 Jun 1943 to Jun-45
Educated at Bletchley Grammar.
In 1932, worked for Beacon Brushes Ltd, Bletchley; apparently, brush-making is Bletchley's oldest large-scale industry and Beacon Brushes was formed in 1926 by 'Jack Cook and his sons'. See http://www.discovermiltonkeynes.co.uk
Arthur's father was called Arthur John Dennis Cook, but anyway by 1943 our Arthur was 'Works Manager and Joint Managing Director' of the firm, based at Church Farm, Wavendon, Bucks. Which is near Bletchley (that's enough mentions of Bletchley).
Competed in the King's Cup in 1934 and 1935
Although he had over 400 hrs flying experience before WWII, presumably due to a long lay-off from flying he joined as a Pilot Cadet. However, he progressed well ["a quiet and hard-working pilot... he has worked keenly and well and his discipline has been excellent]", and was appointed 3rd Officer in September 1943, then 2nd Officer in Jan 1944.
During his ATA career he flew 29 single- and twin-engine types.
M.7 Captain Ernest 'Bertie' Cook b. 12 Jan 1915, Colchester 7 Nov 1940 to Aug-45
prev. RAF, Pilot Officer, Aug-1931 to Jun-40
prev. exp. 260hrs
Postings: 4FPP, 4aFPP
Deputy C.O. of 4FFP after Apr 1942
right, 1942 [with thanks to Nicholas Thomas]
Off sick after a flying accident from 22 Apr to 1st Jul 1943
"An excellent officer, who handles all duties assigned to him in an excellent manner."
M.183 Commander Gerald Victor Cook OBE b. 14 Aug 1910, Alverstoke (Gosport) Hants 19 Aug 1940 to Jul-45
"The second son of the late A. W. Cook, C.I.E., I.C.S., of Calcutta, and Mrs. Cook, Willstead Lodge, Lee-on-Solent"
prev. exp. 325hrs
prev. RAFVR from 1935-7 (invalided out due to ill health)
and, a Tea Broker
O.C. No 7 Ferry Pool, Sherburn, from 22 July 1941
"He is exceptionally keen, hard-working and competent as a pilot, but there has been some risk that he judges others by his own standards and drives his pilots too hard."
... although Brief Glory puts it rather differently: "But from the Pool Commander - who in most cases spent as much time in the air as his most junior pilot - downwards, everyone was happy."
d. Jun 1958 - Surrey
M.793 First Officer John Caister Cooke b. 26 Jan 1908, Spalding 16 Sep 1942 to Nov-45
prev. a Maths Lecturer, Raffles College Singapore;
Flt Lt. in the Malayan Volunteer Air Force, Sep-40 to Aug-42
Postings: 3FPP, 7FPP, 16FPP
"A sound pilot of good average ability who made rapid progress."
later published several aeronautical engineering papers, e.g. "Supersonic laminar boundary layers on cones, (Aeronautical Research Council. Current papers, no. 1063)" (1969)
d. Sep 1991 - Dover, Kent
[Seconded from RAF]
Geoffrey James Cooper b. 8 Dec 1917, Worcester 10 May 1944 to Apr-45
M.686 First Officer David John Coopper b. 20 Apr 1915, Bristol 6 Jan 1942 to Nov-45
prev. A clerk with WD & HO Wills, Bristol; RAFVR Sgt. Pilot 1937-41
Postings: 2FPP, 3FPP, 8FPP
"An extremely conscientious pilot"
d. Apr 2000, Bristol
M.232 First Officer Robert Arthur Corrie b. 18 Sep 1905, Maidstone 25 Sep 1940 to Dec-43
"One-armed pilot and film actor" (Brief Glory)
prev. exp. 300hrs (pre-war he was restricted to single-engine types, but also flew twins in the ATA).
"An excellent ferry pilot whose disability handicaps him surprisingly little.... inclined towards conceit, but this does not detract from his usefulness."
M.625 2nd Officer Timothy John Manley Corsellis b. 27 Jan 1921, Eltham, London 19 Aug to 10 Oct 1941
Father: Douglas Henry Corselis, a Barrister-at-law:
[Douglas died 1 Nov 1930 when his DH.60G Moth G-AAEI crashed and caught fire after he hit the perimeter fence on landing in fog at Stag Lane Aerodrome, Edgware.]
Mother: Helen Mary [ Bendall], of Gaunt Mill, Standlake, Oxford
prev. RAFVR pilot AC/2, LAC 11 Jul 1940 - 14 Feb 1941, based at Carlisle and Cranfield; Assistant ARP Organiser, Wandsworth
prev. exp. 35 hrs in Magister, Oxford
"The reason for my discharge from the RAF was my application to be drafted to a fighter squadron in order that I might avoid the possibility of being ordered to take part in indiscriminate bombing, which I would feel bound to disobey."
[I suppose we should point out that the RAF only allowed its most promising pilots to go for fighter training.]
The Town Clerk for Wandsworth Borough Council (one of his 'referees') said "He is a young man of considerable mental attainment and keen interest. His education at Winchester and work here should fit him for any appointment of responsibility and I have no hesitation in saying he will be thoroughly trustworthy"
Having checked with the Air Ministry to ensure that he was not required by the RAF or for other duties, the ATA invited him for a flight test. The resulting assessment was, "Take-off: Good; General Flying: Poor; Approach and Landing: Fair. Nervous type. 15 hrs for Class 1, Doubtful for Class 2"
Address in 1941: 2 Montague Gardens, London W1
By 27 September, Timothy had completed his Class 1 Technical Course, training in Ground Navigation and Morse Code, and about 25 hrs flying in Magister, Moth and Tutor. He was rated as a pilot of average ability, "but he has made good progress."
He was then cleared to fly Class 1 (light single-engine) aircraft.
d. 10 Oct 1941 (Died in ATA Service) - on his 3rd ferry flight, from Luton to Carlisle, Magister L8286 crashed at Warmanbie House, nr Annan, Dumfries.
He died instantly, from a fractured skull, and inter-cranial haemorrage.
There was "Insufficient evidence to determine the cause of the accident."
Retired Colonel Charles Spencer, the resident of Warmanbie House, said, "I was at the east side of Warmanbie House, when an RAF plane flew over the house from about north-east at a low altitude. I then saw it make a sudden violent swerve towards the north-west and dive out of sight.... In my opinion the engine did not stop prior to the crash." However, other witnesses reported that the plane had circled "a number of times" and the engine did stop before the crash.
Fellow pilot Percy Olieff also ferried a Magister from Luton to Carlisle that day, and had spoken to Timothy en route, at Sealand. "He told me he had stopped at Worcester to refuel, and I expressed surprise at this as the endurance of the Magister is about 3 hours. S/O Corsellis seemed to be jittery and on enquiry admitted that he had had a night out. I asked him why he had not been to see the Doctor, and he replied that he did feel all right."
His body was cremated in Oxford on 15 October 1941, and his ashes were scattered from an ATA Anson over heath land between Oxford and Kemble.
"November 7th 1941
Dear Captain Kiek,
It was good of you to let me come to White Waltham - it comforted me to know that Timothy must have been happy in that atmosphere of efficiency & inspiration & aliveness.
I shall not forget how wonderfully patient & sympathetic you were - it was a hateful job for you to have to do but you did it perfectly and I do thank you.
I think it had to be, with Timothy - I felt sure the moment he started flying - just as I felt sure with his father.
I am thankful he was spared any agony.
The £2,000 insurance claim was paid to his mother Helen on 13 Apr 1942.
Oxford DNB: "As with so many servicemen poets of the period, Timothy Corsellis first had his work published by the admirable Keidrich Rhys, himself serving as a gunner in the Royal Artillery. It belongs to the group of air force poets who include Henry Treece, John Pudney, and Vernon Watkins, while remaining distinctive and troubling. An edition of his collected poems has never been published. Corsellis's originality lies in his ability to reveal youthful disappointment with what was offered him. Barely grown up, and lacking his friend Weir's strong sense of cause, he wrote poetry that is a severe indictment of the grim world into which the war cast him.Sometimes we pray to be hardened and callous,But God turns a deaf ear,And we know hate and sorrow—intimately,And we do not mind dying tomorrow.(Corsellis, ‘Dawn after the Raid’, Poems)"
M.439 Flight Captain David George Sinclair Cotter MBE b. 18 May 1913, Leicester 16 May 1941 to Dec-45
ed. St Paul's, London
RAF Short Service Commission, terminated 1933 due to ill health
Company Commander in the Home Guard May-40 to Jan-41
prev. Aircraft Inspector for Fairey Aviation, Hayes.
"A sound and smart officer who is a great asset to the ATA"
He was awarded a Certificate of Commendation for his part in the rescue of the crew of a returning operational Halifax III of No. 420 Squadron, piloted by Flight Lieutenant R. A. Kalle which, having been damaged during a sortie over Normandy, overshot the runway and caught fire at White Waltham on the 30th July 1944.
The full list of those commended was:
pilots David Cotter (M.349), Reginald Davidson (M.918), Marvin Dunlavy (M.408), Albert Gardner, John Gulson, Francis Lees, Alan Murray, Donald Soutter;
Fire Officer D Baldwin, Senior Flight Engineer Kenneth Payne, and
Mr J.J. Thompson.
He was also awarded an MBE. The citation reads "An aircraft crashed on landing and burst into flames. Despite the fire and the bombs on board, which subsequently exploded, the crew, five of whom were seriously injured in the crash, were extricated... First Officer Cotter gave invaluable help in getting the Rear-Gunner out of his turret, which had become jammed. The man was unconscious, lying partly in the turret and partly in the rear of the fuselage. While others worked on the turret from the outside, Cotter, finding the turret could not be swung back, entered the fuselage, after forcing the normal entrance. The starboard wing was blazing fiercely and the heat was so intense that the starboard elevator burst into flames. It was then found necessary to remove the gunner’s flying equipment before those outside could extricate him safely... Cotter showed great courage without thought for his own safety."
d. 2003, Surrey
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
M.9 First Officer Ralph Douglas Cotton b. 15 Feb 1908, Hendon 11 Sep 1939 to Jun-41
A Bank Clerk in 1927; RAF Flying Officer 1928-30
m. Emily Mary Rawstron in May 1938: "The many Bedford sportsmen who remember R. D. Cotton, the Old Modernian, will wish him well in his married life. Last week Mr. Cotton married Miss E. M. Rawstron, of St. Anne’s, Lancashire, at the Parish Church, Lytham St. Anne’s.
Ralph Douglas Cotton, who is a flying and physical training instructor, played Rugby football and cricket for the Bedford Modern School about twelve years ago, and was also prominent as an athlete. In the Public Schools Championships in 1926 he won the pole-vault challenge cup at nine feet, and four years later he pole-vaulted for England.
On leaving school Cotton’s prowess as a centre-threequarter was soon recognised by the Town Club. He played many fine games for the Blues and also for the East Midlands. On moving north he won a place in the Lancashire fifteen. He has also played for the Royal Air Force, and is at present a member of the Fylde R.U.F.C. He is a member of the Blackpool and Fylde Aero Club.
Mr. Cotton is the only son of the late Mr. J. B. Cotton, and of Mrs Cotton, 16 St. Leonard’s Road, Marton. His wife comes of a well-known St. Anne’s family, being the third daughter of Mr. Arthur Rawstron. Alpha House, St. Andrew’s South. Mr. and Mrs. Cotton will live at Old Farm House, Little Poulton, Poulton-le-Fylde."
[Contract Terminated by ATA 7 Jun 1941 - Disciplinary Reasons]
Flying Instructor in Egypt post-WWII
Landlord of the Golden Cross Hotel, Marlbrook, near Bromsgrove in 1956 and of the Old Cock Hotel, Halifax, in 1961.
d. Jan 1986, Bedford
M.---- Flt-Sgt (Seconded from RAF) Maurice Gaston Emile Coutanceau b. 23 Feb 1920 20 Nov 1942 to Oct-43
RAF from 23 Jan 1941 to 19 Nov 1942
d. 26 Oct 1943 (Died in ATA Service) - Hurricane IIc LE262 struck hillside at Kinniside Cleator, Cumberland, 10 miles E of St Bees Head, in bad weather
buried St Laurence Church, Upminster, Essex
M.992 2nd Officer Roland Harry Cowdry b. 3 Oct 1919, London 12 Jul 1943 to 31 Oct 1945
[Seconded from RAF]
George Craven b. 4 Mar 1914, Keighley, Yorks 14 Jul 1944 to Apr-45
Lived at: 26 James Place, Edinburgh with wife Sadie
prev. a worsted spinner
Postings: 4FPP, 5FPP, 16FPP
"His progress was slow... he showed a tendency to let things drift and not take action to remedy faults quickly."
At 16 Ferry Pool, he spent 1 month ferrying and he carried out his duties "satisfactorily."
d. Sep 1959 - Worth Valley, Yorks
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip files):
M.296 2nd Officer (Acting First Officer) Guy Alan Cremonini b. 6 Jul 1917, Birmingham 25 Mar 1941 to Mar-42
prev. RAFVR Jan-39 to Feb-40 (Sgt Pilot, OTC)
[Contract Terminated by ATA - 'Temperamentally unsuited']
'A highly nervous pilot whose sense of judgement does not seem to be very steady. He is keen, but in the four months at [Ratcliffe] Pool he has consistently taken longer to complete jobs than other pilots.'
Changed surname to 'Jordon' (his mother's maiden name) in 1944
M.491 Flight Captain Derek Arthur Rivers Cripps b. 17 Jun 1905, London 10 Jun 1941 to Nov-45
ed. Malvern College - OTC Private 1919-22
prev. with Turner, Adamant Engineering Co, Dallow Lane, Luton
Postings: 1FPP, 5FPP, 6FPP, 7FPP
In Apr-43 he was posted to AFTS as an instructor: "A hard working & keen officer who had the making of a good instructor, but unfortunately, he apparently felt the work too much of a mental strain and he made application to revert to ferrying."
m. "Barbara Petronella Bowyer Or Reid" (also of the ATA) in Dec 1946
M.578 First Officer Charles Brian Critchley b. 14 Apr 1917, St Annes on Sea, Lancs 19 Jun 1941 to Nov-42
prev. Fleet Air Arm Feb-39 to Sep-40;
A Cotton salesman for C Tattersall & Co, Manchester
d. Mar 1943, Hatfield?
W.27 2nd Officer
Fidelia Josephine 'Delia' Crossley
b. 1 Jun 1905, Altringcham Cheshire 16 Dec-40 to Jan-42
The daughter of Sir Kenneth Irwin, 2nd Baronet Crossley, Chairman of the Crossley Car and Engineering companies in Manchester.
In 1919, the Crossley family moved to Combermere Abbey, Whitchurch, Shropshire and her father held the offices of High Sheriff and Justice of the Peace for Cheshire. These days, although it continues in private ownership, Combermere Abbey ‘welcomes visitors in groups or on specific days by appointment’. It has been described as ‘one of the most romantic places in Europe’ .
Gained her pilot’s licence in 1930. She only competed in the King’s Cup once - in 1931, when she was the only woman competitor to finish, a gallant 20th out of the 21 finishers (another 20 dropped out on the way, don't forget).
August 1931 found her in Dublin; "Among the visitors was one who deserved especial mention, and that was the intrepid Miss Crossley, who put up such a fine show in the recent King's Cup race. She flew the long way round, and is now continuing to tour the country."
In 1932, she visited India, where "we hear she has been doing a considerable amount of flying." In fact, she competed in the Viceroy Cup (India's version of the King's Cup) with 5 other English pilots and 6 from India.
She also competed in several other races and gatherings, e.g.
- Ladies event at Reading (May, 1931) - the other competitors were Amy Johnson, Pauline Gower, Dorothy Spicer, Gabrielle Burr (Patterson), Susan Slade, and Winifred Spooner - a historic gathering indeed.
- London-Newcastle, August 1932, in Comper Swift G-ABUA; finished 11th of 18
- Yorkshire Tophy Race, September 1932 (not placed);
- Heston-Cardiff, October 1932, also in Comper Swift G-ABUA; finished 3rd of 9
- the second 'Bienvenue Aerienne' in France (July 1934)
Delia with C C Grey (editor of 'The Aeroplane'), Mrs Grey, Connie Leathart and others.
She also entered her Comper Swift in the 1932 King's Cup Race, but withdrew before the start, and seems to have retired from air racing in 1935.
On the outbreak of WWII, Delia became an ambulance driver for the London County Council, but then applied for a job as a ferry pilot for the ATA. She started as a Second Officer on the 16th December 1940, but suffered a bout of 'corozyia' (presumably coryza, i.e. catarrhal inflammation of the mucous membrane in the nose) which kept her out for 6 weeks in October/November 1941, so that she didn't complete her training and start at a Ferry Pool until December 1941.
A few weeks later, on the 11th Januuary 1942, she had an accident in a Hurricane; when landing in bad weather, she overshot and went through a hedge. She was considered to be at fault, having 'persisted too far in bad weather and had to land in conditions which were too difficult for her', and her contract was terminated a couple of weeks later.
She married Geza O Schubert in September 1949.
Fidelia’s de Havilland D.H. 60G Gipsy Moth G-AAKC (seen here behind G-AACY) was first registered in July 1929, and she bought it from Malcolm Campbell Ltd, the Moth distributors for the UK. She eventually passed it to her father, and it was then sold in South Africa in 1937.
Her Comper Swift was first registered in February 1932 to J D M Gray, and she sold it to Arthur H Cook (q.v.). It ended up in Indonesia.
... and there's a splendid page about 'Combermere's Pioneering Aviatrix Delia Crossley' here, written by the archivist at Combermere Abbey.
Mrs Winifred Mary 'Winnie' Crossley
9 Jan 1906, St Neots. 1 Jan 1940 to 30 Nov 1945
Her father was a G.P. Dr. Ernest Henry Harrisson and they lived at 'The Priory' and/or 'The Shrubbery', St Neots. He was famous for bringing the St Neots [Miles] quadruplets into the world in 1935.
She had an older brother [John Ernest McRae], a twin sister [Daphne Louisa], a younger brother George Granville, and a younger sister Muriel (b. 1912).
Educated at Burchett House, Dorking
m. Sep 1926 James Francis 'Frank' Crossley. In 1930 they lived in Mallowry, Riseley, N. Beds.
They had 1 child, John James, b. 1929 (he apparently "often flew with her.") **
The Tatler, 1935
prev. exp 1866 hrs on 'most single engine types; slight knowledge of twins'.
Owned a DH Gyspy Moth I in 1935. Learnt to fly at the Norfolk and Norwich Aero Club.
prev. performed aerobatics with CWA Scott's 'Flying for All' Aerial Circus:
Mrs. Crossley, the Display's lady aerobatic pilot, with Master Rice (whose father deals with the publicity) and the Hillson-Praga Baby monoplane. [Flight, Apr 1936)
3 Sep 1936: (Flying for All) "Mrs. Winifred Crossley provides one of the most amazing features of the display. She is the first woman acrobatic pilot, and although she has only been flying for two years she has reached a surprisingly high standard."
... then the only woman pilot for Air Publicity Ltd, Heston from 1936, towing advertising banners; for example, in July 1937 she flew over Whitehall towing a banner reading "Give All Civil Servants Pensions".
Lived in Gamlingay, Beds from 1932-39. Represented Bedfordshire at lawn tennis.
Address in 1940: Newhaven Court Hotel, Cromer, Norfolk
4-engine (Class 5) pilot
Postings: Hatfield, 5FPP, 9FPP, 6FPP, 4FPP
1942 caricature by 'Sammy' Clayton
"General Conduct: Average. Qualities of Leadership: Not markedly good. A pleasant and amiable person who is friendly and helpful to her less experienced colleagues."
"Has now cultivated a sense of responsibility. Very reliable pilot."
with Joan Hughes in 1940
In 1944 Norman Whitehurst wrote: "A smooth and polished pilot. She is apprehensive of poor weather to an extraordinary degree for such an experienced and good pilot. Discipline is fair and her influence, which is considerable, is not perhaps always in the best interests of the unit. She has lately shown improvement in this respect. She is at all times an amiable person of great charm and is extremely kind-hearted."
Separated from her first husband Frank; in 1943 she married Canadian airline captain Peter Cleugh Fair, later General Manager of BOAC-owned Bahamas Airways in Nassau.
Daily Record - Thursday 09 September 1943: "FLYING ROMANCE. Mrs. WINIFRED CROSSLEY, one of Britain’s finest women fliers, is spending a golfing holiday in Ayrshire with her fiance, Captain P. C. Fair, of British Airways. Slim, dark-haired, she is the daughter of the late Dr. E H Harrison, who brought the St. Neots quads into the world. She flew milk for the quads from London daily during the first weeks of their life. Captain Fair, who has been flying for 18 years, says that his bride-to-be is a better pilot than himself. She has done 4,000 flying hours, probably far more than any other woman in the world."
Peter Cleugh Fair (b. 18 May 1906 in Ontario) had travelled to England in 1927 and joined the RAF. He was promoted to Flying Officer in Dec 1928, was stationed at Uxbridge in 1934, and eventually was placed on the retired list at his own request in April 1937.Andy Pickering tells me that "Peter Fair was an Imperial Airways pilot who lost a Lockheed model 14 Super Electra in the Mediterranean on Dec 21st 1939, G-AFYU. It seems it was the first ever BOAC loss, the company having only being formed a few weeks before. There were 6 survivors from a complement of 11, Fair being injured and rescued by a French ship off Sicily after a RN search."
In January 1955, when 'fun-loving royal' Princess Margaret flew from London to Trinidad for an official visit, she was piloted by "Captain Peter Cleugh Fair, 48-year old Canadian who has flown the Atlantic nearly 400 times.
Captain Fair is one of BOAC's senior commanders and has logged more than 13,000 flying hours."
** Sadly, her son died in 1950: "On November 18, 1950, at Bovey Tracey. John James Crossley, only son of Mr. Frank Crossley and Mrs. Winifred Fair" Western Morning News
Western Times - Friday 24 November 1950: "LOSS TO PARISH.—The death of Mr. John Crossley has cast a gloom over local cricketing circles. Deceased was only about 22, and had been a playing member of the Bovey Tracey Cricket Club for some years. He lived at Harbertonford. His death came with tragic suddenness. He was at Bovey Tracey on Thursday night last, and, not feeling very well, went to bed. Returning to his home, he became worse, and on Saturday was removed to Bovey hospital, where he died soon after admission. Only a fortnight ago he received the president's bat for being the best all-rounder for last season. Mr. Crossley was a nephew of Dr. John Harrison, the president of Bovey Tracey Cricket Club. There was a large attendance at the funeral service held in Bovey Tracey parish church. The Rev. G. O. C. Duxbury, M.A.. vicar, officiated. Members of the club acted as bearers."
l to r Ann Wood-Kelly, Lettice Curtis, Ruth Ballard and Winnie, Nassau 1957 (ELC)
They came back to the UK to visit Alan and Lois Butler in Studham in 1960.
Peter died in 1961, and was buried with his mother [Sophia Meiklejohn Cleugh Fair] and brother [Howard Cleugh Fair] in Pennsylvania.
Winnie moved back to the UK and d. 1984 in Aylesbury, Bucks.
[Ultimate trivia fact: Winifred's younger sister Muriel married Peter Fair's brother Alfred!]
M.709 2nd Officer Eric Noel Crowder b. 4 Dec 1903, Chester 20 Jan 1942 to Oct-44
prev. Managing Director, RC & EN Crowder [Hardware Merchant], Seller St, Chester
'Perfectly happy when flying up to Class 3, and in these classes he is a most useful ferry pilot."
"I consider he has reached the limit of his ability."
M.565 First Officer Percy James Wulliens Cruttenden b. 16 Aug 1905, Bexhill on Sea 1 Jul 1941 to Aug-45
prev. a Prison Officer in Cardiff
m. Tetdora Anna Oltmans in 1933
When Douglas Bader crashed his Bulldog at Woodley Aerodrome, Reading, in 1931, "a man called Cruttenden got to the Bulldog first, undid the straps, somehow dragged Douglas out of the cockpit, and transferred him to an ambulance... Cruttenden stuck a large hand tightly over his leg... Douglas was convinced that Cruttenden saved his life by that action alone." The Bader Wing
Postings: 2FPP, 6FPP
'A competent and careful all round pilot, who has completed 4 years excellent work with No 2 Ferry Pool. As an officer, he has been deservedly popular with all ranks.'
Prison Commission, 1961
d. 1978, Brighton
M.1112 Third Officer (Seconded from RAF) Victor Cummergen b. 27 Mar 1916, North Shields 4 Jul 1944 to Apr-45
prev. 3yrs 9months in RAF
The RAF Selection Board in Harrogate reported that he "has good all round ability but is liable to lapses in concentration and is thus inclined to make mistakes."
d. 23 August 2012. The Pharmaceutical Journal reported his death: "Victor Cummergen, MRPharmS, aged 96, of 1 Widecombe Close, Bedford MK40 3DR. Mr Cummergen registered in 1948 and was formerly manager of various Boots stores in the North East, London Earl’s Court and Bedford."
M.43* First Officer Sydney Edward Cummings b. 14 Dec 1903, London 26 Sep 1939 to Aug-40
Owned 1936 Foster Wikner Wicko GM1 G-AENU
prev exp. 161 hr solo
prev. a construction engineer
d. 29 Aug 1940 (Died in ATA Service) - died from injuries received on 26th Aug; stalled when piloting Curtis Hawk AR666 which caught fire in the air.
W.121 3rd Officer Joan Cunnington b. 22 Jan 1921, London 1 Jun 1943 to 13 Sep 1944
Father: John Leslie Cunnington, mother Florence Chosa [Downes]
Ed. Loretta Convent, Colmel, Eire and Pitmans College, London
prev: Secretary, ATA from Nov-41
Address in 1943: "Crowland", 84 Broadwalk, Winchmore Hill, London N.21
[Ab Initio trainee]
Postings include: 7FPP
One accident, her fault:
- 7 Nov 1943, she made a heavy landing in a Swordfish II and the undercarriage collapsed
Contract Terminated 13 Sep 1944
W.6 Flight Captain
Margaret MacDonald Cunnison
b. 29 May 1914 in Bourneville, Birmingham 1 Jan-40 to Mar-43
Ed. Laurel Bank School, Glasgow.
Father: Professor James Cunnison, of 19 Montrose Gardens, Milngavie, Dumbartonshire.
5 foot 2, eyes of, er, hazel. Veronica Inness described her as "a rather dour little Scotswoman"
From May 1937, Chief Flying Instructor with the Strathtay Aero Club, Perth (the one in Scotland). She was only the second woman in Scotland to gain a commercial pilot’s licence, and the first to become a flying instructor.
Jun 1937, with quite tall members of Strathtay Aero Club
"Miss Margaret Cunnison, flying instructress of Strathtay Aero Club, Perth, giving some wrinkles to a pupil" - The Courier and Advertiser, 13 Jul 1937
She married Major Geoffrey Bruce Ebbage, an ophthalmic surgeon with the RAMC, in 1941.
She then became one of the 'First 8' women ATA pilots, joining on the 1st January 1940 as a Second Officer.
1942 caricature by 'Sammy' Clayton
After couple of years at Hatfield, she was posted to Luton as an instructor; her report at the time said she "is a steady and reliable pilot. She works extremely hard and has proved invaluable as an instructor on light types".
She was promoted to Flight Captain in Feb 1942, but suffered a bout of appendicitis from July to October, and then went off sick again on the 19th December 1942 and never returned to the ATA; her contract was terminated in March 1943.
She did, indeed, only work on 'light types'; her log book shows 'Moth, Magister, Courier, Master, Oxford, Hart, Proctor, Rapide, Anson and Piper Cub'.
d: 4 January, 2004, in Haddington, aged 89
Eleanor 'Lettice' Curtis b. 1 Feb 1915, Denbury, Devon 6 Jul 1940 to 31 Nov 1945
Father: Walter Septimus Curtis, The 'Lord of the Manor', Denbury Manor, Newton Abbott, Devon; mother, Eleanor Frances [Master]
6 siblings, inc. Robert M (b. 1920), and 4 sisters inc Lillias Marion, (b. 1902), Rosemary (b. 1905), Adelaide Gabrielle (b. 1909), and Evelyn (b. 1922)
Ed. Benenden School, Cranbrook; St Hilda's College Oxford (BA Mathematics)
prev. exp. 440 hrs on "Puss, Leopard, Tiger & wooden Moths", Swallow, Hornet, Spartan
prev. C. L. Surveys Ltd., Southampton
Postings: 15FPP, 6FPP, 5FPP, 1FPP
4-engine (Class 5) pilot
Off sick from 23 Apr to 7 May 1944 after her flying accident in the Typhoon
4 accidents, one her fault:
- 22 Aug 1942, brake failure when landing in a Havoc II
- 18 Jul 1943, starboard engine failure in an Anson
- 10 Jul 1943, she opened the throttles of her Mosquito VI too rapidly and the aircraft swung
- 22 Apr 1944, she crashed in a Typhoon after complete engine failure when approaching to land.
"Flying exceptional. Discipline greatly improved. When in her best mood her behaviour is impeccable but when in her worst, Oh Lord!"
"Shows a tendency to disregard the interests of others"
In August 1948 she set a new international women's record for the 100-kllometres closed circuit of 313.07 mph (flying a Spitfire XI owned by the United States Embassy) In the Lympne high-speed flying handicap, beating Jacqueline Cochran's 1940 record.
- 'The Forgotten Pilots' (1985);
- 'Winged Odyssey' (1993)
- 'Lettice Curtis - her autobiography' (2004)
d. 21 Jul 2014
M.8 Captain George Henry Lawrence Curtis b. 13 Apr 1903, London 11 Sep 1939 to Jan-42
A 'Wiper Merchant' in 1932
prev exp 440 hrs
Ferry Records Officer from Feb-41
Resigned 7 Jan 1942
d. Sep 1982, Southend
M.366 Flight Captain William Cuthbert MBE b. 17 Jul 1912, Belsay, Newcastle on Tyne 22 Apr 1941 to 30 Nov 1945
prev exp 90hrs
a Ground Engineer for Rotol Airscrews in Gloucester
Postings: 2FPP, 3FPP, 9FPP
"A pilot of outstanding ability on all types, with the added advantage of having an excellent technical background."
O.C. No 2 FPP wrote in 1945: "I cannot speak too highly of this officer's ability as a Flight Captain and a pilot. He has been one of the mainstays of this pool since the beginning of 1942."
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
M.269 Air Gunner, then First Officer Cyril Ernest Cutts b. 19 Apr 1910, London 23 Sep 1940 to Jun-45
prev. in Advertising
prev exp. 170 hrs
"A capable and intelligent pilot of above average ability."
W.--- Cadet Sylvia Cyphus b. 27 Oct 1920, Stow-on-Wold, Glos 29 Jan-44 to 22 Mar-44
Father: Arthur Cyphus (a farm labourer), mother Lily [Archer]
Ed. Council School, Gt Rissington; Westwards Grammar School, Northleach (School Cert.)
prev: from May 1939, Telephonist, GPO Cheltenham
Address in 1944: 11 Great Rissington, nr Cheltenham, Glos
[Contract Terminated by ATA]
m. Oct 1963 in Cheltenham, Goldwin How(e) Edwards (d. 1992)
d. Oct 1978 - Cheltenham
W.--- Cadet Mercedes 'Baba' d'Anacker b. 7 Oct 1916, Aldershot 31 Mar 1942 to 8 Apr 1942
Father: Valentine Otto d'Anacker; mother Eva Mary [Savage]
1939. "Mummy's Vauxhall & Daddy's M.G." - Ancestry
Address in 1936: "Elvern", Hindhead, Surrey
prev exp: 50hrs on Gypsy/Tiger Moth
[Contract Terminated by ATA]
m. Jul 1943 in Surrey, George Walter Courtland Baker (a Canadian soldier) (2 sons)
Moved to Toronto, Canada
d 2015 - Brampton, Ontario
M.10 Commodore Sir Gerard John Regis Leo d'Erlanger CBE b. 1 Jun 1906, Bexley, Kent 11 Sep 1939 to 31 Dec 1945
1931 Brief Glory
Father: Emile Beaumont d'Erlanger (French, naturalised British in 1890)
m. 1928 American pianist Edythe A [Baker],
m. 1937 Gladys F [Sammut], 3 children
prev. a Banker, Director of British Overseas Airways
prev. exp. 670 hrs
Address in 1939: Lane Farm, Cherry Garden Lane, Nr Maidenhead.
6ft 2in tall, 'scar on left side of neck'
Postings: White Waltham
Although he was the Creator and Commanding Officer of the ATA, d'Erlanger insisted that he (and all his station commanders) flew as often as possible. In fact, he was deemed responsible for one accident:
- 31 Oct 1942: Typhoon Ib R7880 hit a ridge during take-off, he failed to control the resulting bounce and the propeller touched the ground.
He flew 54 different types of aircraft during his time with the ATA; everything from a Horsa glider up to Sunderlands and a Catalina. His instructors reported him a "safe good average pilot", but said his "aerobatics were poor". However, he showed a "real appreciation of the difficulties that can be encountered on flying boats."
CBE in 1943
Chairman of BEA from 1947; Chairman of BOAC from 1956 - he said his aim was to make it the "most formidable and outstanding airline in the world."
d. 15 Dec 1962 - London
M.612 First Officer Ernest Fraser Dackers b. 10 Dec 1900, Wallasey 22 Jul 1941 to 29 May 1945
Ed. Wallasey School
m. 1930 Alnesa M [Brookes], 2 children
prev. a Master Tailor (Own Account) - 42 Argyll St, Birkenhead
prev. exp. 73hrs on Avians, Gypsy and Puss Moth
Address in 1941: "Mamore", Thornton Rd, Birkenhead, Cheshire
Postings: 6FPP, 3FPP
Off sick from 20 Mar to 6 May 1943 (urethritis); 3 Jul to 28 Jul and 9 Oct to 29 Oct 1943 (abdominal trouble);
Reprimanded in Oct-42; "Absented himself from Fire Guard Duty. Also Night Duty Pilot."
Suspended with loss of pay for 2 days in Feb-43 for "habitual lateness for duty."
"An officer of just average ability. Has had a spell of sickness during his course which delayed his progress. His flying although safe is rough and not accurate."
d Mar 1971 - Birkenhead
M.848 Geoffrey Ernest Richard Davey
W.102 3rd Officer Mrs Joy Dorothy Lilian 'Jane' Davies b. 12 Feb 1916, Cambridge 16 Sep-42 to Mar-43
Not in 'Forgotten Pilots' or 'Brief Glory'
Father: Henry William Pond, mother Dorothy Rosie [Piggott]
Ed. County Girls School, Cambridge
prev: Secretarial/Clerical, Marshalls of Cambridge
prev exp: 11hrs 10min on DH Moths
m. 1940 RAF F/O (pilot instructor) Renford Percy Davey [widowed - Renford d. 9 May 1941, shot down by an intruder at Sibson, Leics during a night training flight]
m. Apr 1942 in Swindon,
Derrick Stephen 'Steve' Davies (b. 6 Feb 1907, a solicitor)( 2 daughters and a son John Anthony Renford Davies)
exp in ATA:
Magister: 100hrs 40min;
Hart: 11hrs 50min;
Fairchild: 14hrs 05min;
Tutor: 1 hr.
[Resigned 11 Mar-43]
Her daughter tells me: "Incidentally the reason she resigned in 1943 was because she became pregnant - with me"
The family moved to Egypt in 1947, and to Kenya in 1953
d. Dec 2008
W.--- Cadet Mavis Agnes Kennard Davis b. 13 Feb 1917, Tenterden Kent 24 Jan 1944 to 24 Mar 1944
Father: Leonard James Kennard Davis (Private in Royal East Kent Regiment, d. 1 May 1944 in Italy), mother Annie Mavis
prev: secretary, Foreign Office
Address in 1944: Forstal House, Selling, nr Faversham, Kent
[Contract Terminated by ATA]
d. 11 Aug 1977 - Chelsea
M.450 Flight Captain Frederick Robert Davy b. 30 May 1900, Great Yarmouth 13 May 1941 to 31 Dec 1945
Royal Flying Corps/RAF from Nov-17 to Jun-19; 'Boy and Aircraft Mechanic'
m. 1925 Adelaide [Holmes], 2 children [Robert, b. 1929, d.2002, Pamela b. 1931, d. 1936]
A jeweller and watchmaker (his own business: apparently, "The sign on Frederick Davy's shop in Great Yarmouth said "Watchmakers since 1700."), also an instrument maker for the Air Ministry.
He was a witness in a rather sad case in May 1937, as reported by the Thetford & Watton Times:
"FOUND HANGING. Yarmouth Man’s Suicide In His Home.
A verdict of "Suicide while temporarily of unsound mind” was recorded by the Borough Coroner, at the Town Hall on Tuesday, at the inquest on Edward Gilbert Edwards (53), of 8 Caister Road, who was found hanging from a bannister in his home on Saturday.
Frederick Robert Davy, watchmaker, of 37, Calster Road, said that at 1.40 a.m., in consequence of information he received, he went across to 8, Caister Road. 'When I got into the house', 'said witness, 'I saw the man hanging by the neck from a bannister rail; his feet were about ten or twelve feet from the ground floor. I could see that the man was dead and had been hanging for some time, and owing to this fact I telephoned the police.'"
Address in 1941: 8, Caspard Pl, Barry, Glamorgan
Postings: 16FPP, 15FPP, 14FPP, 4FPP, 1FPP
"A careful pilot of average ability, has sound judgement but was inclined to be underconfident at first"... "Since promotion to Flight Captain [in September 1944] has assumed the position of Accidents Investigation Officer."
Off sick from 17 Dec 1942 to 1 Jan 1943 with a 'touch of pleusiry [sic]'
d. Mar 1979 - Norwich
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
M.803 Leslie Gordon Dawes
Postings include: 8FPP
M.436 First Officer Lawrence Saville Dawson b. 13 Jan 1908, Bradford 20 May 1941 to 8 Dec 1944
Father: Sir Benjamin Dawson, 1st Baronet (d. 1966)
Educated at Harrow
m. 1932 to Alice [Hudson], 1 child before 1941
A Wool Merchant, (Joseph Dawson Cashmere Works, Bradford)
Address in 1941: Park House, Pool-in-Wharfedale, Yorks
Postings: 6FPP, 7FPP, 782 Sqn RAF
"a safe and reliable pilot who carries out his work in a conscientious manner and has proved a useful Class 5 (4-engine) pilot to this Unit." C.O. 7FPP, Oct-44
He wrote to the ATA on 10 Jan 1945: "I am very sorry I had to resign from ATA at my firm's request, and would like to take this opportunity of thanking you and all your officers for the help and consideration I received all over the country during the course of my duties as a ferry pilot.
If a further emergency arises, and you require my services again, I shall be very pleased if you will let me know, in which case I would do everything possible to come back."
The Yorkshire Post reported on him thus, in November 1955:
"Flew too low over sports field, fined
Prosecution witnesses at Bradford City Court yesterday claimed that a twin-engined aircraft flew over a Dudley Hill sports ground at 100 feet, frightening young children.
To this, Lawrence Saville Dawson (47), company director, Park House, Pool-in-Wharfedale, the pilot of the plane, said: “I should have hit mill chimneys and all sorts of things at 150 feet.”
Dawson, a war-time ferry pilot with 30 years flying experience, and director of Yeadon Aviation Ltd., was accused of flying over an “assembly of persons” at less than 1,000 feet. He was fined £5O and ordered to pay £5 costs.
Dawson told the Court that he appreciated the folly of low flying. He had been asked to fly over the works field on their sports day and did so at about 1,000 feet."
He owned Taylor Auster AOP5 G-ANID, which was written off after he crashed it at Stonor, Oxfordshire on 13 Feb 1958.
Lawrence became 2nd Baronet on his father's death in 1966.
d. 14 Aug 1974
buried St John Churchyard, Acaster Selby
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
W.114 2nd Officer Marigold Deane-Drummond b. 13 Aug 1919, Upton-on-Severn, Worcs 1 May 1943 to May 1945
Father: Col. John 'Jack' Drummond Deane-Drummond DSO, OBE, MC, Mother: Marie Lily Anne [de Cuadra, b. 1883 in Madrid]
Address in 1939: The Old Vicarage, Little Barrington, Oxford
[Her elder brother Anthony also learnt to fly in 1939, and wrote, in his 1992 autobiography 'Arrows of Fortune': "My mother had to divorce my father in 1926... This was not the end of my father's amorous adventures and, at the time I was married in 1944, my wife had the dubious distinction of having no less than three living mothers-in-law"
He escaped from German captivity three times in WWII: - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Deane-Drummond]
m. 15 Apr 1944 in Cirencester, George Rowland MBE, of the Royal Corps of Signals
In Jul 1949, the Western Daily Press reported that "The heavy rain on Saturday played havoc with the final day's programme of the R.A.F. Week on Durdham Down, but it did not prevent Vampires of 501 (County of Gloucester) Squadron from carrying out their fly-past. When they returned to Filton. however, the pilots discovered that, due to the high speed at which they had been flying, the rain had washed the crests and identification markings off the aircraft.
Other sufferers from the weather conditions were the five W. R. A. F. V. R. pilots, from No. 8 Reserve Flying School at Woodley, Reading, who were scheduled to fly formation over the exhibition 2.30 p.m. During the morning a squall hit their airfield, damaged some of the aircraft and delayed their take-off. Ten minutes after their arrival Filton, however, the five Tiger Moths were airborne again, flying over Southmead towards .the Downs cloudburst, and at 2.30 exactly led by Miss Vera Strodl, they flew over the exhibition site. The other four pilots were Mrs Fay Bragg, Mrs Marigold Rowland, Miss Sheila Van Damm *, and Mrs Ann Kendall. All of them were, at one time A.T.A. pilots. "
[* Sheila van Damm, motor rally driver in the 1950s, and sometime owner of the Windmill Theatre, wasn't an ATA pilot:
She only learnt to fly in 1947]
m. Jan 1955 in Chelsea, John M Saville
d. 1 May 2003 - Warwickshire
M.60 * First Officer Gerald Wilfred Pearson Derbyshire 31 Mar 1913, Surrey 1 May 1940 to 17 Mar 1944
m. 1934 in London, Ida F [Sharman]
m. 1942 in Eton, Bucks, Imogen D [Duncan]
prev. Pilot Officer in RAF Reserve Mar-34 to Apr-35;
RAF Apr-35 to Jul-38.
On 10 Feb 1938 the pilot of Hector K9723 was on a night flying exercise when he became lost in bad weather whilst flying over the East Coast, he force-landed the aircraft in a ploughed field near Filey whereupon the aircraft overturned. It is not known whether there were any injuries sustained. The investigation reported: "The pilot...found difficulty in stowing the Verey pistol and as a result lost direction".
Pilot - P/O Gerald Wilfred Pearson Derbyshire RAF. Probably uninjured.
d. Jan 1970 - Devon
M.431 * First Officer Stanley Anthony Dew b. 29 April 1910, London 7 May 1941 to 30 Nov 1945
prev. a tobacconist
Address in 1935: 7 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, SE 22
M.--- * 2nd Officer Vincent Neville Dickinson b. 15 Apr 1899, Wolverhampton, Staffs 5 Jun to 5 Jul 1940
Father: Frank Dickinson, a Merchant, Mother: Sarah Jane [Bayley]
2nd-Lieut, RFC, RAF in WW1; Pilot Officer, RAF from 20 Nov 1923
He was one of two pilots who inaugurated the Belfast to Liverpool Daily Air Service in April 1924 (the other was Alan Cobham), He started out at 05:30am in his D.H. 50, but the weather was so bad he could get no further than Southport Sands.
m. 18 Nov 1923 in Richmond-upon-Thames, Marjorie Winifred [Lloyd-Still] (1 daughter, Katheen b. 1926)
Elected a Member of the Royal Aero Club in June 1925
Formed Aero Hire Ltd in 1927, based in Birmingham, to "establish, maintain and work lines of aeroplanes, seaplanes and taxi-planes and aerial conveyances, etc." (later co-owned, with L W van Oppen,)
Competed in the King's Cup in 1929, flying G-EBTH, a DH.60X Moth. He was forced to retire at Blackpool.
prev. Hon. Secretary and Chief Instructor, Hertfordshire Flying Club, St Albans in 1932
He owned G-EBZZ, a 1928 DH60 X Moth, which crashed at Stansted Abbots 23 Jun 1934
One reported accident:
- 14 Mar 1939, flying G-AEDD, a 1936 Avro 504N belonging to Publicity Planes Ltd; he hit a fence and crashed at Calderfields Farm, Walsall, after engine failure.
Address in 1939: 'Muree', Queen's Rd, Sandown, Isle of Wight
Post-ATA, a Sub-Lieut in the Royal Navy from 15 Jul 1940
Address in 1962: 10 Oakwood Rd, Rayleigh, Essex
d. 3 Sep 192 - London
* ATA Personnel file missing
M.736 Acting 2nd Officer Hubert James Dixon b. 26 May 1914, Northernden, Cheshire 17 Mar 1942 to 28 Nov 1942
1942 caricature by 'Pat Rooney'
via George Cogswell
prev. an aero engineer, for Ford Aero Engines (Rolls Royce) in Eccles, Lancs.
prev. exp. 97 hrs
Address in 1938: 'Moliere', Wythenshawe Rd, Northernden
Address in 1942: 'Manilla', Nansen Rd, Gatley, Cheshire
Hubert originally applied to the ATA in February 1941, but they replied that they weren't allowed to take pilots of military age unless they had been turned down by the RAF.
He replied that he had indeed offered his services to the RAF, twice, but they had refused him because he was in a strictly reserved occupation. The ATA replied, somewhat archly, that as he seemed now to able to obtain his release, he should go back to the RAF and ask them again...
After another session with the RAF (who still said they couldn't take him), he then talked to the Ministry of Labour and the National Service Controller in Manchester. Who agreed that, if he could find a job of even greater national importance than his current one, they might be able to secure his release.
Finally, the RAF had a chance to turn him down properly, which they duly did because the vision on his left eye was not up to their standards. Hubert said "In my own personal opinion I can see perfectly."
Anyway, by December 1941 the ATA was prepared to offer him a job, and he was eventually taken on as a Pilot Cadet. His instructors (Margaret Ebbage, Harry Woods and Eugene Prentice) assessed him as 'an average pilot' with 'an average amount of common sense.'
After training, he was seconded to 6FPP at Ratcliffe on 27 Nov 1942. He died the next day in an unlucky accident.
d. 28 Nov 1942 (Died in ATA Service) in Defiant I N3319 which stalled and crashed at Wood Lane, Timperley, nr Ringway, while he was attempting a forced landing after an engine problem.
The aircraft ended upside down and on fire with Hubert, already dead, trapped in the cockpit. Harry Warburton, (an ex-RFC pilot) who owned the adjoining nurseries, was the first to arrive on the scene, "followed by many others", who righted the aircraft and carried the body away. Mr Warburton said later that he "was only 12 feet away when the petrol tank exploded."
The Coroner praised the rescuers: "I should like to congratulate Warburton and the others on the very prompt way they responded... they recovered the body as little burned as was possible... it was very commendable. I trust those who were injured will soon be well again."
He was buried at Altrincham Bowden and Hale Cemetery, Cheshire, near Bill Elliott and Earl Renicker (q.q.v.)
"Always thoughtful and kind, a beautiful memory left behind. Mother, Raymond & Dora
with thanks to Barbara Grayson
The ATA's Flying Establishment Officer visited his widow Elsie and her two children in January 1943. Elsie had in fact moved out a few months before Hubert died, and was living with her parents in "rather a humble dwelling, in a poor quarter of Manchester."... "I gathered the impression that Mrs Elsie Dixon was rather young and irresponsible, so I decided to call on the deceased's parents, to obtain what information I could."
Annie (Mrs Dixon senior) agreed, and went as far as to say that "whatever money was given as a lump sum to Mrs Elsie Dixon would be squandered." Annie also showed him a letter from her son dated 12th May 1942, in which he had written "About the insurance - I have had it made payable to you (Annie Dixon 23 Nansen Rd Gatley). If anything should happen I want £800 to go to Elsie and £800 for Michael and the other baby [Martin, who was born 13 September 1942] to be divided equally when they are 21. The other £400 is for you - don't say you don't want it."
And so that is what they did.
M.727 First Officer Alan Blair Dorrell b. 8 May 1910, Worcester 5 Mar 1942 to 1 Dec 1943
Father: John Dorrell, Kylemore, Avenue Rd, Malvern, Worcs.
Ed. Bromsgrove School. Associate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.
"French - moderate", having lived in Paris for 6 months
prev. Director and Secretary of the family drapery firm in Worcester; also Hon. Sec. of the Worcestershire Flying School
RAF Oct 1939- Sep 1940, LAC Air Observer
prev. exp. 20hrs on DH Moth
Address in 1942: Link Elm, Malvern Rd, Worcester
Originally joined ATA in 1941 as an Assistant Accountant, at £400 a year:
Alan's original ATA Identity Card
[He said he wsn't concerned about the salary]
Postings: 3FPP, 1FPP, 2FPP
To begin with, he was trained by Joan Hughes. "A very slow starter but made steady progress and reached a satisfactory standard. He has worked hard and his discipline has been good."
3 accidents, 2 his fault:
- 16 Jun 1942, his Hart swung violently after landing, due to a technical defect
- 21 Jul 1942, he "over-estimated his ability in adverse conditions" in landing a Gladiator, a type with which he was unfamilar, and it swung
d. 1 Dec 1943 in Spitfire VIII JG546 which crashed nr Byron Hall Farm, Stag Lane, Lowton, nr. Warrington, Lancs.
He was flying from Brize Norton to 18MU Dumfries. He dived out of low cloud but over-corrected, the tail struck the ground and the aircraft disintegrated. He was deemed to be at fault, having "persisted too far in a local patch of bad weather."
His CO, Leonard Leaver, reported: "On being handed his chit by the Operations Officer in the morning, his remark was "Thank you very much indeed, this is just the sort of job I like". On the way to Brize Norton in the Anson, First Officer Coopper states that Dorrell was extremely bright and cheerful, and said to him, "This Spitfire job is the nicest job I have had given me this month."
Buried in Maidenhead Cemetery, Section D No 15W; his pall bearers were ATA First Officers KWD Jones, H Freemantle, P Cruttenden, FH Rooke, MB Steynor and J Joss ("or another")
He left £7,265 11s 5d.
Also commemorated on the Bromsgrove School WW2 Memorial, and Malvern WWII Memorial.
W.26 First Officer
Ann Courtenay Douglas MBE OBE
b. 20 May 1917, Paddington, London 1 Dec 1940 - 19 Aug 1942
In 1959, at an RAeC 'do'
Father: Major Courtenay Harold Wish Edmonds (a railway engineer; RN and Royal Engineers in WWI, Royal Engineers in WWII, d. 1953), mother [Austin] (m. 1914 in Exeter) of Wish House, Bickley, Kent
Ed. Stratford House School, Bickley, Kent
prev. Instructor, Dunstable Gliding Club; Founding Member of Surrey Gliding Club
prev. exp 185 hrs on 'standard light types'
m. 1939 Flt-Lt (later Wing-Cmdr) A 'Graham' Douglas (3 daughters, marriage dissolved 1948)
Address in 1940: Staplehurst Farm, Salfords, Redhill, Surrey
1942 caricature by 'Sammy' Clayton
Postings: 5FPP, 15FPP
Two accidents, neither her fault:
- 23 Dec 1940, one wheel of her Queen Bee (the optionally-unmanned aircraft based on the Tiger Moth) sunk into a concealed hole, damaging the propeller
- 11 Mar 1941, another Queen Bee, an accident due to engine failure
Contract Suspended 19 Aug 1942, when she became pregnant
"After the war, in 1946, Ann restarted the Surrey Gliding Club at RAF Kenley, initially with five members – but no aircraft. Almost all the country’s gliders had been requisitioned by the RAF and had been broken up or rotten away in unsuitable storage conditions during the war.
Their first glider, a Weihe, was an ex-German requisition. In 1947 the club relocated to nearby Redhill airfield – it wouldn’t return to Kenley until 1985 as the Surrey Hills Gliding Club which still flies from the airfield.
Ann worked hard to re-establish the British Gliding Association, resigning as its vice chairman in 1976. She managed the British Team at the World Gliding Championships between 1948 and 1968. She presided over the formation of the British Hang-Gliding Association in 1974 and was president of the British Microlight Association. She was also a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and in 1997 was elected as an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation.
Awarded an MBE and OBE for services to gliding, Ann Welch was an amazing all-rounder. A mother of three girls, she was a pilot, an instructor, a flying competition organiser, national administrator, author, painter, skier and one of Kenley’s famous faces." - https://www.kenleyrevival.org/content/history/local-lives/ann-welch-aviatrix-extraordinaire
m. 1953 in Surrey,
Patrick Palles 'Lorne' Elphinstone Welch (who played a major part in designing the famous two-seater glider secretly constructed in the attic of Colditz Castle PoW Camp. d. 1998):
© RAeC [0517-0226]
Receiving the Royal Aero Club Silver Medal [from Lord Brabazon], for her service to the advancement of gliding, 26 Mar 1959
Wrote her autobiography, 'Happy to Fly' in 1983
d. 5 Dec 2002 - "the world's best-known glider pilot"
M.458 First Officer Arthur Irving Drabble b. 16 Feb 1901, Conisbrough, Yorks 20 May 1941 to 28 Apr 1945
Educated at Mexborough Secondary School
m. 1923 Phyliss [Akester]
Corporal in Home Guard 'B' Co, Hatfield, Sep-40 to Mar-41
A "Manufacturing Confectioner"
Address in 1941: North Cliffe House, North Cliffe Rd, Conisbrough, Nr Doncaster
Postings: 2FPP, 3, FPP, 14FPP
"A steady and conscientious pilot who has worked well. He is a little inclined to be forgetful at times."
"A very slow starter [on the Class 5 conversion course] due partially to complete lack of experience on 4+ aircraft and the fact that he was inclined to be somewhat nonchalant towards the whole course, showing little interest. After realising the high responsibility he was accepting he showed considerable improvement."
d. 1958 - Don Valley, Yorks
"A confectionery business was established in Conisbrough by Jos Drabble and brother-in-law John Maxfield during 1890. But after a while the two men parted company and established their own confectionery businesses. John’s firm was short-lived and a number of his staff joined Jos’s venture which by 1924 was a limited company.
Jos’s son, Arthur, succeeded his father and he was also well-known in motorcycling circles. He was in the first four in the 1924 Isle of Man TT Races and was a keen flyer. On Sunday afternoons during the 1930s he was frequently seen performing ‘loop-the-loops’ and other spectacular tricks in his aeroplane over Conisbrough.
In 1938 Drabble’s warehouse caught fire and residents said that this led to the road being covered in melted chocolate. Arthur Drabble died in 1958 and was succeeded in the business by daughter, Doreen. The company ceased trading after she retired in 1981."
Evidence of his motor-cycling career comes from the 'Sheffield Independent' in 1923: "MOTORISTS' OFFENCES In the West Riding Police Court on Saturday, William S. Flower, dentist, and Arthur Drabble, confectioner, Conisborough, were fined £7 each for riding motor-cycles in a manner dangerous to the public on the Great North Road. The police evidence was that defendants were travelling at 60 miles per hour."
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
M.292 First Officer John Edmund Layard Drabble b. 14 Mar 1901, Twickenham 27 Feb 1941 to Apr-42
1st on left, with other members of 40 Bomber Sqn, Upper Heyford, 1932 (Flight)
Royal Navy from 1914 to 1919 (Sub Lieut.)
RAF 1919 to 1932 (Flight Lieut.)
m. (One child before 1941)
a Civil Pilot
prev. exp. approx 3,000hrs
"Lost right foot and ankle - artificial foot" [Possibly in the accident to Avro 504K J732, of 39 Sqn, Spittlegate which spun in during aerobatics on 2 Feb 1923; F/O Cyril Chambers (24) killed, F/O John Edmund Layard Drabble injured. The inquiry found that the accident was due to an error of judgement on the part of Flying Officer Drabble.]
June 1932: "FLIGHT LIEUTENANT FINED. John Edmund Layard Drabble, Flight Lieutenant. 49 Squadron, Upper Heyford, Bicester, did not appear to answer a charge of using a motor car with no Road Fund licence at Waddesdon on Tuesday, April 26th. but sent a telephone message explaining that was on duty until noon. P.S. Snelling deposed that in High Street, Waddesdon, he noticed that defendant’s Road Fund licence expired on March 24th. Defendant said, " I forgot all about it."
Director of Aircraft Equipment Ltd from Jan 1936, presumably based on his patent for 'increasing the field of vision in aircraft", filed the same year.
Address in 1941: 1 Lanark Rd, Maida Vale, London
Postings: 3FPP, 6FPP
"A pilot of considerable experience... a capable pilot who is working hard and well." but...
[Contract Terminated 10 Apr 1942 by ATA - Disciplinary Reasons]
M.109 First Officer Reginald Wilfred Duckett b. 30 Jun 1907, Porstmouth 1 Nov 1940 to Jun-45
Address in 1940: 25 Parkside Drive, Cheltenham Reach, Gloucester
prev. RAF Instructor, Estate Agent, Surveyor
Postings: 1FPP, 2FPP, 6FPP, 14FPP, 16FPP
He had an exciting time in a Warwick in June 1943. The undercarriage failed to lock down due to an uncoupled pipe; he and the passengers reconnected the pipe and replaced the hydraulic fluid with "a mixture of ethanol and urine" and pumped the undercarriage down by hand. They were all commended for their efforts.
... and then 10 months later, in April 1944, the same problem occurred in a Barracuda - a hydraulic connection came adrift. This time, as there were no passengers with the necessary, he made a successful forced landing.
"A keen and willing worker who, after a slow beginning, reached average ability. A pilot who knows his own limitations and has no special faults."
Rejoined the RAF post-WWII; Pilot Officer in the Aircraft Control Branch from Nov 1950.
d. Jun 1976 - Hampshire
M.138 First Officer Hon. Charles Dutton b. 13 May 1911, Burford Oxon 23 Jul 1940 to Nov-45
George Dutton's brother
Physical Defects: No right arm [the result of a congenital defect, not amputation]
Next of kin: Father, Lt-Col James Huntly Sherborne, 6th Baron Sherborne, Sherborne Park, Cheltenham, Glos.
Ed. at Stowe
He worked in the Finance Department of the Hospital Savings Association, and was a Temporary Assistant, Ministry of Economic Warfare, Apr-40 to Jun-40
Postings: 1FPP, 9FPP, 12FPP
He got a Certificate of Commendation, in 1942: "On the 29th April, F/O C Dutton (a one-armed pilot) was ferrying a Spitfire from Lyneham to Biggin Hill. When he had got about a mile beyond Kenley he experienced complete engine failure due to a broken connecting rod. He succeeded in lowering his undercarriage and flaps and in landing his aircraft at Kenley (runway aerodrome) in a high wind without further damage."
"This officer has been flying consistently well and keenly... a most likeable person whose discipline is good."
Lettice Curtis described him as 'a particularly English pilot'; "One day, in an honest effort to excuse something which American instructor Charles Smith had said or done, he said to all and sundry 'Remember he's just an American'."
m. Joan Molesworth Jenkinson, also an ATA pilot, in 1943:
Despite his disability, Charles ferried 541 Spitfires, 14 Mustangs, 232 Typhoons, 4 Fireflies and 47 Tempests during his time with the ATA.
He duly became 7th Baron Sherborne in 1949, on the death of his father. He then farmed in Gloucestershire and was a member of Gloucestershire County Council for some years.
d. 25 Dec 1983
M.124 Flight Captain The Hon. George Edward Dutton b. 23 Sep 1912, Beauly 2 Jul 1940 to Dec-45
A student in 1929
* King's Commendation for valuable service in the air
Charles' brother (see below)
Next of kin: Father, Lt-Col James Huntly Sherborne, 6th Baron Sherborne, Sherborne Park, Cheltenham, Glos.
Ed. at Stowe
prev. Foreign Office (Communications) Aug-39 to Jul-40
prev. exp. 250 hrs
Postings: 1FPP, 2FPP, 15FPP
"A pilot of exceptional ability, and a successful Flight Captain, inasmuch as his high qualities as a pilot set a good example to others. His quiet disposition and lack of natural aptitude for leadership prevent him from being an outstanding Flight Captain as well as an outstanding pilot."
m. Joan Doreen East 1945; Pauline Stewart Robinson 1959
d. 21 July 1981, Hereford
M.380 * 2nd Officer Arthur Frank Eayrs b. 2 Aug 1895, Manton, Rutland 13 May to 18 Sep 1941
(No. 9050 - Nottingham Aero Club)
pre. a motor engineer; garage proprietor (Scott and Eayrs Limited, High Street and Melton Rd, Oakham)
m. 1925 in Uppingham, Rutland, Mabel E [Taylor]
Address in 1930: 2 Parkfield Rd, Oakham, Rutland
with (we think) Tom W Shipside at Tollerton; presumably G-ABCS in the background.
[G-ABCS was a 1930 DH 60G Gipsy Moth based at Stag Lane, Heston and then Yeadon, but was requisitioned in 1939 as X5039 and 'used as decoy']
[Thomas Wiliam Shipside was, like Arthur, a motor garage proprietor in the Midlands, so this is probably how they knew one another.
He was a founder member of Tollerton Aero Club, managing director of a string of BMC garages (the firm was founded by his ex-blacksmith father) and learnt to fly in 1927.]
This document confirms the end of Arthur's ATA service on 18th September 1941; he received 3 months pay (£71 5s) in lieu of notice.
A note in his logbook says "approx 480 hrs in Hart, Audax, Gladiator, Swordfish, Anson, Oxford, Whitney Straight, Leopard Moth, Miles Magister, Tiger Moth etc." but this may include his pre-WWII hours.
"The information in our family was that his ATA flying had been cut short by a medical problem, possibly related to blood pressure."
d. 9 Jul 1965 - Rutland
His grandson (who kindly sent me the photos and documents) describes him as a "rather distant and forbidding figure."
W.131 * 2nd Officer Mrs Sylvia Isabel Edwards b. 6 May 1919, London 9 Aug-43 to Sep-45
Father: Lea Namias, a textile merchant, mother Hilda
m. 1939 in London, Flt-Lt David Harold Edwards(from Vancouver BC, of 144 Sqn, Bomber Command, RAF. d. 21 Jul 1940 when his Hampden was hit by flak and ditched in the North Sea during a minelaying operation against the Tirpitz and Von Scheer)
Address in 1939: 27 Woodfield Ave, Streatham
prev. an ambulance driver for the LCC
ab initio trainee
Address in Oct 1945: 1 Hugo House, Sloane St., London SW1
exp: 185.15 hrs as ferry pilot
Gained her RAeC 'A' Certificate No 20611 as part of the ATA 'Wings' scheme on 3 Oct 1945
m. 1945 in Westminster, Flt-Lt Richard Anson Freshwater, who had been a PoW in Stalag Luft III / Milag-Marlag Nord-Oflag L from 28 Aug 1942 after his Beaufighter was shot down
They moved to 9 Pasture Lane, Hathern, Loughborough, Leics, where Sylvia was the Unit Commander for the Junior Air Corps formed in 1955:
"Air-minded girls rolled up at the YWCA, Loughborough, last night to enrol in the newly-formed Junior Air Corps. The first recruit, Miss Ivy Whelden, signs on the dotted line for unit commander Mrs Sylvia Freshwater"
but they later emigrated to New Zealand, living at 51 Toroa St, Aukland.
M.749 First Officer Roy Leonard Egginton b. 2 Nov 1921, Coventry 20 May 1942 to 9 Jun 1944
Father: Sidney Lawrence Egginton, Little Heath Post Office, Coventry; mother, Florence [Bolton]
Ed. King Henry VIII School, Coventry
prev. a sub-Post Master; RAF LAC from 22 Feb 1941 to 15 Sep 1941
prev. exp. 37 hrs
Address in 1942: Rose-Mary, Coventry Rd, Fillongley, Coventry
He was fined 7s 6d in June 1939 for ignoring a 'Halt' sign while riding his bicycle (!)
Postings: 6FPP, 7FPP, No 782 Sqn RAF (Donibristle), 3FPP
The Air Ministry reported: "After 18 hrs dual and 12 hrs 30 min solo general standard below that required. Extremely slow thinking and has also found great difficulty in mastering the fundamentals of navigation"...
... but his 'reference' from Pilot Officer T C Sumner MSc. said "I found him most capable and can say without hesitation that in many respects he was quite brilliant... he was awarded the 'Holt Memorial' Medal for Service and Leadership"
His instructor perhaps summed it up: "Egginton is a likeable chap, thoroughly trustworthy and keen to fly" but "In war time there are limits to the amount of time we can give to a slow pupil"
6 accidents, only one definitely his fault:
- 23 Aug 1942, a loose stone flew up while taxying and chipped the propeller
- 2 Feb 1943, he landed a Hurricane with gear retracted; the gear operation was faulty
- 29 Jul 1943, an error of judgement while landing a Martlet led to an uncontrolled swing
- 9 Nov 1943, forced landing in a Warwick after engine failure
- 14 Jan 1944, his Swordfish collided with a van while taxying, due to "insufficient care on part of the van driver"
d. 9 Jun 1944 in Avenger II JZ560, which disappeared on a flight from Hawarden to Hawkinge, Kent. It was assumed that he had flown too far and crashed into the English Channel as neither he nor the aircraft were spotted after takeoff, or ever found.
The ATA (who continued paying his salary) even contacted the Red Cross to find out if he had accidentally flown to France and been taken prisoner, but nothing had been reported and he was finally presumed dead after 9 months, although it took until 1 Jul 1946 for probate to be finalised.
Commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
When Coventry Cathedral was rebuilt in 1953, he was also remembered there:
The Lady Chapel window, situated over the Lady Chapel altar, portrays the Blessed Virgin Mary. It has been given by parents, relatives and friends in memory of six young men of St. Paul's Guild who gave their lives in the Second World War.
Their names—Kenneth Aspell. Geoffrey Burrows. Anthony Crabb. Howard Checkley. Roy Egginton. and Edward Savage - are inscribed in the window. "
M.12 Commander Frederick 'Joe' Ellam Jnr b. 15 Aug 1895, Bexley 11 Sep 1939 to Nov-41
RFC (17th London Regiment) and RAF Reserve 1914 to 1933
prev Director of Ellams Duplicator Co.
Transferred to MAP, November 1941
d. Sep 1973, Eastbourne
M.274 First Officer Arthur Godfrey Ellis b. 23 Feb 1913, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent 26 Feb 1941 to Nov-44
Educated at North Staffordshire Technical College;
Bronze Medal in Pottery
Works Manager for Colclough China Ltd, Regent Works, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent
m. (1 child before 1941)
Address in 1941: 227 Stone Rd, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent
prev. a member of the Civil Air Guard
Missing index finger on right hand, and bad scar
prev. exp. 153 hrs
Postings: 2FPP, 3FPP, 6FPP, 12FPP
"A willing, keen and reliable pilot, a good officer with a keen sense of discipline", but was given a severe reprimand in Dec-43 for taxying a Beaufighter without sufficient care and colliding with a Blenheim. Both pilots were held equally to blame.
Filed a number of patents post-WWII, e.g. in 1948, "a chuck for holding articles of clay, glass, plastics or other materials, in manufacture or finishing operations", and 1952: "Apparatus for shaping clayware."
[Colclough China Ltd became part of the Royal Doulton Group in the early 1970's; production ceased in 1996.]
d. Nov 2003 - Stoke On Trent
M.139 Flight Captain Harry Alfred Ellis b. 8 Dec 1908, Mitcham Surrey 29 Jul 1940 to Dec-45
Address in 1940: 214 Pullman Court, Streatham, S.W.2
prev exp. 300 hrs
A Commercial Traveller in 1934
Postings: 1FPP, 14FPP
Early days at White Waltham, Anson taxi pilots - Ronnie Malcolm, Douglas Fairweather (M104), Jim Kempster and Harry Ellis (M139)
" A first cass ferry pilot... albeit one who does not always take too kindly to regulations."
"He is still inclined to be somewhat controversial."
d. May 1989 - Slough
W.156 3rd Officer Mrs Yvonne Margaret 'Peggy' Eveleigh b. 18 Aug 1917, London 21 Feb-44 to Sep-45
Father: Lieut. Albert James Lucas, R.F.C., (killed whilst flying in France in May 1917), mother Violet Cordelia [Chauncy] (m. 1932 Douglas G Shrubshall)
m.1939 in Surrey, Derek Ernest Eveleigh, who d. 22 Apr 1940 in the crash of BOAC's Lockheed 14 G-AFKD at Binn Uird, near Loch Lomond, Dunbarton, en route from Perth to Heston
Postings: 5TFP, 2FPP
exp. in ATA: 178.35 hrs
3 accidents, one her fault:
- 14 Feb 1945, the starboard tyre of her Spitfire IX MA639 burst while taxying, and the aircraft swung off the perimeter track and nosed over
- 20 Aug 1945, a forced landing in Oxford II T1258 after engine vibration caused by a bent propeller tip
- 3 Sep 1945, she failed to control the landing swing of Spitfire III SP196, damaging the starboard wing tip
Gained her RAeC 'A' Certificate No 20527 as part of the ATA 'Wings' scheme on 31 Aug 1945
Address in 1945: King's Arms, Tedburn St Mary, nr Exeter, Devon
m. Oct 1946 in Aylesbury, Roger G Grace
m. Oct 1952 in Westminster, Maj. Charles E Kaiser
m. Edouard Stamfer
All three post-war marriages ended in divorce.
Wrote 'WAAF with Wings' in 1992:
"A very good book published in 1992 by Y M Lucas (Peggy) called ’WAAF with Wings’ tells the story of the ATA with contributions from the girls themselves. In it Peggy describes delivering a repaired Martinet to St Eval for target towing and collecting a damaged Spitfire from there to deliver to a Maintenance Unit.
Peggy Lucas continued flying and at age 84 qualified as a helicopter pilot!
Frankie Horsburgh, a Canadian, located 16 out of the 17 [ex-WAAF ATA pilots] for their first reunion."
d. 8 Jan 2008 - buried St Nicholas Church in Remenham, Berkshire.
She reverted to 'Eveleigh' as her surname:
M.186 First Officer Richard 'Dick' Fairey b. 21 Nov 1916, Iver Bucks 26 Aug 1940 to Dec-41
Son of Sir Charles Richard Fairey MBE, the aircraft designer and industrialist. He joined his father's firm in the jig and tool office in 1936, then transferred to the design office.
Educated at Harrow and Cambridge
Address in 1940: Sutherland Grange, Oakley Green, Windsor
Special Characteristics: "High blood pressure, must not fly high"
A "very good pilot, good worker" but he suffered ill-health for most of 1941: 4 Jan to 11 Jun, ischio-rectal abcess; 22 Jun to 5 Jul, multiple minor injuries, and 18 Sep to 25 Nov, injury to back and knee.
He resigned from the ATA in December 1941.
Shortly afterwards, on the 24 Jan 1942, on his way to the USA to visit his father, his ship (the Norwegian vessel Ringstad) was torpedoed and he spent six days in a open boat. As a result of frostbite and exposure, both his legs were amputated below the knee.
"At 15.25 hours on 24 Jan 1942 the Ringstad (Master Jacob K. Knudstad), straggling from convoy ON-55 due to several days of stormy weather, was hit on the starboard side in the foreship by one torpedo from U-333 about 85 miles southeast of Cape Race. All on board abandoned ship in three lifeboats and were questioned by the U-boat that surfaced after the ship sank after 20 minutes by the bow. The Germans offered water and food to the survivors and told them the direction of the nearest land before leaving the area after wishing them good luck.
The lifeboats were separated in the stormy and cold weather. Two lifeboats containing 27 crew members and three passengers were never seen again. Only the motor boat of the master that was completely covered in ice was spotted after five days by an aircraft that escorted a convoy and sent USS Swanson (DD 443) to rescue the master and eleven other survivors in it. The exhausted men were landed at Reykjavik on 5 February."
[In case you ever look up the Times' obituary, you will find that they mistakenly thought that Dick was torpedoed in 1941 on his way to join the Atlantic Ferry Organisation. However, Dick, as his personnel file confirms, was ill for most of 1941, and was not seconded to Atfero. The Times reporter may have thought that Dick was on the SS Nerissa, which was indeed torpedoed in 1941, but she was bringing American ATA pilots to Britain - 11 of the 13 pilots on board were killed. Dick also said in April 1942 that he had been on a Norwegian ship which was torpedoed.]
After WWII Richard rejoined Fairey and became a Director and later Vice-Chairman. He also became "an outstanding private pilot", and flew for the company all over the world.
He was also a keen follower of powerboats; the 'Fairey Huntress' class of marine motor cruisers was his idea, apparently. He entered his Huntress in the 1960 Miami - Nassau race but this blew up and sank, the crew escaping unharmed. d. 27 Jul 1960 - Villa Benefiat, Cannes, "as a result of physical disabilities which followed injuries he received in the Second World War."
[prev. RAF Flying Officer, 146431]
Albert Edward "Roy" Fairman b. 9 Nov 1921, London 30 May 1944 to 15 Feb 1945
Father: Albert Francis Bessemer Fairman, mother Lily Mildred [Ketley]
Ed. Sir Walter and St John's School, Battersea, London
m. Apr 1942 Grace [Varney]
prev. RAF Flying Officer in Bomber Command from 21 May 1940 to 29 May 1944, based at Abingdon
Awarded the 1939-43 Star for at least 60 days of service in an operational unit, including at least one operational sortie
Injured by enemy action [flak injury to foot] and was released from the RAF on medical grounds.
prev. exp. 550 hrs on DH Moth, Proctor, Anson, Oxford, Hampden, Hereford, Manchester, Lancaster, Whitley
Address in 1944: 32 Middleton Sq, London EC1
Postings: 5TFPP, 6FPP, 14FPP
Albert's Flight Authorization card, 16 Aug 1944
"A pilot of average ability, but very overconfident, combined with a happy-go-lucky kind of temperament. Capable of carrying out some very useful work, but may require curbing as regards weather, and needs firm handling generally"
"It may be that in view of his past experience in the RAF he has disliked the idea of having to pass through Training Pool with some far less experienced, and those who were ab initio."
He was only cleared for Class I and II (single-engine) aircraft, but it was intended that he should later also deliver Class III and IV (twin-engine) aircraft.
d. 15 Feb 1945 from injuries received in the crash of Mustang IV KH838 at Wrightington near Wigan, on a ferry flight from Lockheeds Renfrew to Rootes Meir.
"The aircraft was seen to complete a roll to the left, and commence a second roll. During the second roll the pilot was thrown out of the cockpit... After the crash the shoulder straps of the cockpit harness were found broken."
At the crash site in 2010, including Albert's two younger sisters
See http://laituk.org/P-51KH838.htm, and
which describe the excavation of the crash site.
They speculate that "... the reported manoeuvres... have been identified by experienced pilots as being consistent with an incapacitated pilot unable to maintain control of an aircraft or perhaps trying to hold the aircraft steady with one hand whilst trying to open the canopy to bail out? "
Buried Greenwich Cemetery
"F/Lieut" appears to be a mistake
Mrs Margaret 'Margie' Fairweather
née Runciman; Mrs King-Farlow
23 Sep 1901, Newcastle-on-Tyne 1 Jan-40 to Aug-44
4-engine (Class 5) pilot
Mrs King-Farlow from 1925 to 1936;
Mrs Fairweather from 1938.
The eldest daughter of Lord Walter and Lady Hilda Runciman.
Her brother Walter (co-Director, with Connie Leathart (q.v.), of Cramlington Aircraft, First Director-General of BOAC, Commodore of the Royal Yacht Squadron, OBE, etc, etc) became the 2nd Viscount Runciman of Doxford, and her sister Katherine ('Kitty') was adjutant for the Women's Section of the ATA from March 1941.
I sometimes feel that Margie gets a bad press; she was, apparently, quiet and rather withdrawn, (nicknamed 'Mrs Cold Front') and, in photos, always seems to have that far-away look in her (green, btw) eyes. But, her ability, and her devotion to duty and to her friends, were never in doubt.
She got her RAeC certificate in 1937. In fact, she acquired her first aeroplane from her brother Walter; a 1931-reg D.H. Puss Moth G-ABLG, which he had flown in two King's Cup races.
She had married Roderick Nettleton King-Farlow in July 1925. Their daughter Ann was born in 1931, but they divorced in 1936, and she then married Douglas Keith Fairweather in March 1938. He was a businessman from Glasgow, and her complete opposite - outgoing, irreverent, and very eccentric.
Margie then sold her aeroplane, and she and Douglas re-registered his Puss Moth G-ABYP in their joint names. Later they also bought a Leopard Moth, G-ACXH.
She had a horrible experience in 1939 when her friend, Dr. Elizabeth Cook, was killed by walking into the propeller of the aeroplane Margaret was about to pilot; they were going to fly to Paris for a holiday, and the plane was standing with the engine ticking over.
So, prior to WWII she was one of the most experienced women pilots in the country, with 1,050 hours of civilian flying, and (from late 1937) was an instructor with the Scottish Flying Club. She had flown Miles Whitney Straights, D.H. Moths, Puss Moths, Tiger Moths, Fox Moths, Leopard Moths, Hornet Moths, Dart Kitten, Taylor Cub, Potez, and Percival Vega Gull, in Belgium, Holland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, France Switzerland and Austria.
Not surprisingly then, she was one of the 'First Eight' Women ATA pilots at Hatfield, starting in January 1940. Her training went well: "The handling characteristics of the Service trainer were entirely novel to Mrs. Fairweather, but having once mastered the take-off, she had no further difficulty, and is now able to fly both Master and Oxford satisfactorily. Her cockpit drill is excellent'"
Douglas also joined the ATA as a pilot. He was devoted to Margie; as Lettice Curtis says in Forgotten Pilots: he was once heard to say, "I love Margie, better than any dog I ever had," and then more thoughtfully, "or even a pig or a cat."
[For more about Douglas, I can recommend 'Brief Glory - the Story of the ATA']
On the 3rd March 1941 she was one of the four women especially praised by Pauline Gower: "The following pilots during the past year have been outstanding from the point of view of hard work and have set an example to others:- Mrs M Wilberforce [exceptional devotion to duty], Miss M Cunnison [great devotion to duty], Hon Mrs M Fairweather [has shown great devotion to duty, and worked hard and conscientiously as a taxi pilot], and Miss J Hughes [has shown devotion to duty]."
[Mona Friedlander, Rosemary Rees, Lois Butler, Gabrielle Patterson and Winifred Crossley also get a mention [they have 'worked hard and conscientiously'], and Pauline added that "had Miss Amy Johnson still been with us [she had died on the 5th January], her name would have been particularly mentioned".]
In May 1941 Margie requested extra leave:
"Dear Commander Whitehurst,
As you know I have a daughter of twelve years of age. She is at boarding school during the term time, but for half of the period of each holidays I am responsible for her care. With the assistance of my family I have managed up to now fairly well without interfering with my work, but I now, owing to reasons of health and occupation I can no longer count on this help and paid help is almost impossible to come by.
In these circumstances I am writing to enquire whether ATA would consider granting me an extra week's leave in the summer, and a fortnight's extra leave at both Xmas and Easter, it being understood that any leave so granted would be without pay."
The request was granted, and Margie and Douglas took Ann for a holiday in a small farmhouse in Western Scotland [where they acquired a baby goat, which Douglas later took with him on at least one ferry flight.]
She and Douglas were both posted to Prestwick (4b Ferry Pool, Northern Area) in November 1941.
On the 14th December, she wrote to Pauline Gower:
I was hampered in talking to you the other day by the crowd around the telephone, amongst which were persons about whom I wanted to speak.
I am not sure we can make good use of the lady in question at this moment. We need a second ground person in this office but he or she must, as well as doing adjutant duties, be a good shorthand typist. Unless we combine the jobs there isn't sufficient to do. The lady's counterpart is doing 'ops' just now with only moderate success. It would be a pity to get her up here if that falls through. She is too 'choosy' for our mixed bag of aeroplanes to come only as a pilot. I am sorry we raised her hopes so high. Perhaps in a week or two the matter might be reconsidered if you have no other plans in view for her.
I have at last caught a Wellington for myself. I flew it with great pleasure from Prestwick to Sherburne today and am now here on my way back with a Hurricane. I found it very like a big Anson, & I can see no reason why any of the normally hefty of us should find them too heavy. It was tough today & at slow speeds as when coming in to land you have to heave and push but forewarned there is no difficulty. I wonder who of the others have had one and what they think.
We have had a tragedy already in no. 4b FPP. A charming American called Wiley who was posted to us left Speke on Wednesday afternoon & has not been heard of since. It is strange (or perhaps just a matter of psychology) how it always seems to be the nice ones that go and the toughs who remain.
Living in the … hotel as we are doing amongst all the over-night ATA one gets a bit of a … about humanity. I was almost pleased to see Mary H[unter], & Veronica [Volkersz] yesterday by contrast! Douglas is in his element entertaining his visiting pilots; clearly our post war job must be public house proprietors with Douglas as 'mine host'.
Please make Kitty write to me again soon. I loved getting your letters. When are you coming to inspect me? I wish you would.
I would love to have a talk. Are you likely to be at W[hite] W[altham] without warning if I cadge an aeroplane to that point?
with love, Margie."
She was promoted to Flight Captain in February 1942, in charge of the Women's Flight at Prestwick. Her Commanding Officer said that she was a "very reliable and steady ferry pilot... she has been a very real help to me." Shortly after that, she had her spat with Irene Arckless (q.v.)
She also had an 'incident' on the 24th March 1943 - flying a Halifax (she was one of only 11 women cleared for 4-engine aircraft), the bolts securing an engine cowling broke away and fouled a propeller. Luckily, she was uninjured.
However, she was in big trouble in May 1943 - some Flight Captain or other (I can't make out the signature) wrote to Pauline:
"It is observed that F/Capt Mrs Fairweather is not complying with Standing Orders re. her hair. Also, this pilot still persists in wearing grey coloured stockings, whereas black is the order. Will you please be good enough to point out to this pilot that the Commanding Officer's Instructions in regard to 'Dress Regulations' must be complied with."
There is a scribbled note "Is anything ever done?", but, indeed, no sign of anything else happening...
And then, on the 14th September 1943, (so, when Margie was nearly 42), and rather out of the blue , came this:
"Flight Captain Mrs Fairweather is pregnant and I recommend that her contract is terminated with three months' pay in lieu of notice."
[The ATA policy was that women who became pregnant would have their contracts terminated, to give them 3 months salary. However, Pauline soon discovered that Margie was "not interested in the financial aspect, but would rather have her contract suspended" and added,"I think we might well meet her wishes in this case."]
So, her contract was suspended, and she duly returned back to work on the 15th June 1944. By then, sadly, Douglas was dead; he and ATA Nurse Kathleen Kershaw had crashed in the Irish Sea, on a mercy flight to Prestwick. Douglas and Margie's daughter Elizabeth was born a few days after his death.
And then Margie herself died in another crash soon after, on the 4th August 1944. It happened on a communications flight in Percival Proctor III LZ801; the engine 'faded out', she force-landed in a field near Wrexham, but hadn't seen a ditch at the end of it. The aircraft went nose first into the ditch.
She, and her sister Kitty suffering from severe fractures to her right leg, were taken to Chester Royal Infirmary. Margie had serious head injuries; the third person on board, Lewis Kendrick, had minor abrasions. Margie died at 11 p.m., without regaining consciousness.
The technical investigation showed that the vent pipe of the port fuel tank was completely blocked by a film of dope, causing the tank to collapse. "In these circumstances the petrol gauge is likely to have indicated that the tank still contained fuel, when in fact it was dry."
Blame was heaped on everyone involved in ensuring the aircraft had been fit to fly: The Chief Engineer, and the Engineers in Charge at White Waltham, for failing to ensure that it had been serviced properly; the Officer-in-Charge Air Movements Bay; the Engineering Inspector, for failing to ensure that the fitters were competent, and the two fitters who failed to notice the blocked vent.
The report recommended that procedures were changed, and Proctors modified, to prevent it happening again.
The cause of death was 'extensive skull fracture'; I've not come across any reference to Margie's spectacles shattering and contributing to her death, although this has been suggested recently.
She is buried, together with Douglas, in Dunure Cemetery, South Ayrshire. Near Prestwick.
28th August 1944
Dear Mr d'Erlanger,
You will I hope forgive me for being slow to thank you for your kind letter & for what you say of Margaret's work, and I would like especially to thank you for all the kindness and consideration shown to my daughter Ruth & for all the arrangements made for the funeral which we could not have wished otherwise. I would be grateful if you could also pass on our thanks to whoever in the RAF was responsible for allowing her to lie in that little war cemetery beside Douglas. We very greatly valued the kindness that prompted that decision.
I am afraid it will be a long time before Kitty is up & about, but we are glad to have no real anxiety about her.
Margie's loss was "a great blow to ATA, for she was not only one of our best women pilots, but in her modest and enthusiastic manner set an almost unequalled example of unselfish devotion to duty."
Oxford DNB : "Fairweather [née Runciman], Margaret (1901–1944), airwoman, was born at West Denton Hall, near Newcastle upon Tyne, on 23 September 1901, the second in a family of two sons and three daughters of Walter Runciman, first Viscount Runciman (1870–1949), and his wife, Hilda Stevenson (1869–1956) [see Runciman, Hilda]. Margie, as she was always known, was educated initially at home together with her younger brother Steven (later Sir Steven Runciman) by a governess who taught them Greek and Latin at an early age. She then attended a number of educational institutions including The Mount, a Quaker school in York, and Notting Hill high school, from where she went to Girton College, Cambridge. After a year she dropped out of Girton to study singing in Paris, though she never performed professionally. She married Roderick Sydney Nettleton King-Farlow (1900–1988), the son of Sir Sydney Charles Nettleton King-Farlow, at St Margaret's, Westminster, on 15 July 1925. A daughter was born in 1931. The marriage ended in divorce in 1936.
In the autumn of 1936 Margie learned to fly at Newcastle Aero Club and was issued with her aviator's certificate (licence no. 14687) by the Royal Aero Club on 13 January 1937. She was planning to fly solo to Australia but changed her mind when she met a fellow pilot, Douglas Keith Fairweather (1891–1944), son of Sir Walter Fairweather. They were married on 28 March 1938. In that year Lord Runciman was sent on the ill-fated mission to Prague to mediate between the German and Czech governments. Fairweather flew out herself to visit him. During a European tour that same year she and Douglas, under the guise of tourists, photographed unrecorded German airfields. She also sent back letters to her brother Steven which seemingly contained only trivial domestic details. On her return, however, she decoded these to recover intelligence data.
With the threat of war looming, in October 1938 the Civil Air Guard scheme was inaugurated to provide subsidized training of pilots through the civil flying clubs. As experienced pilots, Margie and her husband became instructors at Renfrew. Douglas Fairweather was one of the first to sign contracts with the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) for service with the AirTransportAuxiliary (ATA) in September 1939.
Many women, qualified flying instructors with considerable flying experience, volunteered to serve with the ATA. However, the pilots enrolled by BOAC under the ATA scheme were employed in RAF ferry pilots' pools and the RAF would not agree to the employment of women in their ferry pools. This problem was solved in December 1939 when Pauline Gower (who became commandant of the women's ATA) was informed that a small pool of eight women based at Hatfield could be formed to ferry Tiger Moths to stored reserves.
With over 1000 flying hours, Margaret Fairweather was one of that select band who signed contracts with the ATA on 1 January 1940. This departure from tradition caused a furore in a world in which professional women were still a novelty. Press and newsreel gave full publicity to the event and the so-called ‘ATA girls’ were under constant scrutiny. However, ferrying Tiger Moths from Hatfield to storage reserves, some as far away as Kinloss, Perth, and Lossiemouth, and returning by overnight train, often with no sleeper in midwinter, was not the glamorous occupation some imagined. In July 1941 ATA women pilots were cleared to fly operational aircraft and Margaret Fairweather was one of the first four chosen to do practice landings in a Hurricane. These four carried a burden of responsibility as the future of all women pilots in the ATA depended on them.
Meanwhile Douglas Fairweather was joint commanding officer at Prestwick. In 1942 he was posted to no. 1 ferry pool, White Waltham, to take charge of the air movements flight. Margie was then posted to join him. For the rest of her time there she was engaged in communication duties and it was on one such assignment that she met her death—the only one not to survive among the original eight who served from the very beginning.
Gradually more operational types of plane were being flown by women and the progression was made from single engine to twin aircraft to advanced twin, and eventually eleven women pilots were qualified to fly four-engined aircraft. Fairweather was one of the eleven. She was considered by her fellow pilots to be one of the most intelligent and able, though rather quiet and self-effacing. In fact, according to her daughter, her nickname was Mrs Cold Front.
On 3 April 1944 Douglas Fairweather volunteered to go to Prestwick to collect an ambulance case requiring special treatment. In appalling weather, somewhere over the Irish Sea, the Anson came down and both he and the nurse travelling with him were lost. Margie gave birth to their daughter Elizabeth a few days later. Margie returned to flying only to be killed herself four months later. She was piloting a Proctor to Scotland on 4 August 1944 with two passengers on board when the engine failed near Malpas, Cheshire. All three were taken to Chester Royal Infirmary where Fairweather died soon afterwards. Her passengers were her sister, the Hon. Kitty Farrer, adjutant of the ATA, and Louis Kendrick of the Ministry of Aircraft Production. They recovered, escaping with injuries. Douglas Fairweather's body was washed up on the Ayrshire coast. Margaret Fairweather and he were both buried in the small churchyard of Dunure, Ayrshire."
W.38 Flight Captain
Hon. Mrs Lucy Agnes Vera Falkiner
b. 1 Jan 1905, Stanford 1 Apr 1941 to 31 Dec 1945
née Verney Cave
Father: Adrian Verney Verney-Cave, Lord Braye, Mother: Ethel Mary [Bouverie-Pusey], of Stanford Hall, Swinford, Rugby
Ed. Convent, St Leonards on Sea
"The Hon Lucy Verney Cave as Miss Neville in Goldsmith's comedy 'She Stoops to Conquer' performed by Girl Guides in the Church Hall in Lutterworth. They gave a very entertaining performance of thes delightful old play"
with her brother, the Hon. Thomas Adrian, at the 'Lincoln Stuff Ball' in 1930
[one of many many balls, dances, society weddings, etc, etc that she attended]
m. 1935 in Bosworth, Lucien Leslie Falkiner "of the 43rd Light Infantry... both families are well-known in the Midlands and they are slightly related"
Capt. Falkiner d. 30 May 1940 in France
prev: WAAF from 23 Nov 1940; Assistant Section Officer, based at Wittering, Northants
prev exp: 14 hrs on Avro Cadet, Tiger Moth, Hornet Moth
Postings: 5FPP, 12FPP, 9FPP, 1FPP
Off sick from 6 Oct 1942 to 30 Mar 1943 with 'nervous overstrain'
7 accidents, 2 her fault:
- 29 Mar 1942, flying Master I N7552, she found it difficult to select 'Flaps Up' and accidentally released the hood
- 14 Apr 1942, she couldn't get the flaps or undercarriage to lock down in a Hurricane
- 7 Jul 1942, the propeller of her Master I N7482 was discovered to be bent after she parked it, cause unknown
- 4 Jul 1943, she landed Master II EM329 with complete engine failure, due to the servicing cock under the port fuel tank being turned off
- 14 Jul 1943, she failed to control the landing swing of Hudson III FH373 and damaged the port wing
- 10 Nov 1943, the hood blew off her Spitfire VIII JG379 on take-off when she tried to close it, damaging the tailplane
- 15 Jun 1945, forced landing in Mosquito XXX MV527 after a serious oil leak in the port engine
"A good, very steady and extremely careful pilot, who has an excellent influence on the junior pilots"
d. Mar 1980 - Cirencester
W.19 2nd Officer
Mrs Diane Elaine Farnell
b. 27 Mar 1899, Hampstead, London 16 Sep-40 to 25 Mar 1942
RAeC 1935 ATA
Father: Cesar Schlesinger, from "a region of Germany which is now part of Poland"
changed name by deed poll (to name of step-father George Herbert, who brought her up from 1904) New
m. 1922 in Chelsea, Ronald H Boswell, a Publisher (Messrs John Lane, Bodley Head)
She and Ronald travelled to Argentina together in 1927, and to South Africa the following year.
She listed her profession as "Author"; she had published books called 'Posterity - A Novel' in 1926, and 'Bull among China' in 1928.
m. 1929 in Paddington, Robin George Westbury Farnell (of Farnell Carbons Ltd, Plumstead, London SE. The son of the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford. His first wife Dorothy [Coode] d. 1926)
3 children (David (Boswell) b. 1923, Martin (Boswell) b. 1926, Michael (Farnell) b. 1928)
Address in 1935-1940: Idleigh Court, Meopham, Kent
In 1940 she said she lost contact with her father "about 15 years ago - now dead" [Cesar "spent the last 20 years of his life equally shared 6 months at a time between South Africa and the UK"]
3 accidents, 2 her fault:
- 22 Feb 1941, when she misjudged an approach in her Puss Moth;
- 11 Dec 1941, her Wicko nosed over after misuse of brakes while landing
- 22 Feb 1942, the engine of her Magister backfired when the airscrew was being swung.
[Contract Terminated by ATA]
Images via Nicholas Farnell
d. 14 Apr 1995 - Sedbury, Tidenham, Glos
W.159 3rd Officer Miss Marjorie 'June' Farquhar b. 28 Jul 1921, London 21 Feb-44 to Sep-45
(r) with Edith Beaumont
Rather: Capt. Arthur Farquhar, of Town Farm, Aldbury, nr Tring, Herts
Ed. "Private and Finishing Schools", Francis Holland (London) and Chateau Mont Choisi, Lausanne
With the Hertfordshire Hunt in 1940
prev: VAD,; from Oct 1941 WAAF
(c) with Edith Beaumont and Lettice Curtis
- 26 Aug 1944, she was commended for a forced landing in Magister L8054 after engine failure
Gained her RAeC 'A' Certificate No 20491 as part of the ATA 'Wings' scheme on 3 Aug 1945
Address in 1945: 49 Milverton Rd, London NW1
Mrs Cole from 1946, as reported by the Bucks Herald on 14 June;
"MARRIAGE OF MAJOR C. B. COLE AND MISS M. J. FARQUHAR
The wedding took place between Major Charles Brian Cole and Miss Marjorie June Farquhar at the Church of St. John the Baptist, Aldbury, on Friday.
The bride, younger daughter of Captain and Mrs Farquhar, of Town Farm, Aldbury, was given away by her father. The reception was held at “Hawkwell”, a Tring residence owned by the bride’s parents, and which is at present largely occupied by farm workers of the H.W.A.C. About 275 guests were present, and refreshments were served under a marquee, set up on the lawns of the house, the sunshine on the day making possible the use of the lovely garden. After the cake was cut, the health of the bride and groom was proposed by Mr. E. J. Gilbert, an old friend of the family. The best man, Capt. Michael Charlesworth, R.A., answered the bridegroom’s toast on behalf of the bridesmaids.
Major and Mrs. Brian Cole later left by car for Marlow, where they spent the week end at the hotel where they first privately celebrated their engagement, five-and-a-half years ago.
On returning from their honeymoon, they will live in London, at least until the bridegroom leaves the War Office, where he is at present employed.
During the war the bride was in the W.A.A.F., doing radar work, but, later, became one of the twelve out of five thousand successful volunteer applicants for A.T.A. [I wonder where they got that from?]
As a ferry pilot she flew all types of fighter and torpedo planes all over the British Isles. Her father and mother, both Canadians, liked and stayed in England after the Great War, in which Capt. Farquhar served in the R.F.C. They first came to Ivinghoe 18 years ago for weekend riding, and it was then that Capt. Farquhar became known as the 'fairy godfather' for the pennies he distributed to the children who presented themselves with clean faces. He came to live in Aldbury about 10 years ago.
The bridegroom, third son of the late Mr. Charles Phillips Cole and Mrs. Cole, of Tring, was studying architecture with his father at the Berkhamsted office of Messrs, W. Brown and Co. when war broke out. He was then embodied with the Hertfordshire Regiment, and in 1941 he went to India, where, after attending Staff College, he served on the staff of an Indian Beach Group. He was mentioned in despatches, and at the cessation of hostilities with Japan was a Lt.-Col. on the Q. Staff of the 14th Army.
It will be remembered that in April, 1945, the elder sister of the bride was married at Tring to the oldest brother of the bridegroom, Mr. Richard Cole."
At an ATA Reunion c.2011
d. 13 Sep 2017
Her son kindly tells me that "Whilst serving in the WAAF she was engaged then on secret work with radar, directing allied aircraft to targets deep in Germany. She always chuckled about leaving the WAAF to join the ATA. Apparently the only reason to be allowed to opt out was due to pregnancy, but my mother managed to wangle it (without pregnancy!) to join the ATA. I think her father's contacts helped pull strings, as he had been a Royal Naval Air Service Captain in the Great War.
I have been looking at her Pilot Log Book, and give a summary of her flying service below. For the record it was signed off by EP Lane, Flt?Captain and Adjutant of No 1 Ferry Pool ATA.
Summary of Aircraft Flown between 28.3.44 to 21.9.45
Total hours 343.55
W.157 3rd Officer Diana Faunthorpe b. 2 Mar 1920, Beaminster, Dorset 21 Feb-44 to Sep-45
Mother: Alice Overton [Wills], Father Bertram Platt Faunthorp (d. 1949)
Ed,. Prior's Field School, Guildford; in 1935 she was a member of the choir, the lacrosse team ("Faunthorpe is a useful member of the team as she can play defence or attack, but must try to gain more speed") and the tennis team, and competed in the high jump and the hurdle race.
Address in 1938: Greystones, Enton Green, Godalming, Surrey
Sailed, with her mother, to Montevideo, Uruguay in Aug-Dec 1938
prev. a WAAF plotter, RAF Fighter Command
"Of the fifteen different aircraft types she ferried for the ATA (the Spitfire was her favourite) she received instruction on only four." The Times, 2010
Address in 1947: Bramshott Cottage, Wilmer Lane, Liphook, Surrey
Sailed to Kenya in September 1947, intending to settle there and giving her profession as a 'Child's Nurse'.
She then met and married Henry James Hamilton 'Jim' Home, a psychoanalyst based in the Sudan, and they returned to the UK together in 1950. (Marriage dissolved), 3 children [1 son, Jennifer, and Jessica].
Retired to Totners, Devon where she "painted and learnt glass engraving".
d. 27 Mar 2010 (age 90)
W.152 3rd Officer Joyce Ann Fenwick b. 3 Mar 1918, Southampton 21 Feb 1944 to Apr 1945
Mother: [Donald], from Edinburgh
Prev. WAAF from Jun 1942, stationed at RAF Ailton
Ab initio pilot
m. Sep 1944 John de Winton 'Johnnie' Tharp, also of the ATA.
There was a wedding in Old Bosham Church on Tuesday, which was the culmination of a war time flying romance, when Third Officer John Tharp, of the A.T.A., married Cadet Joyce Fenwick, also of the A.T.A. They are both pilots and ferry aircraft.
John Tharp is the second son of Mr. Charles Tharp, the well-known portrait painter, who has made his home in Old Bosham since the war, and whose beautiful picutres, portraits and landscapes are hanging in the Anchor Inn. Charles Tharp was at The Slade School of Art with Sir William Orpen and Augustus John, and has had many pictures hung in the Royal Academy.
John Tharp was in the First Parachute Battalion formed in the early days of the war, but injured his back doing a jump, and was invalided out. Later he joined the A.T.A.
The bride was given away by Third Officer John Gilbert, A.T.A. pilot, and her sister Marjorie Fenwick, was bridesmaid. The best man was Hugh Stewart, B.B.C. producer. The Rev. A. L. Chatficld officiated. Mrs. Turvey. the bridegroom’s sister, made the wedding cake, and decorated the church with the help of Third Officer (Mrs.) Bannister, another A.T.A. pilot. A delicious tea for 30 people was provided by Mrs. Leather at The Grange. Mr. Graham Tharp, who is a film producer for M.o.I., did a lot of work as M.C., and Mrs. Diana Britton did “billeting officer,” finding bed and accommodation for numerous guests, not an easy thing to do these days. After spending a night in Bosham, the happy couple left for the Scilly Isles to spend their honeymoon. " - Chichester Observer - Saturday 16 September 1944
2 accidents, one her fault:
- 2 Dec 1944, a heavy landing in Spitfire V X4280, breaking the port undercarriage and wing
- 24 Feb 1945, her Argus I EV803 was hit whilst taxying, by Ida van Zenten in Argus FK337
"She left ATA in April 1945, owing to a rather unexpected pregnancy that was only discovered when she went to the sick bay complaining of nausea" - WAAF with Wings
They moved to Kenya, but John appears to have died in an air accident in Tanganyika, 20 Jul 1951 - see Accident Avro Anson Mk I VP-KHT, 20 Jul 1951 (aviation-safety.net)
Joyce and her daughter Gilian Carol, aged 8, sailed from Mozambique back to the UK in September 1954 to visit her mother in Edinburgh, then returned to Kenya, where they lived until they returned to the UK in 1962 before going to Fiji.
m. c.1956 Maj. Kenneth Spicer Few (a lawyer who had been a PoW of the Japanese after the fall of Singapore, from Feb 1942 to 2 Sep 1945) (d. 1975)
They, together with daughter Sara (b. 21 Jun 1957), sailed to the UK from Kenya in Feb 1959, and back in Jun 1959, for four months. He is listed as a "Resident Magistrate"
d. 20 Dec 1973 - Cambridge
M.630 First Officer Patrick Ffrench b. 2 Mar 1907, London 6 Aug 1941 to 30 Nov 1945
Father Nicholas George Ffrench
Ed. Surbiton Grammar School. Cert. AIB (Banking)
m. 1930 Esther [Jones], 1 son John b. 1935
prev. a Bank Cashier, then Home Guard private Jul-40 to Aug-41
Address in 1941: "Chelsey", Weston Green Rd, Thames Ditton
Postings: 5FPP, 16FPP, RNAS Arbroath (Jun-Jul 1943), 1FPP, 9FPP, 2FPP, 7FPP, 3FPP
He had a spectacular accident on 31 May 1943; his Hudson III "swung first to port and violently to starboard during take-off and just after leaving ground, port wing dropped. The aircraft cartwheeled and was destroyed." He was held to blame but, luckily, uninjured.
"A well-behaved, smart and conscientious officer and a safe, average pilot. Had very little experience prior to joining ATA and is rather retiring and a trifle under-confident."
"A keen and hard-working pilot. He has made good progress throughout"
d. Apr 2003 - Surrey
M.--- First Officer Herbert Roy Fields b. 26 Jul 1901, Hull 11 Sep 1939 to Aug-40
a Garage Proprietor in Hull in 1929;
a Company Director in Dunswell E Yorks in 1936
d. 4 Aug 1940 (Died in ATA Service) - Miles Master flew into hill in fog and crashed at Burnhead Tweedsmuir Peebles
Buried Maidenhead Cemetery:
"To live in the hearts of those we love is not to die"
M.557 First Officer Geoffrey Maurice Firby b. 21 Sep 1910, Bradford 10 Jun 1941 to 5 Feb 1944
Father: George Firby, Mother Annie
Ed. Bradford Moor, Ansons Secondary School
m. 3 Jan 1944 Doris [Watmough] S.R.N.
prev. a Haulage Contractor (Own business)
prev. exp. 57 hrs on Gipsy Moth
Address in 1941: 4 Dundas St., Bradford
Postings: 7FPP, 6FPP
Jan-42: Suspended without pay for 7 days and promotion deferred for 3 months for being "AWOL at Christmas 1941 & submitting a false report."
"A hard working and safe pilot, but who is inclined to be irresponsible."
d. 5 Feb 1944 (Died in ATA Service) in Avro Anson W4945 which disintegrated in the air, crashed between Newsham Hall and Walkers Farm, Winston, Darlington and was destroyed.
"Investigations showed that the starboard aileron was struck in flight by a fast moving metal object such as the propeller of another aircraft. This caused dislocation of aileron hinges & subsequent disintegration of the starboard wing. In this connection two Spitfires were observed manoeuvering around the Anson just before the crash. One was reported to have descended and circled the wreckage after the crash."
Buried at Undercliffe Cemetery, Bradford
He had only been married 33 days and hadn't informed the ATA, which meant that the insurance money of £2,000 was paid to his nominated next-of-kin, his mother Annie. She agreed to pass on £675 to his widow Doris, who also inherited Geoffrey's estate of £201.
A daughter Christine was born in March 1944 but died shortly afterwards.
W.122 3rd Officer Eleanor Dorothy 'Beanie' Fish b. 15 Oct 1917, Nottingham 1 Jun 1943 to 30 Sep 1945
Father: George Fish (a Master Butler); mother: Dorothy
Ed. Nottingham High School and RIBA, London
prev: Architect (Eberlin and Derbyshire Architects), then architectural assistant for the ATA from Jan 1942
Address in 1943: 14 Vivian Ave, Nottingham
Ab initio trainee
Postings: 5FPP, 15FPP, 12FPP, 6FPP
2 accidents, 1 her fault:
- 2 Dec 1944, a forced landing in Argus I FK345 after engine failure
- 12 Dec 1944, flying Spitfire IX TA780, she was reprimanded when she "persisted in landing well up the runway, knowing there was another aircraft in front of her. She collided with this other aircraft and was held to blame by the Accidents Committee"
m. Sep 1945 in Nottingham, 3rd Officer (Flt-Eng) Bernard K Wadsworth, also of the ATA
d. 21 Dec 2020, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk
M.347 First Officer John Charles Fisher b. 6 May 1918, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffs 30 Mar 1941 to Mar-42
a Sergeant Pilot in the RAFVR from Apr-39 to Jan-41; exp. 120 hrs. He was discharged - "unable to complete course following a night crash."
prev. an insurance agent
He proved himself a "quiet, steady and conscientious officer", but had a couple of accidents during his short ATA career; on 25 October 1941 he taxied a Swordfish "carelessly" into a parked Piper Cub, and the following January he suffered head injuries in a forced landing in a Mohawk after engine failure.
His third accident, sadly, proved fatal.
d. 15 Mar 1942 (Died in ATA Service) - Oxford X7190 crashed into ground 300' above sea level nr Wigtown. He was deemed to be 'at fault' as he persisted too far in bad weather, "of which the forecast he received gave him warning."
The wreckage was not discovered for 3 days, and the sketch map below shows its location:
He was buried in Newcastle-under-Lyme Cemetery. His parents took some flowers to his grave in September 1943 and were sorry to see a wooden cross had been put there by the ATA, despite his parents having erected a stone memorial the previous November. The wooden cross was later removed.
M.397 * First Officer Derek Lionel William Fitzgerald b. 21 Jun 1918, South Stoneham, Hants 6 May 1941 to 30 Nov 1945
Postings include: 8FPP
m. 1946 in Maidenhead, Jessie H [Wilson]
d. 1996, Winchester, Hants
M.--- First Officer Luis Goncelvis Fontes b. 20 Dec 1912, London 1 May 1940 to Oct-40
Father Brazilian, mother English
Racing driver [1935 Le Mans winner] and sometime jailbird [spent 3 years in jail - convicted of manslaughter having killed a motorcyclist in a car accident whilst drunk]. Operated a speedboat firm in Torquay.
1935 Miles Hawk Speed Six G-ADGP
1938 B A Eagle 2 G-AFKH
with his sister Ruth, King's Cup 1935
d. 12 Oct 1940 (Died in ATA Service) - while circling to land at Llandow, his Wellington R1156 struck a telegraph pole in Llysworney during a second circuit and crashed into a bank.
Buried Mapledurham, Oxfordshire
King's Cup in 1935, 1938
M.664 First Officer Ian Archibald Forbes + b. 29 Nov 1919, Oxted, Surrey 30 Sep 1941 to 30 Nov 1945
Father: James Grant Forbes II (d. 1955) Mother: Margaret [Winthrop] (both American)
Margaret was a descendant of John Winthrop, one of the leading figures in founding the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 1630s,
His mother inherited €100,000 from her aunt Ida Means Mason, who died in 1928 in Boston, Mass., and then €75,000 "and personal effects" from another aunt, Ida's sister Miss Ellen F Mason, who died in 1929 in Newport, RI. The remainder of Ellen's €5,000,000 went into a charitable trust, the money to be distributed within 21 years of the death of the last of Margaret's children. His father James Grant Forbes was named Trustee of a fund of €300,000 (€150,000 each from Ida and Ellen) for his children's education "and comfortable support".
Ed. Eton, Trinity College Cambridge
5ft 11in, brown hair
Address in 1937: Little Plumyard, Seven Hills Rd, Cobham, Surrey
prev. in 1939 a Student of Music (changed his mind) Economics in Kensington
He traveled to the USA in June 1939 on the 'Queen Mary' and was listed as an American "by virtue of his father's citizenship."
Address in 1941: (Mother's address) 43 Swan Court, Manor St, Chelsea, London
m. Oct 1941 Phoebe V Thomas in Marylebone, Middlesex
Off sick from 21 Feb to 21 Mar 1943
1 accident, not his fault:
- 4 Aug 1944, during the take-off run in a Hudson at White Waltham, the port tyre burst. He "completed the take-off, noticed that the tyre was apparently loose and wobbling, and therefore decided to execute a belly landing."
Address in 1947: Friary Lodge, Old Windsor, Berks
His mother Margaret died in 1970 aged 91, at her home in St Briac, France, leaving 11 children (including his sister Rosemary, the mother of John Forbes Kerry (68th US Secretary of State and Democratic Nominee for President, 2004) and Mme Alain Lalonde), 30 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.
John F Kerry visited the Forbes' family estate at Les Essarts, near St-Briac-sur-Mer, on several occasions:
"In his youth, Kerry joined the family gatherings while his father, a U.S. diplomat, was posted in Europe. Young Kerry also attended a Swiss boarding school and brought a touch of America to this corner of northwestern France.
"He introduced us to games like capture the flag. We still play something called kick the can," said [John's cousin] Brice Lalonde, who at 58 is two years Kerry's junior.
Walking along a beach where Kerry and his cousins once played, Lalonde talked about their summers of swimming, cycling and tennis.
"We would take boats and go to islands and have a picnic. We'd go shrimping and have them cooked up in the kitchen," he said.
It was in Saint Briac, or nearby, that Kerry's parents met, when his father, Richard Kerry, was traveling in Europe before World War II.
During the war, the Nazis occupied Les Essarts and then destroyed it when they left. A family reunion was held last summer  to mark the 50th anniversary of the home's reconstruction, but Kerry didn't attend.
Kerry told The New Yorker magazine that seeing the aftermath of the war in Europe kindled his interest in politics.
"My very first memory — I was 3 years old — is holding my mother's hand and she was crying... as we walked through the broken glass and rubble of her childhood house in France, which the Germans had used as a headquarters and then bombed and burned as they left," Kerry was quoted as saying." - Fox News, 29 Mar 2004
Ian Forbes lived at the rebuilt Les Essarts in 2004.
M.172 Flight Captain George William Forster b. 26 Nov 1912, Deptford London 19 Nov 1940 to Dec-45
Address in 1940: 19 Ford View Rd, Stowmarket, Suffolk
prev. RAF Sgt Pilot May-31 to Jun-40, then Pilot Officer to 30 Sep 40
Postings: 1FPP, 3FPP
"Exceedingly keen as a pilot and takes his duties as a Flight Captain seriously."
d. Apr 2002 - Greenwich, London
M.407 Flight Captain Ian Stewart Fossett b. 14 May 1917, Wolverhampton 13 May 1941 to 31 Jul 1945
prev. a draughtsman for Bristol Aeroplane Co
RAFVR L/AC from Sep-39 to Oct-40
prev. exp. 52hrs
Address in 1941: (father) Outwood, Almondsbury, Bristol
Later: Rosemary, Imber Pk Rd, Esher, Surrey
Postings: 16FPP, 5(T)FP, CTO
Reprimanded in Mar-43 for a taxying accident in which his Dominie struck Pilot Officer Reinke and knocked him over, although both were held responsible.
"This officer at all times carries out his duties and responsibilities in a very satisfactory manner."
King's Commendation for valuable service in the air
m. 1952 Kathleen M Kromhout Or Fraser in St Albans
The ‘quiet and reserved’ executive aircraft sales manager of Hawker Siddeley.
d. 27 Apr 2001 - Sootfield Green, nr Hitchin, Herts
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
M.318 Commander Francis 'Frankie' Francis b. 28 May 1906, London
18 Oct 1940 to 11 Nov 1944
Off-duty at White Waltham [ELC]
Educated at Rugby and Sandhurst
m. , 2 children
prev. a Lieutenant in the Horse Guards, 1926-29, and a 'Director of Companies'
Address in 1940: The Pavilion, Datchet, Bucks
Next of Kin: Wife, c/o City Bank Farmers Trust, 22 William St, New York
Postings: 1FPP, 6FPP
On the 17th Feb 1944, he jumped out of a perfectly good Beaufort; "On encountering bad weather the pilot turned on a reciprocal course but lost sight of the ground. He then ran into severe icing conditions... he climbed over the cloud, proceeded to the vicinity of Hawarden, and when an engine started to fail through lack of petrol, headed his aircraft out to sea and abandoned it by parachute."
"Unfortunately", as he later recounted in 'Brief Glory', "my baling out (a somewhat difficult operation) upset the trim of the aircraft, which proceeded to fly in circles round me as I descended, to my great embarrassment. However, it got on to the straight course and later plunged into the [Irish] sea as I had hoped."
Although he was held to blame for the incident, "the measures subsequently taken by the pilot showed commendable presence of mind."
Officer Commanding 1FPP from May-44
[Released by mutual consent]
M.236 First Officer Edwin Hanson Freshfield b. 16 May 1909, Buckland, Surrey 8 Jan 1941 to 18 May 1942
ed. Lancing College, Trinity College Cambridge M.A.
prev. an Air Traffic Controller, attached to HQ Fighter Command Bentley Priory, 1937-date
Order of St John
'Slight limp left leg'
prev. exp. 1450 hrs; owned a 1928 D.H. Moth G-EBZE from 1930 to 1932, and had flown in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. His instructor at Brooklands was George Lowdell.
His flying may have been curtailed after this incident on the 23 Mar 1932: "Animals at the Whipsnade Zoo rushed about an excited state and there was danger with elephants carrying children when an aeroplane flew low overhead, it was stated at Luton, where a summons against Edwin Freshfield, a Cambridge undergraduate, the pilot of the machine, was dismissed on payment of costs."
Address in 1941: Glovers Farm, Reigate, Surrey
Postings: 1FPP, 4FPP (part time)
"Keen pilot, but owing to part-time duties this officer is not seen very much."
d. 18 Feb 1985 - Lewes, Sussex
W.8 First Officer
Mona Renee Vera Ernesta Friedlander
b. 2 June 1914, London 1 Jan 1940 to 24 Feb 1943
RAeC 1936 - Brooklands ATA
Father: Ernest Friedlander (German, naturalised 1909 - "founder and chairman of the well-known banking firm of Singer and Friedlander"). Mother: Vera(na)
Educated 'abroad', (Vienna, Switzerland, Germany) and at the Royal School of Arts and the LSE in London (Commerce Examinations).
5 foot 5 inches tall; hair and eyes: dark brown. Religion: Hebrew (sic).
Ken Waller taught her to fly
Her uncle, V. Mansfield, was a Colonel in the British Army in WWI.
prev. pilot for Air Taxis, Croydon, giving "5 bob joy rides"
Mona was in the squad for the British Women's Ice Hockey teams who faced France in 1934 and 1935, but Britain lost the first and only drew the second. She was a defender, playing for her club the London Lambs; against France "probably the fastest skater on either side, and certainly the strongest".
Playing for the 'Wembley Lionesses' in 1937 - Daily Mirror
In 1938, "Airwoman Mona Friedlander, who played left-back for England. was the most dashing player on the ice. Dressed in a short black split skirt and a blue and white jersey —the England uniform—she was all over the ice, leaving a trail of devastation in her wake. Her enthusiasm led her into trouble. She was sent off twice, but made up for it by scoring two of England's goals."
From 1st March 1939 to the end of November, she worked as an Army Cooperation pilot, flying in front of anti-aircraft batteries to help them with the aiming and ranging of guns and searchlights. The Sketch said "We take our hat off to Miss Mona Friedlander - for being an attractive night-flying target that no-one should miss"
She was then one of the 'First 8' women pilots of the ATA, joining on 1st January 1940 as a Second Officer. At the time, she had 600 hours experience, on 'most light types'.
Postings: Hatfield, 5FPP
She married Major Alan Forward, M.C. in June 1941; by then, she had had 3 accidents:
- 4 Oct 1940, she failed to get the undercarriage of Oxford V3325 down and locked before landing;
- 25 Mar 1941, she had a forced landing in Lysander P1727 when the engine failed, and
- 29 Apr 1941, another forced landing Hawker Hind 4643, during which she collided with a cow in the field, which ended up costing the ATA £150.
She was exonerated in all 3 accidents.
Her report says "First Officer Forward is a good pilot and a hard worker. She has been unfortunate in the matter of accidents but cannot be held responsible for those she has had. On one isolated occasion she showed bad airmanship - this has not been repeated" but added (rather strangely in view of her ice hockey-playing career before the war), "Physical endurance rather below average."
She was promoted to First Officer in May 1942, but in September hit a parked Anson when taxying a Hudson, then in October suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning in a Typhoon, remained off sick until February 1943 and then resigned.
During her ATA career, Mona flew 32 types of aircraft up to 'Class 4' (Advanced Twin Engined), including 20hrs on Wellingtons and 10 hrs on Mosquitos.
post-ATA, Censor for the Ministry of Information
Moved to Egypt. Flew one of a flight of 8 Fairchilds down to Johannesberg for £50.
d. 24 Dec 1993 - Yeovil
IWM interview here: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80009073
W.110 3rd Officer Margaret Olive 'Maggie' Frost b. 26 Nov 1920, Kingston by Sea, Sussex 25 Nov 1942 to 30 Sep 1945
Father: Ernest Isaac Frost, a country parson; Mother, Olive Jessie [Thornton]
(First solo 1 Aug 1939)
Address in 1942: The Rectory, Fulborough, Sussex
prev: from May 1941 WRNS, HMS Forward
Off sick from 21 Dec 1943 to 8 Mar 1944 due to an appendectomy
One accident, not her fault:
- 5 Aug 1945, three propeller blades of her Barracuda III RJ492 were found to be chipped, reason unknown
Maggie (far left) at the unveiling of the ATA Memorial in Hamble-le-Rice, 2010
d. 4th August 2014 - Aberystwyth
M.780 First Officer Noel Fryer b. 25 Dec 1912, Newcastle on Tyne 22 Jul 1942 to 31 Oct 1945
W.63 First Officer Rosemary Lilian Fuller-Hall b. 25 Jun 1919, Hampton Middx 2 Dec-41 to Jan-44
-- Not in 'Forgotten Pilots' or 'Brief Glory' --
Daughter of Charles Fuller-Hall.
prev exp: 30hrs
5' 7", slight build, fair hair, blue eyes
Got her RAeC certificate in 1939, became a stenographer (which I think is a sort of shorthand typist, but I could be wrong) for the Manufacturers Life Insurance Company of Canada, and then was in the A.T.S. from September 1938 to February 1939.
She is mostly interesting for the number of accidents she had :-)
Here is the story of the ups and downs of her ATA career :-
- 3 May 1942: Completed Class 1 Training. Promoted to 3rd Officer (from Cadet)
- 23 Aug 1942: Completed Class 2 Training. Promoted to 2nd Officer
- 6 Dec 1942: Accident to Master I N8057 at Hullavington. "Whilst taxying, the a/c skidded off perimiter track into ditch due to the pilot taxying without sufficient care on muddy surface. Pilot IS held responsible."
- 12 Dec 1942: Accident to Fairchild EV774 at Hamble. "A/C overshot on landing and collided with fence due to gross error of judgement on part of pilot. Pilot is held responsible."
- 18 Dec 1942: Demoted to 3rd Offficer.
- 21 Dec 1942: Back to School. "A good average pilot whose flying is quite satisfactory. Her recent accidents have apparently little or no connection with her flying skill, but seem to be purely a question of carelessness. " [That's all right, then].
- 1 Feb 1943: Promoted to 2nd Officer (again).
- 15 Mar 1943: Accident to Mustang I. "Tail wheel punctured & tyre fell off on take off. Pilot is not responsible for accident." [phew].
- 20 Apr 1943: Completed Class 3 Training. "A hard working pilot of average ability whose flying is quite sound but she must pay very particular attention to her airmanship."
- 30 Apr 1943: Accident to Barracuda P9740. "After landing undercarriage retracted. Pilot selected U/C up instead of flaps. Pilot is to blame.
- 7 May 1943: Suspended 3 days with total loss of pay and warned that "another accident, for which she is held responsible, will mean termination of contract."
- 13 Aug 1943: Promoted to 1st Officer. "A keen pilot and a well-behaved officer. Her accidents are entirely due to lack of concentration."
- 30 Sep 1943: Class 4 Training Completed. "Somewhat forgetful with cockpit drill which gives the impression of overconfidence. She should be given ample Class 4 ferrying before being considered for 4+. Average Ability."
In Dec 1943, she married Mr Peter Pennington-Legh and resigned from the ATA.
Total Hours ferrying: 459 hrs 15min.
She later moved to Australia, and died there in 1984.
M.56 Commander Thomas George Lamb Gale OBE b. 11 Nov 1910, Stoke Hammond, Bucks 19 Nov 1940 to 30 Nov 1945
Ed. at Berkhampstead School
RAF [originally an appentice at Cranwell, eventually Sqn Ldr] 1927-1940; winner of the Sir Charles Wakefield Scholarship in 1930; Indian General Service Medal
Married 1935 Helen [Cragg], 2 children
Address in 1940: The Cottage, Wicks Lane, Shurlock, nr Reading
Postings: 1FPP, 6FPP, AFTS
Officer Commanding, ATA's Advanced Flying Training School (AFTS) from Aug-42
"The AFTS has given excellent results for which the credit goes to Cmdr Gale. As an individual, if he were to unbend occasionally, he might get even better results from his staff and pupils." G d'Erlanger
d. Dec 1956 - Colchester, Essex
M.638 * First Officer Francis Roland 'Peter' Garrod b. 1920, Croydon ? 28 Aug 1941 to 31 Oct 1945
m. 1945 in Kensington, London, Rosamond Z [Goddard]
Peter (far right) at the unveiling of the ATA Memorial in Hamble-le-Rice, 2010
d. 23 Jun 2016
Interviewed here: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80009727
M.493 First Officer Peter Macdonald George b. 22 Dec 1920, Hammersmith London 7 May 1941 to 30 Nov 1945
Ed. at Perse School, Cambridge
father: Robert Evelyn George
m. Jun 1943 Wendy M [Tadgell]; 3 children b. 1944, 1947, 1949
prev. a Master Tailor
RAF Sgt. from Mar-39 to Jan-41 "Unable to fly satisfactorily at night"
prev. exp. 182 hrs
Address in 1941: 68 Panton St, Cambridge ["Telephone No 3943 during day, not Thursday afternoon or Sundays (shop)"]
Postings: 1FPP, 12FPP, 4aFPP, 6FPP, 7FPP
Seconded to RNAS Lee-on-Solent Aug-Sep 1944
"This officer was very slow at the beginning but is progressing slowly."
"Flying of average standard. Slowness was due to sickness and domestic worries."
"A likeable officer whose discipline is good. A capable pilot although somewhat underconfident."
Peter (3rd from right) at the unveiling of the ATA Memorial in Hamble-le-Rice, 2010
d. 10 Feb 2012 - Dry Drayton, Cambridgeshire
"Former WWII ATA Pilot. Died peacefully at home, on Friday, 10th February, 2012, aged 91 years. Beloved husband of the late Wendy and very much loved and admired by all his family. Funeral service at the West Chapel, Cambridge City Crematorium, CB3 0JJ on Friday, 9th March at 2.15pm. Family flowers only, but your kind donation in Peter's memory to Maidenhead Heritage Trust may be forwarded." Cambridge News
'The proportion of women fatalities was lower than the proportion of men. The late Peter George said simply that “the women were more reliable. They didn’t do the same damn fool things as the men did.” ' http://maidenheadheritage.org.uk
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
M.599 First Officer Robert Gerrard b. 9 Apr 1900, Surbiton on Thames 1 Jul 1941 to 30 Nov 1945
British by naturalisation of father (Arend Jartams was Dutch)
Ed. Lindisfarne College, Essex
m. 1928 Winifred [Culshaw]
prev. private in RAMC, 1915; RFC Cadet, 1917, 2nd Lt. in RAF, 1919;
an aircraft fitter for A.S.T., Hamble
prev. exp. on Bristol Fighter, R.E.8, SE5, Martinsyde, Dolphin (!)
Address in 1941: c/o Etheridge, Bank St, Bishops Waltham, Hants
Postings: 15FPP, 7FPP, 6FPP, 4aFPP, 4FPP
"An excellent officer and capable pilot who gets on with the job in a quiet and efficient manner."
d. 1963 - Tiverton, Devon
M.370 * First Officer Anthony Bridgeman Gibbons b. 3 Jul 1899, Wolverhampton 15 Apr 1941 to 23 Feb 1944
prev. an 'Assistant Manager'
Address in 1928: Penn Hall, Penn, Staffs
M.479 * Flight Captain Philip Lambert Gibbs b. 16 Nov 1913, Staines, Middx 6 Jun 1941 to 31 DEc 1945
m. 1936 in Worthing, Eileen F [Wylie], a hairdresser
prev. a Motor Salesman; in 1939, an aircraft rigger and fitter
Address in 1935: Lairnsmore, Leighton Ave, Worthing
m. 1946 in Surrey, Rosemary Bonnett (also of the ATA)
d. 1980 - Swindon, Wilts
M.210 First Officer Ernest Maurice Gill b. 4 Aug 1905, Caterham, Surrey 15 Jan 1941 to 24 Mar 1943
ed,. Lancing College O.T.C. 1919-23
m. Cherry, 1 child
prev. a trooper in the Calcutta Light Horse, 1927-29; then a Technical Representative in Africa for the Stanton Iron Works of Nottingham.
Address in 1941: The Graden Flat, The Park, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
Postings: 2FPP, 15FPP, 6FPP, 9FPP
"A very hard worker. His cheerful willingness to undertake any job is a great asset in this Pool. Rather over-zealous in command owing to lack of experience."
In Nov-42, "Failure to immobilise his motor-car in Montpellier-walk led to Ernest Maurice Gill, a ferry pilot, of 6, The Park, Cheltenham, being fined £2."
[Resigned 27 Dec 1942, after his third 'at-fault' accident, but he stayed on until 24 Mar 1943]
M.152 First Officer Sydney 'Syd' Gleave b. 31 Jan 1905, Boaley, Macclesfield 8 Aug 1940 to 2 Mar 1942
m. 1931 Dora [Clarke, divorced 1943], but gave his sister, Lucy Isobel Gleave, as next-of-kin in 1940
Ran his own motorcycle business: "Gleave Motors", and developed his own 'Syd Gleave Special' motorcycle. With this he competed in races from 1928-35.
Syd owned 1930 Avro 616 Sports Avian G-AAYU, which had flown in the 1930 King's Cup Race piloted by Jack Cantrill. He bought it in February 1936, flew it in the 1936 London to Isle of Man Race (coming fifth out of 20 starters) and the Manx Air Derby (coming 13th), but he wrote it off at Cheltenham later that year:
"PILOT'S DRAMATIC TALE
The wreckage of an aeroplane perched on top of a Cotswold hillside field to-day remained as evidence of the dramatic and almost miraculous escape of two airmen from death. The pilot, Mr. Sid Cleave, of Macclesfield, well-known T.T. rider and survivor of a remarkable racing crash a year ago, is today out and about, showing litte sign of the experience.
His passenger, Mr. Geoffrey Males Holt, of Manchester, is in Cheltenham General Hospital with a compound fracture of the right ankle and injuries to the head.
Mr. Gleave last evening told the "Echo" his dramatic story of the crash during the fog which enveloped parts of the Cotsvvolds as he and his friend were flying from Bournemouth to Macclesfield. "The visibility was nil," he said, "and as we were flying down a valley a bank of clouds came down in front of us. Although we attempted to turn we went into it, and the wing tip hit the top of the hill."
Mr. Gleave has recently recovered from a terrible accident while riding in the T. T. last year. He was thrown when travelling at about 110 miles hour. He was hurtled along the road and finished up by crashing into wall. It was found that he had no fewer than 44 bone breakages."
Fleet Air Arm 1938-40
In 1939 he was one of two golfers who played five games of golf within 24 hours on courses in Scotland, Ireland, England, the Isle of Man and Wales, for a £100 bet. He and professional golfer Ernest Smith flew 1,000 miles, walked thirty miles, and "went hungry". They started at 3.30 a m., by the light of road lamps, at Prestwick, Ayr, and then flew to games in Newtonwards, Ulster; Castletown, Isle of Man; Blackpool, and Hawarden, North Wales. "A condition of the wager was that Smith should average under eighty over the five courses. He won with an average of seventy two."
Address in 1940: 388 Buxton Rd, Macclesfield
Postings: White Waltham, Ratcliffe, Ringway
[Contract Terminated 2 Mar 1942] "in order that you may undertake the post of Test Pilot with AV Roe & Co. Ltd."
As 2nd pilot in a Lancaster with Bill Thorn and Roy Chadwick in 1942 (Flight)
d. 11 Sep 1944 in Lancaster III PB579; one of every 10th aircraft that was checked to its terminal velocity dive speed of 375mph to verify control effectiveness and ease of recovery. During the dive the fuel jettison pipes tore off, hit the tailplane and stripped the elevator skin. The aircraft dived vertically into the ground at Alderley Edge, three miles south of Woodford. This was the only fatal accident involving a Lancaster out of the 3,958 tested at Woodford.
Read more: http://salfordwarmemorials.proboards.com
"To assist in the identification of two men who lost their lives in an aeroplane crash near a Midlands town on September 11th, pieces of clothing, a tie and a pen-knife, were produced at the inquest at Wilmslow (Cheshire) to-day. The men were identified as Sydney Gleave, 39, test pilot for Messrs. A. V. Roe and Co., Ltd., and a former racing motor cyclist, and Harry Lewis Barnes, 41, a flight engineer, of Wilmslow.
Charles Stewart Riseley, member of the Observer Corps, who plotted the plane, said it was flying about for half an hour, and the first indication he had of anything being abnormal was when he saw it in a power dive. It came out of the sun with engines running, and dived almost vertically at a speed of between 500 and 600 miles an hour."
Sydney, his parents, and 3 of his 4 sisters are commemorated together
M.432 First Officer William Lionel Godwin b. 15 Jan 1914, Newport Monmouthshire 16 May 1941 to 30 Apr 1944
Ed. The College, Weston Super Mare
Next of kin: (mother) Mary Selina Godwin
prev. Sergeant in RAF Class F Reserve Aug-36 to Sep-39 [Ser. No. 700650],
then an accountant for Somerset County Council, Taunton
prev. exp. 109 hrs on Hart, Tiger Moth, Swallow and Oxford.
Address in 1941: 15 Wilton Gardens, Weston Super Mare, Somerset
William originally applied in August 1940; "I have seen it stated in Flight that you are urgently in need of more pilots in A.T.A. and I have felt moved to write to you. On May 20th this year I was suspended from the RAF as being unlikely to to make a good service pilot because (a) I get air-sickness in violent manoevres (aerobatics etc), (b) ears give some trouble during rapid descents and I am ny nature rather cautious.... If you want an interview, I should be able to come to London this week as I am on leave. However, if you think this is all rather bats - please say so, - gently, in the enclosed envelope."
ATA did not think it entirely bats, but it took them until the following April to give him a flying test ("Flies and lands well. Is not flustered in an emergency, though he reacts rather slowly", and follow up his references ("I have much pleasure in testifying to the personal character of Mr W L Godwin, a member of the permanent accounting staff of this Council.") and offer him a position as a ferry pilot.
Postings: 6FPP, 1FPP, 8FPP
"A keen pilot of average ability, slow to adapt himself and should consequently be progressed gradually on to subsequent types." "A quiet and likeable officer."
m. Mar 1942 WAAF Corporal Sylvia Mary [Earwicker] from the Dental Centre, School of Technical Training, RAF Henlow, Beds.
d. 30 Apr 1944 (Died in ATA Service), in Mosquito MT192, which crashed 2 miles S of Litchfield: "At about 8,000 ft, the A/C turned to port and then dived. At about 200 ft. the machine flattened out, hit the ground and was totally destroyed. Insufficient evidence to determine the cause of the accident but available evidence indicates that the pilot was not responsible."
His C.O., Norman Whitehurst, said "I have always regarded him as one of my most reliable and progressive pilots. He was a man of splendid character, whose discipline was of the highest order, and had he survived would undoubtedly have reached a much higher rank in this organisation. His flying was exceptional, and in this respect he set a first class example to his colleagues."
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
M.314 First Officer Percy Cecil Golding b. 3 Dec 1911, Plymouth
1 Mar 1941 to 31 Dec 1945
"Second finger right hand malformed"
Ed. at Devonport College, Plymouth
m. 1939 Adelaide B [Stephenson]
prev. an 'Official' in Sun Life Assurance Society, and 1 year in 'a Banking Firm'
RAF Sergeant Pilot from 17 Sep 1939 to 21 Jan 1941
Address in 1941: 37 Bemberley Avenue, then 114 Hurst Grove, Bedford
Postings: 6FPP, 1FPP
He was absent for 4 months in 1944 due to a motor accident, and suspended for 7 days without pay in Sep-45 for 'Low Flying'.
"A keen pilot who I think is apt to underestimate his own ability", or "Had some difficulty at the commencement of training apparently due to the fact that he considered the Halifax an easy proposition."
One of the very last batch of pilots to leave the ATA at the end of WWII.
After leaving the ATA he lived at 53 Philpotts Avenue, Bedford, and became a civil pilot.
d. 15 Mar 1949 at Gatow Aerodrome, during the Berlin Airlift (26 Jun 1948 – 30 Sep 1949).
He was the pilot of Skyways Avro York G-AHFI, which lost control while approaching Gatow; the port wing dropped and the aircraft dived into the ground. Two other Skyways staff - co-pilot Henry Thomas Newman and Radio Operator Peter James Edwards - also died.
Henry Thomas Newman in 1946, aged 22
M.102 Flight Captain Donald Henry Arthur Golege-Steel b. 9 Nov 1909, London 14 May 1940 to 20 May 1943
m. 1933 Eloise [Edwards, divorced], 1939 Constance [Nye, 1 daughter b. 1940], 1965 Barboro [Norgaard or Lind]
prev. RAF 1929-32, [dismissed after a court martial], then a pilot for Birkett Air Services
prev exp. 3900 hrs
At first, "an excellent pilot, but not one to put himself to excessive discomfort in the execution of his duties.", but eventually "he performed the duties of Flight Captain with distinction and has show exemplary aptitude for the organisational side of the organisation. An influential and respected member of the pool."
Post-WWII, a pilot for Scandinavian Airlines; in 1948, in New York, he refused to take a load of (dead) deer; "No soap", he (allegedly) said, "They smell too bad. It would keep the passengers awake. Take them off."
OK, this is the only photo I could find of him. That's him on the left, explaining the controls to Governer Youngdahl of Minnesota before flying them from New York to Copenhagen in 1948.
d. 21 Dec 1983 - Hurley, Maidenhead
W.--- Cadet Daphne Goodman b. 1 Mar 1922, Surbiton 27 Aug 1943 to 13 Nov 1943
possibly this is her, in 1948
Father: W N Goodman
Ed. Bedales School, Petersfield, Hants
prev: Civil Servant, Ordnance Survey from Sep 1942
Address in 1953: 4 Brook Gardens, Kingston Hill, Surrey
ab initio trainee
[Contract Terminated by ATA]
m. Jul 1949 in Surrey, Peter Derrick Newington, a TV film maker (1 son, 1 daughter, marriage dissolved)
d. c. 2010, in Abbey Rd, London
M.591 First Officer Lawrence Frederick Goodwin b. 16 Nov 1912, London 9 Jul 1941 to 30 Nov 1945
Father Frederick Charles Goodwin
Ed. Portsmouth Grammar School
m. 1937 Rebecca 'Betty' [Brilleslyper]
prev. a Company Director, then The Admiralty, Deptford [Royal Naval Motor Transport]
prev. exp. 49 hrs
Address in 1941: 295 Lewisham High St, London SE13
Postings: 16FPP, 7FPP, 1FPP
To begin with, "Works well up to his ability, inclined to nervousness and over cautiousness." but improved later and successfully completed Class V (4-engine) training in 1944.
4-engine (Class 5) pilot
Margaret Wyndham 'Margot' Gore MBE, Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) b. 24 Jan 1913 in Worthing, W. Sussex. 25 Jun 1940 to 30 Nov 1945
RAeC 1938 BG
Father: William Wyndham Gore, a mining engineer; mother: Martha [Lord]
Ed. Bedford High School (but mainly grew up in Ireland, until 1929).
Having made her first solo flight in Nov 1938 at Romford Flying Club, she was one of the Assistant Instructors there by the following September, along with Gabrielle Patterson (whose husband Pat also covered the 'theory' side of things) and Joan Hughes
prev. Secretary, British Reinforced Concrete, then at Smithfield Market
Postings: Hatfield, 15FPP, 1FPP
On the outbreak of WWII, she was one of the second batch of women pilots for the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), starting on the 25 June 1940 as 'W.10' - the 10th woman pilot. She was consistently praised, both for her flying and her organisational ability: "First Officer Gore is a very steady and reliable pilot and has undertaken responsibilities in the office which she has carried out well."
Eventually, she was promoted to be Officer Commanding, No 15 Ferry Pool of women pilots at Hamble - one of only two women to achieve the rank of 'Commander', the other being Marion Wilberforce.
15 FPP pilots, between flights.
She was also one of the 11 women cleared to fly 4-engined aircraft, which she did so from May 1943 - "A keen and confident pilot of above average ability", but once she took over as OC Hamble, she cut down her flying hours considerably, prompting the Head of the ATA (Gerard d'Erlanger) to write "In her capacity of Commanding Officer, No 15 Ferry Pool, Commander Gore runs her Pool in an eminently satisfactory manner. However, I am very surprised that she has only done some 5 hours flying in seven months on ferry types. There may be some reason for this of which I am unaware, but if not she must make every effort to put in time."
And finally, she was one of only 6 women to get a medal for her service in the ATA - an MBE in 1946.
[The other MBEs were Felicity Bragg, Pauline Gower, Joan Hughes, Roy (Mary) Sharpe and Rosemary Rees, although Phillippa Bennett, Victoria Cholmondley and Elisabeth May got 'Commendations'.]
Margot and Joan in 1947 (The Times)
In 1947, she signed on as 'Recruit No. 1' for the Women's Auxiliary Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Flying) List, designed to train pilots for non-operational duties in emergencies. Joan Nayler, another ATA Woman pilot, was No. 2.
She then became Managing Director of the West London Aero Club.
In 1948, she was called by the prosecution at the court martial of her elder brother, Colonel Thomas Gerard Gore DSO, OBE, on charges which alleged that he had received money from a Mr Newman, knowing it came from the sale of stolen arms.
Margot testified that "her brother had never been very good at business affairs or, anything that demanded a high degree of intellectual effort." [Ouch]
Colonel Gore was sentenced to be cashiered and serve two years imprisonment. Major-General James D Dennlson, Director of Ordnance Services at the time of the Invasion of Normandy, told the Court that he had referred him as "a problem child," but said that Colonel Gore was a first-class leader in war-time."
In 1952, aged 39, she passed out as Gold Medallist (of course) at the British School of Osteopathy and later practised as an osteopath, eventually becoming (of course) its Chairman.
In retirement Margot was "an enthusiastic golfer".
I bet she was good at that, too...
d. 28 Aug 1993 - Sue Ryder Home, Nettlebed, Oxfordshire.
This is her memorial in Maidenhead Cemetery:
IWM interview here: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80009075
W.149 3rd Officer Joyce 'Joy' Gough b. 14 Feb 1923, Cirencester, Glos 28 Dec 1943 to 30 Sep 1945
[see also Yvonne Wheatley, her elder sister, also an ATA pilot]
Father: Arthur Victor Gough, a professional footballer turned hairdresser, mother Doris Irene Alexandra (Herbert]
Ed. Stratton School, Cirencester Grammar School
prev: Cashier, Lloyds Bank, Cirencester
Address in 1943: Galba Villas, Prospect Place, Cirencester
Postings: 5TFPP, 15FPP, 12FPP, 7FPP
Ab initio Trainee
- 3 Feb 1945, forced landing after she discovered that the hood of her Spitfire Vb EP661 had "been blown away", reason unknown
Class III pilot
Gained her Royal Aero Club Pilot's Certificate (No 20586) as part of the ATA's 'Wings' scheme on 29 Sep 1945
m. 1945 in London, F/O Jiri HartmanDFC, formerly Cmdr, 'A' Flight, 310 (Czech) Sqn, RAF
Joy and Jiri moved to Prague, but had to flee back to the UK in 1948 after the coup d'etat.
m. Jun 1971 in Warwickshire, Charles James Lofthouse, who had been an RAF Lancaster pilot and PoW in WWII (d. 2002)
She became a Special Needs Teacher
Joy (2nd from right) at the unveiling of the ATA Memorial in Hamble-le-Rice, 2010
d. 15 Nov 2017
interviewed here: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80009633
M.881 First Officer Gilbert Christopher Gould b. 13 Jun 1906, South Godstone
6 Aug 1941 to 8 Feb 1945
Father: Gilbert, mother: Grace Mildred
Ed. Reigate Grammar School; Goldsmith College, University of London
m. Aug 1931 Esme Maud [Knight, "a well known teacher and vocalist"], 2 children Mary and John b. 1932 and 1937
prev. a schoolmaster in Surrey. RAFO F/O, 1929-1939
prev. exp 80 hrs on DH Moth and 9J, Avro Cadet & 626. One of the founder members of the Surrey Gliding Club at Redhill.
Address in 1941: 'Tanglehedge', Limes Estate, Felbridge, East Grinstead, W. Sussex
Following Lord Londonderry's radio appeal for pilots in March 1941, he applied to the ATA and was given a 15-minute flight test on 7 June; "Good, except for approach and landing".
Postings: 12FPP, 1FPP
Having started as a Pilot Cadet in August 1941, his flying contract was terminated on the 24 Feb 1942 because "an attempt to convert him to Class 2 has revealed that he is unlikely to become a service type pilot", and he was moved into ATA's Accidents Committe, as Joint Secretary (with Gerald Merton), and promoted to Third Officer.
In July 1942 he was 'called up' to the RAF and duly reported for attestation, but the RAF then granted him secondment, back to the ATA, initially until 1 Feb 1943. Further extension might be possible, they said, but only if he was to be employed as a ferry pilot.
He was duly reinstated as a ferry pilot in February 1943, (they described him as "not a very brilliant pilot", but all agreed that he was doing invaluable work for the Accidents Committee) and began negotiations with the RAF to keep him. Eventually, in August 1943, the RAF agreed to extend his secondment whilst he was employed on the Accidents Committee.
He was off sick from 19 Oct to 11 Nov 1943 with "Anxiety State and Depression", and was taken off flying duties again and promoted to First Officer.
His C.O. by this time was the aforementioned Gerald Merton, who reported in Feb 1944 that "He is very keen on his investigational work and does it well. I have had difficulty with him in the past because of his unwillingness to accept and carry out orders from me, and his inclination to be evasive... Recently however, his attitude has been more helpful. A normal increase in salary seems justified."
Towards the end of 1944 however, accidents by then being less frequent with the run-down of ATA, he agreed to return to flying duties, and performed as a "most useful taxi pilot" for 1FPP.
d. 8 Feb 1945, in Fairchild Argus HM188, which hit a survey pylon in bad weather and poor visibility, and crashed in Nor Wood, near Leatherhead, Surrey during a ferry flight from White Waltham to Gatwick (Southern Aircraft Co.).
He was held to blame for the accident, having persisted too far into bad weather.
Cremated at Golders Green Crematorium, Barnet, London
"He took a keen interest in local affairs. He was Hon. Secretary to the Parochial Parish Council." - Crawley and District Observer
"He is not dead, he doth but sleep" ..this knowledge will help me to carry on to fit his children to take their place in the better world we hope to build. .. I am proud that I was privileged to be his wife.
Yours Sincerely, Esme Gould"
[Seconded from RAF]
Thomas Edward Gover b. 6 Sep 1922, Taunton ? 14 Jul 1943 to 30 Apr 1945
d. 17 Mar 2010 ?
M.448 First Officer Vincent George Govett b. 1910, Islington, London 12 Jul 1941 to Sep-41
RAF from 1931; 33 Sqn Bicester from 1932, 503 Sqn Waddington from 1934 then the Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit, Biggin Hill from 1936.
May 1932: "GRANTHAM AIRMAN FINED Vincent George Govett. of No. 3 Flying School, R.A.F., Grantham, was fined 5s at Lincoln Police Court to-day for not having a red rear light on his motor-cycle and 5s for failing to illuminate his identification plate in Lincoln High-street on May 7."
Flt-Lt in RAF Reserve; BOAC, Bristol
d. 8 Sep 1941 (Died in ATA Service) - Beaufighter X7640 crashed 3 miles SW of Capel Curig, Snowdonia
W.25 Senior Commander
Pauline Mary de Peauly Gower MBE
b. 22 Jul 1910, Tunbridge Wells 1 Dec-39 to Oct-45
RAeC 1930 ATA
5 feet 5 in height, in case you wondered.
"In England you can count on one hand the women who are making a living directly from flying. Probably foremost among them are the two girl flyers, Pauline Gower and Dorothy Spicer, who work in partnership at joy-riding. Miss Gower is the pilot and Miss Spicer the mechanic."
Amy Mollison, writing in 1934
"Pauline Gower, one of the few women who has already achieved a successful commercial flying career, did joyriding last year in 185 different towns with a travelling air circus."
Mary Bertha de Bunsen
She was fined £222 in 1933, having taxied her Spartan into a stationary Moth at Cardiff while giving joy-rides in an air pageant (although she reckoned it had definitely moved since she checked where it was). Three years later, she was taken to hospital suffering from concussion and 'lacerations of the scalp' after she... collided with another aeroplane on the ground, this time at Coventry airport.
a 1929 Simmonds Spartan, G-AAGO, (the one which she wrote off in the taxying accident in Cardiff in August 1933), and then
a 1931 Spartan Three Seater, G-ABKK, the one which she wrote off in the taxying accident at Coventry in May 1936.
During her air-taxi career, she was reckoned to have piloted more than 33,000 passengers.
In 1937 she, Amy Johnson and Dorothy Spicer invited "all women pilots interested in the idea of a central meeting-place for women aviators in London" to write to them, but I don't think it ever happened.
1942 caricature by 'Sammy' Clayton
Founder and first Commandant of the Women's Section of the Air Transport Auxiliary in 1940; from 1943, a board member of BOAC. She had a narrow escape in August 1943 when 'Fortuna', an old Imperial Airways airliner, with her and 7 other BOAC officers aboard, made a forced landing near Shannon and was written off.
Silver salver presented to Pauline on her wedding day on 2 June 1945, signed by over 90 of the women ATA pilots. (Lois Butler signed twice, though) Click to enlarge.
Married Wing Commander William Cusack Fahie in June 1945, but died of a heart attack in March 1947 giving birth to twin boys, one of whom, Michael, later published 'A Harvest of Memories' about her.
Pauline Gower and Dorothy Spicer - In Memory
by Claudia Parsons
from "The Woman Engineer", Spring 1948
It is grimly ironical that Mrs Fahie, M.B.E., and Mrs Richard Pearse, better known as Pauline Gower and Dorothy Spicer, after the risks of their early youth and of the war, should meet death, the one through the age-old hazard of child-birth, the other as a passenger in an air liner flying to South America. It is also grimly tragic that these partners who risked, endured and enjoyed so much together should die within a year of each other. Though neither got further than the middle thirties they filled the brief interval between attaining majority and leaving life with a record of hard work, pioneering experience and fine achievement that was as gallant as it was short lived.
Yet in using that word 'gallant' one hesitates, not questioning its truth but out of consideration for the two who achieved this record, whose aim was never more than to pursue a private ambition and to do it well. The word 'gallant' would have been held by them in derision.
I feel honoured to write the appreciation of these two fellow members of The Women's Engineering Society, whose careers I always followed with particular interest since first meeting them on a tour of the Ford works at Dagenham, organised by the W.E.S. Mere babes they then seemed, the one very round of face the other with fairest hair, and it was only in the course of this visit that I learnt their names and remembered having read that Sir Robert Gower, M.P., had given his daughter an aeroplane as a twenty-first birthday present and that now, with Dorothy Spicer as her ground engineer, she was using the plane to give people joy-rides and for aerial taxi service.
In the following years as I watched these two soar ever higher, in the metaphorical rather than the literal sense, I used to ponder this parental gesture which, so early as 1931, might have seemed to many to be rash and courting trouble, and reflected how often really enterprising acts were well rewarded and that here was one that had laid the foundation stone of two successful careers. In this I was not altogether accurate; this was the coping rather than the foundation stone. The gesture was indeed the greatest assistance but in no means were Pauline or Dorothy ever financed or given much moral support in their early ambition, which at first was viewed as a joke by their contemporaries. Like Madame Curie, and others of set purpose, before embarking on their careers they had to find the money with which to train, and in this interest Dorothy spent a year in a London store and Pauline gave violin lessons and lectures at schools. This was while still in their teens and before joining forces, in their twenties, at Stag Lane aerodrome where they decided to go into partnership. Already therefore, in 1931, in spite of opposition and setback, Pauline had her A and B Flying Licences and Dorothy had an A Pilot's Licence and Engineer's Licence, and one rather gathers, reading the pages of Women with Wings - the book the two of them later published - that the hand of Sir Robert Gower was forced rather then held out eagerly with the gift of a two-seater Spartan plane. The gift was advanced only in the face of the inevitable, and as a safety measure, Pauline so often coming home late for meals with harrowing tales of forced landings with hired machines. (The forced landings were not always the fault of the machine.)
Indeed, in those early days of gaining experience, Pauline on a cross-country flight often came down to ask the way; there were narrow margins between forced landings and the petrol running dry; there was the occasion of flying the Channel at 250 feet and of making a forced landing at Brussels and finding it was Liege. Yes, there were many harrowing moments whose memory later made thri blood run cold, but there was also the exuberance and confidence of youth and a very decided will to conquer. It was perhaps typical that in her night flying test for the B Pilot's Licence, after two hours in the air, cut off from the earth by a ground fog that had formed, Pauline, determined not to become panic-stricken, suddenly remembered an old friend - her mouth organ - on which she played 'Show me the way to go home'. And she was shown.
If these two started with a light-hearted attitude towards flying, their subsequent experiences in joy-riding, in joining up with Air Pageants and Air Circuses and in working in all weathers and cvonditions, gave them a far higher sense of respinsibility. They formed themselves into a Limited Liability Company - Air Trips, Ltd. - and worked for two seasons from a field near Hunstanton where they themselves camped beside their plane in a caravan. B~y the time she had carried 3,000 passengers Pauline was foremost among women air pilots in skill and reliability and had added to her A and B Licences a Navigator's Licence and a G.P.O. Wireless Operator's Certificate. Meanwhile Dorothy had had wide experience of servicing machines and in the winter, during enforced flying activity, had studied for her Engineer's Licences, the first woman ever to attain the A, B, C and D Engineering Licences. Pauline often stressed how much the safety of herself and her passengers depended on Dorothy's efficient care of the machine; her praise was equally divided between Dorothy's engineering ability and, on those long periods of camping, her excellent cooking.
It is scarcely necessary to to remind fellow members of the later achievements of these two pioneers. With such experience behind them it is not surprising that they gave valuable service to their country both during the war and in the years preceeding it when they played a leading part in making the public air-minded. Members of the WES will remember papers read by each of them at the September Conference in 1937. In 1938 Dorothy joined the staff of the Air Registration Board and added to her qualifications a No 1 Glider's (Engineering) Licence. Later in this year, and with Pauline as her bridesmaid, she was married to Squadron Leader Richard Pearse who, when the war broke out, was in the RAF Coastal Command. Just before the war Patricia Mary was born and later Dorothy took up war work with the Ministry of Aircraft Production on research in connection with engines in flight. With her husband posted to her Flight, she had the unique opprtunity of working in war-time together with her husband. It was after the war, in December, 1946, and retired from their war activities, that Wing Commander and Mrs Pearse lost their lives in the air liner that crashed near Rio de Janeiro. Their daughter Patricia survives them.
In the meantime Pauline, who in 1938, had obtained an Air Ministry's Instructor's Licence, had been appointed to serve on the Committee investigating the position of civil aviation in this country, and later was made District Commissioner for the London area of the Civil Air Guard. Of her activities in building up the Women's branch of the A.T.A., members of the WES heard her oqn account when, in 1946, she gave us an interesting talk on this subject, accompanied now by her husband, Wing Commander Fahie, RAFVR, to whom she was married in 1945.
When invited to be Commandant of the women pilots in the A.T.A., Pauline stipulated that she must have a free hand in order to do this, a condition for which, interestingly, another great woman pioneer stipulated when asked to take over the hospital service in the Crimea. The fine achievement of the women serving in the A.T.A., their record, and the fact that some of them were finally ferrying heavy four-engined bombers, is a proof of how well Pauline used her powers. In 1943 she was appointed a member of the board of the British Overseas Airways Corporation. Pauline died on March 2nd, 1947, her twin sons surviving her.
That is the record of what they did; a bleak summary of achievements is unavailing, however, unless some mention is also made of what they were. Impressive as their qualifications, achievbements and later honours might be, it was the human side that interested most people, it was their pleasant unaffected charm that everyone noticed. One can pay no higher tribute to Dorothy than to recall Pauline's description of her, referring to their partnership, as one whose 'business' reliability proved always as unfailing as her friendship. There is also the tribute paid by Amy Johnson, who was their friend of long standing and who finally worked under Pauline for the A.T.A. In the foreword she wrote for Women with Wings she refers to staying at Pauline's home at Tunbridge Wells and listening to her and Dorothy singing to the banjulele, and winds up: "I played the part of spectator, admiring the utterly unspoiled character of two girls who have done more than their bit in making aviation history."
They owed their leading position in the field of aviation to hard work and often severe discomfort; they never set out on record-breaking or otherwise spectacular flights; they did what they did because they enjoyed it and it was the thing they had chosen and wanted to master. There was no intention of ending life swiftly and heroically; they had every hope of seeing this precarious century to its final chapter and Pauline in her book prophesied a time when she and Dorothy would be old ladies still flying an antiquated machine and the passengers in a rocket would lean out and say, "Look at those old girls in that pre-historic bus!" Alas, this is no longer a possibility but to what extent air transport has been influenced by the two who will never be old ladies, and whose memory will always be associated with youth, is impossible to measure.
M460 * First Officer Charles John 'Kipper' Graham b. 28 Mar 1899, London 10 Jun 1941 to 30 Nov 1945
prev. a Master Mariner
Address in 1925: Lensbury, Teddington, Middx
M.357 First Officer Malcolm Goss Grant b. 17 Dec 1914, Croydon
21 Mar 1941 to 28 Aug 1942
Educated at Eastbourne College
m. Marie [Plumpton], 17 Feb 1939 in Cullompton, Devon. After the wedding they departed in a Leopard Moth from Exeter Airport and were back in Croydon by 3:30, "subsequently going on to the beautiful little cottage at Newdigate, Surrey, which the bridegroom's father has given them as a residence."
prev. a draper (Grant Bros Ltd, Croydon) then a Link Trainer instructor in Carlisle, Dec-39 to 1941.
Member of Redhill Flying Club from 1936. Prev. exp. 75 hrs. They reported that his flying was "consistently steady and reliable." He first applied to the ATA in Dec 1940, but his flying hours were below the standard required at the time. However, things changed within 3 months and he was accepted for training.
Address in 1941: Gotwick Farm, Orlton Lane, Rusper, Sussex
d. 28 Aug 1942 (Died in ATA Service) in Douglas Havoc Z2299, which dived into the ground at Abington Pigotts near Bassingbourn, Cambs, whilst attempting to land following port engine failure. the accident report blamed a "loss of control on turn towards dead engine in course of circuit at low altitude and with insufficient air speed."
His wife wrote to the ATA afterwards, asking whether they had discovered the whereabouts of his stop watch, silver cigarette case and gold lighter, and key case: "I am only fussing about such things as I would so like to have them for his son - who is only five weeks old - and so, will not remember him at all."
"My great consolation is the fact that he loved every moment of his job, and although you must have many pilots with more experience, you can have few so keen - and for this reason the past eighteen months have been particularly happy."
M.485 3rd Officer John Milne Greaves b. 15 Jan 1909, Oldham 3 Jun 1941 to 30 Jul 1942
prev. in 1931 a Publicity Manager, 1939 an Insurance Broker
Address in 1939: 6 Langdale Ave, Oldham
d. 30 Jul 1942 (Died in ATA Service) Miles Master M7958 engine cut on take-off, stalled avoiding trees and overturned at White Waltham. Instructor Norman Haymanwas also slightly injured.
M.487 2nd Officer Alfred Edward Green b. 8 Feb 1916, Warwick 3 Jun 1941 to Dec-41
married, one son
Owned 1936 BAC Drone 23 G-AEJS
prev. a Cabinet Maker;
He originally applied to the RAF but was rejected, due to "(a) eyesight not up to required standard, (b) feet, in respect of fallen arches". Also, because they noted that there was "no service Trade in the RAF in respect of cabinet-making."
He was also rejected at first (in 1940) by the ATA as his flying test was not up to standard, and became a Fitter and Technical Records Assistant for Air Service Training Ltd in Coventry. By 1941, however, the ATA was less picky and he was finally accepted.
He was assessed as "average, with no special faults but his limited experience demands constant supervision."
d. 9 Dec 1941 (Died in ATA Service) - Hurricane BM955 dived into ground nr Cockerham Rd, Lancaster in bad weather.
buried Old Milverton Churchyard, Warwick
18th Aug 1945: "I have to inform you that my daughter Mrs Joan Constance Green passed away on the 12 May last year after a long illness, she is buried in the same grave as her husband Alfred, they leave a son age 7 years. Yours Faithfully W C Kimberley"
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
M.77 Flight Captain James Donald Greenhalgh b. 27 May 1913, Rochdale Lancs 17 May 1940 to Jun-45
prev. pilot with Birkett Air Services
prev. exp. 1053 hrs
Address in 1940: 9 Heather Bank, Higher Bebington, Wirral, Cheshire with wife Flora [later changed next-of-kin to his mother E.H. Greenhalgh]
General Conduct "Good, with occasional minor lapses which are probably due to domestic difficulties." Leadership qualities: "Could do better if he tried harder."
"a good Flight Leader and his discipline has been excellent."
d. Apr 1996 - Honiton, Devon
M.105 First Officer Philip James 'Jimmie' Grenside b. 6 Dec 1907, Paignton, Devon 8 Apr 1940 to 30 Nov 1945
ed. at 'Public School'
m. 1934 Ellen Marjorie 'Madge' [Watson, LRAM], the daughter of the bloke that designed the Royal Yacht 'Brittania'. Children: George b. 1934 d. 2002, Hazel b. 1937, Lois and Tulip b. 1940
prev. a Flying Instructor
Address in 1940: 'Vril', Ramsden Rd, Godalming, Surrey (Madge's house)
Postings: White Waltham, 6FPP, 1FPP, 2FPP, 1FPP
Off sick from 2 Feb to 1 Jul 1943 with a fractured ankle
After a slow start ("Not very confident in bad weather conditions. Not one of my hardest workers, suggest you keep an eye on him in this respect"), he made steady improvement and became "a sound and hardworking ferry pilot. He flies well and is unduly modest about his ability which is greater than he thinks."
He did confess he "hated the sight of aeroplanes" for a while, after an accident in June 1940.
d. 8 Jul 1961 - Godalming, Surrey
M.396 First Officer Peter Robert Griffith b. 28 Jun 1920, Northampton 4 April 1941 to 31 Dec 1945
Ed. Northampton Town and County School
prev. a Leather Traveller
RAF from Apr-39 to 29 Nov 1940 (Sgt Pilot)
Address in 1941: 44 Union St, Montrose, Scotland (Father's address 53 Holly Rd, Northampton)
W.--- Cadet Joan Mary Grinling b. 23 Sep 1917, Grantham Lincs 8 May 1944 to 10 Jun 1944
Father: Col. Edward Johns Grinling DSO, MC, TD, mother Helen Marie [Cafferata]
Address in 1944: Fairfields, Grantham, Lincs
prev. ATS, WAAF
[Contract Terminated by ATA]
m. Apr 1948 in London, Brian Lester Howell
d. Jul 1972 - Colchester
W.--- Cadet Muriel Joan Gripton b. 6 Jul 1921, West Bromwich 27 Mar-43 to 7 May-43
prev: Telephonist/Receptionist, West Brom & District General Hospital
prev exp: 20min
[Contract Terminated by ATA - 'unsuitable']
m. 1945 in W Bromwich, Frederick E C P Underhill
d. 24 Dec 2007, Worthing, W Sussex
"Suddenly but peacefully in Worthing Hospital on December 24, 2007, aged 86 years.
Adored Mother to Wendy and David, and loving Nannie to Tess and Rory. "
M.451 First Officer John Grisdale b. 29 Jan 1900, Oldham Lancs 6 May 1941 to 3 Mar 1944
Ed. Technical School. Oldham [Diploma in Textiles]
Chartered Institute of Secretaries
prev. RFC, RAF Nov 1917 to Apr 1919 2nd Lieut.
m. 1930 Dora [Hewitt], 2 children Margaret b. 1933, John b. 1935
prev. a Yarn Salesman for Park Mill, Royton, Lancs
prev. exp. 200 hrs
Address in 1941: 442 Burnley Lane, Chadderton, nr Oldham
Postings: 3FPP, 14FPP
"A slow and rather erratic pilot but proved safe and of average ability"... "A very good officer to whom nothing is a trouble."
Off sick from 27 Jan 1944 to 1 Mar 1944 with 'flying fatigue'.
Contract Terminated by ATA 3 Mar 1944
d. Jun 1951 - Manchester
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
M.614 First Officer Harry Guest b. 15 Jan 1904, London 16 Jul 1941 to 30 Nov 1945
Ed. at East Ham Technical School
prev. an Electrical Engineer for Standard Telephones and Cables Ltd., North Woolwich
prev. exp 63 hrs on Gypsy Moth
Address in 1941: 60 Holland Rd, East Ham London E6
Postings: 6FPP, 5FPP, 3FPP
Suspended for 1 day with loss of pay in Jul-42 for Loss of Ferry Pilots' Handling Notes.
"A conscientious and hard-working pilot whose progress has been somewhat slow due to his limited experience prior to joining ATA."... "He would do well to pay more attention to his personal appearance."
Harry, 2nd left (Brief Glory)
d. Mar 1978 - Dartford, Kent
W.142 3rd Officer Sylvia 'Mary' Guthrie b. 9 Jun 1921, Thornton Heath Surrey 18 Oct 1943 to 30 Sep 1945
Father d. 1925 having been gassed in WWI
Stepfather Mr Grapel, d. 1944
One sister; brother James died in WWII
Ed. Montrose College, Cliftonville; RADA
prev: Blind School Hospital, Leatherhead; Mobile VAD (voluntary Aid Detachment) nurse, attached to various RAF Hospitals, from Feb 1941 to Jul 1943 (where she worked with Monique Agazarian, and played tennis with Dan Maskell)
Applied after seeing an advertisement, interviewed at White Waltham.
ab initio pilot cadet [because "I thought it would be glamorous"]
Postings: 5FPP, 15FPP
3rd Officer from 11 Aug 1944 - Class 3 pilot
One accident, not her fault:
- 31 May 1945, the hood blew off her Spitfire XVI TD134 and damaged the fin and rudder
Gained her RAeC 'A' Certificate No 20588 as part of the ATA 'Wings' scheme on 29 Sep 1945, and later a Commercial 'B' Licence
Address in 1945:17 Basil Mansions, Basil St, London SW3
From January 1946, 'Star Girl No. 1', Britain's first post-war air hostess, for British South American Airlines: (see also Rita Baines, who was 'Star Girl No. 2).
Her first BSAA flight was in a Lancastrian from the newly-opened 'Heath Row Airport' with ex-Pathfinder chief Don Bennett, the MD of BSAA, on board.
Flew Spitfires and Hurricanes for Skyways to the Portuguese Air Force, until she crashed a Spitfire
m. Jan 1952 in Kensington, Cyril John Cunningham
daughter Deborah b. 1955?
IWM interview (1987) here: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80009976
M.1108 * 3rd Officer [Seconded from RAF] James William Haggas b. 14 Dec 1916, Bakworth Yorks 30 Jun 1944 to 15 Apr 1945
Address in 1949: 1 Poplars Ave, Hatfield, Herts
M.405 Commander Marcus Samuel 'Mark' Hale OBE
b. 20 Jan 1900, Manchester
but grew up in London; went to school in Fulham and Putney.
15 May 1941 to Sep-45
via Marcus J Hale
prev exp 'over 500 hrs' on D.H.9a - he joined the RFC as a cadet in Nov 1917. However, his time in the RAF was short; he moved to 137 Squadron in June 1918, and graduated with good marks in October 1918, but he was moved to the unemployed list in May 1919.
After a year out, he was given a short service commission in July 1920, but this did not go well:
- He was reprimanded for 'failing to take proper precautions...of secret despatches' in October 1920;
- He went 'absent without leave' from the 5th to the 11th December 1920. (Actually, on the 20th he married Gertrude Maude Mickle at Lambeth Registry Office), and was again reprimanded;
- Finally, he was court-martialled for 'disobeying a lawful command given by a senior officer' and was dismissed His Majesty's service in May 1921.
He then married Dorothy Mary () and they lived in Sevenoaks, Kent. He worked in the leisure industry, then when WWII came along, in the Hurricane Repairs Section of Gloster Aircraft Co.
Joan and Mark 1942
He met Joan Durham Witherby (q.v.) when she joined the ATA in 1942, and they had a son together in November 1945, who remembers his mother telling him that "she was still flying missions with the ATA whilst pregnant".
During his time in the ATA, he flew 35 different types of aircraft. He was initially assessed as an "above average pilot who, although somewhat out of flying practice proved himself a safe and steady pilot, possessing good judgement."
In Feb 1943 he was appointed as Officer Commanding, No 5 FPP, then O.C. the Training Pool from Aug-43, and finally O.C. No 1 FPP from Nov-44. He performed his duties in "an eminently satisfactory manner" and also managed to do a fair number of ferry flights himself, including a few on Halifaxes.
Mark in 1945
In 1946 he was one of the 13 members of the ATA to receive the OBE for his services during WWII.
Apparently, he referred to his OBE, as for Other Bugger’s Efforts.
d. Sep 1981, Chichester
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
M.369 First Officer Edgar Bernard Harold Hall b. 23 Mar 1908, Woolwich
1 Apr 1941 to 24 Apr 1943
m. 1935 Philis Margarete [Hills], one child
prev. exp. 135hrs
prev a Chief Link Trainer Instructor, and aircraft inspector for A.S.T.
Address in 1941: 5 Gambia St, Swindon
"Although he appears keen enough in his flying, he is unable to control his weakness in financial matters, and through worry of this, his flying is of poor quality"
Demoted to 3rd Officer for 3 months in 1942 for landing in poor weather conditions and then leaving the aerodrome before close of flying, without waiting to see if the weather improved.
Jan-43: "Hall came here with somewhat poor reports, but to date has done his job conscientiously and safely and has behaved himself as an officer."
[Contract Terminated by ATA - 'Financial Instability']
In 1949, he was fined £40 for bad airmanship: "Edgar Bernard Harold Hall, of Homefield House, Old Coulsdon, Surrey, was fined a total of £40 with three guineas costs at Croydon yesterday.
Hall was found guilty of making a circuit of the Croydon Aerodrome while not clear of the manoeuvring area; endangering life and property by diving under another aircraft which was engaged landing on or about July 4; and failing to obtain such authorisation of movement as was necessary for the protection of aerodrome traffic on August 13.
He pleaded guilty to piloting a plane on August 13 while not in possession of a licence. He was fined £10 on each of the four summonses.
Captain T. J. Gunn, chief pilot of an airways company at Croydon, told the court that when he was preparing to land a Proctor at Croydon, a Tiger Moth flew straight at him for a few seconds and then dived under him. It landed in front of him and he turned away. Hall denied Captain Gunn's allegations, and said, " I am an experienced pilot and a qualified instructor of 40 years of age and have got beyond things like that."
d 1982 - Lewes, E Sussex
M.42 First Officer Roy Phillip Hallowell-Carew b. 27 Dec 1911, Kensington, London 13 Apr 1940 to 11 May 1942
Ed. Senior College of Preceptors
m. Ivy Ellen
RAF 1932-37 (Flt-Lt)
Address in 1940: Cedarcroft, Sticklepath, Okehampton, Devon
Postings: 2FPP, 1FPP, AFTS as Instructor, 16FPP
"Good multi-engine pilot, though inclined to be nervous, particularly in bad weather."
"Not over stable financially."
Reprimanded for disobedience of Standing Orders on 3 Apr 1942
[Contract Terminated by ATA 11 May 1942 - Disciplinary Reasons]
Died in a flying accident, 23 July 1942 when a Test Pilot for MAP. His Spitfire V W3958 of 1 CRU (Civilian Repair Unit) at Cowley crashed at Cumnor Hill, 3.5 miles West South West of Oxford.
Buried Epsom Cemetery.
M.15 Flight Captain William Hampton MBE b. 9 Apr 1909, London 20 Sep 1939 to Nov-45
Chauffeur-Mechanic in Fulham in 1933
M.16 Junior Captain Walter Leslie 'Wal' Handley b. 5 Apr 1902, Birmingham 11 Sep 1939 to Nov-41
Well-known motorcycle racer pre-WWII
d. 15 Nov 1941 (Died in ATA Service) - Airacobra AH598 caught fire in the air shortly after take-off from 12 M.U. and crashed nr Fingland, Cumbria.
"Major fire occurred in engine. A/C stalled and crashed. Cause of fire cannot be established but two possibilities:
1. Engine was over-boosted and over-revved on takeoff
2. A/C may have been run up with mixture control in full rich."
'Gen' Genovese was of the opinion that Wal's accident in the Airacobra was due to the fact that American aircraft would allow the pilot to over-rev and over-boost the engine, unlike British-built aircraft which restricted the power to what the engine could take.
A memorial to Walter has recently been erected near where he crashed in his Airacobra after taking off from Kirkbride:
M.18 Flight Captain Guy Wilfrid 'Bill' Harben MBE b. 17 Jul 1906, Richmond, Yorks 11 Sep 1939 to Oct-45
Ed. Charterhouse; FRGS
prev. Director of a greyhound track in Brighton;
Director of Marlow aerodrome;
Director of a tourist bureau.
A "most efficient and hard working pilot, with a keen sense of duty"
Far right, with Frankie Francis, Frank White, Doc Whitehurst, Klemens Dlugaszewski, Jim Mollison in Feb-42.
On sick leave for 5 weeks in Mar-Apr 1941 after crashing a Hurricane in bad weather.
d. Sep 1982, Wycombe Bucks
M.19* First Officer Stanley Hobson Hardy b. 20 Feb 1906, Atherstone 23 Sep 1939 to Jan-41
A 'Director' in Birmingham in 1938
d. Mar 1973, Poole
M.477 First Officer Albert William Harris b. 26 Jan 1904, Winkleigh, Devon 29 May 1941 to 30 Sep 1944
Ed. at Chulmleigh School
m. 1927 Ann Alford [Boundy]
prev. a Coal Merchant (own business); RAF Sgt. Aug-40 to Jan-41
Address in 1941: Elmsleigh, Wembworthy, Chulmleigh, Devon
Postings: 6FPP, 2FPP, 7FPP
d. 5 Oct 1982 - Wembworthy, Devon
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
M.184 First Officer Leslie Dickinson Hawthorn b. 30 Dec 1902, Mexborough, Yorks
2 Sep 1940 to 20 Nov 1942
with son Mike, 1952
Ed. Mexborough Secondary School
m. 1926 Winifred Mary [Symonds] [d. 1989], son John b. 1929 d. 1959 **
prev. a Motor Engineer - T.T. [Tourist Trophy] Garage, Farnham
Address in 1940: 'Merridale', Rowledge, Farnham, Surrey
Owned a 1928 Avro Avian III G-EBWK until 1938: "PRIVATELY Owned Avro-Avian 2-seater, dual J. control. 12 months C. of A.; approximately 150 hours since rebuilt by Avro's; £150 or near offer.—Hawthorn, T.T. Garage, Farnham."
Postings: 1FPP, 6FPP
"A hard working pilot but is a nervous type and requires regular flying and good weather".
Contract Terminated 21 Nov 1942 - Disciplinary Reasons; "Work as a pilot was satisfactory but behaviour as an officer was poor. Continually giving trouble on establishment questions and considers his own opinion of greater force than official orders."
d. 8 Jun 1954 - Godalming, Surrey "LESLIE HAWTHORN, father of Mike Hawthorn, the racing motorist, died in Haslemere Hospital last night from Injuries received in a crash at Hindhead, Surrey, on Monday night. He was driving to his home in Farnham when his car was Involved in a collision with another private car and turned over three times, Mr. Hawthorn received severe head injuries The driver of the other car was uninjured but a woman passenger in it was taken to hospital. Mr, Hawthorn was unconscious lor more than 12 hours before he died. His wife was his bedside throughout the day. Police confirmed that telegrams had been sent to Italy informing Mike Hawthorn of his father’s accident, but they did not know whether or not he had received them."
** from Wikipedia: "John Michael 'Mike' Hawthorn (10 April 1929 – 22 January 1959) was a British racing driver. He became the United Kingdom's first Formula One World Champion driver in 1958, whereupon he announced his retirement, having been profoundly affected by the death of his teammate and friend Peter Collins two months earlier in the 1958 German Grand Prix. Hawthorn also won the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans, but was haunted by his involvement in the disastrous crash that marred the race. Hawthorn died in a road accident six months after retiring; he was suffering from a terminal illness at the time."
M.17* Captain Eric Gerald Hayes b. 11 Jan 1900, Hoolebank, Chester 6 Nov 1939 to Nov-40
RNAS, RAF 1916 to 1919 then Officer in Shropshire Yeomany to 1929.
Resident Ardoch, Braco, Perthshire in 1916
Owned a 1927 DH.60 Moth, G-EBQW, then a 1934 Stinson SR-5 Reliant, G-ACSV
Flight, June 23 1927: "Captain Eric Hayes has G-EBQW. He landed at Stag Lane one afternoon lately with his left arm in a sling, and he explained quite seriously that as he had dislocated his shoulder bone in a motorcycle accident, flying was now the only way he could get about the country."
ATA Contract Terminated 25 Nov 1940
d. Mar 1959, Scilly Isles
M.475 Flight Captain Norman Lambert Hayman b. 8 May 1916, Cranleigh, Surrey 4 Jun 1941 to 30 Nov 1945
Father: Gordon Victor Hayman
Educated at Cranleigh School
prev. Lieut. in RNVR Feb-39 to Feb-41
Next of Kin: (mother) Winifred Agnes Hayman, Caryll House, Okehurst, Cranleigh
m. 1943 Beatrice Glanley 'Betty' Grant also of the ATA, although they appear to have separated sometime before 1947.
Postings: 6FPP, AFTS (as Instructor), 1FPP, 7FPP
Demoted to First Officer in Mar 1943 for flying a Halifax without authority; he ferried it "without full uniform, money, travel vouchers, identity card or correct kit" and then had to stay overnight at an RAF station.
"A most willing, conscientious and sound pilot who has flown a great numbers of hours for this Unit."
Posted to Air Movements Flight in Mar 1944 - "it is felt that, due to his overkeeness, he would be more suited to the Air Movements Flight... as it would leave him more to his own initiative." "His manner is courteous and pleasant."
Post-WWII, Norman entered the 1947 Manx Air Races and Rally, flying G-AHIZ, a Beechcraft Traveller belongning to Sidney Rubin of Hindhead.
He also took a round-trip by ship to Madeira in January 1949, giving his occupation as a 'Company Director' and his address the Royal Aero Club, Pall Mall.
[In September 1949, his wife Betty and her mother sailed to South Africa, apparently intending to settle there, but they returned in July 1950.]
d. 3 Jul 1951 - Cranleigh
Probate £8,624 18s 2d for "Norman Lambert otherwise George Norman Hayman"
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
M.420 First Officer William Arthur Hayward b. 15 or 16 Apr 1907, Surbiton, Surrey 18 Apr 1941 to 15 Jun 1942
prev. a chauffeur, then an aircraft fitter for Hawker at Brooklands
Address in 1941: Ivy Cottage, St Mary's Rd, Oatlands Park, Weybridge
Postings: 6FPP, 16FPP
Off sick with gastro-enteritis from Dec-41 to Jan-42, then Apr-42 to May-42
"Has not made much progress lately, probably due to indifferent health."
Contract Teminated 15 Jun 42
d. Mar 1976 - Newport, Gwent, Wales
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):
M.20* First Officer Alliston Temple Clough Hazledine b. 14 Apr 1907, Bedford 27 Sep 1939 to Feb-41
A 'Conservative Agent' in Tavistock in 1939
later a Lt-Cmdr, RNR
d. Jun 1978, Exeter
M.21 Captain Anthony 'Graham' Head b. 14 Sep 1909, Hove Sussex 11 Sep 1939 to Nov-45
with Susan Slade
prev pilot for Brooklands Aviation Ltd, and Flying Instructor in Civil Air Guard
In Jan-41 he was demoted to Second Officer for 6 months, for "Seriously unbecoming conduct at the Grosvenor Hotel, Chelsea, London", but by May they reported that "his discipline was poor but has improved greatly of late", and by 1944 he was "an excellent pilot with a most cheerful manner. His long term as a civilian instructor is of great value to Training Pool and he has proved himself fully capable of taking entire charge of the Pool."
Post-WWII, Marcus Hale's son tells me that "I knew him as a child, one of my father’s good flying mates. I often accompanied my father and Graham Head down to the local flying club at Sandown, Isle of Wight, and waited while they got plastered on G&T’s before going flying or flying through a fence, from laughing too much. The good old days.Graham was somewhat of a genius with aeronautics and made tiny paper planes with paper and paper clips, which, in a windless room he could get to do all sorts of aeronautical manoeuvres before landing back in his hand. I remember him doing this at the Air Club, back at Seaview and later in Bognor Regis."
d. Sep 1980, Hove
W.--- Cadet Dorothy Frances Helmy b. 31 Oct 1910, Padstow, Cornwall 2 Dec 1941 to 12 Jun 1942
Father: Herbert Arkell, Mother: Marie Louise
Royal Aero Club Certificate No. 16399, 16 Oct 1938 (Airwork School of Flying, Heston) (photo missing)
Address in 1938: "Courtfield", Courthouse Rd S, Maidenhead
prev. Bookkeeper, Secretary; A R P
m. 1940 in Maidenhead Saleh Helmy (b. 1905 in Cairo, Egypt)
Royal Aero Club Certificate No. 18315, 24 Sep 1938 (Airwork School of Flying, Heston)
Saleh designed the Helmy Aerogypt at Heston Aerodrome in 1938. It was a low-wing cantilever monoplane initially powered by three 22 hp (16 kW) Douglas Sprite engines, with an upward hinged roof that acted as a landing flap. Registered G-AFFG, it first flew in 1939.
... and this is presumably Dorothy and Saleh with the Aerogypt I (she was registered as the owner)
It was based at White Waltham Airfield from 1943, but written off in 1946 and spent its remaining days as a hen coop:
in 1960 ('Flight')
d. 5 Mar 1993 - West Wittering, Sussex
M.22 * Flight Captain Ralph Harold 'Snagger' Henderson MBE b. 15 Jan 1894, Loughborough Junction 8 Apr 1940 to 31 Dec 1945
prev. a motor and marine engineer
Address in 1934: 22 Clifford Ave, London SW14
From 1941 until Dec-42, Chief Test Pilot in ATA's Technical Department, responsible for producing many of the early 'Pilots Handling Notes'.
He celebrated his fifty-first birthday (15 Jan 1945) by beginning the task of delivering a Spitfire from Hawkinge in Kent to the French Air Force Wing at Luxeil. "When the pilots arrived to collect them [12 Spitfires] the landscape was covered in snow, the temperature was well below zero and a biting east wind blew in heavy gusts." BG
W.61 3rd Officer Rhoda Elinor Heppell b. 1 Feb 1920, Newcastle-on-Tyne 16 Dec 1941 to 31 Jul 1942
RAeC 23 May 1939
Father: Sqn-Ldr Philip Forsythe Heppell, with the British Air Staff in Washington DC; mother Dorothy Elizabeth [Fryer]
Her father was a WWI RFC pilot and one of the founders of Newcastle Aero Club, "where he taught his children to fly as soon as they left school."
[Her brother, Philip Whaley Ellis Heppell, also became a Squadron Leader in WWII; the three of them were known as the 'Flying Heppells']
Ed. St Helens, Abingdon, and Berne
prev: 1939-41 Driver, ATS
Address in 1941: Keston. Matthew Bank, Newcastle-on-Tyne
m. 1942? Roy? Croft
[A very frustrating clip from the Newcastle Journal and North Mail, 21 Jun 1943!]
m. 17 Aug 1943 in Newcastle, Stephen 'Geoffrey or Jeffrey' Fairburn
Later a Pilot Officer in the Women's Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (WRAFVR)
She was still flying in 1974 - she said then that "Light aircraft haven't changed that much since I started. At the time it wasn't the done thing for a woman to do, but I suppose it was inevitable I would fly."
d. 1 Nov 2001 - Newcastle-on-Tyne
M.403 First Officer Stanley Richard Herringshaw b. 2 Mar 1905, Erith, Kent
6 Apr 1941 to 23 Jan 1944
ed. at Elborow and Rugby
m. 1936 Myra Helen [Small], 3 children
RAFO from 1928 to 1941; Studied Engineering at Imperial College London, then an Aeronautical Draughtsman for Fairey & Co.
prev. exp. 188 hrs in 'Hart, Audax, DH87, DH Tiger Moth, Miles Hawk, Blackburn B2'
Address in 1941: 12 St Mary's Walk, Hayes, Middx. Later moved to "Ashfield", Milmer Rd, Burnham, Bucks.
Originally applied to ATA in Aug-1940 but withdrew owing to 'circumstances beyond my control', and re-applied in Mar-41.
"A keen, hardworking pilot who is progressing well, and developing into a first rate ferry pilot. Discipline Good." [Frankie Francis] He was offered a place as an instructor but turned it down as he wanted to continue ferrying, and felt he did not have the right temperament to be an instructor.
d. 23 Jan 1944 [Died in ATA Service] in Beaufort N1001 which crashed at Chobham, Surrey, after a fire in the port engine caused by a 'seizure of a wrist pin'.
Buried Maidenhead (Section D No, 16W)
Third Officer [Flight Engineer] Stanley Edwin Cooke also died.
M.359 * First Officer Eric Perrin Hicks b. 28 Jun 1891, Sheffield 4 Mar 1941 to 17 May 1945
prev. a Flight Sub-Lieut., R.N., then a physician
Address in 1946: Mylor Bridge, Falmouth, Cornwall
Commended for "valuable service in the air", 14 Jun 1945
W.49 * 3rd Officer Bridget Grace Marian Ledger Hill b. 7 May 1914, Camberley 15 Aug-41 to Mar-42
Prev. Exp: 78 hrs solo
Bridget's father was Major-General Walter Pitts Hendy Hill and they lived in Amesbury, Wilts.
She earned her RAeC Certificate in Feb 1939 in Wiltshire. That September, within a fortnight of war being declared, she wrote to Marion Wilberforce;
"I am writing to know if you have any sort of flying job to offer me. I had almost completed my instructor's course, during which I did some blind flying - this was interrupted by the outbreak of war. I do hope you can find some use for me, as I adore flying and have spent everything on my training as an instructor."
And, to back her up, her instructor wrote "I hereby certify that Miss Bridget Hill has carried out 108 hours flying, of which 78 have been solo. During her training as a pilot she has shown very good progress, and as a cross-country pilot I would place her as above average.
She has learned quickly and has displayed remarkable common sense in the matter of estimating the weather in the interests of safety.
While flying here she started an instructor's course and, although this was not completed, she gave evidence of ability as an instructor."
She was actually a bit too early: "I regret to inform you that we are not considering employing lady pilots in the ATA at the moment. In any case the minimum solo flying experience requred is 250 hours. We are filing your letter, however, and if in the future the position should change we would get in touch with you."
They didn't, of course, get in touch with her, so in May 1940 she wrote again, and was offered a test.
This, as she admitted later, was a disaster: "I am more than aware what a mess I made of my test, but I think the strongest nerves could hardly help being affected by waiting from 10 to 5 with so much at stake!"
However, by December of 1940, she was brave enough to write to Pauline Gower, again; "There has been so much in the newspapers of the expansion of the ATA, that I have decided to risk bothering you again by writing to know if there is any hope for me."
This time they wrote back to say No (again) - and you still need at least 150 hours.
Most people would probably have given up by now, but Bridget was made of sterner stuff. She took a job driving a mobile canteen but, here she is again, on the 10 Mar 1941: "I am answering the appeal made on the wireless this evening by Lord Londonderry to members of the Civil Air Guard and holders of 'A' licences.... I am hoping that there is some chance of my being able to be of service."
At last, they relented, and offered her another test on the 2 April 1941. She was grateful, excited, and a bit apprehensive; "One is bound to be a bit rusty not having flown for so long..."
Her test was with Margaret Cunnison, and this time it went OK - "quite good, but would need some further training".
Even then, there was another couple of months' wait until, finally, she got the call: "Please report 15 July for 15 Aug."
She was delighted.
Kitty Farrer, the ATA Adjutant, filled in a little essential background knowledge: "She tells me she is a Baha'i, but would be satisfied with any form of christian burial!"
After 4 months at Hatfield, she was posted to Hamble, then Training Pool. Her flying instruction went well. "She is shaping very well indeed. An intelligent, hard-working pilot. Expected to do well." She completed 23hrs on Tiger Moth, 4hrs 45min on Magister.
She was seconded to No 15 Ferry Pool (Hamble) on the 19th Jan 1942, and made 75 ferry flights, totaling 129.35 hrs, in the following few weeks. She flew Tiger Moths, Puss Moths and a Wicko.
Sadly, however, she was killed at 12.20pm on the 15 Mar 1942 when flying as a passenger in Fairchild Argus HM178, which stalled and crashed onto a bungalow when returning to land at White Waltham after bad weather.
Yorkshire Evening Post, 17 Mar 1942: "AIRWOMEN KILLED Ferry Pilots' 'Plane Hit Bungalow. The Ministry of Aircraft Production announces that Flying Officer Graham Lever, Third Officer Bridget Hill, and Third Officer Bessie Sayers lost their lives in a flying accident on Sunday. The accident occurred in the course of their duties with the Air Transport Auxiliary. The 'plane crashed on to a bungalow. A fourth passenger in the machine, also a woman A.T.A. officer, was injured. Twenty-six people were injured when they rushed to the house to extricate the passengers in the 'plane. It is believed that the petrol tank in the machine exploded. The injured woman passenger was Third Officer P. D. Duncan."
THROWN CLEAR At the inquest, which was adjourned until April 14. the Coroner stated that Miss Duncan, who was in hospital, had had "an extraordinary escape." It is understood that she was thrown clear of the house as the 'plane crashed, and escaped with cuts and bruises. Among the injured were children who were in the street. The petrol tank exploded some time after the crash, owing, it is believed, to contact with a fire in the kitchen. A man named Croft, living in an adjoining bungalow, was blown through a window into the street and badly hurt but a child in the front room of the bungalow was rescued almost uninjured. "
She is buried in Britford Cemetery.
[Her older brother, Brigadier Stanley James Ledger 'Speedy' Hill, DSO**, MC, was a World War II Commander who joined the British Airborne Forces at an early stage, fought in North Africa and went on to play a vital role in the D-Day landings and the crossing of the Rhine:
"My Dear Miss Gower, I must write and tell you once again how happy in, and proud of, her Corps Bridget was. It was all one great adventure for her, and her purpose in life was to make it a success... The man who stood next to me at her graveside would have been her husband and it is so sad to think that they were deprived of that great happiness."
"I wouldn't have had my darling in any other service... it was a wonderful life and she was so supremely happy."
M.734 First Officer Frank Hill b. 14 Oct 1912, Great Yarmouth 31 Mar 1942 to 20 Mar 1945
Father: Frank Powell Hill, mother Edith Caroline [Brewer]
Ed. Bishops Stortford College
prev. Confectioner, Cake Maker and Caterer
prev. exp. 86 hrs in Gipsy and Cirrus Moth, Hornet Moth
In 1933, as a result of a motorcycle accident, his left leg was amputated between the knee and ankle... "as I learnt to fly in 1935 you will see that all my flying has been done with this disability"
m. 1938 Marjorie Muriel [Clogg]
He spent 1939 and 1940 as a volunteer in the Finnish-Russian War
Address in 1942: Blue House, Warren Lane, Hopton, Gt Yarmouth
Postings: 7FPP, 3FPP, 6FPP, 9FPP
Reprimanded in Jul 1944 for "Taxying with insufficent care"
"Although of a quiet nature, he seemed very keen to do his job and this he carried out in a satisfactory manner... safe and conscientious"
"A most reliable and cheerful officer who has become the mainstay of the Pool (9FPP)"
6 accidents, only one his fault:
17 Mar 1943, forced landing in Henley L3244 due to progressive engine failure
5 Jun 1944, the port tyre of his Typhoon JR205 burst, he swung of the runway and ground-looped, and the undercarriage collapsed
10 Jul 1944, the incident which led to his reprimand - he taxied Hurricane IV LF451 into an (unmarked) heap of gravel and cement bags. Flying Control was jointly held to blame
13 Oct 1944, a forced landing in Vengeance RB539 after the port escape panel blew off in flight
7 Feb 1945, another forced landing, in Typhoon Ib RB476, after a leak covered the windscreen with oil
d. 20 Mar 1945 (Died in ATA Service) - in Anson I DJ471 (passenger James Waldron Brown, also killed) which collided with Typhoon JP433 at RAF Aston Down, Glos.
Both aircraft were approaching to land, but neither pilot could see the other, and the Typhoon struck the Anson from behind and above.
Buried Hopton St Margaret Churchyard, Gt Yarmouth
"My great burden has been eased by the glowing tributes paid to my husband" Marjorie M Hill
The £2,500 insurance was paid to Marjorie on 30 April 1945.
[Seconded from RAF]
Peter Brockwin Hill b. 20 Jun 1919, Hampstead, London NW 5 Sep 1944 to 15 Apr 1945
prev. an aero engine fitter
Address in 1938: 'Crosby', 25 The Newlands, Wallington, Surrey
M.216 * Commander Oswald Marchant Hills b. 10 Sep 1896, Stafford 7 Oct 1940 to 1 Sep 1944
prev. a Company Director
Address in 1930: 2 Shirehall Park, Hendon London NW4
M.931 * 2nd Officer George William John Hincks b. 31 May 1913, Preston 5 Jul 1943 to 30 Jun 1945
Address in 1939: "Trevoak", Oakley Woods, Benson, Oxon.
W.--- Cadet Jill Elizabeth Hoar b. 20 Jan 1922, London 24 Jan 1944 to 22 Jun 1944
Father: George Henry Hoar, Mother: Margaret [Harper]
Ed. Welsh Girls School, Ashford, Middx and Dunelm College, Tankerton, Kent
prev: Hotel Receptionist; Clerk for Fairey Aviation Ltd; Aircraft Fitter with ATA
Address in 1944: Ellington Cottage, Ellington Rd, Taplow, Berks
Ab initio pilot
[Contract Terminated by ATA]
m. 1947 in Kensington, London, Peter Alan Coles
d. 31 Mar 2006 - Bracknell, Berks
M.---- Cadet Hugh Cecil Shubra Hordern b. 26 Mar 1906, Shortlands, Kent 29 Jan 1943 to 7 Apr 1943
Father: Anthony Shubra Hordern (b. 1879, d. 1934 in Jersey), mother: Edith [Campbell].
His grandfather, Anthony Horden III, "left Sydney for Western Australia, where he made his mark as an entrepreneur, founding the Albany–Beverley "Great Southern" railway and developing much of the surrounding land. He died aboard the steamer R.M.S. Carthage on the Red Sea while returning to Australia after several years conducting his business affairs from London. A memorial to him was erected at the top of York Street, Albany. He was nominated by A. J. H. Saw, the Chancellor of the University of Western Australia, as one of the fifteen greats in the development of the State."
His elder brother was Anthony Arthur Shubra Hordern.
His younger brother, Basil Colin Shubra (1910–1969) was a "prominent bank shareholder"
"Shubra Hall, Croydon, is the oldest building on the campus of the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Sydney, and was the home of Anthony Hordern III." - Wikipedia
6ft 2in tall; "scar centre of forehead"
Ed. Malvern College 1920-23
m. 2 Jun 1928 in Kensington, London, Vera Elizabeth Bryer (Divorced)
In 1928, he filed a patent in France, with his brother Anthony and Bernard John Lynes, for an "Improved device controlled by means of a coin and by hand for the recording and delivery of phonograph records of various types, or for the reproduction of such records"
He became engaged to Miss Marian 'Betty' Seton (or Secombe) in 1936, but I can find no record of the marriage taking place.
- The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 Jun 1936
prev. a Stock Jobber; RAFVR 31 Jan 1940 - 27 Jun 1942 (Flt-Lt, 214 Sqn)
prev. exp. 740 hrs on "Henley, Hart, Demon, Phoenix, Wellington, Harrow, Percival Q.6"
Address in 1943: 8 Wimbledon Close, London SW19
d. 12 Dec 1944 - Stockbury, Kent, in a car accident
He left £895 2s 3d, which went to his mother.
[Seconded from BOAC]
Herbert John 'Horse' Horsey b. 26 Nov 1899, Cheshunt, Herts 1 Jan 1940 to 6 Jan 1941
RNAS and RAF in WWI, then joined Supermarine, followed by British Marine Co. as a flying-boat captain on the route from Southampton to Guernsey. When BMC became part of the newly-formed Imperial Airways in 1924, he was one of their 16 founder-pilots.
In June 1927, he created a new record for big passenger aeroplanes, by flying from London to Cologne in one hundred and sixty minutes, at an average speed of 130 miles an hour.
Address in 1932: 138 King's Hall Rd, Beckenham, Kent
d. 6 Jan 1941 (Died in ATA Service) after he hit cables and crashed on 2 January, 2.5 miles NW of Wroughton ferrying Curtiss Mohawk IV AR658.
G.P. Olley wrote in his obituary: "An atmosphere of gloom settled over the war-time base of British Overseas Airways Corporation when the tragic news came through that Captain H. J. Horsey ('Horse' to his friends, and that meant every one) had died suddenly from the injuries he had received in an accident some days before."
Gordon reported that, a few days before, "poor old 'Horse' was concerned that he had broken his clean record - up to then, he had never had a major crash, or harmed a hair of the head of a single passenger."
Herbert is buried in Hatfield Heath, Essex.
M.503 First Officer Raymond Rufus Hosking b. 28 Dec 1903, Kettering 6 Jun 1941 to 30 Sep 1945
Manx Aviation & Military Museum
Parents: William Stanley Hosking, Sophy Seymour Richards
Ed. at Kettering Grammar School
m. 1933 Rhoda A [Barden]; 1 son b. 1938
prev. Branch Manager for Marks and Spencer Ltd
prev. exp 53 hrs on Hornet Moth, Tiger Moth, Magister, Anson
Address in 1941: 42 Round Hill Cose, West Garth Rd, Exeter
Postings: 6FPP, 7FPP, 2FPP
Sep-45: "This pilot has had consistently good reports since he joined this unit in 1942. Considering the small flying experience with which he joined the ATA, the fact that he finishes his service by being one of our most skilled All-Class pilots, is greatly to his credit. His unfailing cheerfulness and good discipline have always been most marked." O.C. No 2 FPP
d. 18 Jun 1992 - Tavistock, Devon
W.--- Cadet Hon. Jocelyne Mary Emma Hotham b. 18 Apr 1908, London 15 Apr 1942 to 8 Jun 1942
Father: Lord Frederick William Hotham (6th Baron Hotham of South Dalton, d. 1923), mother Eliza Benita [Sanders] of Dalton Hall, nr Beverley
Had an elder sister, The Hon. Sylvia [m. 1924 Ralph Assheton]
Ed. Abbotts Hill, Hemel Hempstead
She and Honor Pitman (also later of the ATA) were amongst the bridesmaids to a Miss Beau Lawson-Johnston in 1927.
"WOMAN FLIER AT PERIVALE
The most interesting woman I met this week was the Hon. Jocelyn Hotham, daughter of the late Lord Hotham—the young woman who learnt to fly by a mistake.
I met her out at Perivale this week at a meeting of the Perivale Women's Fellowship. She is a slim brunette, with a passion for flying. This is how she took up aviation. "I was lunching with a young woman about a year ago, and during our conversation she quite startled me when she told me that she had taken up flying. And so, not wishing to be outdone by her," Miss Hotham laughingly added, " I set off for Heston at once and told the instructor there that I wanted to learn to fly. We set off in a bi-plane, and I confess I was rather scared. As we soared up to the clouds I felt that I was in a strange land and in a dream, and the world below looked like a huge patchwork quilt.
"Then came my three-hour solo flight, and this was a most depressing time, as up in the clouds you know that if you do anything wrong you will be killed. I managed to come through all right. and in ten days gained my pilot's licence. "Flying, in m opinion. is the most marvellous feeling in the world. One leaves all one's cares in the clouds and you feel that the whole world lies at your feet. You feel that you have done something which man wanted to do ages past.
"I get lots of fun out of flying." Miss Hotham told me. "and later on would like to attempt the more serious, sphere of aerial ambulance work, which I am 'very keen on." "Flying," she added, Is no more dangerous than other things. There is one accident to every 25,000 flights, and two-thirds of these are due to stupidity and breaking of air regulations, and a third due to engine failure over bad country."
Though, to most of the Perivale mothers present, an aeroplane was something they had viewed only at a distance, in the succeeding lantern lecture they showed a very keen interest and bombarded Miss Hotham with a barrage of questions. " - West Middlesex Gazette - Saturday 28 November 1936
prev: Commandant of Transport, Chelsea, Sep 1938- May 1940; ARP
The work of the Chelsea ARP featured in July 1939 in The Bystander - Jocelyne is shown (r, l) in these images
prev exp: 22hrs 35min on Avro Cadet
Address in 1942: Red Syke, Twiston, Clitheroe, Lancs
In 1948, "The 'Malkin Tower Repertory Company', who presented " Pendle Witches of 1948" written by Miss Jocelyne Hotham, included Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Assheton. Mr. N. Assheton. Miss Jocelyne Hotham. Miss Bridget Assheton. Miss Ann Yorke and Mr. J. E. E. Yorke. " - Clitheroe Advertiser & Times
She sold the Red Syke herd of Ayrshire dairy cattle, in 1954: "Miss Hotham Is giving up dairy farming to concentrate stock rearing and poultry keeping at Red Syke. The Ayrshire herd was established in 1944. There was keen competition for the 43 head of cattle, all of which were sold. Top price was 110 guineas."
d. May 1997 - York
M.594 First Officer James Howlison b. 29 Jul 1903, Stockport 10 Jun 1941 to 28 Mar 1945
Ed. St Cuthberts College, Worksop
m. 1929 Constance T [Willson], 1933 Dorothy Mary [Thompson], 2 children
prev. Managing Director of Howson Gloves Ltd, Lancashire Hill, Stockport
Address in 1941: Tree Tops, 1 Valley Rd, Bramhall, Cheshire
Postings: 6FPP, 7FPP, 14FPP
"A well-behaved and conscientious officer, and a safe average pilot. Had very little experience prior to joining ATA"
Passed Class V (Halifax) training Mar-43
Mar-45: "He has done very well throughout his ATA career, but the strain of nearly four years ferrying has proved too much for him, and he has been advised to resign."
Contract Terminated 28 Mar 1945
d. 1964 - Bucklow, Cheshire
W.11 Flight Captain Joan Lily Amelia Hughes MBE b. 28 April 1918, Woodford, Essex 1 Jan 1940 to 31 Dec 1945
1935 - London Aeroplane Club
Father: Arthur Edward Hughes, a braid manufacturer,, mother: Lily Amelia [Lekeup] of Acreage, Harlow Common, Harlow, Essex
Educated 'privately'. 5 foot 2, build: slight, eyes: hazel.
"Miss Joan Hughes, who will be sixteen in April, is working hard to become an efficient aviator" - The Sketch, Mar 1934
"Miss Joan Hughes, a schoolgirl, says her ambition is to run an air-taxi service in partnership with her brother" - Leeds Mercury, 4 Apr 1934
She celebrated her 17th birthday by qualifying for her RAeC Certificate, making her, at the time, the youngest flyer in Great Britain.
She became an instructor with Chigwell Flying Club, then joined the Civil Air Guard at Romford in 1938.
prev. exp. 620 hrs (at the time, the women needed 600 hrs to join ATA)
Postings: 5FPP, AFTS, EFTS, 1FPP, 6FPP, 15FPP
4-engine (Class 5) pilot
Margaret, Mona and Joan in January 1940
The youngest of the 'First Eight' women ATA members who joined on the 1st January 1940, she mostly continued as an instructor, eventually at the Advanced Flying Training School at White Waltham. She did, however, ferry many types of aircraft, including Hurricane, Spitfire, Lysander, Typhoon, Mosquito, York, Fortress, Lancaster, Halifax, Liberator and Stirling.
1942 caricature by 'Sammy' Clayton
She had 4 mishaps (one deemed to be her fault);
- 12 Dec 1940, her Oxford skidded on loose ice on the runway
- 22 Aug 1941, a forced landing in Hurricane N2588 when the undercarriage jammed
- 4 Jun 1942, a landing accident when she was instructing Jocelyne Hotham in Hart K6486, which swung and tipped onto a wing,
- 22 Dec 1944, another forced landing in a Stirling III, LJ506. This was due to "[Port Outer] No 12 cylinder induction elbow blowing off")
One of the iconic images of the ATA - Joan, dwarfed by a Stirling (Brief Glory)
Her flying was always highly praised: "First Officer Hughes is an exceptionally good and level-headed pilot. She has worked extremely hard and conscientiously... a capable pilot on the Stirling; of above average ability, who, in spite of her small stature, handled the aircraft in a most satisfactory manner. She is to be complimented on such an excellent performance."
One small criticism, however: "her technical knowledge is a long way behind her flying ability & she should spend more time in study of this branch."
After WWII Joan moved to the West London Aero Club in White Waltham, then the British Airways Flying Club at Booker.
She coached Kenneth More for his role as Douglas Bader in the film 'Reach for the Sky' (1956).
She was awarded her RAF 'Wings' in June 1954, the last of 5 women (all ex-ATA pilots) to do so when serving with the short-lived (1 Feb 1949 - 1954) Women's Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (WRAFVR). The others were Jean Bird, Jackie Moggridge, Freydis Leaf and Benedetta Willis.
In 1956, Veronica Volkersz wrote that Joan was one of ".. only seven [women ATA pilots] are now flying commercially... Five-foot-nothing Joan Hughes, one of the few ATA girls who did the Class 5 conversion, subsequently ferrying four-engine bombers and instructing on Harvards and Hudsons, is chief flying instructor of the West London Aero Club at White Waltham"
She concluded that "The tragedy is that for women, commercial aviation is now - except, possibly, in Russia - a closed field."
n 1961 she was awarded the Jean Lennox Bird Trophy; she had trained more than 50 pilots during the year.
In 1965 she flew a replica of a 1909 Santos-Dumont Demoiselle in the film "Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines", and then a replica in simulated dog-fights for the film "The Blue Max". She later visited the US where she appeared on a television quiz show as a mystery guest.
Miss Hughes was one of the display pilots at the Shuttleworth Trust during the 1960s: "These aircraft are wonderfully removed from scientific aircraft. Everything depends on the pilot's skill, so you feel more personally involved. Apart from that you are open to the weather".
Bob Brion tells me that "Joan was my instructor at White Waltham in 1955 flying Tiger Moths... [She] treated me as an equal in what was a different world in the 50s. I have always had the greatest respect for her and her accomplishments.
A great lady."
She retired in 1985 with 11,800 hours in her logbook, 10,000 of which were as instructor, and "devoted herself to tennis, music and country walks".
She died age 74, on the 16 August 1993 in Taunton, Somerset.
IWM interview here: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80008455
W.34 First Officer
Mary Josephine Hunter
b. 17 Dec 1913, Bromborough, Cheshire 1 Mar-41 to 6 May 43
Father: William Sidney Corbett-Lowe
Ed. Howells School, Denbigh
prev. a Teacher of Dancing
5ft 10in tall, hazel eyes
Mary told Veronica Volkersz that that her husky voice was "due not to gin but to faulty vocal cords."
m. 30 Mar 1940 David Ronald Hunter, son of the Reverend and Mrs Hunter, of Childwall Vicarage, Liverpool
Address in 1941: 30 Bidston Rd, Oxton, Cheshire
Postings: 5FPP, 15FPP
1942 caricature by 'Sammy' Clayton
4 accidents, 2 her fault:
- 17 Dec 1941, she stalled her Hurricane when attempting a cross-wind landing and damaged a wing;
- 3 Oct 1942, she failed to control the take-off swing of a Tomahawk I and "swung violently";
- 2 Sep 1942, made a normal landing in a Tomahawk II but an undercarrriage leg collapsed, due to a technical problem, and
- 29 Jan 1943, her Spitfire IX was hit by a tractor while she was stationary.
"A keen and hard-working pilot" and "An excellent pilot and a most useful member of the Ferry Pool". (Marion Wilberforce)
[Contract Terminated by ATA - 3 months notice due to pregnancy - David b. Oct 1943]
M.147 Flight Captain Desmond Roy Huxley b. 21 Oct 1911, London 26 Jul 1940 to 18 Jan 1944