W.35 Flight Captain 

Veronica May Innes

 flag england  b. 20 Apr 1917, Cambridge 1 Mar 1941 to 30 Nov 1945 

 

  1942  veronica_innes_1940.jpg  

 

Father: Maj. George Victor d'A Innes (Royal Scots Fusiliers), mother Mary Beatrice [Benyon]

Grew up in India from age 6, (educated: "privately")

RAeC Cert 17,266 (16 Feb 1939); she learnt to fly at Brooklands 

prev. Civil Air Guard, 15 months as a driver for the London (Auxiliary) Ambulance Volunteer Service

prev. exp. 70 hrs

Address in 1939: Queensmead Lodge, King's Road, Windsor, Berks


Postings: 15FPP, 2FPP, 3FPP

 "Sunday tea-dance" in December 1941

 1942 caricature by 'Sammy' Clayton

 

 8 accidents, 3 her fault

- 8 May 1941, in Tiger Moth T6116, she taxied off the runway which was in "bad condition"

- 27 Jan 1942, her Hurricane AG137 nosed over after a poor landing

- 25 Sep 1942, she had a fire in the port carburettor of her Wellington III BK257 after stopping engines

- 12 Feb 1943, taxying "without due care" in Spitfire Vb AD386, her wing hit the side of a low loader trailer

- 21 Jan 1944, the tail wheel of her Seafire IIc MB217 was damaged while taxying

- 13 Mar 1944, the port tyre of her Anson N9920 burst while taxying

- 12 Jul 1944, taxying in Argus II NB604, she ran into a pile of chocks

- 27 Jul 1944, a forced landing in an Anson after failure of the port engine.

 

She was considered a 'careful, steady' pilot: "An extremely reliable and intelligent pilot whose influence in the [ferry] pool is good. Has progressed well."

She was, however, reckoned to be 'too diffident in manner to really possess any great qualities of leadership. It is her sense of responsibility and interest in the job that makes her a useful Flight Captain".

  The Tatler

m. Dec 1942 Flt. Lt. Gerard Volkersz of the Royal Netherlands Naval Air Service (divorced 1947)

 

ATA experience: 1,200 hrs on 60 types - including ...

  Aberdeen Press and Journal - 17 Jan 1946

... being the first woman to deliver a Meteor, (EE386) on 15 Sep 1945


Post-WWII, a Pilot Officer in the short-lived (1 Feb 1949 - 1954) Women's Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (WRAFVR), but was not awarded her 'wings' - she later wrote "four [actually five] of the girls qualified, but by that time I was working hard with an Army Co-operation Unit, and had neither the leisure, nor, for that matter, the inclination to follow suit"

Mardi Gething, Patricia Kendall and Vera Strodl were also appointed as Pilot Officers in the WRAFVR at the same time (June 1950)

 

  Veronica with Sqn-Ldr D R Turley-George DFC - The Tatler, 12 Jul 1950

"A summer cocktail party at Biggin Hill Air Station which, favoured by brilliant weather, was greatly appreciated by the 250 guests" 

 

She and Freydis Leaf  flew RAF-surplus Tempests to Pakistan, for Mayfair Air Services. She was not taken on when the contract transferred to another company, despite all the other (male) pilots being offered a job, then in 1951 (having gained her commercial pilot's licence, joined Monique Agazarian (also ex-ATA) at Island Air Services.

wrote "The Sky and I" (W.H.Allen 1956); "Her experiences make interesting reading for all who have their heads in the skies"

 

In 1956, "Members of No. 3618 Fighter Control Unit returned to headquarters in The Goffs on Saturday from 15 days’ annual training at the Royal Air Force station, Sandwich. Adding to the interest this year has been the fact that one the pilots was Mrs Veronica Volkersz. A wartime member of the Air Transport Auxiliary, she has over 3,000 flying hours in her log book and has piloted 60 different types of aircraft." - Eastbourne Gazette - 29 Aug 1956

 

d. 13 Dec 2000 - Cambridge

IWM interview here: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80009149

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veronica_Volkersz


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

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