A year in the ATA


ata gerrard peat 1943 

Gerrard started with the ATA in July of 1943, and was posted to the ATA EFTS (Elementary Flying Training School) at Barton, Bedfordshire.   

His training followed the course familiar to anyone who has learnt to fly, with the exception that it only took him 9 hrs and 5 minutes before going solo - most people take between 10 and 30 hrs.   

janes magister He trained on the Miles Magister.

Date Aircraft Pilot 2nd Pilot   Hrs (Dual) Hrs (As Pilot) Comments
Fri 30-Jul-43 Magister P2457 F/O Cowan Self as Pupil 1. Air Experience 1A Familiarity Cockpit Layout 0.15   'First Officer Cowan' was Willard Edwin Cowan, a Canadian
Tue 03-Aug-43 Magister P2457 F/O Cowan Self as Pupil 1 & 1A Air Experience 0.35    
Wed 04-Aug-43 Magister T9803 F/O Cowan Self as Pupil 2 & 3 Effect of controls 0.40    
Thu 05-Aug-43 Magister T9803 F/O Cowan Self as Pupil 4 Straight and Level Flying 0.30    
Sat 07-Aug-43 Magister P6371 F/O Cowan Self as Pupil 5 Climbing and Gliding 0.35    
Tue 10-Aug-43 Magister P6371 F/O Cowan Self as Pupil 5 Climbing Gliding and Stalling 1.00    
Wed 11-Aug-43 Magister P6371 F/O Cowan Self as Pupil 6 Medium Turns with Engine 0.50    
Thu 12-Aug-43 Magister P6371 F/O Cowan Self as Pupil 6 Turns Gliding and Engine 1.05    
Thu 12-Aug-43 Magister L8220 F/O Cowan Self as Pupil 6 Turns Gliding and Engine 0.45    
Sat 14-Aug-43 Magister P6371 F/O Cowan Self as Pupil 7 Take off into wind 0.50    
Sun 15-Aug-43 Magister P6371 F/O Cowan Self as Pupil 7 & 8 & 10 Landings Power and Take Off 1.00    
Tue 17-Aug-43 Magister P6371 F/O Cowan Self as Pupil 7 & 8 Circuits and Landing 1.05    
Wed 18-Aug-43 Magister P6371 F/O Cowan Self as Pupil 7 & 8 Circuits and Landing 1.10    
Thu 19-Aug-43 Magister L8235 F/O Cowan Self as Pupil 7, 8, 10 Power Landing Take off  0.50    
Thu 19-Aug-43 Magister T9805 Capt Woods Self as Pupil Check for solo 0.35  

 ata h w woods

Captain H W Woods, "C.O., Instructor and Father Confessor of the Elementary Flying Training School"

Thu 19-Aug-43 Magister T9805 Self Solo 12 First Solo   0.10

 First Solo flight

Fri 20-Aug-43 Magister L5981 Self Solo 7 & 8 Practising Takeoffs and landings   1.15  
Sat 21-Aug-43 Magister N3775 Self Solo 7 & 8 Landings and Take Off   0.35  

 After EFTS Barton from 29 July to 23 August 1943, Gerrard was posted to EFTS at Thame from 24 August to 4 September, then to IFTS (Intermediate Flying Training School) from 5 to 25 September.   

… and thence to No 7 FPP (Sherburn-in-Elmet) from 8 February to 8 Mar, and back to 5FPP until 14  April 1944.   


Late April found him back at Thame, however, for Class II (Advanced Single-engined) Training, on the Harvard

Sat 29-Apr-44 Harvard FN107 F/O Hopkins Pupil 29 Cross Country 1.40   First Officer David Hopkins joined ATA from the RAF in May 1942 and was an instructor at IFTS from Oct 1943 to Mar 1945
Sat 29-Apr-44 Harvard FN107 F/O Hopkins Pupil 20 Cross wind landings 0.40    
Tue 02-May-44 Harvard N7044 F/O Hopkins Pupil 29 Dual Cross Country 1.05    
Wed 03-May-44 Harvard N7138 Self Solo 30 Solo Cross Country   0.50  
Wed 03-May-44 Harvard FS722 Self Solo 30 Solo Cross Country   1.05  
Thu 04-May-44 Spitfire X4280 Self Solo 10, 11, 13, 18 Steep Turns   1.20

spitfire 1

This seems to be the first time that Gerrard flew a Spitfire; X4280 was a rather ancient Mk 1, but nevertheless must have been a big step up from the Harvard.

Thu 04-May-44 Harvard N7130 F/O Hopkins Pupil 29 Dual Cross Country 1.20    
Fri 05-May-44 Harvard P5837 F/O Younghusband Pupil 29 Dual Cross Country 1.25    
Sat 06-May-44 Harvard P5837 F/O Younghusband Pupil 32 Proficiency Check 1.00    
Tue 09-May-44 Fairchild FK903 Self F/O Willis Taxi Cranfield and back   0.50

'First Officer Willis' would be Vernon Smith Willis.

fairchild argus

The Fairchild Argus was a light aircraft used as a 'taxi', taking pilots to their pick-up points...

Wed 10-May-44 Proctor P6268 Self Solo Ferry Broxbourne - Hucknall   1.20  percival proctor ... as was the Percival Proctor
Wed 10-May-44 Fairchild EV808 Self William Abney Taxi Wroughton and back   1.00

ata william abney HB 

'Bill' Abney was seconded from the RAF in May 1944.

Thu 11-May-44 Spitfire IIa P7853 Self Solo Ferry Cowley to 33 MU Lyneham   0.23 MU = Maintenance Unit
Fri 12-May-44 Hurricane IIc P4582 Self Solo Ferry Langley - Silloth   2.00  Hurricane II 
Sat 13-May-44 Spitfire V P8099 Self Solo Ferry Witney - Lyneham   0.25  
Sat 13-May-44 Spitfire IX R5388 Self Solo Ferry Lyneham - Cranfield   0.45  
Sun 14-May-44 Spitfire IX P5557 Self Solo Ferry Little Rissington - Reading   0.40  
Thu 18-May-44 Hurricane P9595 Self Solo Ferry Langley - Sherburn   1.10  
Mon 22-May-44 Spitfire II EP575 Self Solo Ferry Cowley - Brize Norton   0.15  
Tue 23-May-44 Spitfire Ia R7252 Self Solo Ferry Cowley - 39 MU Colerne   0.35  
Wed 24-May-44 Spitfire IX PL269 Self Solo Ferry 9 MU Cosford - 511 FRU Odiham   0.40 FRU - Forward Repair Unit
Thu 25-May-44 Faichild FK393 Self Solo Taxi Thame - Reading & Return   0.25  
Fri 26-May-44 Fulmar II P4595 Self Solo Ferry Thame - Hamble   0.30

fulmar 2

The Fulmar was a carrier-based fighter, rather obsolete by 1944

Sun 28-May-44 Fairchild EH808 Self 1 Passenger Taxi Bicester - Witney   0.15 Gerrard flew himself and a passenger to Witney to pick up …
Sun 28-May-44 Hurricane III KX407 Self Solo Ferry Witney - Sherburn   1.00 … a Hurricane…
Sun 28-May-44 Spitfire Vb AP572 Self Solo Ferry Sherburn - 6 MU Brize Norton   0.50

Spitfire VB 92 Sqn top view c1941

… and then a Spitfire (before getting a ride home, presumably)

Tue 30-May-44 Martinet NR650 Self Solo Ferry Reading - Shawbury   1.15

1200px Miles M.25 Martinet TT MkI in flight

The Miles Martinet was a rather unglamorous aircraft designed for towing airborne targets.

Wed 31-May-44 Hurricane IIc PZ737 Self Solo Ferry Langley - Sherburn   1.00  
Thu 01-Jun-44 Martinet PW952 Self   Ferry Reading - Wroughton   0.25  
Fri 02-Jun-44 Fairchild FK333 Self 2 Passengers Taxi Thame - Cowley& Return   0.30  
Tue 06-Jun-44 Fairchild FK333 Self 1 Passenger Taxi Thame - Cambridge   0.40 He was quite busy on D-Day!
Tue 06-Jun-44 Magister T9844 Self Solo Ferry 22 EFTS Cambridge - 51 O.M. Lichfield   1.20  
Tue 06-Jun-44 Magister P6378 Self Solo Ferry 25 FTS Cosford - Squires Gate   1.20  
Wed 07-Jun-44 Stinson Reliant K9596 Self Solo Ferry Squires Gate - Andover   1.45


The Reliant was another light transport/communications aeroplane, similar to the Fairchild

Wed 07-Jun-44 Fairchild FS510 Self 2 Passengers Taxi Andover - Reading - Thame   0.50  
Thu 08-Jun-44 Fairchild FK315 Self 3 Passengers Taxi Thame - Reading   0.25  
Thu 08-Jun-44 Master II RK991 Self Solo Ferry Reading - 7 RAFM Peterborough   0.35  miles master
Fri 09-Jun-44 Spitfire Vc AR514 Self Solo Ferry 6MU Brize Norton - Cranfield   0.35  
Sat 10-Jun-44 Mustang III FK908 Self Solo Ferry Kidlington - Sherburn   0.55

Four flights in one day; 

Sat 10-Jun-44 Tiger Moth T8252 self Solo Ferry Sherburn - 124 Sq Bradwell Bay   2.25 tigermoth A Tiger Moth,
Sat 10-Jun-44 Fairchild PK315 Self 1 Passenger Taxi Bradwell Bay - Woodbridge   0.25 a Fairchild 
Sat 10-Jun-44 Mustang III FX139 Self Solo Ferry Woodbridge - Redhill   0.40

Mustang III 19 Sqn RAF in flight 1944

and two Mustangs. Impressive.


 Seconded to 2FPP Whitchurch        

Fri 16-Jun-44 Tiger Moth T6173 Self Solo Ferry Roxburgh - Whitchurch   1.25  
Sun 17-Jun-18 Fairchild FK347 Self Solo Taxi Weston-super-Mare - Lyneham   0.25  
Sat 17-Jun-44 Fairchild EM790 Self Passsengers Taxi Whitchurch - Kemble - Weston-super-Mare   0.40  
Sat 17-Jun-44 Fairchild HE603 Self Passsengers Taxi ??   1.10  
Sun 18-Jun-44 Fairchild EH779 Self Passsengers Taxi Whitchurch - Aston Down - Kemble   0.35  
Mon 19-Jun-44 Fairchild EH779 Self Passsengers Taxi Whitchurch - Barnstable & Return   2.00  
Tue 20-Jun-44 Fairchild EV790 Self Passsengers Taxi Weston - ?? - Whitchurch   1.00  
Tue 20-Jun-44 Fairchild NB624 Self Solo Taxi Whitchurch - ??   0.25  
Tue 20-Jun-44 Fairchild EV790 Self Solo Taxi Whitchurch - Filton   0.10  
Mon 03-Jul-44 Seafire III NN200 Self Solo Ferry Yeovil - 33 MU Lyneham   0.20  The Seafire was the 'navalised' version of the Spitfire.
Mon 03-Jul-44 Martinet MS874 Self Solo Ferry Whitehead - 7 AGS Stormy Down   0.30 RAF Stormy Down was a Royal Air Force station located near Pyle, Bridgend. It opened in 1940 and closed in August 1944 due to the dangerous grass landing strip. 7AGS was an Air Gunners School.
Tue 04-Jul-44 Seafire III NN147 Self Solo Ferry 39 MU Colerne - 52 Cardiff   0.25  
Tue 04-Jul-44 Fairchild HB624 Self Passsengers Taxi Colerne- Cardiff, St Athan & Whitchurch   0.55  
 Returned to 5FPP Thame        
Tue 11-Jul-44 Seafire III NN387 Self Solo Ferry Colerne - Kirkbride   1.40  
Tue 11-Jul-44 Proctor III P6038 Self Solo Ferry Kirkbride - Thame   1.55  
Wed 12-Jul-44 Fairchild FK360 Self 2 Passengers Taxi Thame - Bramcote & Return   1.25  
Thu 13-Jul-44 Spitfire IX PL204 Self Solo Ferry Reading - Bognor   0.25 Bognor Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) was opened on June 1, 1943 and was home to three Spitfire squadrons which were tasked with conducting 'Ramrod' raids (day bomber raids escorted by fighters).
Thu 13-Jul-44 Mustang III FZ159 Self Solo Ferry 5 Wing Ford - 83 GSU Bognor   0.10  
Fri 14-Jul-44 Fairchild EV770 Self 1 Passenger Ferry Thame - Langley   0.20  
Fri 14-Jul-44 Hurricane PZ830 Self Solo Ferry Langley - 22 Silloth   2.00  
Fri 14-Jul-44 Mustang Ia FD479 Self Solo Ferry 22 Silloth - Kirkbride (overnight)   0.15  
Sat 15-Jul-44 Mustang Ia FB479 Self Solo Ferry Kirkbride - 84 GSU Thornton   1.50  
Sun 16-Jul-44 Fairchild FK360 Self 2 Passengers Taxi Thame - Biggleswade & Return   0.55  

After more training at AFTS White Waltham between 19 Jul and 28 Aug 1944, Gerrard was posted back to 16FPP Kirkbride until 10 Oct; then followed a spell of sickness, which lasted until 12 Jan 1945.

He returned to 16FPP until 28 Aug, then finally back to White Waltham until he left the ATA on the 30 September 1945.

 Sir Gerrard Charles Peat KCVO

"Sir Gerrard continued flying after WWII; his last civilian flight was on 7 Oct 1990 in a Robin from Rochester. It can be seen from his RAF log book that his service flying after the ATA continued with two periods with the RAAF, first with 600 City of London Squadron and second with RAFUR 8 Flying School where he finished his service flying at No.8 Flying School Woodley in a Chipmunk on the 18 Jan 1953. His service flying hours grand total is recorded as 1,130 hrs 15 mins. and the number of types of aircraft recorded was 33."  David Collingwood, Gerrard's stepson

RAF/FAA Aircraft flown:

  • Airspeed Consul
  • Airspeed Oxford
  • Auster III
  • Avro Anson
  • Boulton Paul Defiant II
  • de Havilland Canada Chipmunk 
  • de Havilland DH.89 Dominie
  • de Havilland Hornet Moth
  • de Havilland Leopard Moth
  • de Havilland Rapide
  • de Havilland Tiger Moth
  • Fairchild Argus
  • Fairey Barracuda
  • Fairey Firefly
  • Fairey Fulmar II
  • Fairey Swordfish
  • Grumman Hellcat
  • Hawker Hart
  • Hawker Hind
  • Hawker Hurricane IIc
  • Miles Gemini
  • Miles Magister
  • Miles Martinet
  • Miles Master II
  • Miles Mentor
  • Miles Messenger
  • North American Harvard
  • North American Mustang III, IV
  • Percival Proctor III, V
  • Stinson Reliant
  • Supermarine Seafire I, II
  • Supermarine Seafire and Spitfire Griffon-engined variants
  • Supermarine Spitfire Mk I, II, IX, XVI, XX, XXI

  ATA Organisation


map ata ferry pools

click to enlarge

  • EFTS / IFTS - Elementary / Initial Flying Training School
  • AMF / Air Movements Flight (1942–45)
  • AFTS - Advanced Flying Training School (1942–45)


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