The Women of the Air Transport Auxiliary - Joined 1942-1944


"Theory ATA training also included aircraft and engine theory and was taught at Thame. A 1942 lesson pictured Getty Images

"Theory Training in 1942" - Helen Richey, Irene Arckless, Faith Bennett, Honor Pitman, Jennie Broad and Louise Schuurman

5 Jan-42 to 17 Aug-46

Secretary to C.A.

Raymonde Mary Martin-Kaye

raymonde martin-kaye ata 


flag england

b. 13 Jan 1918, London

Starting Salary: £3.10.0 a week

Heavily involved in the final wind-up of the ATA in 1945/6

Mrs Spargo from 1950

d. 1991


24 Jan-42 to Jul-42

Flight Captain

Jacqueline 'Jackie' Cochran-Odlum

mini macr - jackie cochran

flag usa

b. 11 May 1906

d. 1980


10 Feb-42 to May-44

First Officer

Winnie Rawson Pierce


flag usa

b. 11 Dec 1916, Des Moines IA

prev: Pilot and Secretary

Mrs Beasley


10 Feb-42 to 30-Jun-45

First Officer

Emma Mathilde 'Louise' Schuurman

ata louise schuurman


ata louise schuurmann 


flag holland

b. 28 Aug 1920, Nijmegen Holland

Resident Chicago IL

prev: Flight Instructor

prev. exp: 420 hrs in USA, Canada

d. 28 Apr 1962 in an air crash on Galveston Island, Texas

buried in Cauberg, Valkenburg aan de Geul, Limburg, the Netherlands


10 Feb-42 to Jun-45

First Officer

Virginia 'Ginny' Farr

Virginia Farr

flag usa

b. 15 Nov 1918, Groton MA

prev: Flight Instructor (Rochester, NY)

d. 1988


10 Feb-42 to Jun-44

First Officer

Dorothy Rita Bragg


flag usa

née Furey

b. 17 Dec 1918

Mrs Bragg - her husband, Pilot Officer Richard Edward Bragg, was killed 13 May 1943 over Koln

Mrs Beatty

Mrs Hewitt

d. 2006


24 Feb-42 to Oct-45

First Officer

Helen 'Naomi' Allen 

 naomi heron maxwell 1934

RAeC 1934

flag england

née Heron-Maxwell

b. 25 Jun 1913, Folkestone

Mrs Allen from 1938-Jan 39 (husband died)

prev: Secretarial / Lecturing on Gliding and Parachuting

Mrs Thomas from 1957

d. 1983, USA

naomi heron maxwell 19342 1934

Helen 'Naomi' Allen

Allen Naomi 1 with Cobham's Flying Circus

...my mother-in-law is 96, so her memory may not be what it was. Today, I mentioned I was going to the ATA Museum.

She said "I met a ferry pilot a few times, she was Mrs Allen, and she flew planes across the Atlantic".

"Oh yes", I thought "I'm not sure any ATA women ferry pilots actually did that, but anyway..."

"Really" I said.

"Yes, she came to visit her mother-in-law who was our neighbour, Kitty Allen. This was when my sister worked at Bletchley Park."

"Right", I said, thinking "OK, there were 2 Mrs Allens in the ATA..."

"Yes, it was terrible how her husband died. It was after an operation. Apparently it was quite a straightforward operation, he woke up, said 'Hello Darling' and then promptly had a heart attack and died".

"OK", I thought, Helen Naomi Heron-Maxwell's first husband Mr Allen died in... let me see... January 1939, after they were married in ... March 1938..."

"Maybe Helen or Naomi Heron-Maxwell?", I said.

Allen Naomi 2 ATA

"That name sounds familiar. Her family were very upper-crust, you know. Very well-connected. And another thing, who was it lived at Sissinghurst?" (Which I think signified the end of that part of the conversation).

So, I searched the Times Archive. Good grief, in 1939, 

"ALLEN. On January 23rd 1939, in Austria, following an operation, FRANCIS CECIL HOWARD, adored husband of Naomi (nee Heron-Maxwell) and son of Mrs WHR Allen of Periwinkle, Long Acre Lane, Sisley, Sussex, aged 34"

And moreover, I discovered that Naomi moved to Los Angeles in 1948, married again, divorced and then moved into Leisure World in Laguna Hills, California, dying there in 1983.

Which is exactly when we lived in Mission Viejo, California - a few miles from her. If only I'd known!

(Mind you, Owen Cathcart Jones only lived a few miles in the other direction - if only I'd known, again!)

So there you go. (Nearly) a brush, or two, with dramatis personae... 


24 Feb-42 to Dec-45

First Officer

Mrs Patricia Annette Blackwell

 patricia blackwell 1939

RAeC 1939

flag england

nee Noble

b. 30 Mar 1913, Putney

Mrs Blackwell from 1935

10 Mar-42 to 12 Jun-42


Eveline Townshend

flag UK

b. 12 Oct 1910, Dublin


23 Mar-42 - 14 Sep-46


Purchase Ledger Section

Miriam Brock

miriam brock ata


flag england

b. 25 Nov 1915, Epsom Surrey

d. 2001


25 Mar-42 to Jan-43

First Officer

Helen Richey

 helen richey 1934 


helen richey 1940 


helen richey 99s


 flag usa

b. 21 Nov 1909, McKeesport, PA

prev: Flight Instructor [actually, the world's first commercial airline pilot, in 1934; and the world's first fully-certified woman flying instructor]

prev exp: 1800 hrs

Accident Record:

21 Jun-42: Hurricane, stalled, damaged wingtip - (pilot held responsible);

21 Jul-42: Spitfire, overshot - (pilot held responsible);

14 Dec-42: Master II forced landing - (pilot not responsible);

3 Jan-43: Wellington, failed to control takeoff swing, wingtip broken off - (pilot held responsible)

[20 Jan-43 Contract Terminated by ATA]

d. 7 Jan 1947 (suicide)

31 Mar-42 to 8 Apr-42


Mercedes d'Anacker

Mercedes dAnacker 1936 

RAeC 1936

Mercedes dAnacker ATA 


flag england

b. 7 Oct 1916, Aldershot

prev exp: 50hrs on Gypsy/Tiger Moth

Mrs Baker from 1943

1 Apr-42 to 2 May-42


Betty Bell


flag england

b. 23 Sep 1919, London

[Contract Terminated by ATA]

8 Apr-42 to 22 Jun-42


Delphine Reynolds

mini - delphine reynolds 

RAeC 1930

flag england

b. 29 Dec 1907, Woolton Lancs

prev: MTC Lorry Driver from Jun-41

pre exp: 510 hrs

15 Apr-42 to 8 Jun-42


Hon. Jocelyn Mary Emma Hotham

 jocelyn hotham 1936 

RAeC 1936

flag england

b. 18 Apr 1908, London

prev: ARP Commandant of Transport, Chelsea

prev exp: 22hrs 35min

d. 1997

15 Apr-42 to 6 Jun-42


Margaret Elizabeth Thackeray

margaret thackeray 1939 

RAeC 1939

margaret thackeray ata 


margaret thackeray ata2 


 ata margaret thackeray ancestry 2 Ancestry

flag england

b. 1 Mar 1913, Newcastle-on-Tyne

prev exp: 15hrs solo

23 Apr-42 to Aug-42


Polly Bernice Potter

flag usa

b. 1 Oct 1911, Portland OR


prev: Airplane Sales

prev exp: 835 hrs

[Resigned - illness]

Mrs Forsstrom

Mrs Ross


14 Apr-42 to Apr-45

First Officer

Grace Stevenson

ata grace stevenson 


flag usa

b.  5 Aug 1917, Stratford OK

d. 29 Dec 2002, Fayetteville

Her obituary (link here) says:

"Ms. Stevenson died Dec. 29, 2002, at a Fayetteville nursing facility. She was born Aug. 5, 1917, at Stratford, Okla., to Alfred and Ruth Margaret Houston Stevenson. She grew up in Holdenville and graduated from Holdenville High School. She attended Lindenwood School for Girls and then transferred to the University of Oklahoma, graduating in 1940 with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

Ms. Stevenson was an aviation pioneer, having earned her commercial pilot's license. At the age of 23 she became the first woman in the nation to become certified as a flight instructor, teaching at the Spartan School of Aeronautics, Tulsa. She later became a flight instructor for Mountain Airways in Casper, Wyo.

At the outset of World War II, Ms. Stevenson volunteered to be a pilot for the British Government. She ferried war plans for the British Air Transport Auxiliary from 1942 until 1945, totaling 875 missions. As a result of her flying experiences she has been among women pilots featured in various book and magazine articles and in a PBS television documentary. Following the war, she was employed as a secretary for U.S. Plywood, Bakersfield, Calif. She later returned to Holdenville."


14 Apr-42 to Oct-45

First Officer

Suzanne 'Sue' Humphreys Ford

W076 Ford Suzanne 


flag usa

b. 2 Apr 1915

Mrs de Flores

d. 2001


14 Apr-42 to Jul 43

2nd Officer

Hazel Jane Raines

hazel raines ATA 


 ata hazel raines 1943 1943

flag usa b. 21 Apr 1916, Waynesboro GA

prev: Flight Instructor

d. 4 Sep 1956 - while visiting Chelsea, London


14 Apr-42 to Nov-42

3rd Officer

Virginia Louise Garst

flag usa b. 28 Nov 1918, New York

prev exp: 513 hrs

[Contract Terminated - Appendicitis]


15 Apr-42 to Aug-45

First Officer

Betty Ellice Black

 betty black 1943 

NZ Herald 1943

flag nz

b. 1 Sep 1913, Dunedin NZ

prev. exp: 129 hrs 50min solo

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

Mrs Beaumont from 1946

d. 1988


15 Apr-42 to Nov-45

First Officer

Maureen Adele Chase Dunlop 

 maureen dunlop 19452 

RAeC 1945

 flag UK

b. 29 Oct 1920, Buenos Aires

 - No RAeC certificate pre-war -

Mrs de Popp from 1955

d 2012

29 Apr-42 to 22 May-42


Lucie Margaret James

flag england

b. 1 Jan 1917, London

prev: Flt Sgt, WAAF

prev exp: (claimed) 200hrs/40hrs solo

[Contract Terminated by ATA]


29 Apr-42 to Nov-45

First Officer

Ann Watson Wood

W077 Wood Anne 


flag usa

b. 31 Mar 1918

Mrs Kelly

d. Apr 2006


1 May-42 to Mar-44

First Officer

Helen Marcelle Harrison

 helen barnes 1934

RAeC 1934

W075 Harrison Helen 


ata helen harrison 


flag canada

nee Barnes

b. 7 Dec 1909, Vancouver, Canada

changed name to Harrison 1935


later Mrs Harrison-Bristol

d. 1995


9 Jun-42 to Mar-44

2nd Officer

Catharine 'Kay' Rel Van Doozer

W086 van Doozer Catharine ATA

ata kay van doozer 1943

The Bakersfield Californian 1943

flag usa b. 29 Apr 1905, Los Angeles CA

in 1943, she "saw Dick Newmeyer, also formerly a member of Bakersfield High School staff, in England."


d. 1949


10 Jun-42 to Aug-43

First Officer

Evelyn Hudson

W082 Hudson Evelyn 

ATA 1942

flag england -> flag usa

b. 7 Aug 1908, Sunderland UK

[Naturalized American Feb 1938]

Mrs Richards


10 Jun-42 to Nov-45

First Officer

Margaret Elizabeth 'Peggy' Lennox

flag usa

b. 24 Jan 1906, Chicago

prev: Teacher - Model - Secretary


Mrs Drown


10 Jun-42 to Jun-45

First Officer

Mrs Edith Foltz Stearns

flag usa

b. 17 Aug 1903, Dallas TX

prev: Flight Instructor


d. 1956

W.87 *

10 Jun-42 to Apr-45

First Officer

Opal Pearl Laster-Anderson

 ata opal laster-anderson 


flag usa

b. 17 Aug 1916

Mrs Averitt

W.88 * 

10 Jun-42 to Sep-45

First Officer

Mary Estelle Zerbel

mary zerbel ATA 


ATA Mary Zerbel 2

flag usa

b. 8 Apr 1920, Marquette MI

prev: Flying Instructor

Mrs Forrest

Mrs Hooper

 Mrs Ford

10 Jun-42 to Sep-42


Una Julia Goodwin


flag usa

b. 24 Dec 1902, Virgie AR (KY?)

prev: clerk

[Contract Terminated by ATA - did not pass training course]

d. 1978


17 Jun-42 to May-45

2nd Officer

Mrs Joan Durham Witherby

 ATA Joan Witherby

flag england

née Wilkinson

b. 31 Jul 1915, London

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

Mrs Witherby from Mar 1938; husband James was missing, (later presumed killed) during the fall of Singapore in Feb 1942

[Contract Terminated by ATA - Aug-42 but re-instated Jan-43]

Mrs Hale from 1953

d. 2004, Australia

24 Jun-42 to 30 Jun-42


Molly Calver

 molly calver 1936 

RAeC 1936

flag england

b. 13 Apr 1910, Wix Essex

prev: Stewardess, Welfare Dept,

London Transport

prev exp: 14 hrs 

London General Omnibus Co Flying Club


24 Jun-42 to 23 Aug-42


 Joan Irwin Broadsmith

 joan broadsmith 1939 

RAeC 1939

joan broadsmith Empire Air Day 1939 

Empire Air Day 1939

flag england

b. 23 Jul 1917, Withington Chester but resident in the Isle of Wight.

prev: Ambulance Driver

prev exp: 30hrs solo

Her father, Harry Edgar Broadsmith, was one of the original directors of Saunders-Roe.

joan broadsmith and adam karolyi

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 http://www.iwcp.co.uk/news/wight-living/chale-plot-is-a-page-turner-31755.aspx

 joan broadsmith Empire Air Day 1939 1939

"Interested in aeroplanes since she was 14, and with 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."

Joan joined the ATA briefly in 1942, but did not progress beyond 'Cadet'.

[Contract Terminated by ATA]

d. 1993

24 Jun-42 to 20 Sep-42


Mrs Muriel Elyse Witt

muriel haselden 1938 

RAeC 1938

muriel witt ata 


flag england

née Haselden

b. 12 Sep 1914, Manchester

[Educated in Paris]

prev exp: 60 hrs

[Contract Terminated by ATA]

1 Jul-42 to 28 Aug-42


Olivera Rowena Traherne

olivera traherne 1939 

RAeC 1939

olivera traherne ata 


flag england

b. 3 Sep 1910, Pampisford nr Cambridge

prev exp: 20hrs

5 Jul-42 to Sep-42


Kathleen Gloria Large

 ata gloria large 1942

The Charlottetown Guardian, 1 Aug 1942


flag canada

b. 29 Jan 1923, Charlottetown, Canada

The Charlottetown Guardian, Aug-42: "Gloria is the daughter of Mr and Mrs H R Large of this city. Mr Large served in the World War with the Royal Flying Corps as a pilot. He enlisted in the early days of the war along with five other signallers. Weeks, Stewart, McLeod, Gardner and Whitlock who all made a good record overseas."


[Contract Terminated by ATA - 'Unlikely to become an efficient Ferry Pilot']


"Well done Gloria - the first Canadian Woman Ferry Commander visits her native city.

Gloria has made good in a big way. She passed the most rigid air test examinations as well as in meteorology, navigation, air rules, and other exams which entitled her to the rank of Flight Lieutenant in the RAF. Quite an accomplishment for a girl only 19. Miss Large now ferries all types of aircraft and will soon take her place with the British Air Transport Auxiliary in England."

[Perhaps the best we can say about his piece of utter nonsense - she was only ever a Cadet, and her ATA contract was terminated within a month of her starting - is that 'there was a war on'.]


8 Jul-42 to Feb-43


-> Operations Officer 

Evelyn Tuttle Hyam

 evelyn hyam ata 


flag usa -> flag UK

b. 15 or 25 May 1914, Boston MA

British by marriage

prev exp: 51hrs

[Contract Terminated by ATA]

Operations Officer from 30 Sep-42


9 Jul-42 to Jul-45

First Officer

Nancy Jane Miller

 ata nancy miller 


flag usa

b. 12 Jun 1919

Mrs Livingston

Mrs Stratford


15 Jul-42 to Jul-44

2nd Officer

Jadwiga Piłsudska

ATA Jadwiga Pilsudska1

via Ania Stefanicka

 ATA Jadwiga Pilsudska2

 with thanks to Krzysztof Kubala

flag poland

b. 28 Feb 1920, Warsaw, Poland

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

prev: Student at Newnham College Cambridge

prev exp: 120 hrs (100 on gliders)

Mrs Jaraczewska from 1944

JPilsudska 1943 and 2011

in 1943 and 2011

d. 2014


15 Jul-42 to Sep-45

First Officer

Mrs Joan Mary Allen

 ata joan allen ATA

flag UK

née Stapledon

b. 4 Dec 1914, Shillong India

prev exp: 34 hrs 30min in Malaya

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -


17 Jul-42 to Oct-45

First Officer

 Anne Walker

anne walker 1939 

RAeC 1939

flag UK

b. 15 Apr 1917, Peshawar, India

Mrs Duncan from 1948

25 Jul-42 to 5 Sep-42


(Olive) Joan Ramsay

 olive ramsay ata 


joan eric boucher 1948 


flag australia

b. 29 Oct 1916, Brisbane Australia

education: Endcliife, Eastbourne; Paris

resident Howletts, nr Canterbury

prev: Ambulance Driver from Aug-40

prev exp: 2hrs

[Contract Terminated by ATA]

Diana's sister (see above)

m. Eric Boucher 1948

d. 2004

[Her father, Robert Christian 'Bob' Ramsay:

robert ramsay 1932 1932

(b. 1861 d. 1957) was a famous cricketer and owned the Bekesbourne Flying Club, and her brother Cmdr Alexander Robert Ramsay:

alexander ramsay1935 1935 (b. 1910)

both held RAeC Certs]

28 Jul-42 to Oct-43


Mrs Nancy Doreen Lowen

nancy lowen ata 


flag wales

née Thomas

b. 24 Jan 1907, Cardiff

[Contract Terminated by ATA - 

'Very fast shorthand and typing ... but very careless']


29 Jul-42 to Oct-45

First Officer

Mrs Patricia Gladys Beverley

patricia beverley 1945


flag england

b. 22 Aug 1910, Egham Surrey

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

[husband Robert Lewis]

prev: Driver

d. 27 Feb 1948 in an air accident


1 Aug-42 to May-43

 2nd Officer

Mary Webb Nicholson

mary nicholson 1943 

ATA 1942

flag usa

b. 12 Jul 1905, Greensboro, N.C.

When Mary joined the Air Transport Auxiliary in 1942, she had a security check-up from the US Authorities:

mary nicholson ata1 

"Subject is described as being about 36 years old and was divorced from Dr. Harris Preston Pearson. She was born in Greensboro, North Carolina on July 12, 1905 and is the daughter of Francis H and Frances M Nicholson; both described as being native born Americans.

Her parents reside at 2400 Walker Avenue, Greensboro N.C. for the past 30 years and own their house at this point. Her father is about 70 years old and is employed as a salesman by the Cole Chemical Co. of St. Louis Missouri. He has been here for several years and prior to that was with the North Carolina Bank & Trust Co. for a number of years. Public records disclose that he filed a petition in bankrupcy on June 28, 1930 and was discharged on October 16, 1930. The family is well regarded locally and informants state that subject's parents are not known to have ever engaged in un-American activities.

Subject obtained her early education in Pomono, Cal. and later attended Guildford College, Guildford, N.C., Women's College of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, N.C.

She has done considerable flying and it is reported by our correspondents that she is the first woman in North Carolina to receive a commercial pilot's license. She had been employed by the Hickory Memorial Hospital, Hickory N.C. for about one year as business manager, but had to resign from her position in October of 1936 due to an injury sustained in an accident. She later was engaged on airport promotional work for the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, and in June of 1937 entered the employ of Miss Jacqueline Cochran, 300 5th Avenue, NYC, doing private secretarial work. She is employed at the above business address and also at 435 East 52 Street, NYC where Miss Cochran maintains Apartment #9-A. This latter party operates a cosmetics business but is well known as one of the outstanding aviatrix in this country.

 Subject is highly regarded as to character and habits and is said to be a member of the ninety-nines which is an outstanding women's aviation organisation, as well as the National Aeronautics Association.

She is not addicted to the use of intoxicants or narcotics and is not connected with any labor or political organizations. Informants state that subject has never engaged in any un-American or subversive activities.

Subject had resided with her parents since birth up to 1936 when she moved to Hickory, N.C. in keeping with the requirements of her position at that time. She gives another former residence as 435 East 52nd Street, NYC. This is the residence of Miss Cochran and building management authorities at this address advise that subject never lived here but is well known to them in connection with Miss Cochran. 

She has been living at 333 East 53rd Street, NYC since May of 1938 and leases a two rooms apartment at a rental of about $60. per month. She lives alone and is reported to be a satisfactory tenant here. Informants at the various places of residence advise that subject associates with good reputable persons coming from good class families, and in all quarters checked the opinion was expressed that subject is thoroughly American in her sentiments."

 She also had to complete a 'next of kin' form, naming her father; the form was witnessed by Emily Chapin, a fellow American ATA pilot who also joined the ATA in August 1942.  She gave her religion as 'Christian Scientist"; her flying hours to date were 606 hrs 36min, making her one of the more experienced women to join the ATA.

In more detail, she gave her education as:

  • Pomona High School, 1922
  • Guildford College, Guildford, N.C. 1923-24
  • Women's College of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, N.C. 1 year - 1925
  • Southern Brothers University, Portsmouth, Ohio (Secretarial Certificate) 1 year - 1928.

As for her detailed flying history, she said she "began flying July 21, 1928 at the Raven Rock Flying School, Portsmouth, Ohio. Received ground instruction and 17 hours flying time. Private license at Greensboro, North Carolina October 17, 1929. Limited commercial license at Winston Salem N.C. October 17 1929. Carried passengers on week-ends at Winston Salem until Oct. 1934.

Transport License in Wilmington, N.C. July 4th 1934. Barnstorming on week-ends in small North Carolina towns, including stunting exhibitions until February 1936. Started flying school in Hickory N.C. instructing 15 primary students between June 1 and September 20 1936. Various flying around New York and North Carolina since that time. Over 250 hours cross country flying. 7 hours link training. 

Ships flown: Taylorcraft, Luscombe, Waco 10, Pitcairn Orowing, Monocoupe, DH Moth, Waco 9, Eaglerock, Challenger, Fairchild 21, 22, 24, Commandaire, Travelaire, Spartan, Cutiss Robin, OX Bird, Waco C, Waco N, Jensen Trainer, Pitcairn, Fleetwing, Beechcraft Kittyhawk, Waco F, Great Lakes, Fleet, Stinson Reliant, Stinson 105, Rearwin."

All of which was sufficiently impressive (I've never even heard of some of her 'ships flown', have you?) for them to offer her a position straight away.

She arrived in the third batch of American (and Canadian) women aviators, together with Mikkie Allen, Emily Chapin, Gloria Large, and Bobbie Sandoz.

mary nicholson ata2mary nicholson ata3


 mary nicholson ata9

She started her training course but, perhaps surprisingly, seems to have found it hard going to begin with; she was signed off sick for two weeks for 'Debility/ Reactionary exhaustion' in October 1942.

On the 10th December, Cadet Nicholson had he honor to report that:

"On December the 9th, I lost my black leather handbag with black shoulder strap containing - in addition to the usual cosmetic items, handkerchief, purple fountain pen - a black leather pocket book holding the following important items:-

American Passport; Alien Registration Certificate; National Registration Card, Clothing Coupn Book, Personal Ration Card, 19 pound-notes, Autographed American Dollar note, Address Book and family photographs.

The last time I saw the handbag was when I placed it in Locker No. 13 at 09:30 hours, and I missed it at 17:00 hours when I prepared to leave the airfield for the day.

I have made a careful search of the locker and have retraced my movements during the day without success in locating trhe missing article.

I have the honor to be, Sir, Your obedient servant, Mary Nicholson, Cadet"

... all of which sounds pretty serious, but I'm afraid the outcome is not recorded in her file.

Anyway, less than 3 weeks later, she passed the training course and was duly promoted to 3rd Officer. She was W.97 - the 97th woman pilot in the ATA (out of an eventual total of 168).

 Early 1943 therefore found her flying 'Class 1' (light single-engined) aircraft like the Fairchild Argus and DH Tiger Moth, until she went on the training course for 'Class 2' (advanced single engined) in February, passing that in March and being promoted to 2nd Officer. Her confidential report says:

"In the I.F.T.S. this pilot did some 75 hours flying and proved a steady pilot who took a great interest in her work. In A.F.T.S. she reached a good standard in technical subjects and in her navigational flying. Her Class 2 flying was steady and good. In Training Pool her work was excellent and she has all along impressed her instructors as being a cautious pilot who is out to do the best ferrying job she can. Her behaviour as an officer was good and she should prove a useful ferry pilot at any Pool, and is now capable of flying all Class 2 aircraft up to and including Spitfires."

Pauline Gower wrote to Mary's parents on the 13 May 1943:

"Your daughter Mary has given me your address as I feel I must write to you myself to tell you how well she is getting on. She is just about to pass out from her training and she has shown great powers of hard work and intelligence during the time she has been in this country. Every day she is proving her ability as a pilot and I am very pleased with her in every respect.

You will be interested to know she has now flown both Spitfires and Hurricanes and you can understand how pleased she is to have handled these aircraft which played such a prominent part in the Battle of Britain.

With kind regards, Yours Sincerely, P. Gower, Commandant Women"

Mary was posted to No. 12 Ferry Pool (Cosford) on the 22nd of May 1943.

That same day, the 22nd of May, Mary was killed when her Miles Master W9029 crashed at 17:00 hours at Littleworth Norton, Worcestershire. According to an eye-witness, the airscrew came away from the aircraft before it crashed and burst into flames.

Later technical analysis showed that a failure of lubrication to the propeller reduction gear caused a ball race to fail, and the propeller and reduction gear flew off. On gliding down the aircraft struck some farm buildings. Mary was deemed to be 'not at fault' for the incident.

Her funeral was on the 29th May. Pauline Gower is named as 'Senior Pilot to attend' on the official forms for the funeral, but Giles Whittell (via Ann Wood) states that "Gower failed to attend the funeral, even though Nicholson had been based at White Waltham. Sometimes, just when they most needed to be warm, the Brits could be breathtakingly chilly."

Whittell, Giles (2008-09-04). Spitfire Women of World War II (p. 218).  

mary nicholson ata funeral1 mary nicholson ata funeral2

mary nicholson ata funeral3 

 Pauline now had to write another, ghastly letter to Mary's parents, less than a month after her previous one.

"I do wish to express my very deep sympathy to you both on the loss of your daughter Mary. It grieves me very much to have to follow my last letter to you with this one of sympathy.

As I remarked to you before, your daughter was doing very well and you have every reason to be extremely proud of her. She was a good pilot, a hard worker and full of the spirit which we need so much these days.

She will be much missed by her many friends in this country and all those with whom her work brought her in contact.

Again, let me tell you how very much I feel for you in your loss.

With kind regards, Yours Sincerely, Commandant Women"

Even worse, Mary's mother had written to her on the 11th May, and the letter arrived after Mary's fatal accident. It is a normal, chatty family letter:

My Dear Mary,

I was overjoyed to receive your cable Sun a.m. Was sure a message would come from you and nothing did me so much good as to know you are well and happy.

Had cards from David, Ruth and H. And Frank & I. gave me a navy slip.

No news from Herbert, but hardly expect him to think of such things, and Julia is too busy decorating their home. She doesn’t write to her own mother, so guess I can’t expect it.

They have a lovely home and were decorating and putting in handsome new rugs from wall to wall.

Harold and Ruth have a very comfortable, attractive aptm., large enough for them, but not for company. The baby girl has arrived, & is named Ann Frances. I was so anxious for them to name her Mary Webb, and would like Ann Webb much better or Cole if they wanted to use my name. As it is Ruth has named them both for her Bro and Sister, but I think she was partial to Ann. I guess Harold doesn’t have much say so, and as Dad wrote Herbert I don’t appreciate having my name stuck in as tho for appeasement. Dad and I sent Harold $50.00 and Frank added $25, as he is hard pressed with this big expense coming on almost before he could get the other baby paid for. Eddie is not a bit like Harold, except his eyes are blue, has a long face and perfectly straight hair that won’t lie down, but is a fine sweet little boy. I hope the girl will look like the Nicholsons.

Ruth has her hands full, has help only one day a week. Harold did all the spring cleaning. He is a sweet boy as you know and so proud of his babies.

Re and Nancy are lovely girls, and beautiful, and both very bright. Re gets high grades and takes part in all the school activities. Nancy is a lively bird, beautiful big blue eyes, and sings so well, she catches tunes from the radio and sings with it so well. We enjoyed our visit with them, but have had a time catching up with my work. Have the garden in fair condition now, but have done no spring cleaning. We are raising 50 chicks in the yard, so as to having something to eat.

I went to entertain some of the soldiers all along and they like fried chicken.

Frank told me you had directed him to give me $50.00 for class instruction. I had just made my application to Mrs. Matters of Great Neck, N.Y., feeling sure the money would be supplied as I having been saving some for a time. She has her class in late summer, and I do not know yet if she can take me as they have only 30 in a class. If I do go, I sure wish you were in N.Y. I appreciate so much your thoughtfulness. But will wait to take the money later. I have my hands full with all the work here, garden, and Reading at Ch., which takes much time. I am wearing a real pretty navy sheer with lace collar, and hope to find a pretty lavender or orchid later.

We sent you a box recently, containing a w. Bottle, the man at W.Rich & Co. gave Frank with their compliments. I will get off some orange juice to you soon. Tell me if their is any special thing we can send you.

David is liking his work & is Cpl. Aren’t we proud of him, he is in the office and doesn’t have K. P. which suits him. Earl Garrett joined the Navy. Cousins Tom & Sola both passed on recently.

We have two nice quiet couples in the house now, Capt. and Sgt., & their wives & don’t enjoy smelling bacon grease and cigarettes early in the morning, but glad to help out in the very congested condition, and it makes me get up early. Lots of people I meet send messages to you.

Had a letter from one of your friends saying you are well and writing, tho we don’t get letters from you often. Dad is in W. Cas for a few days. Please write soon.

Much love Mama.

Mary was the only American woman to be killed on active service with the ATA.


12 Aug-42 to Feb-44

2nd Officer

Roberta Boyd 'Bobby' Sandoz Leveaux

 ATA Bobby Sandoz Leveaux 

via Ania Stefanicka

flag usa b. c.1918, WA

Interviewed in 2000 here:


12 Aug-42 to Feb-44

2nd Officer 

Myrtle Rita 'Mikki' Allen

flag usa

b. 26 Nov 1916, Paterson NJ

Mrs Carter

W.94 * 

12 Aug-42 to Sep-44

First Officer

Margaret Helen 'Mardi' Gething

 margaret gepp 1939 

RAeC 1939

ata mardi gething 1945 1945

flag australia

née Gepp

b. 20 Dec 1920, Melbourne, Australia

 Mrs Gething from 1940

 d. 2005


12 Aug-42 to Feb-44

2nd Officer

Emily Chapin

 flag usa

b. 22 Nov 1912, Twin Falls ID

prev: File Supervisor for Standard Oil

d. 1978


19 Aug-42 to Feb-44

2nd Officer

Jane Winstone

jane winstone 1942 


flag nz

b. 24 Sep 1912, Wanganui NZ

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

d. Feb 1944 (Killed in ATA Service)

Jane Winstone

jane winstone

 b. 24 Sep 1912, Wanganui, NZ; mother Lena Storme Clapham, father Arthur, a chemist.

Jane had New Zealand Pilot's "A" (Private) Licence (No. 291) issued 14th August, 1931 and had completed 113 hours 40 minutes solo flying on D.H.60, D.H. 82, Miles Hawk, and Taylor Cub, but the license had expired in May 1939. She was working as her father's assistant at 10 Plunket Street, Wanganui in late 1941 when she contacted the ATA to see if they could offer her anything. The reply was somewhat guarded:

"It would appear from your previous experience that you would make a suitable ferry pilot, but we must advise you that any steps you may take to join this organisation are your own responsibility entirely and any expenses incurred in connection therewith must be borne by yourself."

It was then March 1942 when she wrote to Pauline Gower at 'Hadfield, England':

"Dear Madam,

I am writing to enquire whether there are any vacancies for a qualified pilot in your organisation. I am twenty seven years of age and very interested in flying, having my pilots' license with approximately 120 hours flying time.

If you consider that there are any opportunities for me, please advise me and also what steps it will be necessary for me to take."

She sent a note from her old instructor at the Western Federated Flying Club, Flt-Lt Ian Keith:

"I have known Miss Jane Winstone from approx. 1930 when she first commenced flying under my tuition. She proved a very apt pupil and went solo very quickly. From then on she practised continually and represented our Club (one of the largest in New Zealand) in open non handicap competitions for landings, against senior men pilots and was successful in attaining first place each time she competed thus winning the Pageant Cup for the Club.

Her flying has always been consistent and she has never caused the slightest trouble through breaches of regulations etc. She also displays a keen sense of responsibility and I have no hesitation in recommending her to anyone regarding her services in a flying capacity."

In July, the ATA also checked up with her friend Miss Trevor Hunter, another New Zealander who had joined them the previous November. She said that she'd be fine:"Jane is used to responsibility, and is a very stable character"

Jane travelled to the UK in July, clutching letters of introduction from none other than the Prime Minister of New Zealand and the Honourable W.J. Rogers, Mayor of Wanganui. Both letters "testify to her qualifications as a flyer and state that Miss Winstone was the third lady in New Zealand to qualify as a pilot."

She attended a flying test (and had her medical) on the 28th July. The report was encouraging; she "flew better than expected after a break of 2 years. Good hands; confident; capable of being trained for ferry duties."

You might think that, in the face of this overwhelming chorus of praise, the ATA would snap her up straight away. Not quite; they left her to cool her heels for a few weeks, until W.H. Sutcliffe from Rolls Royce tried to move things along:

jane winstone signature

"10th August 1942

Dear Mr McMillan,

I am writing to you on behalf of one of our test pilots Flt-Lt McKenzie, who has asked me if I could persuade you to hurry along the appointment of a Miss Jane Winstone whom you have already tested. Apparently she was engaged to his brother who unfortunately is missing on one of the recent raids. She has travelled all the way from NZ to join him, and it has come as a bitter blow to find him missing.

Apparently you cannot employ her as a pilot for another month, but could you find her a ground job in the meantime? She is brooding away the time in London with just nothing to do. Your help would be very much appreciated."

 It worked.  Jane started her training on the 19th August 1942.

Things did not go smoothly at first; "her flying was only moderate and she had considerable difficulty with navigation probably because of the big change in flying in England." She also had several breaks owing to illness - in fact, she was mostly off sick from the 23rd November 1942 to the 4th February 1943.

Things improved after that; she did 30 hours ferrying of Class 1 types, "working hard and showing common sense in the way she tackled her work" and then a further 56 hours ferrying of Class 1 and 2 types - Fairchild, Master II, Martinet, Hurricane, Swordfish, Auster, Proctor, Harvard, Lysander and Spitfire - where "all her work was steady and capable." She was promoted to 2nd Officer on the 25th August 1943.

spitfire ix

Sadly, she was killed on the 10th February 1944 as she took off in Spitfire IX MK616 from Cosford. The engine partially failed, picked up twice, then failed completely, and the aircraft stalled and spun into the ground 2 miles north of the airfield, in Tong, Shropshire.

She was buried on the 15th February at Maidenhead. In April, Trevor Hunter asked for some flowers to be placed on her grave but a year later Sqn-Ldr V. S. Howarth wrote to Cmdr Barbour at the ATA: "While on a recent visit to Maidenhead, I visited the grave of the late Jane Winstone, who was a very close friend of mine. I intended to photograph the grave so as to send prints to her parents in New Zealand, but was most grieved to find that the grave did not show any signs of the care and attention one would expect ... I might add that the graves of other ATA pilots in this particular cemetery were in a similar condition."

They agreed: "Unfortunately, the Cemetery which is owned by a Company, is not very well kept. The only staff is one aged gardener to help the Superintendent, and they cannot keep pace with the work. It is hoped that the Cemetery will be taken over by the Maidenhead Borough Council, and that would probably help matters."

[At the time, the cemetery was owned by The Maidenhead Cemetery Company; it was eventually taken over by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in the 1950s.]

Jane's fiancé, Angus Carr MacKenzie, was later officially assumed ‘lost at sea’.

After the war, Trevor Hunter took Winstone’s logbooks to Wanganui and gave them to Jane’s mother.


25 Aug-42 to Aug-45

3rd Officer

Pamela May Johnsen

pamela tulk-hart 1945 

RAeC 1945

pamela tulk-hart ATA 


flag england

b. 30 Oct 1918, Bromley Kent

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

prev: journalism

Transferred to Flight Ops 23 Aug 1943

Mrs Braddyl Tulk-Hart


1 Sep-42 to Apr-44

2nd Officer

Taniya Whittall

ATA Taniya Whittall 


flag england

b. 16 Jun 1919, Lindfield

Prev. Exp: 6 hrs solo

Mother: Nancy (Meates) Father: Francis Vaughn (dec'd); her only sister lived in America.

Member of the Civil Air Guard in pre-WWII, ATA in WWII.

Taniya first applied to the ATA on 21 Mar 1941:

“In response to your appeal for ferry pilots, I wish to volunteer. I joined the Civil Air Guard at Redhill Aerodrome Surrey in September 1938, and gained my ‘A’ licence in May 1939. I have done approximately 30 hours flying (6 hours solo) on D.H. Gypsy I. I am 21 years of age, physically fit, and after the Civil Air Guard was disbanded I worked for 6 months at Headquarters Fighter Command Special Duties Branch as a plotter. I should be very grateful if you would inform me whether there is any possibility of my being accepted for ferry pilot duties”

They said “Nope”:

“I am afraid your experience does not come up to the required standards”

So in Jan 1942 she joined the WRNS, as a staff car driver.

She persevered, however, and applied again in August 1942. One of her ‘referees’ gave her this ringing, if slightly weird, endorsement:

“I have known Taniya Whittall 7 years as her people are neighbours of ours. And I would say she was quite trustworthy and reliable if in a position of access to secret information. Rather more so than is normal, as she is not talkative and has a head on her shoulders.”

... in any case, her initial assessment was OK:

“8 Aug 1942 – Avro Tutor 25 min. Take off (1) Poor (2) Fair. General flying “good – she possesses air sense....  A very good average pilot. Smooth and accurate handling ... intelligent and very keen. She has plenty of confidence; in fact if she had any more she would definitely be over-confident.”

and she was accepted on the 16Sep 1942 as a Pilot Cadet, later being promoted to Third Officer in Jan 1943, and Second Officer in Jun 1943.

She did have a couple of accidents in 1943:

-          10 Sep 1943 in Spitfire XI EN341; undershot landing

-          24 Nov 1943 in Spitfire VIII JF895; heavy landing, followed by ground loop,

But when she was killed, it was as a passenger in a Lancaster I R5672 which crashed near Caistor at 17:00 on 8 Apr 1944.

Yorkshire Post, 12 Apr 1944: "WOMAN PILOT IN AIR CRASH ONE OF 9 KILLED From Our Own Correspondent GRIMSBY. Tuesday A verdict that she was killed accidentally in an aeroplane crash while travelling as a passenger was returned at Lincolnshire Inquest this afternoon on a woman ferry pilot, Second Officer Taniya Whittall (24), of the Air Transport Auxiliary, whose home was at Baskings, Selsfield, East Grinstead. Sussex.

She was one of nine people killed in an aeroplane which crashed near Caistor on Saturday. It was stated that she, with Wing Commander Campling and a Flight Engineer, boarded the machine at one Lincolnshire aerodrome to fly to another.

Gerald Richard Simpson, a student, said he saw the machine near Caistor flying at about 300 feet and losing height. The engines seemed to splutter and stop. There was an explosion and the machine crashed in flames. Squadron Leader James N. Ogilvie said the machine was completely wrecked and fragments scattered over wide area. He picked up A.T.A. cap, a powder compact, and a pilot's licence granted to the woman."

The compact and her wrist watch were salvaged, the rest destroyed. Taniya was not on duty at the time (it was her first day on leave), having delivered an aircraft the day before.

Taniya Whittall  With thanks to Bill Merry

She was buried at West Hoathly; her mother received a cheque for £2,500 from the insurance.

Her mother said “ She loved her job, and was never so happy as when she was at it.”

13 Sep-42 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

(Senior Driver)

Evelyn Blanche Longmore

eve longmore 1931 

RAeC 1931

flag england

b. 22 Feb 1913, Southampton

Also had Gliding Licences AB&C

prev: Officer I/C Ambulance Section


16 Sep-42 to May-45

First Officer

Mrs Molly Daphne Rose

 molly rose ATA


flag england

née Marshall

b. 26 Nov 1920, Cambridge

prev: Flight Engineer

Mrs Rose from 1939

 - No RAeC certificate pre-war -

d. 2016


16 Sep-42 to Aug-45

2nd Officer

Elizabeth Anderson MacDougall

elizabeth macdougall 1937 

RAeC 1937

W101 Macdougall Elizabeth 


flag UK

b. 6 Mar 1915, Singapore

Mrs Evans

d. 1988, Stroud


16 Sep-42 to Mar-43

3rd Officer

 Mrs Joy Dorothy Lilian 'Jane' Davies

Not in 'Forgotten Pilots'

joy pond 1938 

RAeC 1938

joy davey ATA 


née Pond

b. 12 Feb 1916, Cambridge

prev: Secretarial/Clerical, Marshalls of Cambridge

prev exp: 11hrs 10min solo

Mrs Davey from 1940 [widowed - RAF F/O (pilot instructor) Renford Davey d. 9 May 1941]

Mrs Davies from 1942

exp in ATA:

Magister: 100hrs 40min;

Hart: 11hrs 50min;

Fairchild: 14hrs 05min;

Tutor: 1 hr.

[Resigned 11 Mar-43]

d. Dec 2008


23 Sep-42 to Feb-44

2nd Officer

Mrs Daphne Elizabeth Hanson-Lester

 daphne abrams 1935 

RAeC 1935

ATA Dorothy Hanson-Lester 


flag england

née Abrams

b. 11 Mar 1916, Plymouth

prev: Secretary

Mrs Robinson


daphne hanson lester 2016 11 Mar 2016

d. 18 Aug 2017


7 Oct-42 to Oct-45

First Officer

Diana Patricia Margaret Hutchinson Smith

flag england

b. 15 Apr 1920, Codsall Staffs

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

prev: Farm Worker

Mrs Clover from 1957

d. 1975

19 Oct-42 to Apr-44

2nd Officer/

Nursing Sister

Kathleen Mary Vickery

kathleen vickery 1942 


flag england

b. 13 Jun 1912, Wellington, Somerset

Mrs Kershaw from Jan 1944

d. 3 Apr 1944 (Killed in ATA Service) - with Douglas Fairweather (q.v.)

 W.103 *

1 Nov-42 to Apr-43

3rd Officer

Betty Lussier

 betty lussier ata

 flag usa

 b. Dec 1921, Alberta Canada (to American parents)


Later a member of OSS - X2 counter-espionage unit.


Amid my Alien Corn (1957);

'One Woman Farm (1959);

Betty Lussier's Secret War (2010)


25 Nov-42 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Margaret Olive 'Maggie' Frost

 margaret frost 1942 


flag england

b. 26 Nov 1920

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

(solo 1 Aug 1939)

prev: May-41 WRNS, HMS Forward


12 Jan-43 to Dec-45

Shorthand Typist

Mrs Doris May Crownshaw

doris crownshaw ata


flag england

b. 5 Aug 1910, Hampshire

d. Apr 2005

27 Jan-43 to 23 Mar-43


Ginette Marie Hélène Jullian

 ginette jullian

flag france b. 8 Dec 1917, Montpellier France

Not really an aviator at all (parachuting out of a perfectly good aeroplane in 1944 doesn't count), Ginette failed the training course for the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) in 1943, but went on to become an S.O.E. secret agent, 'Adele'.

father George, formerly in a shipping firm; mother Yvonne Lozes. Married at age 16 (one son), divorced.

pi01 475

She travelled to England in 1940 'to be with her fiancé', but he (Philippe de Scitivaux - an aviator in the Free French Air Force) was shot down and taken prisoner in April 1942. He was then sent to Oflag XXI-B in Poland, so she must have been at rather a loose end.

She spent the first 3 months of 1943 training with the ATA (although no record of her flying, or of what her instructors thought of it, survives), then immediately applied to SOE to be trained as an 'agent in the field'. 

She was initially told she would not be needed, so then went off to the B.C.R.A. (which was the French Intelligence Service set up by de Gaulle while in the UK) for 8 months.

By early 1944 she was back with the S.O.E.; they found that she had good morse (16 wpm, apparently), and was "Keen on silent killing and has a fair working knowledge." [Presumably this was thanks to her BCRA training, as I don't think the ATA syllabus covered 'silent killing'.]

SOE wrote that she was "very keen and enthusiastic about her job. Lived in Algeria where she was married. Often talks about North Africa which she knows well. Her character is mentally stable. She is a quiet type of girl, rather on the shy side but is determined and obstinate".

She parachuted into occupied France on the 7th June, 1944 to be a W/T operator, but soon discovered that all the people she was supposed to contact were nowhere to be found. However, she found some others and they spent 3 months generally harrassing and sabotaging the Germans. After that she didn't want to return to the UK; re-united with Philippe, they married and moved to Tahiti. 


She drowned there in 1962 while scuba-diving; Philippe, by then a Vice Admiral, died in Toulon in 1986.

[with thanks to Justin Davis]


17 Feb-43 to Oct-45

First Officer

 Freydis Mary Leaf

Freydis Leaf 1939

RAeC 1939

flag england

b. 22 Sep 1920, Cambridge

prev: Mobile VAD, RAMC

Mrs Sharland from 1955

d. 2014

27 Mar-43 to 7 May-43


Muriel Joan Gripton


flag england

b. 6 Jul 1921, West Bromwich

prev: Telephonist/Receptionist

prev exp: 20min

[Contract Terminated by ATA - 'unsuitable']

27 Mar-43 to 3 Jul-43


Mrs Jeannette Ann Wilkes

flag england

née McCombie

b. 18 Jan 1919, Paddington

RAeC Cert: 19540, 14 Aug 1939

prev: M/T Driver for M.A.P.

prev exp: 3hrs 15min

3 Jun-43: Hart; landing accident - a/c cartwheeled & nosed over.

[Contract Terminated by ATA -'inefficiency']


31 Mar-43 to Oct-45

First Officer

Jane Graham Plant

jane plant ATA 


 b. 25 Jul 1922, New York

prev: pilot

Mrs Spencer


5 Apr-43 to Jul-45

First Officer

 Violet Beatrice Milstead

 ATA Vi Milstead

Canadas Aviation Hall of Fame

 flag canada

b . 17 Oct 1919, Toronto, Canada

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

Mrs Warren from 1946

d. 2014


5 Apr-43 to Oct-44

2nd Officer

Marion Alice Orr

 W112 Orr Marion 


flag canada

née Powell

b. 25 June 1918, Toronto, Canada

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

Mrs Orr from 1942

d. 4 April 1995


19 Apr-43 to Jul 45

Flight Engineer

Alice Barbara McMurray

alice mcmurray ATA 


flag scotland

b. 19 Jul 1922, Bearsden, Glasgow

prev: fitter, Handley Page Ltd

Mrs Thomas from Jun-45


1 May-43 to Oct-45

2nd Officer

Irene Joy Ferguson

irene ferguson 1939 

RAeC 1939

W113 Ferguson Irene 


flag NI b. 30 Oct 1915, Lurgan, Co. Armargh

prev: Electrical Showroom Attendant, then a Technical Civil Servant in the Ministry of Aircraft Production (MAP)

Address in 1943: Langham House, 89 Hide Rd, Harrow


Mr Jonathan Ferguson from 1958

The Times, Saturday, Jan 11, 1958:

"FERGUSON - The register containing particulars of the birth of Irene Joy Ferguson, of Holden Rd, London, N.12, has been corrected to read 'male' instead of 'female' and 'Jonathan' instead of 'Irene Joy'. (Signed) Jonathan Ferguson."

and on Jan 13:

"Change of sex by woman pilot

Ministry Employee

Miss Irene Joy Ferguson, a wartime ferry pilot now employed by the Ministry of Supply, stated at the weekend that she had undergone a change of sex and would in future be known as Jonathan Ferguson. The register containing particulars of birth have been amended.

Mr. Ferguson, of Holden Rd, North Finchley, Middlesex, is aged 40. He joined the Ministry of Supply in 1941 and is a chief experimental officer employed on aircraft research and development. It is understood that the alteration to the birth certificate will not affect his employment in the Ministry.

From May 1943 to October 1945 he - as a woman - was a ferry pilot in the Air Transport Auxiliary and held a commission for five years after the war in the W.R.A.F.V.R. (flying list).

Mr Ferguson flew about 1,000 hours as a ferry pilot and after the war became - still as a woman - adviser to the air section of the Girl Guides Association."


d 31 May 1974  - Bracknell, Berks


1 May-43 to May-45

2nd Officer

Marigold Deane-Drummond

marigold drummond 1939 

RAeC 1939

flag england

b. 13 Aug 1919, Upton-on-Severn

Mrs Rowland from 1944

Mrs Saville from 1955

d. 2003


1 May-43 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Mrs Joan Edwina Francis Mullineaux

 joan lee 1939

RAeC 1939

jean mullineaux 1943


flag england

née Lee

b. 27 Dec 1916, St. Annes-on-Sea Lancs

prev: Driver, WAAF

Mrs Mullineaux from 1942

Mrs Smyth from 1948

d. 1971


1 May-43 to Apr-45

3rd Officer

Lesley Cairns Murray

ATA Lesley Murray

Lesley Cairns Murray 1939

in 1939

Lesley Cairns Murray

lesley murray signature

flag scotland

b. 22 Jan 1917, Edinburgh

Prev. Exp: 6 hrs solo

d. Apr 1945 (Killed in ATA Service)

b. 22 Jan 1917 in Edinburgh

Having learnt to fly under the Civil Air Guard scheme in 1939, Lesley first applied for the ATA in March 1941:

“Dear Madam,

Mrs Clayton suggested that I should write to you for information with regard to the possibility of joining the ATA.

I am enclosing my pilot’s log book from which you will see that I have not had very much experience [she had 6 hours solo]. This is due to the fact that I started flying under the CAG Scheme, and had to have my lessons at the weekends whenever possible, or on occasional evenings after work. Civilian flying was stopped very shortly after I got my A Licence. My log book seems to be complete with the exception of one trip, dual, to Le Bourget, France, and an hour’s landing practice, solo, on about the last flying day before the war.

I know that it is impossible to judge future possibilities on such limited experience, but my instructor at Horton Kirby Flying Club seemed quite confident that I would make a good pilot, and suggested that I should take an instructor’s Licence with a view to teaching there.

I would be most obliged if you would keep my log book and licence until such time as you think it possible for me to have a test or an interview.”

It proved to be a long wait. Meanwhile, she joined the Volunteer Ambulance Corps, continued to send letters asking to join the ATA, and continued to get rejection letters back.

Finally, two years later in March 1943, she got an interview with Pauline Gower, and went for her flying test. It’s a wonder she could remember anything at all about flying an aeroplane, but she scraped through somehow:

“A highly educated girl but appeared nervous during the examination [blimey, there's a surprise]. Somewhat under confident but careful.”

On the 22nd May 1943, she finally got her long-awaited call-up to the ATA, and grabbed the chance with both hands. Her final training report in July 1944 says this:

“This pilot promises to become a ferry pilot of high order. She tackles all her work with quiet confidence and it is difficult to believe that she had so little experience prior to joining ATA. Her discipline and appearance are both excellent and she will be an asset to any Pool she joins.”

Sadly, she was killed within a year; on the 20 April 1945, her Hudson V AM854 got out of control and spun into the ground near Popes Field, Taplow, Berks. Cadet Geoffrey Bernard Regan also died with her.

1 May-43 to 29 Jul-43


Dorothy Joyce Forbes


flag scotland

b. 15 Nov 1915, Dundee

prev: Welfare Supervisor

prev exp: 3hrs

 [Contract Terminated by ATA]


6 May-43 to Sep-44

3rd Officer

Mrs Daphne Alice Burnside

Not in 'Forgotten Pilots'

flag england

née Gaurdon?

b. 19 Mar 1918, London

prev: Civilian Driver, French Diplomatic Corps

prev exp: 4hrs 30min inc. Palestine, Egypt

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;

Fulmar: 50min;

Master: 4hrs 10min;

Miles Falcon: 1hr 05min;

Mustang: 1hr 10min;

Proctor: 1hr 25min.


18 May-43 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Ida Laura Veldhuyzen Van Zanten

ida van zanten 1938 

RAeC 1938

flag holland

 b. 22 Jun 1911, Hillegom, Holland

She was decorated in Holland in 1948 with the 'Vliegerskruis' (DFC) and other medals

 d. 2000

18 May-43 to 17 Aug-43


Thelma Olga Leith

flag scotland

b. 14 Mar 1916 Toronto

prev: ATS Subaltern

prev exp: 28hrs


25 May-43 to Apr-45

3rd Officer

Mrs Daphne Alfreda Miller

flag england

b. 18 Jun 1919, Ramsgate

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

Mrs Rumball from 1945


1 Jun-43 to Sep-44

3rd Officer

Joan Cunnington

flag england

 b. 22 Jan 1922, London

  prev: Secretary, ATA


1 Jun-43 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Eleanor Dorothy Fish

dorothy fish ATA 


flag england

b. 15 Oct 1917, Nottingham

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

prev: Architectural Asst, ATA

Mrs Wadsworth from Sep 1945


1 Jun-43 to Oct-45

2nd Officer

Mrs Irene Mary Ellis Wilson


 flag UK

née Ellis-Jones

b. 22 May 1919, Madras India



1 Jun-43 to Aug-45

3rd Officer

Mary Elizabeth 'Anne' Powys

mary powys 1945 

RAeC 1945

flag england

b. 12 Nov 1921, London

 - No RAeC certificate pre-war -

1 Jun-43 to 22 Jul-43


Betty Olive Whittington


flag england

b. 24 Jul 1916, Sutton Surrey

prev: ATA Clerk; Driver (Jun-42); Catering

[ab initio]


Mrs May

7 Jun-43

Accounts Clerk

Joan Isobel Ismay

joan ismay ata 


flag england

b. 21 Jan 1924, Wallsend Northumberland

Starting Salary: £3.0.0 a week

d. 1994


7 Jun-43 to Apr-45

3rd Officer

Mrs Rosemary Theodora Hamilton MacLeod

rosemary wills 1936 

RAeC 1936

flag england

 née Wills

b. 15 Mar 1913, London

Mrs MacLeod from 1938

prev: Personal Asst to Dir. Fighter Ops

d. 1994


14 Jun-43 to Feb-45

3rd Officer

Mrs Kathleen Marjorie Lester


flag england

née Haylock

b. 9 Jul 1915, Nottingham

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

prev: ATS Convoy Driver


14 Jun-43 to Oct-45

3rd Officer

Mrs Barbara Pentronella Bowyer


b. 19 Sep 1917, Johannesburg SA

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

changed name to Cripps Jan-45


1 Jul-43 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Stella Joyce Petersen

stella petersen 1939 

RAeC 1939

W126 Petersen Stella 


flag england

 b. 12 Oct 1918, London

Mrs Edwards

lives in Vancouver


12 Jul-43 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Mrs Eirene Rosemary Banister

eirene whittow 1939 

RAeC 1939

flag england

 née Whittow

b. 20 Jul 1919, Budleigh Salterton

Mrs Banister from 1940


26 Jul-43 to Oct-45

2nd Officer

Cecile Eva Rosales Power 

 cecile power 1939

RAeC 1939

cecile power 1943


 flag UK

b. 26 May 1920, Mhow, India

prev: FANY

prev exp: 4hrs 45min

Mrs Moger from 1948

d. 1991

22 Jul 1943 to Mar-44

Flight Engineer/3rd Officer

Janice Margaret Harrington

ata janice harrington 2

flag UK b. 28 Nov 1920, Singapore

Address in 1943: Red Arches, Thicket Rd, Maidenhead; her parents Arthur George and Xenia Ivy Vivian (nee Brandon)) lived at 'The Orchard', Putnoe Lane, Bedford.

Janice attended Bedford High School until age 18, and then Gloucester Training College before becoming a teacher of Domestic Science at the Silver Jubilee School in Bedford. She played lacrosse for the 1st XII at school and college.

When she applied to the ATA she included this reference, from her previous headmistress (K. M. Westaway M.A. D.Litt),:

"I have pleasure in stating that Janice Harrington was a pupil at this School from 1928 to 1939. She took her Cambridge School Certificate in 1937 with credits in English, Scripture, History, Mathematics, Chemistry and Art. She then went into the Sixth Form and took a course of Natural Science together with some Domestic Science. Her work was of a good standard throughout her time here, especially that concerned with Science and Art.

In her last year she was a School Prefect and a House Prefect and she became quite a leader in many ways. She was always original, ingenious and enterprising and contributed enormously both in time and energy when School activities required her undoubted artistic gifts.

She has good presence and very nice manners, and she has a great capacity for hard work."

However, it took a while before the ATA was ready to take her on, partly due to her needing a 'green card'. In the meantime, her career as a teacher had stalled due to 'her failure to get on with a rather acid headmistress', and she had become an aircraft fitter.

She applied in April 1943. She was, she said, 5 ft 3½, healthy and had no defects; she had received some dual instruction, and wanted to become a pilot.

However, it was as a Flight Engineer that she was finally taken on, in July 1943; the ATA had a minimum height limit of 5ft 5 for pilots. She was one of only four women Flight Engineers in the ATA.

Her instructors' comments were outstandingly good - "this girl is very keen, intelligent and enthusiastic about her work, and will make a very competent Flt Engineer... She has a thorough knowledge of the Halifax and is quite capable of carrying out the duties of Flight Engineer on this aircraft ... Discipline has been excellent."

Lettice Curtis says "perhaps one remembers her most for being unusually decorative - so much so, in fact, that in 1943 her portrait hung in the Royal Academy Exhibition, painted by Harold Speed who, it was said at the time, considered her one of the most beautiful girls he had ever met."

d. 2 Mar 1944 (Killed in ATA Service) with Dora Lang (q.v.), in Mosquito VI HP932, which crashed on approach to Lasham.

220px-613 Squadron Mosquito FB.VI at RAF Lasham June 1944


"Whilst approaching to land the aircraft appeared to undershoot slightly, the throttles were opened gently and then fully, whereupon the aircraft climbed sharply 100 feet, stalled, crashed and was destroyed.

Insufficient evidence to determine the cause, but it is clear that upon the application of full power the pilot failed to get the stick forward quickly enough to prevent the nose of the aircraft rising.

Insufficient evidence to determine responsibility."


"Dear Mr Harrington,

With the deepest regret I have to inform you the sad news conveyed to you last night regarding the fatal accident to your daughter, which occurred yesterday afternoon, and in which the pilot of the aircraft was also killed.

It is appreciated that this must be a very severe blow to you and your family, and the sincere sympathy of all her friends in the Air Transport Auxiliary goes out to you in your bereavement. Your daughter was very well liked by everyone who knew her and her death is a great loss to this organisation."

 "Dear Miss Gower,

It was most kind of you to send a personal note to us about dear little Janice. I can assure you we are proud indeed to be the parents of a girl who gave up her safe profession as a domestic science teacher for the dangerous one, and only regret she was not spared longer to serve the noble cause you represent."


9 Aug-43 to Sep-45

2nd Officer

Mrs Sylvia Isabel Edwards

sylvia freshwater 1945 

RAeC 1945

flag england

née Nanias

b. 6 May 1919, London

 - No RAeC certificate pre-war -


Mrs Freshwater from 1946

18 Aug-43 to 9 Dec-43


Maria Hrynakowska


flag russia -> flag poland

b. 22 Jul 1909, Smila Russia

prev: Polish ATS

[Contract Terminated by ATA]


23 Aug-43 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Ruth Helen Kerly

ruth kerly 1938 

RAeC 1938

 flag england

b. 6 Jan 1916, Putney

[Certificate of Commendation, 1944]

Mrs Clark from 1947

d. 1992


 27 Aug-43 to Oct-45

2nd Officer

Zita Paddon

zita paddon ata 


zita paddon 1946

RAeC 1946

flag england

b. 22 Apr 1913, Hampstead

 - No RAeC certificate pre-war -

prev: WAAF Cypher Officer

27 Aug-43 to 13 Nov-43


Daphne Goodman


flag england

b. 1 Mar 1922, Surbiton

prev: Civil Servant, Ordnance Survey

[ab initio]

[Contract Terminated by ATA]

30 Aug-43 to 26 Jan-44


Mrs Edith Elizabeth 'Marie' Furkert

marie furkert ATA 


flag nz

née Power-Collins

b. 20 Dec 1913, Wellington, NZ

 NZ 'A' Licence 1933

prev: Office Assistant

Mrs Furkert from 1935


6 Sep-43 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Zoe Elise Jenner

zoe jenner 1945 

RAeC 1945

flag england

b. 10 Jul 1922, Ealing

 - No RAeC certificate pre-war -

prev: MTC Co. Cadet Officer

engaged Thompson 1944


6 Sep-43 to Jun-45

3rd Officer

Mrs Yvonne Wheatley

 yvonne wheatley ata


flag england

née Gough (Joy's sister, see above)

b. 19 Sep 1921, South Cerney Glos

[ab initio]

Mrs Wheatley from 1942

Mrs MacDonald from 1945


6 Sep-43 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Audrey Joan Morgan

 audrey morgan in 1946 


flag england

b. 17 Oct 1920, Wolverhampton

prev: Draughtswoman


10 Sep-43 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Mrs Margaret Joan Ratliff

 ata margaret boone 1945

flag england -> flag usa née Clare, b. 25 Mar 1917, London

Resident Oklahoma


prev. exp: 157 hrs in USA

divorced from Mr Ratliff USA

engaged to a Mr Ashley 1944

m. Walker Lee Boone Sep 1945



20 Sep-43 to Aug-45

3rd Officer

Maureen Elizabeth Shiel

maureen shiel ATA


flag england

b. 14 Mar 1920, London

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

prev: Stenographer with ATA

[Certificate of Commendation, 1945]


 20 Sep-43 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Edith Beaumont

edith beaumont 1945 

RAeC 1945

flag switzerland  - flag germany

b. 24 Aug 1917, Berne, Switzerland

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -


25 Sep-43 to Oct-45

2nd Officer

Margaret Elspeth Russell

margaret russell 1945 

RAeC 1945

flag canada

b. 14 Jul 1922, Montreal, Canada

 - No RAeC certificate pre-war -

Oct-43 to Jun-44


 Ruth Obermer


b. 26 Jul 1924

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -


18 Oct-43 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Sylvia Mary Guthrie

sylvia guthrie ATA 


sylvia guthrie 1945 

RAeC 1945

flag england

b. 9 Jun 1921, Thornton Heath Surrey

 - No RAeC certificate pre-war -

prev: Feb-41 VAD (RAF)

Mrs Cunningham


18 Oct-43 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Monique Agazarian

 ATA Monique Agazarian 


 flag england

b. 17 Jul 1920, Carshalton Surrey

prev: Apr-41 VAD

d. Mar 1993

18 Oct-43 to 31 Dec-43


Eleanor Lind


flag england

b. 20 Apr 1922, London

father Danish

prev: St Hilda's College Oxford;

Progress Chaser, Vickers-Armstrong

[ab initio]

[Contract Terminated by ATA]

18 Oct-43 to 31 Dec-43


Joan Hilda Pardoe

flag england

b. 20 Dec 1922, Macclesfield

prev: Shorthand Typist, M.A.P.

[ab initio]

[Contract Terminated by ATA]

Oct-43 to Apr-44

Flt Engineer

Mrs Phyllis Olive Pierce

 b. 6 Jun 1918


1 Nov-43 to Jun-45

3rd Officer

Ethel Elizabeth Sharpe

flag england

b. 5 May 1922, Worcester

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

prev: student

1 Nov-43 to 2 May-44


Maisie Evelyn Montgomery Impey

maisie impey 1939 

RAeC 1939

maisie impey ata 


flag england

b. 4 Oct 1914, London

prev: FANY, driver attached to Polish Forces

prev exp: 6hrs

[ab initio]



15 Nov-43 to Aug-45

3rd Officer

Mrs Jean Alston Mcpherson


flag UK

b. 22 May 1921, San Francisco USA

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

prev: Driver for US Army

Mrs Lovell-Pank from May 1945

d. 1994


29 Nov-43 to Feb-45

3rd Officer

Sophie Evelyn Veisa Mara Hennings


flag UK

b. 16 May 1915, Navabatu, Vanua Balavu Fiji

prev: M.T. Driver

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -


30 Nov-43 to Nov-44

3rd Officer

Aline Helen Rhonie

 Aline Rhonie Hofheimer


flag usa

née Hofheimer

b. 16 Aug 1909, York PA

Mrs Bamberger 1928-30

Mrs Brooks 1930-37

prev exp: 2,713 hrs

prev: portrait and landscape painter; Frsco[sic] Mural Artist;

aline muralpart

part of Aline's 38m 'Aviation History' mural

Flt Ldr in USAAF Ferry Command, Sep 42- Jan 43.

ATA: "Her flying was slow and not dependable"

[Contract Terminated by ATA - disciplinary]

d. 7 Jan 1963


6 Dec-43 to May-45

3rd Officer

June Constance Howden

 june howden haddenham


flag nz

 b. 2 Jul 1918, Pukekohe NZ

Mrs Gummer


28 Dec-43 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Rita Pauline Baines

 rita baines 1945 

RAeC 1945

flag england

 b. 13 Nov 1921, Stoke-on-Trent

prev: AID Examiner

Mrs Colby from 1946

Mrs Johnson from 1949

d. 2007, Newcastle Staffs


28 Dec-43 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

 Joyce 'Joy' Gough

joy gough ATA 


flag england

b. 14 Feb 1923, Stratton Cirencester

(Yvonne's sister, see below)

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

prev: Cashier, Lloyds Bank

Mrs. Hartman from 1945

Mrs. Lofthouse from 1971


d. 15 Nov 2017


24 Jan-44


Mavis Agnes Kennard Davis

flag england

b. 13 Feb 1917, Tenterden Kent

prev: secretary, Foreign Office

[Contract Terminated by ATA]

24 Jan-44 to 22 Jun-44


Jill Elizabeth Hoar

flag england

b. 20 Jan 1922, London

prev: Aircraft Fitter with ATA

[Contract Terminated by ATA]

24 Jan-44 to 4 Apr-44


Hilda Mary Stroud

flag england

b. 13 Jun 1920, London

prev: Chemist, Fuel Research Station

Accident in Magister, 31 Mar: heavy landing, damaged stbd wing & port U/C leg

[Contract Terminated by ATA]

29 Jan-44 to 22 Mar-44


Sylvia Cyphus

flag england

b. 27 Oct 1920, Gt Rissington Glos

prev: Telephonist, GPO

[Contract Terminated by ATA]

29 Jan-44 to 7 Apr-44


Hilda Edmiston Scarth

 hilda scarth ata 


flag scotland

b. 19 Apr 1921, Dunoon

prev: Technical Asst, Ministry of Supply


1 Feb-44 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Barbara Lilian Lankshear

babara lankshear 1945 

RAeC 1945

flag england

b. 13 Oct 1917, Manchester

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -


7 Feb-44 to Oct-45

First Officer

Mrs Rosamund King Everard-Steenkamp

rosamund everard-steenkamp 1944 



née Everard

b. 22 Jul 1912, Carolina, SA

S.A.A.F. Aug 1940 - Jan 1942

prev. exp: 2,000 hrs

d. Mar 1946

10 Feb-44

Filing Clerk

Olive Marie Gill

olive gill ata

flag england

b. 23 Oct 1902, London

B.A. (Hons) Oxon

 [St Hilda's College, Oxford]


21 Feb-44 to Apr-45

3rd Officer

Joyce Ann Fenwick

W152 Fenwick Joyce 


b. 3 Mar 1918

 - no RAeC certificate pre-war -

Mrs Tharp to 1951

Mrs Few from 1955

d. 1973


21 Feb-44 to Apr-45

3rd Officer

Winifred Stokes

winifred stokes 1945 

RAeC 1945

flag england

b. 27 Sep 1918, Benwick Cambs

 - No RAeC certificate pre-war -


21 Feb-44 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Suzanne Palmer Chapman

W154 Chapman Suzanne 


suzanne chapman 1945 

RAeC 1945

Suzanne Chapman 1952 0187 0023


flag wales

b. 8 Dec 1918, Swansea

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

Mrs Hart

d. Feb 2011


21 Feb-44 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Mrs Rosemary Leslie Bonnett

rosemary bonnett 1945 

RAeC 1945

flag england

née Bell

b. 1 Oct 1918, Bristol

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

Mrs Bonnett from 1942

Mrs Towers from 1949

d. Jan 1989, Malvern


21 Feb-44 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Mrs Yvonne Margaret B 'Peggy' Eveleigh

W157 Eveleigh Yvonne 


yvonne eveleigh 1945 

RAeC 1945

flag england

née Lucas

b. 18 Aug 1917, London

Mrs Eveleigh from 1939 [Husband Derek Ernest Eveleigh d. 22 Apr 1940, in the ATA's first fatal aircraft accident.]


21 Feb-44 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Diana Faunethorpe

flag england

b. 2 Mar 1920, Weymouth

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -


21 Feb-44 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Patricia Mary Provis

 ATA Pat Provis


b. 20 May 1923, Beckenham Kent

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

 prev: WAAF

Mrs Maslen Jones


21 Feb-44 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Miss Marjorie 'June' Farquhar

marjorie farquhar 1945 

RAeC 1945

flag england

b. 28 Jul 1921, London

prev: VAD, Oct-41 WAAF


 Mrs Cole from 1946, as reported by the Bucks Herald on 14 June;


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 week end riding, and it was then that Capt. Farquhar became known as the fairly 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."


d. 13 Sep 2017


21 Feb-44 to Apr-45

3rd Officer

Frances Mary Rudge

 frances rudge ATA 


flag canada

b. 25 Dec 1914, Hamilton Ontario

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

prev: WAAF Secretary

[ab initio]

exp in ATA:

Magister: 103hrs 45min;

Proctor: 38hrs 50min;

Fairchild: 34hrs 55min;

Moth: 12hrs 40min;

Auster: 6hrs 05min;

Swordfish: 3hrs.

Mrs Horsburgh


21 Feb-44 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Ruth Mary Hornsby Russell

 ruth russell ATA 


flag england

b. 20 Nov 1920, Gravesend Kent

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

prev: WAAF Meterorologist

24 Feb-44 to 1 Jul-44


Mary Emily King

mary king ata 


flag england

b. 4 Mar 1917, London

prev: British Institue of Adult Education;

Foreign Office;


 [ab initio]

[Contract Terminated by ATA]

28 Feb-44 to Sep-45


Mrs Joan Ursula Newnham Farquharson

joan farquharson 1946 

RAeC 1946

flag england

née Rees

b.28 May 1915, Newquay Cornwall

prev: Chaufeusse;Timekeeper, Air Training Ltd.

Mostly based No 8 F.P.P Belfast

'A very able M.T. Driver'


3 Apr-44 to Jun-45

3rd Officer

Mrs Sheila Garrett

 ATA Sheila Garrett 


flag usa -> flag UK

Née Wilcoxon

b. 18 Nov 1916, Marionville, MO, USA

British by Marriage Jun 1936

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

prev: Flying Instructress

"Sheila Garrett was a very close friend of my mother’s. After the war she had a long-term on and off relationship with author Robert Ruark (Something of Value). She used to come and stay with us at our home in Mexico City for long periods, sometimes with and sometimes without Robert.

On one occasion she arrived by taxi in the middle of the night, having totally destroyed her beautiful white Chrysler 300 by hitting a rock (at about 100mph, according to her) somewhere on the highway driving down from the US. I believe the rock survived!

 My mother used to stay at her flat in London on her visits. I knew her very well; she was very tall and absolutely gorgeous!"


8 May-44 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Katharine Mary Stanley Smith

W162 Smith Katharine 


katherine hirsh 1945 

RAeC 1945

flag england

b. 1 Sep 1919, Croydon

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

Mrs Hirsch from 1945


8 May-44 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Susan Mary Aurea Alexander


 flag england

b. 20 Apr 1920, Horncastle Lincs

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

prev: WAAF

d. 2000


8 May-44 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Annette Elizabeth Mahon


flag eire

 b. 21 Oct 1918, Dublin

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

Mrs Hill from 1947

d. 2013


8 May-44 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Joan Henrietta Arthur

joan arthur 1945 

RAeC 1945

flag england

b. 5 Aug 1919, Ealing

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -


8 May-44 to Aug-45

3rd Officer

Eleanor Betty Keith Jopp

eleanor keith jopp ATA 


flag england

b. 1 Apr 1920, Bristol

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

prev: secretary BOAC, WAAF

Mrs Huggett from 1948


8 May-44 to Sep-45

3rd Officer

Mrs Aimee de Neve

aimee de neve 1945 

RAeC 1945

 flag UK

b. Aime Gholdstein Jonklaas, 19 Aug 1919 Gampola Ceylon

- No RAeC certificate pre-war -

Mrs Helen from 1945

Mrs Williams from 1966

d. 2000

from http://www.sundaytimes.lk/000820/plus5.html

In July this year, Aime Jonklaas Williams, a woman of Ceylonese birth, died in Spain, just short of her 81st birthday. Her ashes were interred in an English village on July 20. Early in August, in another Sri Lankan newspaper, a close friend using the pseudonym "City Dweller" wrote a moving tribute in celebration of the life of this remarkable woman.

Aime Gholdstein Jonklaas, born on August 19, 1919, was the youngest child of E.G. Jonklaas, a proctor of Gampola, and his wife Amelia (ne Daniel). Her siblings were Ernest, Ninette and Cecil. After early schooling at a convent in South India, Aimee completed her formal education, then went to the United Kingdom. It was here, during World War II that Aime joined the Royal Air Force (RAF), a move that would have a profound effect on her life.

"City Dweller" enumerated the many qualities that Aimee possessed. She was a clever and "fast" cook, always leaving behind a fastidiously clean kitchen. A graceful dancer, Ms. Jonklaas's aim was to live life at the optimum. According to the anonymous writer, "Man, woman or child, Aimee made time for them, and if she met a person for the first time her enthusiasm for life left a stranger breathless. Intelligence, bounding energy, beauty and charm were Aime."

One of Aime's great loves was the Yala wild life sanctuary. During the Fifties and Sixties, she organised jungle trips for herself and her friends, attending to all the minute details with slick efficiency. They would camp in tents, usually beside a river, for days at a time. In the true spirit of outdoor adventure, Aime and her companions washed their clothes and bathed in the river, cooked meals over firewood, and sat patiently for hours in trees and hideouts waiting to observe the abundant wildlife.

Describing Aime's vibrant, energetic character, "City Dweller" did not disclose, but only hinted at, her claim to fame: a career as arguably Ceylon's only female military pilot during the Second World War.

It began when, as a member of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) in Britain, Aime met and married a Belgian Squadron Leader of the Netherlands Air Force named Gilles de Neve. Sadly, only a few days after their wedding, de Neve was shot down and killed, leaving Aimee a young war-widow.

Enlisting in the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) of the WAAF, Aime became a pilot herself. Although women were not permitted to fly combat missions, ATA pilots like Aime played a vital role ferrying warplanes from factories and maintenance units to RAF squadrons all over the British Isles.

Remarkably, the women flew these aircraft all by themselves, and the types of aeroplanes they operated would vary from day to day.

Aime Jonklaas de Neve learnt to fly in small planes, then graduated to the Harvard, an American trainer. She described it as "Very exciting! The Harvard felt so powerful after all the light aircraft and Marks (her instructor) liked to give me quite frightening shocks to make sure I was awake!"

Then, echoing the sentiments of thousands before and after, she was exhilarated when her turn came to fly a Spitfire solo for the first time: "My first Spitfire flight was unbelievable! This beautiful aircraft was actually all mine for a brief time. I was rather worried when I had to do several circuits, as a RAF aircraft had done a belly landing, and I had all the red flares, etc. thrown at me".

In 1945, Aimee de Neve left the air force and married again. Her second husband was a Norwegian naval officer, Jan Helen, a native of Bergen. Living in Norway, they had three children, Teeny, Erik and Jan Ernest, born in 1946, 1949 and 1953 respectively. Their children are now all married and domiciled in England, Norway and the United States.

Aime kept her hand in as a flying instructor in Norway, much to the initial consternation of her students, to whom a female instructor was a rarity.

Much later, after her second marriage ended in divorce, Aime met Mark Williams in Sri Lanka. They were married in a small ceremony at South Kensington, London.

During her latter years, Aime Jonklaas Williams lived a life of quiet retirement in Brighton, England. Despite failing health, she maintained regular contact with her many friends and relatives scattered all over the globe.

With her passing, the final chapter has closed on one of Sri Lanka's unsung heroines. A woman who, contrary to the norms and conventions of her gender, made a sterling contribution to the Allied cause during the dark and dangerous days of World War Two.

8 May-44 to 10 Jun-44


Helen Riddell Clark

 helen clark ata 


flag scotland

b. 6 Sep 1917, Selkirk

prev: Meteorologist

[Contract Terminated by ATA]

8 May-44 to 10 Jun-44


Joan Mary Grinling

flag england

b. 23 Sep 1917, Grantham Lincs

 [ab initio]

[Contract Terminated by ATA]

8 May-44 to 25 May-44


Dorothy Ritson Bell

 dorothy bell ata


flag england

b. 27 May 1920, Carlisle

prev: Secretary

[Contract Terminated by ATA]

8 May-44 to 3 Jun-44


Jean Akerman


flag england

b. 17 Dec 1922, Camberley

[ab initio]

[Contract Terminated by ATA]

8 May-44 to 17 Jun-44


Rita Mary Neve

flag england

b. 1 Jun 1920, London

prev: Secretary

[ab initio]

[Contract Terminated by ATA]

8 May-44 to 9 Jun-44


Dora Joyce Tildesley

flag england

b. 22 Mar 1921, Wolverhampton

prev: WAAF; Nurse & Ambulance Driver

[Contract Terminated by ATA]

8 May-44 to 1 Jul-44


Dorothy Margaret Stewart

dorothy stewart ata 


flag scotland

b. 26 Aug 1918, Edinburgh

prev: WAAF 4 yrs (B.A. Hons in History)

[ab initio]

25 Jun 44: Magister, heavy landing, damaged main spar -  pupil pilot held responsible.

[Contract Terminated by ATA]

8 May-44 to 17 Jun-44


Sheila Marion Tointon


flag england

b. 20 Aug 1916, Hornsey

prev: Shorthand Typist; WAAF

8 May-44 to 3 Jun-44


Sheila Willson

sheila willson ata 


flag england

b. 20 Jul 1921, Birmingham

prev: Civil Service; WAAF

[Contract Terminated by ATA]

[ab initio]

8 May-44 to 21 Jun-44


Sheila Reddicliffe

sheila reddicliffe ata


flag england

b. 6 Dec 1919, Kirkby nr Liverpool

[ab initio]

[Contract Terminated by ATA]

8 May-44 to 10 Jun-44


Heather Marion Lott

heather lott ata 


flag england

b. 3 May 1917, London

prev: Secretary;

WAAF from Aug-42

[Contract Terminated by ATA]