View Full Version : WW2 Spitfire pilot Joy Lofthouse Dies Aged 94

Mike Flynn
16th Nov 2017, 19:13
This woman was a true Aviatrix.
WW2 Spitfire pilot Joy Lofthouse dies aged 94 - BBC News (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-42012740)
Veteran pilot Joy Lofthouse, who flew Spitfires and bombers for the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) during World War Two, has died at the age of 94.
Mrs Lofthouse joined the ATA in 1943 after spotting a notice in a magazine calling for women to learn to fly.
She was one of only 164 female pilots, known as the Attagirls, who flew aircraft from factory to airfield.
The Royal International Air Tattoo said she was an "amazing character with even more amazing stories".
The ATA was formed in 1940 when, despite some male opposition, women were allowed to fly military trainer and communications aircraft.
Mrs Lofthouse, from South Cerney in Gloucestershire, learned to fly before she learned to drive.


In an interview last year, she said: "I saw this caption in the Aeroplane magazine that said the ATA had run out of qualified pilots and were training. So I applied and I was in."
Trained at Thame in Oxfordshire, she learnt to fly all types of single-seater aircraft but without a driving licence, she said she found "taxiing much more difficult than flying".
"We had nine days of technical training - it wasn't very technical - no navigation, just map reading," she said.
"After about 10 hours [of flying], they sent you off solo. My first solo flight I think you're only afraid if you're going to find the airfield again."

And without being sexist what a stunner when she was young. https://preview.ibb.co/fb7aSm/IMG_5358.jpg (https://ibb.co/d3W27m)

17th Nov 2017, 13:11
The lead character in the novel 'Madeleine's Quest' by Julien Evans is an ex-ATA female pilot who is now a Professor of Chemistry at Oxford University. She still flies light aircraft and during the narrative she is reunited with a Spitfire. Her half-brother (an ex-Lancaster pilot) is now a B707 Captain in BOAC. The story, which follows the twists and turns of the lives of both siblings, is set in 1967-8.

In 1971 I did my FI course with Joan Hughes - a remarkable lady. Modest too - I didn't know of her ATA background until somebody told me later. She flew the Santos-Dumont Demoiselle replica in 'Those Magnificent Men' (the only pilot light enough) and WW1 types in 'The Blue Max'. In the White Waltham restaurant hangs the photo below of tiny Joan dwarfed by the Stirling bomber she's standing beside, which she probably flew.


17th Nov 2017, 14:09
They were all great ladies.


18th Nov 2017, 01:40
PBI - 'Gordon' would be Gordon Parkin? He was a real dapper gentleman - most of us slopped around in casual clothes but he always turned up wearing tweed jacket and tie! But no-one - absolutely no-one - wore epaulettes at Booker in the 1970s! Not like today. [/GRUMPY OLD GIT]

Joan had to sit on a cushion so she could see over the glareshield. She would refer to anyone who annoyed her as 'it' rather than 'he' or 'she'.

18th Nov 2017, 15:29
Gordon is the Waddington talk down controller in this film Delta 8-3 at 20:37, although that isn't his voice as I remember it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGmyE3l65pY

Joan used to refer to Gordon as "Dear Old Perkin Warbeck" - they had known one another since much earlier times at Woodley. I can confirm what Discorde says. If you found yourself being addressed as "Dear Old Thing" she was either (a) warming to you or (b) looking for some useful idiot to fill in her logbook for her - she didn't like 'hoverers!'

I remember the day she went off to court to stand trial for that low flying incident, and to be perfectly honest she herself didn't seem too optimistic about the verdict. The relief when she came back and told us the case had been dismissed. I think that was the end of what had been a nice little earner as a sideline to her normal flying instructing.

19th Nov 2017, 20:08
This inspired me to read up on the ATA... absolutely fascinating... a lot of young women (and men) set loose in aircraft often without any prior training on type!

Will try and find a book on the subject... need to find out more.

Chris Royle
21st Nov 2017, 07:04
Try "The Forgotten Pilots" by Lettice Curtis

26th Nov 2017, 01:24
So sad to hear of the death of such a remarkable lady. Joan Hughes was also a terrific pilot and fascinating character. My first flight with Joan was in a Beagle Terrier from White Waltham in 1959 when Airways Flying Club was replacing the Chipmunks, I was a very confident youth of 18 who had mastered the art of flying (in my opinion!). After a couple of flights Joan suggested that I would be better driving than flying!. I left somewhat deflated but returned the next month and checked out in the Terrier with a different instructor. In 1979, with some serious flying hours under my belt, I started my Instructor Course with Joan at Wycombe. I was far wiser then and had travelled extensively. The training with Joan was the highlight of my flying career which spanned 55 years and I learned so much from Joan and on the occasions when she talked about her wartime experiences, some amusing, many amazing achievements. We owe so much to those ladies of the ATA.

26th Nov 2017, 11:45
A bit of thread drift but the mention on Joan Hughes and her exploits got me interested and I turned up her obituary from The Times which includes details of the seven charges of "dangerous flying" that she was later acquitted of in 1968.