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Tracey Curtis-Taylor (Merged threads)

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Tracey Curtis-Taylor (Merged threads)

Old 21st Nov 2016, 18:27
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Originally Posted by fwjc
Apparently Tracey will be speaking at the BWPA Christmas Dinner and AGM event in a couple of week's time. I had intended to attend the dinner but I refuse to pay money to hear beautifully presented twaddle.
Same. I was looking forward to it but thankfully hadn't paid for my ticket when the speaker was announced.

Part of me was tempted to go anyway to see what the speaker had to say, but common sense prevailed.
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Old 21st Nov 2016, 19:55
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How come this organisation hasn't worked out that they are losing all credibility by allowing this imposter through the front door? Even over hear in the colonies the vast majority of those in aviation are clued in on this , of all the nations who should be very bent out of shape by this gross falsehood surely the nation {Britain} who generated these great female pioneers should be clamping down on such deception, astounding indeed!

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Old 21st Nov 2016, 22:12
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I think the answer to your question, Clunckdriver, is that these reputable bodies are burying their heads in the sand and hoping it will all blow over and that we will let it drop. Clear evidence of this is the rewritten citations from HCAP and now Portsmouth University focusing on the long-standing commitment to "outreach" (it seems working two/three years on an all-expenses paid jolly qualifies for a Doctorate). I note that TCT webpage has now started showing the "outreach" information; biggest load of tosh I have seen so far; and that is saying something!

The long dialogue below is an indication of this blind-eye attitude. I wrote to Portsmouth University, received the reply and then wrote a second e-mail (I have yet to receive any acknowledgement to this).

To the Press Office at Portsmouth University 8 Nov 2016

Dear Sir
I am writing to you to express my deep anger and concern with regards to the issue of an Honorary Doctorate to Miss Curtis-Taylor.
She is most certainly not someone worthy of such an accolade. Her background is one of deception and misleading comment which has led to her preparing for quite a lucrative career as an after-dinner speaker and self-promoter.

She has raised a tremendous amount of money from some very wealthy sponsors (Boeing and Artemis Investments to name but two) based upon the idea that she was to make flights from Capetown to Goodwood, UK to Australia, and a third ill-fated, trip across the USA as a SOLO adventure. The press and establishments such as yours believed this to be the case. The world press has reported the flights as such and she has gained a great deal of media attention. Boeing issued a press-release stating the same SOLO aspect.

This is blatantly untrue, images started to appear showing she clearly had someone else in the aircraft with her. It turns out that this individual was in fact Ewald Gritch, a highly-qualified pilot with more than 20,000 hours flying experience. She received an award from the Light Aircraft Association for her tremendous feat of navigation; last month, this body of her peers rescinded the award as the truth came out. Miss Curtis-Taylor continues to protest her innocence in this matter and explains that she has never made any assertions that her flights were SOLO and it is that the media have made the error. There are claims that the primary role of the second flight was "outreach", this would be commendable if it were true. I would hardly consider flying members of the Greek and Saudi Royal families an "outreach" event; these were nothing more than vain self-promotion.

From various sources I am aware that the University gave this award to what they considered to be an inspirational individual and an excellent female role model. I suggest that this is far from the truth, what she shows is that the only way a young woman can achieve her goals is if mis-informed backers support her, if she has an ability to deceive, and is supported by an experienced male pilot. She has deflected blame and does not accept that she has done anything wrong, there is a clear lack of integrity and an almost narcissistic trait - certainly not an ideal role model for anyone. Please take a moment to look at the attached images and video link. Whilst doing so, bear in mind that this is a woman that you have lauded and who claims she has never mislead anyone. To add insult to injury, she also has the audacity to wear a Royal Air Force pilot brevet. she has neither earned this right nor has the right to wear such a badge of distinction. Doing so may in fact be a criminal offense contrary to the armed Forces Act 1955.

Image 1 - Taken from one of her many speaking engagements, please note the use of the word ALONE.
Image 2 - Taken from an article published in the Daily Telegraph October 2015. In the highlighted quote note the use of the phrase "...on my own". I have contacted the newspaper and their response verifies that this is a direct quotation from Miss Curtis Taylor.
Image 3 - A screen-shot from her own twitter page in April. She thanks Katherine LaGrave for a wonderful article which carries the headline "Meet the Woman Flying Solo Across the U.S.
Image 4 - A copy of the Boeing press statement. Note the word SOLO.
Image 5 - An image of her wearing the RAF brevet.

Most damning of all is the discovery of a video of her taken in September 2014 at Herne Bay, Amy Johnson commemoration day. Twice in the video she states that her flights were SOLO. I have attached the edited clips, but the full video is available here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpFQmFx7u8c&t=8s

It was not until the 11th of June this year she that she made any attempt to correct the SOLO claims. She has now made 5 such statements of varying content - all trying to shift the blame onto others. Tracey Curtis Taylor - Aviatrix, Adventurer, Inspirational Speaker

I mentioned earlier the ill-fated USA flight, she crashed shortly after departure from Winslow in Arizona. She has completed and signed official documents which have been amended to change the ACCIDENT to INCIDENT. Quite possibly contrary to aviation law.

Thank you for taking the time to read this rather long e-mail. I believe that Portsmouth University have made a grave error of judgement in making any award to her and would hope that the decision will now be reconsidered given the factual information I have supplied.

May I ask that you acknowledge receipt of this and I look forward to reading your reply.

Reply received from Press Office – Portsmouth University – 10 November 2016
Dear ######,

Apologies for the delay coming back to you.
We are sorry that you feel disappointed the University has awarded an honorary degree to Tracey Curtis-Taylor. However, we did not make this award to her on the basis that she had completed solo flights or explicitly because of her activities within aviation. The award was primarily due to her longstanding commitment to outreach activities that support good causes such as services charities, education and young people.
Best wishes,

My response sent back to Portsmouth University 10 November 2016

Dear #####, thank you for the reply.
With respect may I ask that my message is read again. The aviation side is separate to the award your University has granted but it highlights the deceit and lack of any moral integrity on her part. The point I was making is that she is not fit to be considered a role-model or an inspiration. The outreach to get more women into aviation, science and technology is laughable. There have been women pilots for many years, Miss Curtis-Taylor openly admits to hating modern technology and lives, in her own mind at least, in the glory days of the 1930s and associated male domination.
We live in enlightened times, men and women compete on an equal footing, what she has achieved has been done through lies, misinformation and deflection of blame - not forgetting the air-brushed-out-of-the-story male who was essential for her to succeed. She is incapable of accepting her own weaknesses. Her whole back-story is based on fraud.
My question is; do the Awards Committee truly believe she meets any of the criteria for an award and do they wish to be associated with her, someone who refers to herself as " a bird"?
If so, then I fear for the morality, integrity, and ambitions of your future graduates. I really do look forward to their considered response.
Yours sincerely

My message to TCT is simple; answer the questions that have been asked.
Old 22nd Nov 2016, 03:02
  #2604 (permalink)  
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I have been passed solid, though as yet unconfirmed information from a Pprune member, that main sponsors Artemis will end their connection with the Stearman next month.

Tracey’s achievements continue to cause some controversy; and of course we do not condone illegality of any kind. If Tracey has broken any rules, no doubt the appropriate authorities will take action. As planned from the outset, our sponsorship of her is due to end next month. With her programme of ‘outreach’ to African women by way of example, as one of her sponsors we will remember the great deal of good she has done.
The above email received on 21 Nov 2016, at 17:20 from Ross Leckie <[email protected]

Ross Leckie is Director of Communications at Artemis.

It appears the Spirit of Artemis US trip ended in Arizona.

Last edited by Mike Flynn; 22nd Nov 2016 at 05:21.
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Old 22nd Nov 2016, 05:07
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For reasons I've mentioned earlier, their [Artemis] response does not surprise me and I think they emerge relatively unscathed.

What will be interesting - and utterly, transparently visual to all - will be if they insist their corporate branding is removed from the kite.
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Old 22nd Nov 2016, 05:16
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Interesting question Fat One. If the Stearman continues to carry their name it could cause embarrassment if there are any future problems.

I wonder where this leaves the proposed USA trip?

Artemis were the main sponsors and with them gone will Boeing pick up the tab?

Meanwhile below is an assement of Tracey Curtis Taylor's 'adventures' by UK flying instructor and aviation writer Helen Krasner.

IF these had been solo flights, they would of been worthy of admiration and awards. As flights with someone else there, they are not; they are simply ordinary flights. I speak as an (ex) pilot and flying instructor of many years and flying hours standing. I also happen to be female, which is actually irrelevant. Flying solo over great distances is mentally hard, and hard work. Flying with someone else there with you who is either a pilot or knows about aviation, turns it into an ordinary flight, albeit a long one. Who manipulates the controls is irrelevant. I could have done it, most qualified private pilots could have done it, many people have done it - both male and female. It is simply not worth mentioning, let alone being mentioned in the press or given awards.
Helen is well qualified to comment and has published a number of books on flying.

Helen Krasner holds a Commercial Pilot's Licence for helicopters, and had a rotary Instructor's Rating until very recently . She worked as a helicopter instructor for several years, instructing for various flying schools on Robinson R22s and R44s. She has also flown a large number of other helicopter types, has a private pilot’s licence for aeroplanes, and has had a go at flying microlights, gliders, and balloons.
Helen has been writing professionally for many years and contributes regularly to a number of aviation publications. She was nominated for an Aerospace Journalist of the Year award in 2004, for an article about flying helicopters in Russia. She has also had several books published, both print and ebooks, mainly – though not exclusively – on aviation related topics. She is also a former Newsletter Editor for the BWPA (British Women Pilots' Association).

Last edited by Mike Flynn; 22nd Nov 2016 at 06:43.
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Old 22nd Nov 2016, 07:28
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It's interesting that the noted aviation writer, Helen Krasner, has publicly commented on this.
Surely, TCT cannot continue to waltz around, displaying the rigid digit to those who might raise an eyebrow at her behaviour.
Enough, I say.
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Old 22nd Nov 2016, 08:03
  #2608 (permalink)  
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Helen also made this comment...
I'm a woman and a pilot, and I can tell you - Tracey has achieved nothing worth mentioning! Amy Johnson did; she flew solo to Australia many years ago, with no back-up and doing all the maintenance herself. Polly Vacher did when she flew solo round the world and raised huge amounts for charity. But Tracey has done...no more than I did when I flew all over California, low level in Russia, across a large part of Europe solo with no backup, etc etc etc...I could get my logbook and tell you, but I can't be bothered. And I'm just an ordinary pilot, nothing special. This is what we do!!!!!
Nik Coleman of Plane Resurrection has posted this on social media.
So I don't know the facts here so I'm not going to comment on solo or not. I am not a pilot. I am however a TV Producer with a series on historic aircraft showing all over the world and a second in production, including one episode about the Stearman, and I know and fly with a number of female pilots, one of whom flies a B29 Superfortress. The editing of the documentary that I saw from Cape Town to UK was at best... IMHO.. anomalous - and led me to feel it (I'm not saying you Tracey) was out to mislead. I felt awkward watching it. There were some glaring continuity issues that may have helped feed this particular fire.
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Old 22nd Nov 2016, 08:55
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Tracey’s achievements continue to cause some controversy; and of course we do not condone illegality of any kind. If Tracey has broken any rules, no doubt the appropriate authorities will take action. As planned from the outset, our sponsorship of her is due to end next month. With her programme of ‘outreach’ to African women by way of example, as one of her sponsors we will remember the great deal of good she has done.

The above email received on 21 Nov 2016, at 17:20 from Ross Leckie <[email protected]

Ross Leckie is Director of Communications at Artemis.

Hmm. When you sit back and carefully consider the whole debacle by 'The Team', (including the city establishment handing out that award) then you go on to read those slippery weasel words by the PR man himself, you can't but not come away seeing that the whole scheme was one big deceitful con-trick to the masses.

Call me cynical but those words from the Communications Director has so much buffet around them it can only be yet more induced spin.
My guess is that although 'termed sponsorship' may come to an end next month, the wonga for the 2017 USA jolly will have already been paid to her.
Wouldn't it be a lovely gesture if TCT and Ewald left the Artifice livery on.
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Old 22nd Nov 2016, 09:40
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I'm not so sure Cessnafly. When sponsorship is agreed the sponsor will want certain assurances that certain things will be done and others will not. They certainly do not want to their name or products to be associated with any controversy, unless that is their aim. Their problems come when things do not go according to plan and their organisation starts to become associated with scandal and their professional ethics are called into question. When they are, do they quietly slide into the back of the crowd or do they loudly march out of the room shouting that they have been had? I'll suggest that Artemis want a quiet exit, will say that this has been a worthwhile programme, cross their fingers that their name will no longer be mentioned and cross her name off their Cristmas card list.

Apparently Alistair Campbell, some would say the real deputy PM, would give a controversy two weeks to run. If it went over that, he would chop the person involved - whether they were innocent or guilty. On their termination, he would release that person X has done a marvellous job and the time was right for them to look forward to seek to challenges elsewhere. Maybe in spending more time at home, or buying a MaccyD franchise, or whatever. This is probably Artemis's face-saving way of giving TC-T the chop.

It's just a shame we didn't see the look on her face when this good news arrived.

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Old 22nd Nov 2016, 10:04
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I walked past the Artemis offices in St James on the night of 10th Nov 2016. They have some stunning photographs in reception, some aviation based, all sorts of other subjects too. I was surprised that the Spirit of Artemis was notable by its' absence. Surely if they were proud of it and what it means (outreach, blah, blah blah etc) it would be in a prominent place?

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Old 22nd Nov 2016, 16:34
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Jay Sata (#2728),

Had a good look at your high-quality pic of the Arizona prang, blown up to max and with aid of magnifying glass. Still think (two-position) prop appears to be nearly in "coarse" position (which it would have no business to be, given the reported circumstances of the "incident").

However my two-position experience is limited to 70 hours in the Vultee BT-13 with a 450 hp P & W "Wasp Junior" and Hamilton Standard 2-position prop. No knowledge of the Lycoming fitted in "Artemis" or of its prop, but would have thought a very similar mechanism in both cases.

We stayed in "fine" until reaching cruising height, then pulled back into "coarse" for cruise. Anyone more expert than I care to carefully examine the pic and comment ?

Old 22nd Nov 2016, 17:15
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Amongst all the criticism of TCT can I just point out that on her facebook page she, or her team, knows the word 'rescission'? I was impressed!
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Old 22nd Nov 2016, 17:42
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TCT has made much of emulating Amy Johnson.

I discovered today that there has been an Amy Johnson scholarship scheme for many years.

By coincidence one of its past recipients is UK expat Min Stokes who has run Minovation at Jandakot airport in Perth,West Australia since 1997.

Her flight training and GA operation is based next door to where I gained my PPl H at Gt Northern Helicopters in 1989.

Here is what Min has posted on social media...

Aviation is a world were there is little or no tolerance for "Walts", male or female, particularly when it comes unqualified people wearing military aircrew brevets.

If it has to be about gender then this episode has made it look like we mere "birds" can't do anything without a massive support crew of...men and copying other people.

Whenever 'sexism" is used to try and shut down a discussion it does a disservice to all women who have just been quietly getting on with it all this time without a massive publicity machine and sponsors behind us.

I wonder how many scholarships all that money could have provided.

As a former Amy Johnson scholarship girl I do appreciate the value of scholarships rather than feel-good news stories when it comes to the harsh reality of paying for flying training.

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Old 23rd Nov 2016, 03:35
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And I'm just an ordinary pilot, nothing special. This is what we do!!!!!
Kudos Helen for telling it like it is. There is absolutely nothing about TCT's flights of which pilots of aircraft, large and small, and helicopters are not doing every day. International ferry for a new contract, or a multitude of other reasons. I'm jealous of the guy I know (you still here Pete) who was given a helicopter in Vancouver and told to ferry it to Malaysia, and that was circa '80.

Video of Mary Ellis, lovely lady, now there would be someone to give a talk.
I read somewhere that she flew a meteor, after a 10 min briefing!
Yes she did.


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Old 23rd Nov 2016, 16:31
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Mary Ellis HCAP Award by Jay Sata

Mary Ellis is 99 and delivered over 400 aircraft during WW2

Mary actually delivered over 1000 aircraft during WW2. Of these 400 were Spitfires. Error just been pointed out to me by Mary! Please amend.
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Old 23rd Nov 2016, 17:06
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My apologies to Mary.

I have just listened again and she nonchalantly mentions she delivered 400 Spitfires!

Do you know her Bruceg?

What a modest woman.

Please pass on my best regards to a wonderful genuine aviatrix.

I have just found this...
Mary Ellis’ love affair with flying started before the war when her father took her to Sir Allan Cobham’s air show at Hendon and she persuaded him to let her take a pleasure flight in an Avro 504. “From that moment I was hooked,” says Mary and after learning to fly at Witney near Oxford, by the time she was sixteen she had obtained her Flying Licence.

So you can imagine her excitement in 1941 when she heard an appeal by the ATA on the radio for women pilots. She applied and was accepted after taking a flying test and told to report to Hatfield with a group of eight girls. They were trained to fly single fighters like Harvards, Hurricanes and Spitfires and later, when the Oxfords and Wellingtons were converted to twin types, all the other twin types in that class.

After her basic training Mary was based at No.15 Pool at Hamble, an all-women pool, and began to fly from aircraft factory aerodromes to airfields anywhere in Britain. In all, the ATA delivered 308,567 aircraft of 122 different types throughout the UK and Northern Ireland and Mary’s total (she calls it ‘modest’) was about 1,000 of 76 different types of military aircraft including 400 Spitfires. She was also one of only two girls to fly a Meteor jet at the end of the war when her sole briefing for the flight was to warn her that in 45 minutes the fuel would run out!

The ATA pilots’ job was dangerous – 143 of them were lost during the war in flying accidents including fourteen women – and the only navigational aids the pilots had were maps, a compass and a stop watch. Flying planes from factories to RAF and FAA airfields in open cockpits was cold and extremely uncomfortable and with no radio facilities, the pilots couldn’t be told about a change in the weather or warned where the balloon barrages were to be raised, popping up all over the sky in poor weather.

Each day the pilots would be taken to the aircraft factory aerodromes in a Fairchild or Anson taxi aircraft which carried 7 to 8 passengers. If any of the planes waiting to be ferried were urgently needed by a squadron,they had to be delivered even if visibility was poor.

The uniform the women pilots wore was a navy blue jacket, skirt or trousers, a pale blue shirt and a black tie. One of Mary’s treasured possessions is a statuette of a woman pilot in uniform with a parachute slung over her shoulder, one of a limited edition of 250. When Sir Stafford-Cripps, Minister of Aircraft Production paid a visit he was so impressed by the work the ATA pilots were doing (by 1943 they were ferrying thousands of aircraft every month) that he recommended the women should be paid the same as their male colleagues.

Mary flew continually for all the war years and though the ‘Attagirls’, as they were called, were entitled to two days off after a stretch of 14 days flying, she didn’t want the time off – Mary wanted to fly. She loved the ‘buzz’ when the plane took off but says it was the comprehensive pilots’ notes written by pilots and engineers that made it possible for her to fly any type of aircraft.

And there’s the amusing story about a Wellington bomber Mary delivered. She had taxied the plane to a parking place but as she climbed down the ladder carrying her parachute, the ground crew asked where was the pilot. “I’m the pilot,” said Mary. They didn’t believe her and went to search the aircraft for the ‘missing pilot’.

On another occasion a not so funny thing happened when Mary and another girl had Priority 1 Spitfires to be delivered from Eastleigh to Wroughton. Urgently required Spitfires were labelled ‘P1 wait’ which meant the Spitfire must be delivered as soon as possible. The two girls took off independently in very poor visibility and Mary was glad to see the runway at Wroughton. She made a quick dash for the ground and was still going fast down the runway when she passed another Spitfire going in the opposite direction. Mary’s autograph book records the other girl said afterwards. “And next time we land on the same aerodrome, on the same runway, at the same moment, may we be going in the same direction!”

And the Spitfire that came looking for her? Mary had written her name on the coaming of a Spitfire she’d delivered towards the end of the war but the plane was never used in battle and eventually it was sold and shipped to Australia. When Robert Lamplough, a plane enthusiast, found the Spitfire and saw Mary’s name on the coaming he brought it back to Britain and started to search for her. Finally, he flew the plane into Sandown airport and First Officer Mary Wilkins (her title while in service) was reunited with the plane she’d last seen on a delivery flight during the war.

Two years ago Carolyn Grace, the only woman flying a Spitfire today, brought the plane to Sandown airport and persuaded Mary to fly with her. “I’ve waited years to get you into a Spitfire in the air,” Carolyn told her and handed over the controls to Mary. “The noise, the smell – it was absolutely marvellous,” Mary remembers. The single-seater Spitfires were called ‘the perfect ladies aeroplane’ because women pilots fitted into the small cockpit perfectly.

After the ATA was disbanded at the end of the war Mary was seconded to RAF 41 Group and continued to ferry aircraft with the RAF. Post-war she was a personal pilot to her father’s friend, a wealthy farmer who later bought Sandown airport. Mary became the managing director – the only female commandant of an airport in Europe.

She says the ATA pilots had the best of both worlds. “We were civilians in the forces,” she said. Called ‘the legion of the air’, the ATA was years ahead of its time in its attitude towards women and by embracing sexual equality the ATA became unique in wartime Britain. All the same, these extraordinary defiantly modern women, these unsung heroines, found it difficult to get jobs as pilots after the war.

The death rate amongst pilots in the ATA was 1 in 10 and each year the RAF acknowledges the vital role these pilots played in World War 11 with an annual memorial flight at RAF Lyneham. In a small garden at Manchester International Airport there’s a memorial to the ‘service, dedication and duty’ of the ATA pilots of Number 14 Ferry Pool and in 2006 a memorial to them was erected at White Waltham airfield in Berkshire. There is also a memorial in the Crypt of St. Paul’s Cathedral recording the history of the ATA. Last September a Spitfire and Hurricane flew low over White Waltham to launch a book Giles Whittell has written about women Spitfire pilots.

Today Mary says she has come to terms with advancing years and spends her time in the garden and corresponding with former colleagues. “I was lucky,’ she says, “I was born at the right time.”

‘Spitfire women of World War II’ by Giles Whittell is published by Harper Collins.
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Old 23rd Nov 2016, 18:22
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Maybe inspirational pilots such as Mary should have a thread of their own instead of having these great stories hidden in a thread named after someone else...?
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Old 23rd Nov 2016, 18:30
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Agree. Why associate a legend with a Walt.
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Old 23rd Nov 2016, 19:23
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I agree. Can someone start it?
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