Air Transport Auxiliary Women

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Air Transport Auxiliary Women of World War II


In January 1940, eight female pilots ferried open-cockpit training planes (De Havilland Tiger Moths) in harsh wintry conditions from a muddy base at Hatfield, near the De Havilland factory, up to Scotland. It was a modest start, but within a few years this group of female flyers would be at the controls of fighter planes and four-engine bombers. In time their numbers would swell to 168 out of a total of 1,245 ATA ferry pilots and engineers. In a sense, it was a backroom job, flying across the country, getting the planes to where they desperately needed to be. But without the combined efforts of the ATA’s 4,000 employees, the outcome of the war could have been very different.

During the war the ATA earned itself the nickname Foreign Legion of the Air, with pilots coming from 28 different countries. Twenty-five enthusiastic and experienced female flyers from the USA joined the ATA in 1942. Four women from New Zealand determinedly paid their own passage in order to be part of history. One woman, 19-year-old Margot ‘Chilli’ Duhalde, spoke no English at all on arrival, yet went forth with the same sense of courageous daring. These women embodied the ATA motto, ‘eager for the air’.

Sometimes pilots would fly six different types of plane in just one day’s endeavour, ferrying Spitfires, Hurricanes, Barracudas, Harvards, Wellingtons, Tempests and Lancaster bombers in the ever-changing British weather without radios or navigation aids. Because they were required to stay within sight of the ground, they were not taught the art of flying with instruments. They flew ‘blind’ with just maps, a compass and a watch, though some would eventually make it their business to teach themselves instrument flying by scrounging sessions in an early flight simulator called a Link Trainer. It wasn’t until after D-Day in June 1944 that pilots were taught how to use radios.

During WWII, over 20,000 Spitfires were produced in the Southampton and Castle Bromwich factories, so the women flyers were based at two separate ferry ‘pools’ close to the Spitfire factories – one in Hamble, Southampton and the other near Cosford. The women worked 13 successive days on, followed by two days off. Each day’s routine – flying to and from factories, front line squadrons and maintenance units – would begin at the ferry pools with the handing out of delivery chits.

List of ATA women

Surname when Joined ATAMaiden/Married Name(s)First NamesFlag Date Joined
Agazarian Mary 'Monique' Jacqueline England18-Oct-1943
AkermanCrichton JeanEngland08-May-1944
Alexander Susan Mary AureaEngland08-May-1944
AllenHeron-Maxwell, ThomasHelen NaomiEngland24-Feb-1942
AllenStapledon, MarshallJoan MaryEngland15-Jul-1942
AllenCarter, WillerMyrtle Rita 'Mikki'USA12-Aug-1942
Arckless IreneEngland01-Aug-1941
Arthur Joan Henrietta England08-May-1944
BaileyWestenraMary Ireland15-Feb-1940
BainesColby, JohnsonRita Pauline England28-Dec-1943
BanisterWhittowEirene Rosemary England12-Jul-1943
Beaumont Edith SwitzerlandGermany20-Sep-1943
Bell Betty England01-Apr-1942
Bell Dorothy Ritson England08-May-1944
BennettBoothPhilippa Mary England26-Jun-1940
BennettRiddick, NewmarkMargaret Ellen 'Faith'England08-Jul-1941
BeverleySeemanPatricia Gladys England29-Jul-1942
Bird Jean Lennox Hong KongEngland01-Aug-1941
BlackBeaumontBetty Ellice New Zealand15-Apr-1942
BlackwellNoble, KendallPatricia Annette England24-Feb-1942
BonnettBell, Gibbs, TowersRosemary Leslie England21-Feb-1944
BradfordBraggCassandra Felicity England01-May-1941
Broad Jennie South Africa30-Jul-1940
Broadsmith Joan Irwin England24-Jun-1942
Brown Holmes Grace South Africa27-May-1940
BurnsideGaurdonDaphne Alice England06-May-1943
ButlerReidLois Canada15-Feb-1940
Calver Molly England24-Jun-1942
Chapin Emily USA18-Aug-1942
ChapmanHartman, LofthouseSuzanne Palmer Wales21-Feb-1944
Chalmondeley Victoria Millicent Australia10-Mar-1941
Clark Helen Riddell England08-May-1944
Clayton Edna Violet 'Sammy' England01-Mar-1941
Cochran-OdlumPittman, CochranJacqueline USA24-Jan-1942
ColbyMorinLouise Marie Melina Canada01-Aug-1941
BowyerCrippsBarbara Petronella South Africa14-Jun-1943
CrossleyHarrisson, FairWinifred Mary England01-Jan-1940
Crossley Fidelia Josephine England16-Dec-1940
Cunnington Joan England01-Jun-1943
CunnisonEbbageMargaret MacDonald England01-Jan-1940
Curtis Eleanor 'Lettice' England06-Jul-1940
Cyphus Sylvia England29-Jan-1944
d'AnackerBakerMercedes England31-Mar-1942
DaviesPond, DaveyJoy Dorothy Lilian England16-Sep-1942
Davis Mavis Agnes Kennard England24-Jan-1944
DavisonMuntzElsie 'Joy' Canada01-Jul-1940
de Bunsen Mary Berta Spain01-Aug-1941
de NeveJonklaas, Helen, WilliamsAimeeEngland08-May-1944
Deane-DrummondRowland, SavilleMarigoldEngland01-May-1943
DouglasEdmonds, WelchAnne Courtenay England01-Dec-1940
DuncanGollanPamela Mary Dauvergne Wales15-Aug-1941
Dunlopde PoppMaureen Adel Chase Argentina15-Apr-1942
EdwardsNamias, FreshwaterSylvia Isabel England09-Aug-1943
EveleighLucasYvonne Margaret B 'Peggy'England21-Feb-1944
Everard-SteenkampEverardRosamund King Transvaal Colony07-Feb-1944
FairweatherRunciman, King-FarlowMargaret 'Margie'England01-Jan-1940
FalkinerVerney-CaveLucy Agnes Vera England01-Apr-1941
FarnellSchlesinger, New, BoswellDiane Elaine England16-Sep-1940
FarquharColeMarjorie June England22-Jan-1944
Farr Virginia USA10-Feb-1942
FaunthorpeHomeDiana England21-Feb-1944
FenwickTharp, FewJoyce Ann England21-Feb-1944
Ferguson Irene Joy Image:UK Flags-2.jpg01-May-1943
FishWadsworthEleanor Dorothy England01-Jun-1943
Forbes Dorothy Joyce Scotland01-May-1943
FordHumphreys, de FlorezSuzanne USA14-Apr-1942
FriedlanderForwardMona Renee Vera Ernesta England01-Jan-1940
Frost Margaret Olive 'Maggie'England25-Nov-1942
Fuller-HallPennington-LeghRosemary Lilian England02-Dec-1941
FureyBragg, Beatty, HewittDorothy Rita USA10-Feb-1942
FurkertPower-CollinsEdith Elizabeth 'Marie' New Zealand30-Aug-1943
GarrettWilcoxonSheila USA03-Apr-1944
Garst BottjerVirginia Louise USA14-Apr-1942
GethingGeppMargaret Helen 'Mardi' Australia30-Jul-1942
Glass Mabel Image:UK Flags-2.jpg08-Jul-1940
Goodman Daphne England27-Aug-1943
Goodwin Una Julia USA10-Jun-1942
Gore Margaret Wyndham 'Margot'England25-Jun-1940
GoughHartman, LofthouseJoyce 'Joy' England28-Dec-1943
GowerFahiePauline Mary de Peauly England01-Dec-1939
GrantHayman, d'AguilarBeatrice Glanley 'Betty' India16-Dec-1941
Grinling Joan Mary England08-May-1944
Gripton Muriel Joan England27-Mar-1943
Guinness Miss 01-Mar-1941
GuthrieCunninghamSylvia Mary England18-Oct-1943
Hansen-LesterAbrams, RobinsonDaphne ElizabethEngland23-Sep-1942
HarrisonTestemale, Barnes, de Waal, Harrison-BristolHelen Marcelle Canada01-May-1942
Hennings Sophie Evelyn Veisa Mara England29-Nov-1943
Heppel Rhoda Elinor England16-Dec-1941
Hill Bridget Grace Marian LedgerEngland15-Aug-1941
Hoar Jill Elizabeth England24-Jan-1944
Hotham Jocelyn Mary Emma England15-Apr-1942
HowdenGummerJune Constance New Zealand06-Dec-1943
Hrynakowska Maria Poland18-Aug-1943
HudsonRichardsEvelyn EnglandUSA10-Jun-1942
Hughes Joan Lily Amelia England01-Jan-1940
HunterColwayMary Josephine England01-Mar-1941
Hunter Trevor New Zealand01-Dec-1941
Hyam EisenstahtEvelyn Tuttle USA08-Jul-1942
Impey Maisie Evelyn Montgomery England01-Nov-1943
Irwin Zita Kathleen Switzerland15-Aug-1941
James Lucie Margaret England29-Apr-1942
Jenkinson Joan Molesworth England01-Mar-1941
Jenner Zoe Elise England06-Sep-1943
JohnsonMollisonAmy England25-May-1940
Julliande ScitivauxGinette Marie HélèneFrance27-Jan-1943
Keith-JoppHuggettEleanor Betty England08-May-1944
KerlyClarkRuth Helen England23-Aug-1943
King Mary Emily England24-Feb-1944
Knight-Bruce Enid Frances Lilian England01-Apr-1941
LambtonNicholson, BallardEthel 'Ruth'England25-Jun-1940
LangTily Dora England01-Sep-1941
Lankshear Barbara Lilian England01-Feb-1944
Large Kathleen Gloria Canada05-Jul-1942
Laster-AndersonAverittOpal Pearl USA10-Jun-1942
LeafSharlandFreydis Mary England17-Feb-1943
Leathart Constance Ruth 'Connie' England14-Aug-1940
Leith Thelma Olga Canada18-May-1943
LennoxAlbertsen, Firkal, DrownMargaret Elizabeth 'Peggy' USA10-Jun-1942
LeskaLeska-Daab Anna Zofia Maria Poland06-Jan-1941
LesterHaylockKathleen Marjorie England14-Jun-1943
Lind Eleanor England18-Oct-1943
Lott Heather Marion England08-May-1944
Lussier Betty Ann USAEngland17-Sep-1942
McPhersonLovell-PankJean Alston England15-Nov-1943
MacdougallEvansElizabeth Anderson Singapore (Settlement Straits)Scotland16-Sep-1942
MacLeodWillsRosemary Theodora Hamilton England 07-Jun-1943
MacmillanMackenzie, BrocklehurstAudrey Evelyn Scotland26-Jun-1940
MahonHillAnnette Elizabeth Ireland08-May-1944
Marshall Joan Esther South Africa01-Oct-1941
MayHendersonElizabeth Francis England 01-Mar-1941
MillerLivingston, StratfordNancy Jane USA09-Jul-1942
MillerRumballDaphne Alfreda England25-May-1943
MilsteadWarrenViolet Beatrice Canada05-Apr-1943
Moore Ruth Margaret England15-Apr-1941
MorganFilfieldAudrey Joan England06-Sep-1943
MullineauxLee, SmythJoan Edwina Francis England01-May-1943
Murray Lesley Cairns Scotland01-May-1943
NaylerRussellJoan Emily England16-Dec-1941
Neve Rita Mary England08-May-1944
Nicholson Mary Webb USA01-Aug-1942
Obermer Ruth USAEngland01-Oct-1943
OrrPowellMarion Alice Canada05-Apr-1943
Paddon Zita England27-Aug-1943
Pardoe Joan Hilda England18-Oct-1943
Parker Patricia Mary Barbara Burma01-Apr-1941
Parsons Joan Alys Helen Mary England25-Jun-1940
PattersonBurrGabrielle Ruth Millicent England01-Jan-1940
PetersenEdwardsStella Joyce England01-Jul-1943
PierceCoffee, Beasley, OlmiWinnie Rawson USA10-Feb-1942
PilsudskaJaraczewska Jadwiga Poland05-Jul-1942
PitmanSalmon Honor Isabel England01-Mar-1941
PlantSpencerJane Graham USA31-Mar-1943
PotterForsstrom, RossBernice 'Polly'USA23-Apr-1942
PowerMogerCecile Eva Rosales India26-Jul-1943
Powys Mary Elizabeth Anne England01-Jun-1943
PrestonMetcalfeUrsula Mary England23-Jun-1940
ProvisMaslen JonesPatricia Mary England21-Feb-1944
Raines Hazel Jane USA01-Apr-1942
Ramsay Diana Patricia Australia16-Dec-1941
RamsayBoucherOlive 'Joan'Australia25-Jul-1942
RatliffClare, Boone, McElroyMargaret Joan England10-Sep-1943
Reddicliffe Sheila England08-May-1944
Reesdu CrosRosemary TheresaEngland01-Jan-1940
Reynolds Delphine Rose England08-Apr-1942
RhonieHofheimer, Bamberger, BrooksAlineUSA30-Nov-1943
Richey Helen USA25-Mar-1942
RoseMarshallMollie Daphne England16-Sep-1942
RudgeHorsburghFrances Mary Canada21-Feb-1944
Russell Margaret Elspeth Canada25-Sep-1943
Russell Ruth Mary Hornsby England21-Feb-1944
Sale-BarkerDouglas-HamiltonAudrey Florice Durrell Drummond England26-Jun-1940
Sandoz LeveauxRoberta Boyd 'Bobby'USA12-Aug-1942
Sayer Betty Eileen England01-Jul-1941
Scarth Hilda Edmiston Scotland29-Jan-1944
SchuurmannLanders, WeltersLouise Emma Mathilde Netherlands10-Feb-1942
Sharpe Roy Mary England03-Sep-1941
Sharpe Ethel Elizabeth England01-Nov-1943
Shiel Maureen Elizabeth England20-Sep-1943
Slade Eleanor Isabella 'Susan'Hong Kong01-Nov-1940
SmithCloverDiana Patricia Margaret HutchinsonEngland07-Oct-1942
SorourMoggridgeDolores Theresa South Africa 31-Jul-1940
SotomayorDuhaldeMargot 'Chile'Chile01-Sep-1941
Spiller Phyllis Margery England01-Mar-1941
Stanley SmithHirschKatherine Mary England08-May-1944
Stearns Magalis, GrissomEdith Foltz USA10-Jun-1942
Stevenson Grace USA14-Apr-1942
Stewart Dorothy Margaret Scotland08-May-1944
Stokes Winifred England21-Feb-1944
StrodlDowlingVera Elsie Denmark02-Dec-1941
Stroud Hilda Mary England24-Jan-1944
Thackeray Margaret Elizabeth England15-Apr-1942
Tildesley Dora Joyce England08-May-1944
Tointon Sheila Marion England08-May-1944
Tollemache Lloyd-Worth Hon. Frances Patricia England31-Jan-1941
Townshend Eveline Ireland10-Mar-1942
Traherne Olivera Rowena England01-Jul-1942
JohnsenTulk-HartPamela May Braddyl England25-Aug-1942
van Doozer Catherine Kay 'Rel' USA09-Jun-1942
Veldhuyzen van Zanten Ida Laura Netherlands18-May-1943
VolkerszInnesVeronica May England01-Mar-1941
WalkerBarnatoDiana England02-Dec-1941
WalkerDuncanAnne India17-Jul-1942
WheatleyGough, MacDonaldYvonne England06-Sep-1943
Whittall Taniya England01-Sep-1942
Whittington Betty Olive England01-Jun-1943
WilberforceOgilvie-ForbesMarion Katherine Ogilvie Scotland01-Jan-1940
Wilkes Jeannette Ann England27-Mar-1943
WilkinsEllisMary England 01-Oct-1941
WilliamsIllsleyKatie Doreen Wales01-Sep-1941
WillisDayBenedetta Cyprus01-Sep-1941
Willson Sheila England08-May-1944
WilsonEllis-JonesIrene Mary Ellis India01-Jun-1943
Winstone Jane New Zealand01-Aug-1942
WitherbyWilkinson, HaleJoan Durham England17-Jun-1942
WittHaseldenMuriel Elyse England24-Jun-1942
WojtulanisWojtulanis-Karpinska Stefania Cecylia Poland01-Jan-1941
WoodWood-KellyAnn Watson USA29-Apr-1942
Wynne-Eyton Blandy-Jenkins, Silver, Christie-Miller Helen England 01-Nov-1940
ZerbelForrest, Hooper, FordMary Estelle USA11-Jun-1942


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