Monday, October 12, 2009

Air Transport Auxiliary

From the Mail Online:
They flew hundreds of thousands of missions in all sorts of aircraft and in dangerous conditions, often sacrificing their lives to help defeat the Luftwaffe.

But what sounds like a tribute to the brave young men of the RAF in fact refers to the women of the Air Transport Auxiliary, who ferried planes during World War II.

Some 168 of the civilian organisation's 1,245 pilots were women who helped move 309,000 new, repaired and damaged planes between factories, assembly plants and airfields over 415,000 flight hours between 1940 and 1945.

A total of 14 lost their lives in the line of duty, including British pioneer aviatrix Amy Johnson, and their contribution was considered so important they became the first government employees to earn equal pay to their male counterparts.

Yesterday, their crucial role in the war effort was commemorated when two female pilots took to the skies together in a Spitfire and a Hawker Hurricane for the first time since July 1945.

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