Another woman of accomplishment

This small paragraph under “Passages” in the paper today caught my attention.

mary ellis passages.PNG

So I did some research. Mary Wilkins Ellis was one of the "Attagirls," volunteer pilots for Britains' Air Transport Auxiliary during WWII. Her job was to deliver warplanes from factories to the male pilots at bases of the RAF and the Royal Navy Fleet. The Attagirls usually flew solo and always without commas or radio, using maps, rivers, and railway lines to guide them. Mostly British, but sometimes American, Canadian, or other from other Allied countries, they never flew in combat but did always fly under the risk of an attack by the Luftwaffe or even collisions with the huge balloons floating around England as obstacles to low-flying enemy planes. 

In her memoir, A Spitfire Girl, she recounts the time when, as a 5'2" helmetless, curly-headed blonde, she descended the cockpit ladder of a bomber and was asked, "Where's the pilot."

I am the pilot!"  But they didn't believe me.  A couple of them climbed up the ladder to check the airplane for the missing pilot, incredulous that a woman could fly that airplane. 

Gareth Fuller/AP, 2015

Gareth Fuller/AP, 2015

Pretty cool, huh!