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Old 07-26-2018, 11:02 AM
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WW2 Spitfire Pilot Dies at 101

Mary Ellis, a WW2 Spitfire Pilot has died at 101.

As part of the UK's Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), she delivered Spitfires and bombers to the front line, flying over 400 Spitfire as well as heavy bombers.

Altogether she flew over 76 different types of aircraft during the war. A remarkable record.

RIP.
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Old 07-26-2018, 01:13 PM
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Sounds like a remarkable woman. So many remarkable women, and men, came of age during that time and so few were ever recognized for what they did. Mary Ellis is another one I would have liked to know. So many passing day after day......
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Old 07-26-2018, 10:28 PM
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She was amazing.

I was trying to establish what aircraft she flew - the 76 types - and it appears that as well as flying aircraft for the ATA, she also flew for the RAF, as her types also include the Meteor and Vampires.

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A couple years ago my Aunt, who was in the RAF in WW2, died, and in her effects a medal turned up. Her best friend, still alive and well and living by herself at 102, told me that she got this from rescuing airman from planes that crashed on their return to RAF Down Ampney. Because of her small size she did this a number of times, including entering planes that were on fire. She had never mentioned this to me.

I was impressed that the RAF offered to pay for the funeral and asked for me for her ashes. They then interred them in a Wall of Remembrance at the air base (with due pomp and ceremony), as well as organising an ad hoc fly-past by a Dakota from the memorial flight, and a Hercules (from her old Squadron).

Apparently the Dak needed a test flight and Hercules was on training, so they timed both activities to coincide with the ceremony!
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Old 07-27-2018, 06:31 AM
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Kevin,

Thanks for sharing this. We all have so many amazing ancestors!
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Old 07-27-2018, 07:13 AM
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It is surprising what is often hidden.

In Central Africa I employed an ex Town Clerk once. He was 30 years older then me, and a very quiet modest introspective man.

One day, as he found out that I had an interest in aircraft, he brought in a large box crammed to bursting with black and white photos from WW2 - aircraft photos from North Africa, Sudan, Ethiopia and the Med. It turned out he had served in the South African Airforce.

He insisted on me keeping the photos and one day I found a folded piece of paper at the bottom - an official doc related to a medal he had been awarded for bravery. I returned it to him, but he declined to explain the background to it.

I researched it further when I was next in South Africa and found that it was awarded to him after he crawled out on the wing of a bomber to put out an engine fire! Something I only thought happened in moves.........

Some years later (after his death) I met his son and asked him about the incident and found he knew nothing about it - not even that has father was given a bravery award!

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My father served in WW2 and after with the Royal Engineers, being also attached to the Sudanese Camel Corp and the Gurkhas. I know of a few interesting things he told me, have tons of photographs that are unexplained and wish I knew more rather then the very little I he told me. But again, he was not very communicative about his military career.
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Old 07-27-2018, 07:33 AM
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Fabulous stuff Kevin!!
Those women pilots were the unsung heroes of WW2.
No man ever flew the number of planes and hours they did.
And often in treacherous conditions.
Making it to 101 and 102 is an achievement in itself.

Their is a documentary film about a small group of female flyers (including her) I saw a few years back.
I can't remember the name.
If I can find info on it, I'll post it.
But this is worth watching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-xjUqiqVq0

Re your father's story...or lack of it...I have a similar experience with my Grandad.
I don't think he got to talk with anyone who was interested in his army career otherwise he would have talked more.
When I asked a few question at age 11 or 12, he told me quite a bit (I don't remember now)
and gave me some personal photos (some of which I have lost).
I wish I was older or knew better to ask more and get the facts straight.
He didn't have much in the way of war-time experience
(he served with the Black Watch in Scotland as a reservist(?) or maybe a volunteer(?) and got the basic medals)
but from about 1932 to 1936 he served in the British Army with the 10th Hussars in India and Egypt.
Like you, I wish I knew more.
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