In 2018, the world lost one of the last living female pilots who served in World War II. Her name was Mary Ellis, and she died at the age of 101 in England. She has a pretty magnificent story.
In January 1940, women were first recruited to join the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA). During that time, women being pilots was frowned upon by more conservative members of society in the UK, but the work these women did was incredibly important.
Mary was born into a farming family in Oxfordshire. When she was a little girl, her interest in flying was ignited after a visit to a flying circus show at the Witney Aerodrome near where she grew up. As a teenager, she was permitted to take flying lessons at the Witney and was a certified flyer by the time war had been declared in 1939.
In 1941, Mary was 24-years-old when she heard an advertisement on the radio. BBC was advertising for women to become pilots.
Mary applied, was accepted, and began her training. What she accomplished during the war is quite remarkable.
Pilots for the ATA were responsible for delivering spitfires and bombs to soldiers on the front line during the war.
Throughout her service, Mary had flown more than 1,000 airplanes and flew with 400 different spitfires.
She flew in hazardous conditions and survived all of it. Mary was one of the few surviving female pilots from the war.
When the ATA came to a close, Mary was one of the last pilots to stop working. However, after the war, she continued to work as a registered pilot and a farmer.
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