At age 101 Mary Ellis has seen a few things in her time, especially during World War II. It comes as a shock to many people that she was actually a pilot for the Royal Air Force during those years. Now she is part of a very exclusive club, as the only surviving female pilot of WWII and she has some great stories about her time.
“The menace is the woman who thinks that she ought to be flying in a high-speed bomber when she really has not the intelligence to scrub the floor of a hospital properly.”
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– Aeroplane Magazine (1941)
This kind of oppression is only scratching the surface of what Mary Ellis faced during her war years as a pilot. Her first day on the job the security team would not let her through thinking that there is no way she could be a pilot. However, she defied the odds and went on to deliver airplanes to military bases in total flying over 1000 of them during the war. But there is one aircraft that holds a special place in her heart, the Spitfire.
“I love it, it’s everybody’s favorite. I think it’s a symbol of freedom.”
– Mary Ellis
Mary gives a wonderful interview with BBC London talking about her war years and a scary encounter with the Luftwaffe.