ATA girl flies her beloved Spitfire again

    

Warlike and non-warlike operations highlight some extraordinary people doing extraordinary things. Mary Ellis is one of those, not just because she has just celebrated her 100th birthday but because she was a WWII First Officer flying with the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) who single-handedly delivered 76 types of combat aircraft to the front line. They included about 400 Spitfires and other aircraft as large as Wellington bombers.

The ATA delivered 308,568 aircraft of which Mary’s total was about 1,000. One in 10 ATA pilots did not survive, including 14 women.

Mary is one of last surviving ATA pilots but her age has not dimmed her passion for flying. To celebrate her 100th birthday she co-piloted a twin-seater Spitfire and flew alongside one of the Spitfires she ferried during the war. She needs no spectacles nor walking stick. We should be very thankful such people are born.

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