Congratulations to Emma Ralley who has won the Caption Contest with “164 (the number of uk female spitfire pilots in WW2)”
The 164 women have been nicknamed the ‘Spitfire Women’ as it was their job to fly for the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA). This meant doing jobs such as flying planes which had been newly built, or moving them from base to base, or tentatively flying home broken ones. What’s really impressive is that they would fly without instruments, in bad weather and through enemy territory. They may not have zoomed into battle, but their role was vital and their task hard and difficult.
Not only did they have a war to deal with a long way above the ground in tin can, they also had to combat the misogyny they encountered from upper-class officers, politicians and male pilots. The only reason these women were allowed to fly was because of the desparate situation, it was them or no one.
In the beginning they were even expected to fly in stockings and skirts (in open air Tiger Moth planes) because such was the resistance towards them. A uniform would have meant acceptance. Eventually the women were allowed uniforms, apparently much to the shock and embarrassment of the tailors who had to measure them.