A former “ATA girl” who delivered over 1,000 Spitfires and bombers to RAF airfields during the Second World War who was given the freedom of the Isle of Wight has sadly died we can reveal.
Mary Ellis It is said to have died yesterday (Tuesday 24th July) in Sandown.
Isle of Wight councillors voted to honour Mrs Ellis, as she was the last surviving pilot to have served in the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA).
The ATA were responsible for transporting aircraft and pilots throughout the war years, until they were disbanded in 1945.
Mary Ellis, then Wilkins, joined the service in 1941 after hearing a radio advert for women pilots.
During her time in the ATA, Mrs Ellis delivered around 1,000 aircraft to the RAF, including the famous Spitfire and Wellington bomber.
She did so with only a compass, stopwatch and map to help her find the airfields.
After the war ended, she moved to the Isle of Wight where she managed Sandown Airport.
Aged 101, Mary had been active until very recently – including a visit to Number 10 Downing Street in May this year where she joined an RAF100 reception hosted by the Prime Minister. RAF cadets formed a guard of honour as Mary left Number 10. She also attended the London premiere of the film “Spitfires” only 2 weeks ago where she received a standing ovation.