Spitfire Women of World War II

Giles Whittell

The story of the unsung heroines who flew the newest, fastest, aeroplanes in the Second World War -- mostly in southern England where the RAF was desperately short of pilots. Women weren't allowed to fly in combat, but what they did was nearly as dangerous. Unarmed and without instruments or radios, they delivered planes for the Air Transport Auxiliary to the RAF bases from which male pilots flew into battle. At the mercy of the weather and any long-range enemy aircraft that pounced on them, dozens of these women died, among them Amy Johnson, Britain's most famous flyer. But the survivors shared four unrepeatable years of life, adrenaline and love. The author has interviewed all the surviving women pilots, who came not just from the shires of England, but also from the U.S.A, Chile, Australia, Poland and Argentina. Paid GBP 6.00 a week, they flew -- in skirts -- up to 16 hours a day in 140 different types of aircraft, though most of them liked spitfires best.

Soft cover, 304 pages.