In the run up to Remembrance Day 2021, we will be sharing some stories with you:
Amy’s Final Flight…
Amy Johnson was introduced to flying in 1929 and gained her pilot’s “A” Licence at the London Aeroplane Club. Later that year, she became the first British woman to obtain a ground engineer’s “C” licence. She was a pioneering English pilot and the first woman to fly solo from London to Australia. She also set many long distance records during the 1930s.
In 1940, during World War 2, Johnson joined the newly formed Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), which transported Royal Air Force aircraft around the country. V3540 was the last plane that Amy Johnson flew, a Mk.II Airspeed Oxford. As a member of the ATA she was delivering the Oxford from Prestwick to RAF Kidlington, but she stopped overnight with her sister Molly in Blackpool. On 5th January 1941, setting off from Blackpool, the weather conditions were very poor. The flight should have taken about 90 minutes, but four and a half hours later, lost and running out of fuel, she baled out over the Thames Estuary.
Despite being sighted by some ships in a convoy and a gallant rescue attempt her body was never recovered. Tragically, the Captain of a Royal Navy escort ship Lt Walter Fletcher, who dived into the freezing water to try and rescue her also later died later from exposure.
A memorial service was held for Amy in the church of St. Martin in the Fields on 14th January 1941. As a member of ATA with no known grave, she is commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission on the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede.
Lest We Forget.
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