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Fly & Deliver: Four More World War II UK Flight Plans


Fly & Deliver: Four More World War II UK Flight Plans

By Allan Jones



In the September 18, 2012 feature article Fly & Deliver: Four World War II UK Flight Plans I described flight simulations of World War Two ferry deliveries flown by Hugh Bergel, a civilian pilot with the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA). Bergel had recorded his experiences in the book Fly and Deliver - a Ferry Pilots Log Book which gave the details necessary for the flights.



Log book extract - W.H. Aldrich




WHA1 3 over Bristol FS2004



This article brought me a number of welcome email responses regarding the enjoyment this subject and these flights in particular, with some helpful suggestions from others. A general question was "would there be more flight plans?"


The ATA existed for six years (1939 - 1945) and made around 300,000 aircraft movements, with a number of these described in two relatively recent documentary works - Giles Whittell's "Spitfire Women" (Harper Perennial books) and the documentary film "Forgotten Pilots" (a UK ITV West production). There are more records in other works, including the operational archives of WWII airfields and the logbooks of individual pilots, some now legendary, many more but fading memories. While some pilots went on to more flying exploits, most returned to their old lives outside aviation in the post-war period.


Here are four more flights I selected. Full details are given in the attached library file (FLYDELIVER2.ZIP) with route plans in FSX, FS2004 and Plan G3 formats.



ATA pilot Joan Hughes in front of a Shorts Stirling bomber during WWII




AW1 2 Boscombe Down Turn FSX



1. The 'Gaggle of Geese' flight from Forgotten Pilots, 1940, Tiger Moth

The first women pilots to join the Air Transport Auxiliary were a small group of very experienced flyers. Nevertheless they had to undergo a lot of verbal rebuffs about 'women flyers' and other chauvinistic challenges to fly with the ATA. It took two years for them to achieve anything like equal status and during this period they were largely relegated to flying De Havilland Tiger Moth trainers and Miles Magisters. This is a flight in a Tiger Moth from Hatfield to Prestwick.


2. Ann Welch, Chattis Hill to Colerne, 3 February, 1942, Spitfire

Ann Welch flew this seemingly short (less than 50 miles) VFR flight at near tree-top height in bad weather, flaps down, to deliver a Spitfire under 'Priority 1' orders, after standby at the plane for two days with the weather closed in. It turned out to be one of the planes urgently needed for delivery to the USS Wasp, loaned by Roosevelt to Churchill to deliver Spitfire squadrons to relieve the siege of Malta. Welch spent a lifetime in aviation, principally in gliding and was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE). She died in 2002.


3. W.H. Aldrich, Llandow, Wales to Andrewsfield, Essex, 2 April 1945, Mustang

The stories of a few pilots, male and female, with many flying hours accumulated in a lot of aircraft types, make up much of the current ATA folklore. But for all the 'legends' there were of course many more pilots who did the 'daily grind' of deliveries. Here is a flight by W. H. Aldrich taken from a section of his logbook available in the memorabilia web site of Haddenham Airfield, delivering a Mustang Mark IV from Llandow, Wales to Andrewsfield, Essex.



Diana Barnato Walker and Spitfire




GG1 1 Approaching Linton on Ouse FSX



4. Thruxton to B.31 (Eu, near Dieppe, France) from Fly and Deliver (Bergel), 6 September 1944 (Spitfire)

This flight of three Spitfires, two by ATA pilots and the third by an RAF GSU Wing Commander, records the first ATA aircraft delivery to France after D-Day. The flight route involved a brief reconnaissance down the Seine prior to landing at a new battleground airfield coded B.31 close to the town of Eu in Normandy.


It is a poignant note that by prior arrangement Bergel moved behind his subordinate, Maurice Harle, on approach. The first French national to fly with the ATA made the unit's first delivery to France after the invasion of Europe, returning to the battle-scarred but liberated corner of his homeland in a Spitfire.



HB5 7 turning towards France FS2004



The ATA pilots, generally older men and younger women, were often referred to in humour or derision as 'Ancient and Tattered Airmen' or 'Always Terrified Airwomen'. They were in fact neither tattered in their demeanor nor terrified in their conduct. They had to balance constantly the risks of VFR flying in often 'dicey' weather against the need to move aircraft away from manufacturing sites where, clustered together, they could be more easily bombed. 173 fatalities of ATA crew occurred during the course of these operations, commemorated in the plaque at St Paul's Cathedral, London. The flight and ground crews members of the ATA much deserve the only official recognition presented to them by the British government - albeit belatedly in 2008 - the ATA Veteran's Badge.



Commemorative Plaque St. Pauls




Veterans Badge



I used default scenery and freeware aircraft from the FlightSim.Com library throughout, although there are more detailed or realistic payware aircraft available. Details and acknowledgements are given in the Flight Notes in the library file. I hope you enjoy these additional flights.


Allan Jones


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