Welcome to the ATA Association website! If you would like to join the ATA Association, please send an email to the secretary at ataassoc.secretary@gmail.com and an application form will be sent. See below our aims and objectives - and do help us keep the magnificent ATA story alive! This website was updated on 27th February 2019.

 Wikipedia and our Facebook page for more information!

Uno buses named after ATA women!

4th February 2019 Hatfield: Uno Bus launched 8 new buses, naming a bus after each of the eight women who were the first to join the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) in 1939. At a ceremony held in Hatfield University’s Fielder Centre, Richard Poad, chairman of the Maidenhead Heritage Centre where many records are kept of ATA, spoke about the amazing achievements ATA. John Lumsden also recalled stories about his Aunt, Marion Wilberforce – one of those whose name has been used.

After the formal presentations, the Mayor of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, Councillor Barbara Fitzsimon, cut the ribbon on the Marion Wilberforce bus. Each bus has display panels inside so that passengers can learn about the background of each of those named and learn about ATA. The other ladies celebrated were: Joan Hughes, Gabrielle Patterson, Margaret Fairweather, Winifred Crossley, Margaret Cunnison, Mona Friedlander and Rosemary Rees

Background information: Uno (formerly UniversityBus) is a bus service operated by the University of Hertfordshire, England, serving members of the general public, and also its own students and staff. The service was set up in 1992, growing out of a shuttle service previously operated for students at Wall Hall college near Watford connecting them to the other campuses of the University and the Polytechnic (Hatfield) before it.

It provides student transport to the expanding university from local areas as well as improving east-west travel across Hertfordshire and has opened up new links from North London. Services have expanded rapidly as the University has closed outlying sites at Watford and Hertford and developed the new de Havilland Campus on the site of the former Hatfield airfield. 

Authoress Melody Foreman will deliver a talk: 'The Life and Times of A Spitfire Girl and the ATA' on Sunday, February 17 at 2pm - The Geoffrey Page Centre, The Battle of Britain Memorial, New Dover Rd, Capel-le-Ferne, Folkestone CT18 7JJ. Call 01303 249292 to book your place - limited numbers (50) so book early in order not to be disappointed!AGM 2019. 

The ATA Association AGM will be held on Saturday 9th March 2019 at the RAF Club, 128 Piccadilly, London. The AGM will start at 11:30am and will be followed by a lunch at 1:00pm. All ATAA Members are invited. If you wish to attend please contact the ATAA Secretary on ataassoc.secretary@gmail.com for menu details etc. The cost of the lunch will be £45 per head.

 Third Officer Stephen Innes

1st November 2018: It is with great sadness we announce the death of former Third Officer Dr Stephen Innes. He died on 27th October peacefully at home. Stephen joined ATA from the RAF and spent time at the Whitchurch Ferry Pool during his service from 19-5-44 to 15-4-45.

Sunday 11th November 2018: Cenotaph & St Paul's Cathedral 

This year the wreath on London's Cenotaph will be laid by Christopher Garrod, son of former First Officer Peter Garrod who was also the Hon Commodore of the ATA Association. In the afternoon there will be a gathering of ATAA members in St Paul's Cathedral attending evensong at 3:15pm and afterwards laying a wreath in the crypt to honour the 174 men and women who died in the service of ATA.

Aviator and Rally Driver, Mary Ellis, Memorial Service and Flypast

24th September 2018: The Memorial Service for Mary Ellis was held in the church of St Mary's, Cowes, Isle of Wight. The day was blessed with fine weather and a full church and tributes were delivered by Group Captain Anne-Marie Houghton of the RAF and Graham Rose the ATA Association chairman.

Following the service, no fewer than three Spitfires were to be seen in the sky over Cowes and the solo display was flown by the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar's Dan Griffith in their Mk IX 'Spirit of Kent'.

11th July 2018: The ATA was thrilled to have been invited by the RAF to be represented at the marvellous RAF100 celebrations held in London yesterday, namely: Minnie Churchill (a daughter of the founder of ATA, Gerald d'Erlanger), Adrian Lead (son of First Officer Dennis Lead), Derek Smith (son of Chief Operations Officer Arthur Kirkman Smith) and John Lumsden (nephew of Commander Marion Wilberforce). Reports are they had a marvellous day and we are truly grateful. Aetheris Avidi and Blue Skies to the men and women of ATA who are no longer with us.

4th July: John Cochrane It is again with sadness that we have to report the loss of another ATA veteran. Former Third Officer John Cochrane died in Devon on the 26th of June.

Having been treated to flights by ATA pilots at White Waltham whilst in the OTC/Air at Eton, John joined the RAF in 1942 and trained as a Radio Observer and Airfield Controller before being seconded into the ATA on 5-10-43 and taught to fly alongside some of the WAAF recruits. Initially posted to Kirkbride before conversion training at Thame and Class 2 clearance, there followed a period at Prestwick before further conversion to Class 3 at White Waltham. With a family home in Ireland he managed to obtain a posting to Belfast and enjoyed flying in that part of the country before being returned to the RAF on 15-4-45 as a Sgt, where he took up gliding and gained engineering skills prior to his demob in Oct 1946. John then joined the Bristol Aeroplane Company and, as an observer, participated in the test flying of the Brabazon, flew on proving flights in the Britannia and even acted as a navigator on a Bristol Freighter flight to Khartoum. There followed time at RAE Farnborough on weapons systems with a period spent in Australia. The love of gliding continued and he was once the manager at the Lasham club. He also had shares in a glider and later, in Devon, a motor glider. 

22nd June 2018: It is with great sadness we advise the passing away of Ivan Flynn.

Ivan served as a Fitter at White Waltham from 23-5-1941 to 19-9-1945 and was one of my interviewees in 2015 for the Maidenhead Heritage Centre's collection. He was the son of the renowned commercial pilot, J. J. Flynn, and was employed at Croydon from August 1939 before joining the ATA. Ivan spent time in the RAF from his call-up in November 1945 and served abroad in Egypt and Libya; working on aircraft instruments rather than engines! He married his ATA Fitter colleague, Lilian Pearson, in August 1946 and, following de-mob in April 1948, he first became a metal worker before embarking on a career in shopfitting.

16th May 2018: It is with great sadness we advise of the passing away of former First Officer Raymond Eric Roberts: 24-10-1916 / 29-04-2018. 

Ray was born in London and his World War II service began in the RAF. After injuring a leg baling out of a Miles Master trainer, he joined ATA in October 1941 and served until ATA was wound up at the end of November 1945. Ray flew an impressive 75 types, not including different marks, that included the Meteor jet!

His Flight Authorisation Card declared him to have up to Class 6 (Flying Boats) and I seem to recall him saying that he was undergoing training on 6 when War ended. However, whilst his card indicates 'Class 5 + 6 / 14-6-45', there's no mention of the Catalina or Sunderland in what I considered to be his last full list of types flown.

He spent time at a number of Ferry Pools and flew overseas with the Air Movements Flight. Unfortunately I don't know how many hours he amassed in powered aircraft but postwar he was an active glider pilot instructor with well over 5000 launches and 300+ hours by Oct 1976.

His funeral will be held at Margate Crematorium on Monday 21st May at 13:45 followed by a celebration of his long and active life at St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury Road, CT8 8NL. Members who may be able are welcome to attend and donations to his British Legion home are invited rather than flowers.

24th April 2018: On Friday 20th April the RAF Women’s Rugby team beat the Royal Navy Women’s team by 53 to 3 at the Twickenham Stoop becoming the first team to win the “Molly Rose Trophy”. Go to link Trophy at women’s rugby game and Oxford Mail Molly Rose Trophy


19th April 2018: John Lumsden and Graham Rose attended a reception in London's Guildhall and mixed with hundreds of active servicemen and women of the RAF. John reported: "The mix of Air Force there was extraordinary - from very keen and ambitious Air Cadets, boisterous Corporals & Sergeants, young Flying Officers with no wings (yet) and no medals to the old, bold, gold braided and be-medaled who were young Squadron Leaders when I retired. All with interesting stories to tell and all aware of the ATA from the flurry of recent TV documentaries. The Lord Mayor and Chief of Air Staff, Sir Stephen Hillier, spoke well - the latter without notes and with many gentle references to the Lord Mayor’s speech that had mentioned many of CAS’s themes for the RAF’s 100th adding that his ‘Inspire' message was clearly being successful." John and Graham ensured the ATA story was told and concluded: "Mission accomplished"!

Joy Lofthouse

A "Celebrating the Life of Joy Lofthouse" event took place at Cirencester University on Monday 26th March 2018. Over 300 people assembled and were delighted by contributions from friends and Joy's son, Peter, and daughter Lyn. After refreshments there was a splendid flypast by a Spitfire! Many fond memories of Joy.

Martin Nicholson's Memorial Service

A Memorial Service was held for Martin Nicholson on Friday 16th February in a full Chapel in the complex of the Yorkshire Air Museum in Elvington with two splendid addresses delivered by his sons, Anthony and Jonathan. Blue Skies Martin.

17th January 2018: Mary Ellis was awarded Freedom of the Isle of Wight. 

Joy Lofthouse: 16th November 2017: It is with great, great sadness we report the passing away of Joy Lofthouse. Please see a tribute http://www.wiltsglosstandard.co.uk/news/15665280.T... 

13th November 2017: Our thanks to Adrian Lead who laid the wreath at the Cenotaph and appreciation to over 20 people who attended evensong and the laying of the wreath in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral. Special thanks to Janet Mayberry who laid the wreath in the crypt. Her involvement was particularly poignant: her late father, First Officer Francis Robert Marsh, crashed into the sea whilst delivering an aircraft from Sherburn to Lossiemouth on 29th May 1944.

Do visit https://solentaviatrix.wordpress.com/2017/11/10/felicity-bragg-forgotten-ata-captain/

and read the piece about Felicity Bragg.

About ATA: The Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), founded at the outbreak of World War II, was a civilian organisation which made an enormous contribution to the war effort by taking over from service pilots the task of ferrying RAF and Royal Naval warplanes between factories, maintenance units and front-line squadrons. During the war 1,245 men and women from 25 countries ferried over 309,000 aircraft of 147 different types, without radios, with no instrument flying instruction and at the mercy of the British weather. A remarkable story!

Aims & Objectives of the Air Transport Auxiliary Association (ATAA)

  • To keep alive the memory of all those who worked in ATA in WW2 and that their story is told accurately.
  • To assist journalists, and the media in general, in sourcing people and material.
  • To organise representation at the Annual Remembrance service held at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London, UK and lay the ATA wreath.
  • To encourage attendance at evensong in St Paul’s Cathedral on Remembrance Sunday and a short memorial service in the crypt afterwards.
  • To encourage attendance at the Drumhead Service held in July each year at East Farm, Fovant.
  • To circulate details of events, meetings, lectures
  • To ensure all the memorials are kept in good condition.
  • To encourage families of ATAers to leave ATA memorabilia to the Maidenhead Heritage Centre (MHC) and be a link with MHC.
  • To produce an ATAA Newsletter from time-to-time with news about ATA veterans and the ATAA organisation.
  • To act as a gateway to the website created by Ann Wood Kelly enabling those wanting to research ATA.
  • To encourage membership to ATAA – whether relations of ATAers or those who are supporters.
  • To hold an Annual General Meeting in order to review the activities of the ATAA, consider and accept the accounts, elect officers and committee members and to hold committee meetings from time to time. (Traditionally in early September and the day before West London Aero Club holds its Members' Day).
Officers email
 Graham Rose: Chairman ataassoc.chairman@gmail.com
Christopher Wood-Kelly

Vice Chairman with special responsibility for overseas members

John Webster: Secretary ataassoc.secretary@gmail.com
John Lumsden: Treasurer ataassoc.treasurer@gmail.com

Date & Events

Sunday 11th November 2018 Evensong at St Paul's Cathedral AT 3:15pm and afterwards in the Crypt for a short service to remember those nearly 180 men and women who lost their lives in the service of ATA.