We visualise dashing and daring young men as the epitome of the pilots of the Second World War, yet amongst that elite corps was one person who flew no less than 400 Spitfires and seventy-six different types of aircraft - and that person was Mary Wilkins. Her story is one of the most remarkable and endearing of the war, as this young woman, serving as a ferry pilot with the Air Transport Auxiliary, transported aircraft for the RAF, including fast fighter planes and huge four-engine bombers. On one occasion Mary delivered a Wellington bomber to an airfield, and as she climbed out of the aircraft the RAF ground crew ran over to her and demanded to know where the pilot was! Mary said simply: 'I am the pilot!' Unconvinced the men searched the aircraft before they realised a young woman had indeed flown the bomber all by herself. After the war she accepted a secondment to the RAF, being chosen as one of the first pilots, and one of only three women, to take the controls of the new Meteor fast jet. By 1950 the farmer's daughter from Oxfordshire with a natural instinct to fly became Europe's first female air commandant.In this authorised biography the woman who says she kept in the background during her ATA years and left all the glamour of publicity to her colleagues, finally reveals all about her action-packed career which spans almost a century of aviation, and her love for the skies which, even in her nineties, never falters.
She says: 'I am passionate for anything fast and furious. I always have been since the age of three and I always knew I would fly. The day I stepped into a Spitfire was a complete joy and it was the most natural thing in the world for me.'
Melody Foreman is a qualified journalist and graduate with experience in newspapers and television documentaries. She is the author of the best-selling 'Bomber Girls' and has also written two books about the history of Kent. Melody is a contributor to Britain at War magazine and is editor of the Kent Battle of Britain Museum magazine. She maintains an avid interest in the Air Transport Auxiliary, the social history and reportage of both world wars, vintage aviation, film studies, literature and Dutch art.