Rotary Club of Reading

Ladies in Aviation

In 1911 Hilda Hewlett became the first British woman to gain a pilot's licence (one year after Frenchwoman Raymonde de Laroche) and she went on to build planes during World War I.
Following on from Hilda came a succession of brave and competent women who achieved firsts in the fields of commercial and pleasure flying. No women flew in the military during World War I but in the Second World War women delivered no less than 35,000 aircraft from factory to place of operation, also earning a first by receiving pay equal to that of their male counterparts. Now women are flying combat missions (one has been a Red Arrows pilot) and piloting jumbo jets.
Sixty years ago the British Womens' Pilots Association was formed because membership of aviation organisations was not open to them. Most of this prejudice has disappeared and their task is now largely a matter of getting a larger proportion of women as commercial pilots. To this end Pauline gives talks to girls and young women on careers in flying.
Pauline was warmly thanked by Richard Stone and at question time by members Morvyn Hayes and Peter Warner, all three of whom are former pilots.