ANDY ANNABLE/BOULTBEE FLIGHT/PR
WWII pilot Mary Ellis marked her 100th birthday with flight in a Spitfire
Mary Ellis, who is a petite 5ft 2in tall, was even joined by one she flew earlier.
Mary was one of the women pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary and flew 76 different types of aircraft – from Hurricanes to Wellingtons – from factories to frontline RAF bases.
As she roared once more over the Sussex countryside in a two-seater Spitfire trainer, a single-seater came into view that was comfortingly familiar.
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Mary was a pilot of the Air Transport Auxiliary and flew 76 different types of aircraft
In September 1944 she flew the aircraft from Southampton to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire and scrawled a message in the cockpit, in the romantic hope she might hear from a glamorous pilot.
The day I stepped into a Spitfire was a complete joy and the most natural thing in the world
As she put her Spitfire through its paces on her birthday treat last autumn, she yelled through the intercom: “Wizard. This is wizard.”
Mary celebrated her centenary last week and the images are a taster of a film to be released in the autumn.
During the war she clocked up 1,100 hours, mostly alone, despite the threat from Hitler’s Luftwaffe.
In September 1944 she flew a Spitfire from Southampton to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire
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ANDY ANNABLE/BOULTBEE FLIGHT
During the flight Mary yelled through the intercom: ‘Wizard. This is wizard.’
She had several close calls, including being shot at by British anti-aircraft artillery, which mistook her for the enemy, and being shadowed by a Luftwaffe plane whose pilot declined to shoot when he realised the Spitfire was being flown by a woman.
In Mary’s book, A Spitfire Girl, she said her favourite plane was the iconic fighter, describing it as the symbol of freedom.
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During the war Mary clocked up 1,100 hours, mostly alone, despite the threat from Hitler’s Luftwaffe
She said: “I must have been four-years-old when I began to wonder why the birds could reach the sky and I couldn’t.
"The day I stepped into a Spitfire was a complete joy and the most natural thing in the world.”
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