Press Releases

HISTORIC PRESS RELEASE : Second World War aviation heroes honoured [September 2008]

The press release issued by 10 Downing Street on 9 September 2008.

The Prime Minister has awarded a special badge of recognition to men and women who served in the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) during the Second World War.

The awards were handed out at a reception in Downing Street today in honour of the men and women of the ATA, including female pilots known as the ‘Spitfire Women’, for their contribution to the war effort. The ATA supplied more than 309,000 aircraft from factories to front line airfields during the war and returned them when they were damaged.

The PM said:

“I am honoured to have this opportunity to give my thanks to the men and women of the ATA. Their dedication and efforts during the Second World War can not be overestimated. They can be rightly proud of their contribution to defending this country during its darkest hours. It is a great privilege to meet so many of them today and to hear of the work they undertook and their sacrifice they made to ensure the delivery of aircraft for the front line.”

173 air crew personnel lost their lives on ATA missions, including Amy Johnson, the pioneering female civil aviator.