Mary Ellis: Touching the Sky
During the years of World War Two, a short lived, but remarkable, organisation existed. The Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) was a civilian service that was tasked with the delivery of aircraft from factories to the squadrons of the RAF and Royal Navy, and the delivery of supplies. Featuring pilots exempt from wartime service due to health, age and – most commonly – gender, they gained a reputation for being able to take anything anywhere. One such pilot was Mary Ellis. A courageous and pioneering aviator, she blazed the way for women aviators in Britain with her passion for the skies and evident skill. She served with the ATA by flying aircraft - including spitfires - between airfields, enabling the RAF to maintain their defence against the Luftwaffe. In this extraordinary episode, she talks about her love of flying, which first developed when she was a child, and the incredible feats she undertook as a pilot. Mary Ellis passed away on 24 July 2018, aged 101 – just a short time after filming this interview.