UPDATED: Mary Ellis, the much-loved aviator who helped to deliver over 1,000 aircraft during the war, has died at her home on the Isle of Wight at the age of 101, according to the Air Transport Auxiliary Association.
Mary joined the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) in 1941 and was to deliver over 1,000 aircraft to frontline squadrons during WW2. She flew 76 different types from Spitfires to Lancaster bombers.
Aged 101, Mary had been active until very recently – including a visit to Number 10 Downing Street in May this year where she joined an RAF100 reception hosted by the Prime Minister. RAF cadets formed a guard of honour as Mary left Number 10. She also attended the London premiere of the film “Spitfires” only 2 weeks ago where she received a standing ovation.
Mary was the Commodore of the ATA Association and was 1 of 2 last surviving UK female ATA pilots, the other being Eleanor Wadsworth.
It is said that Mary died yesterday (Tuesday 24th July) in Sandown.
UPDATE THURSDAY – The leader of the Isle of Wight Council, Councillor Dave Stewart, said:
“I would like to express my sadness at the passing of Mary Ellis who earlier this year was bestowed with the freedom of the Isle of Wight in recognition of the contribution that she like so many other Islanders made during the Second World War.
“I have now asked council officers to look at appropriate ways in which we can further recognise her remarkable life.
“I would like to pass on my condolences to Mary’s family and friends at this very sad time – including, of course, to our own councillor, Clare Mosdell.
“In Mary, the Island has been so lucky to have had such a wonderful person among us, and who gave such great service to her country.”