Mary Ellis, one of Air Transport Auxiliary’s most accomplished female pilots, celebrated her 100th birthday on February 2nd. Mary was born at Leafield near Fairford in Gloucestershire and not a million miles from RAF Brize Norton. She joined ATA in October 1941 and served until the end of December 1945. For almost all that time she was based at No.15 Ferry Pool at Hamble, one of two ATA bases staffed entirely by women. With the Supermarine factory just round the corner in Southampton, Spitfire deliveries were the bread and butter of Hamble pilots. Mary ferried 403 Spitfires, including 70 out of Eastleigh airfield. She qualified as a First Officer and was authorised to fly all aircraft types up to Class 4 operational twin engined planes such as the Mosquto and the Wellington, which ATA pilots flew solo. On one occasion she delivered a Wellington and the ground crew would not believe she was the pilot until they searched the aircraft from one end to the other. Mary has just published her autobiography “A Spitfire Girl” in which she describes her action-packed career which spans almost a century of aviation. From Tiger Moths to Hurricanes and Spitfires, from Wellington Bombers to post-war jets, Mary’s desire to take to the skies has never faltered. “A Spitfire Girl” is available from the Maidenhead Heritage Centre shop on https://maidenheadheritage.org.uk/shop/ It is a great read and if you buy the book from us you will supporting our work to preserve the ATA story for future generations.