By Chloe Sladden Turner
Uno Bus will launch eight new buses, in their new “Tiger Moth” brand to celebrate and remember the first eight women from the Air Transport Auxiliary, according to a recent Welwyn Hatfield Times article by Anne Suslak
These eight women broke into the male-dominated field of military flying, back in 1939 during the winter of World War Two.
Richard Poad, Chairman of the Maidenhead Heritage Centre, said: “Until July 1941 women were only approved to fly trainers like the Tiger Moth or communications aircraft. In 1943 11 women were cleared to fly the four-engined bombers and ATA finally gave its female and male pilots equal pay”.
Marion Wilberforce, Winifred Crossley, Mona Friedlander, Rosemary Rees, Joan Hughes, Margaret Cunnison, Gabrielle Patterson, and Margaret Fairweather made up these eight inspirational women.
The 653 service from Uno that covers Hatfield, St Alban’s and Welwyn Garden City will use the eight new buses. While the name of each woman will be found on the format of the bus with photos and information about the ATA and each woman’s life will be available inside the buses.
Jim Thorpe, managing director for Uno buses, spoke of the company’s delight at the new bus brand, and has said: “We’re delighted to be able to honour these amazing women and help share their story as widely as we can”.
He went on to add: “All our teams are so passionate about celebrating our local heritage and to be able to display this incredible part of our history on our buses is something we’re all very proud of”.
The bus brand is named after the “Tiger Moth” biplanes at De Havilland that were manufactured at the Airdrome in Hatfield.
Here at De Havilland Hatfield, the ATA saw civilians fill their teams. Civilians would ferry planes from RAF airfields on the front line to and from factories.
The ATA’s first eight women members were in involved in the Tiger Moth’s first delivery of its “open cockpit” planes going from Hatfield to Scotland during World War Two.
Chairman of the Maidenhead Heritage Centre, Richard Poad, went on to add that: “These Women flew unarmed, without radio, navigating by map-reading and always at the mercy of the ever-changing British weather”.
He added: “The ‘ATA-girls’ was a very special sisterhood and are superb role models for young women today. We’re really pleased that Uno is helping to tell their story”.