June 10, 2011, 2:47 pm
In 2011, owner of Lodge Hill Garage, Peter Jewson launched a campaign to raise money for a national monument to recognise the bravery of the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) Girls during World War 2 and honour them, some of whom lost their lives delivering the aircraft to the battle stations.
The fundraising campaign was launched at a special event on Wednesday 8th June where Lodge Hill unveiled the life size spitfire replica, which they have placed on the garage roof adjacent to the showroom in tribute to these brave women. The day included a 1940s style lunch, 1940s music as well as fly-past by a Spitfire and a special appearance by Joy Lofthouse and Mary Ellis, two of the first female pilots to fly a Spitfire during World War 2.
The Air Transport Auxiliary was formed in February 1940 to ferry new, repaired and damaged military aircraft between UK factories, assembly plants and maintenance units and active squadrons and airfields. Representatives of 28 countries flew with the ATA which employed 1,318 pilots in total, 166 of which were women.
Many of the ATA girls lost their lives in World War 2, delivering all types of aircraft with limited training. They were simply handed an instruction book and told to get on with it. They flew in all weather conditions, often with poor visibility, with no guns, no radio and no instrument training. Their presence in World War 2 was one of the first major steps towards female piloting within the forces.
Lodge Hill has been campaigning for a permanent memorial to the ATA girls to be designed locally and placed in a national memorial centre such as Hendon’s Aviation Museum. There is little recognition to honour their bravery, courage and loss of life. Since placing the Spitfire on the roof in 2011, the garage has raised over £3000 for the ATA memorial fund. If you would like to find out more about the ATA girls or make a donation please don't hesitate to get in touch, or pop down to our showroom to take a look at the Spitfire in all its glory.