In just over two months, former WWII pilot, Mary Ellis, will turn 101 years old.
The WWII pilot, who had her first flying lesson in August 1938 and later trained to fly fighters and bombers, notched up an impressive record of aircraft flown, over 400 Spitfires and Seafires across the Solent during the second world war delivering planes to the RAF.
Mary contributed not only to keeping the Isle of Wight safe, but also keeping the country safe during WWII and over recent years has brought much positive press attention to the Isle of Wight.
OnTheWight campaign success
Readers will remember that following Mary’s 100th birthday OnTheWight launched a campaign for Mary to be given the Freedom of the Isle of Wight.
Today the Isle of Wight council have announced they will consider the application to give Mary Ellis Freedom of the Isle of Wight.
It’s hoped to be considered at an Extraordinary full council meeting in January and requires two thirds of the vote to be successful.
Sole surviving ‘Spitfire Girl’
Sadly, last week Mary’s ‘Spitfire Sister’, Joy Lofthouse, who served in the Air Transport Auxiliary at the same time passed away, aged 94.
This leaves Mary Ellis the last surviving WWII female Spitfire pilot.
Just earlier this year Mary was congratulated on her 100th birthday by USAF Chief of Staff, General David Goldfein.
“As a member of the greatest generation, you bravely answered the call of a nation at war, and are counted among a treasured legion of international heroes.
“Your service as an Air Auxiliary Transport pilot during World War II shines as an inspiration to all men and women. We honour your courage in the chronicles of history.”
You can find out more about Mary Ellis by visiting the brilliant Solent Aviatrix Website.
Freedom of the Wight
Only three other individuals have been granted the Freedom of the Wight – the film director Anthony Minghella, solo yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur and Hovertravel founder Christopher Bland.
Image: © Cam-ARA
Image: © Image of General David Goldfein courtesy of USAF News Services