Mary Ellis ‘Freedom of the Isle of Wight’ campaign looks like it’s winning!

It’s fantastic to see that the OnTheWight campaign to award Wartime Spitfire pilot Mary Ellis the Freedom of the Isle of Wight looks like it is coming to fruition.

mary ellis

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.

There have been several back and forths with council officers, as well as the two chairmen of the council, Cllr Charles Chapman and latterly, Cllr Lora Peacey-Wilcox.

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. United States Air Force General David Goldfein - courtesy of USAF News Services

Just earlier this year Mary was congratulated on her 100th birthday by USAF Chief of Staff, General David Goldfein.

He said,

“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

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Wednesday, 22nd November, 2017 2:55pm

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ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2fPs

Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Top story

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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4 Comments on "Mary Ellis ‘Freedom of the Isle of Wight’ campaign looks like it’s winning!"

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freddiem
I had the honour of meeting Mary and some of her peers when I worked at White Waltham Airfield in the mid 80’s. Mary and her friends were really interesting to talk with . If anyone deserves the “Freedom of the Isle of Wight” then it is Mary. AS a born and bred Islander living in exile I feel many of my Islander friends would endorse this… Read more »
kenyoj
Mary is now the last surviving ATA Aviatrix and as a First Officer her contributions in World War2 ferrying over 1000 much needed aircraft to front line RAF stations, where they were so desperately needed, is now a legend both locally and nationally. There is more about the work of the Air Transport Auxiliary in the permanent exhibition “Grandma flew Spitfires” to be found at the ATA… Read more »
minnieb

I am sure she is a lovely lady who did her job very well; but not anywhere in the same league as those brave airmen who risked their lives night after night to defend our country. What recognition did they have? Sorry but this just looks like sentimental posturing to me.

freddiem
minnieb, without the contribution of Mary and her fellow pilots of the ATA then there would have been far fewer planes for “..brave airmen..” to fly , also those same brave airmen would have been ferrying their own planes. t may look ” …like sentimental posturing to..” you but to me and other baby boomers it is recognition of a brave job well done under extremely hard… Read more »
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