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Visit to the Maidenhead Heritage Centre Exhibition
Monday 26th November 2012

At a ceremony in London's Green Park on 28th June, the Queen unveiled a £6 million monument dedicated to the Royal Airforce Airmen who lost their lives in WW2 fighting for the country, named the RAF Bomber Command Memorial. Many civilians supported their work on the ground, including the Air Transport Auxiliary service (ATAS).

The ATAS Headquarters were based in Maidenhead at the White Waltham airfield. The service was run with civilian volunteers, male and female, who were involved during WW2 in the transport of newly built airplanes from factories to operational airfields. Many of the volunteers were women, both British and from overseas, who had never driven a car but were nevertheless entrusted with flying planes, after some very basic initial training. The flights were carried out without any radio controlled system, with the pilots navigating by using paper maps and good eyesight!

Twenty two members visited the Heritage Centre last week, to listen to a presentation given by Richard Poad, the Centre's director, on the "Air Transport Auxiliary service". After the talk, we all went to view an exhibition of ATA memorabilia and documentation, entitled "Grandma Flew Spitfires!". The bravest visitors then had a go in the flight simulator, pretending to be an ATA pilot!

A most moving and enjoyable visit!


Michaela Howard

November 2012


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