Amy Johnson gained worldwide recognition and became the heroine of the country, especially among womenfolk, when, in 1930 aged 27, she became the first female pilot to fly solo from Britain to Australia. Her plane was a second-hand de Havilland Gipsy Moth bi-plane. She named it Jason. It now hangs in London’s Science Museum. She subsequently set records for flights to Moscow, New York and Tokyo and survived several crash-landings in doing so. As well as gaining her incredible pilot credentials she graduated from Sheffield University with a degree in economics.
Upon the outbreak of WW II in 1940, she along with 164 other female pilots, signed up with the newly formed Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA). The job was to ferry military aircraft, fighters and bombers, single-handedly to various RAF bases around the country.
My image illustrates the tragic death of this remarkable woman. She lost her way flying in bad weather from the North of England to an air-base near Oxford and had to bail out when her plane ran out of fuel over the Thames Estuary. Crew on board a minesweeper saw her coming down on her parachute and submerge in the rough sea. The boat’s commandant jumped overboard to rescue her but was unsuccessful in saving her, instead he also died two days later from hypothermia. Amy’s body was never found.