The late Joy Lofthouse, an unsung heroine of the Second World War who flew in the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) above the skies of Britain, was determined that history should reflect the part women played during the war accurately.
Without even a driving licence, a very young Joy Lofthouse was recruited, trained and flying with the ATA before she was 21.
When Forces Radio BFBS' Amy Casey telephoned Joy in 2016 to ask if she could come and meet her the Spitfire pilot replied:
“My dear I’m nearly 93 so I don’t make any plans months in advance. I don’t even buy green bananas.”
The pair spent a quintessentially English afternoon at Joy's home in Cirencester drinking tea and recounting her days as a ferry pilot for the Air Transport Auxiliary, flying the world’s most iconic aircraft, the Spitfire. Joy humbly remarked:
“I hope your programme will be about all women in the war because the fact is that all women contributed something to the war effort. Some sat in factories making things they didn’t even know what they were.”
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown awarded the ‘Spitfire Sisters’, Yvonne Macdonald and Joy Lofthouse with a commemorative badge in honour of their services during the war.
This special programme, which originally aired in 2016, pays tribute to a lady of the skies who proved that you are never too old to fly a Spitfire. Click LISTEN below to hear the full programme.
From her early days in the ATA, to dealing with the loss of her husband and son and her continued love of life, Joy captivates with her tales of how things were, no frills or fluff, just how she and her fellow ATA girls got on with it.
After Joy sadly died in November 2017 Amy paid her respects on Twitter.