My mum, the Spitfire pilot.
Vera Lynn died yesterday aged 103. They played 'Blue Birds' on the radio in memory of her and the image above reminded me of my mum, Ann.
I saw her when I was about 6 on a hot day in Blackboy Rd, Exeter. My parents were breaking up and she asked me who I wanted to stay with. I said, my Dad, she turned and walked away and I didn't see her again for 40 odd years.
The hair style and nose most reflected the image I have of her but I guess most women in the 1940's had that cut. The thing that caught my attention was the Spitfire flying over the white cliffs of Dover. My mum was a member of the Air Transport Auxiliary and, according to my Dad, delivered Spitfires and other military aircraft around the country from a base at White Waltham.
They were invariably short of instruments so they navigated by following the main roads and would often move from piloting a fighter to a bomber in a day.
She was a member of the badminton team that played a team of trainee glider pilots, based at RAF Booker near High Wycombe.in 1943, one of whom was my father. He had been yanked out of Burma to prepare for the European invasion. He said that the only reason she spoke to him was he was the only one with the permanent tan.
Civilian life must have been very dull after the end of World War 2 and six years of my existence could not possibly compensate so she left the permanent tan of the soldier for Rhodesia and the husband of my Head Teacher, an accountant.
Two icons in one week, Vera and Cecil Rhodes , I feel a T Shirt graphic coming on!