For her, flying a spitfire plane was the most natural thing to do: Mary Ellis, born on February 2, 1917 in Oxfordshire, evidenced interest in this exotic occupation very early in her life – and was not hindered by concerns of her family, but critized heavily by the rest of the country:
“Everybody was flabbergasted that a little girl like me could fly these big airplanes all by oneself,” Ms. Ellis said at a party to celebrate her 100th birthday. She alone ferried 400 Spitfires and 76 other kinds of aircraft to airfields during the war. In January of this year, she received the Freedom of the Isle of Wight award for what the local council described as “heroic actions in delivering more than 1,000 aircraft to front-line units during World War II.” See what else we would have missed without the obituary in the «New York Times».
PS: Here’s an example of why this NYT-decision is a true innovation, long overdue: A three-and-a-half minute video on the Spitfire – without even mentioning the role of women in her history. No comment.