The glamorous and strong women who flew wartime aircraft in World War Two have been celebrated in Montrose today.
A new calendar remembering the efforts of the female pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), who flew dozens of different types of war planes between factories and front line squadrons during the Second World War, was launched today (Friday, May 29) at Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre.
The 2016 calendar has been put together by local photographer Neil Werninck, who is a founder member of Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre.
Dressed in the World War Two uniforms of the Spitfire Girls, as the ATA flying ladies are known, 13 girls from the Montrose area were photographed beside the replica Spitfire, The Red Lichtie, at the atmospheric surroundings of Montrose Air Station, which is the oldest military air base in the UK.
The calendar also commemorates the 80th anniversary of the first flight by a Spitfire and the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
Neil said: “Early last year, I had thought of producing a charity calendar as a fund-raiser for the heritage centre. “The Spitfire Girls theme occurred by chance, an article I had been reading mentioned the first flight of the Spitfire was in March 1936; and so making the calendar celebrate the 80th Anniversary year of that first flight seemed a good idea.
“A while later, I had watched a TV programme that told the story of the Air Transport Auxiliary women pilots during World War Two, a number of whom had flown Spitfires, and suddenly I realised that here was the perfect calendar mix - commemorating these courageous women pilots as well as the Spitfire anniversary seemed the perfect theme.”
Wearing full-length evening dresses supplied by Jezabelle boutique in Murray Street, several of the girls from the calendar, including Review reporter Nikki Mitchell, were photographed with their calendar pages alongside the Red Lichtie Spitfire.
Famous female pilot Amy Johnston was one of the ATA women to fly she to Montrose. She delivered twin engine Oxfords to Montrose Air Station.
The Spitfire Girls Calendar 2016 is available from Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre and costs £6.99.
The calendar can also be ordered online at www.rafmontrose.org.uk at a cost of £6.99 plus £2.99 post and packaging.
All proceeds will go to Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre.
See next week’s Review for more.