Jackie Moggridge was just nineteen when World War Two broke out. Determined to do her bit, she joined the Air Transport Auxiliary. Ferrying aircraft from factory to frontline was dangerous work, but there was also fun, friendship and even love in the air. At last the world was opening up to women... or at least it seemed to be.
Dolores Theresa Sorour was born in Pretoria South Africa where she gained her “A” flying license as a very young girl. She chose the name “Jackie” for herself after her hockey-playing heroine Jackie Rissik. At age 17 she was the first woman to do a parachute jump in South Africa.
The author tells about going to England in 1938 to obtain her “B” flying license at the Witney Flying Club in Oxford. At the outbreak of War in September 1939, she was grounded along with all flying cub.
Moggridge tells about joining the WAAF and was based in Rye at a radar Station. At the end of July 1940 the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) was formed and she was one of the first to obtain a transfer to ATA as a pilot. Jackie was stationed at the Hatfield Ferry Pool and was one of the youngest female pilots.
When the ATA closed down at the end of the War in 1945 she married Reg Moggridge, an Army Captain in Taunton, Devon. The airlines reverted to the pre-war prejudices against women pilots. She raised a family until early in the 1950’s when she obtained her Commercial pilots license
The author tells about obtaining a job in 1954 to ferry surplus Spitfires from Cypress to the Burmese Air Force in Rangoon, Burma. She flew surplus fighter jet to the Indian Air Force. She was the only female pilots and was definitely flying into danger. You must read the book to learn of her adventures. Her two fellow pilots on this contract job were Mike Townsend and Charles Lamerton. They wrote a biography of Jackie, telling in-depth about this adventure. Jackie does not cover this event in much detail. The name of the biography is “A Woman Pilot”.
In 1958 she became the first woman Captain for Channel Airways. She describes this part of her life in a great deal of detail. She died in 2004. Jackie describes the trails and difficulties, success and frustration of her life in the sky in an easy to read manner with lots of humor. If you are interested in the women of early aviation or World War II, you will enjoy this book. Jilly Bond narrated the book.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Beautiful story. What a woman!! Felt so much emotion listening to this book and felt as if I was in those spitfires with her
This is a lovely book. The novation is really fitting and the South African accent that slowly fades away towards the end is perfect. Definitely recommend this book.
This is an epic story of a woman ahead of her time, pursuing an incredible lifelong adventure and passion in what was then very much a man's domain. This should be made into a film if it hasn't already. What a great read!
Wonderful book that absorbs you in the world of flying. Amazingly honest and true to life. Wish I could have met you Jackie, thankfully due to trailblazers like you the sky has not been limited by my gender. Thank you. I, like you, cannot imagine doing anything else.
Would you listen to Spitfire Girl again? Why?
I'd listen to this again. The story is interesting from her childhood in South Africa right up to the post-war aircraft deliveries, told in a remarkable way by Jilly Bond.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Jackie, of course
What does Jilly Bond bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
Interesting how she interjects Jackie's South African accent into the narrative making it a more personal account of Jackie's life.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Any additional comments?
The final chapter and the After Word is particularly entertaining are very moving
If you could sum up Spitfire Girl in three words, what would they be?
Enthralling, understated, respect
What other book might you compare Spitfire Girl to, and why?
Spitfire Woman by Giles Whittell describes the work of all the woman aircraft ferry pilots during the second world war
Which character – as performed by Jilly Bond – was your favourite?
Jackie Sorour (Ne Moggridge)
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Amazement and respect She just got into an aircraft, sometimes with only a rudimentary knowledge of the type and flew it.
Any additional comments?
Her accounts of the ferrying of the Spitfires from Israel to Burma was the icing on the cake, so understated.