15 February 1940 was a real landmark in the history of ATA. On that date 80 years ago, ferrying operations began from No. 1 Ferry Pool at White Waltham. The airfield was occupied by the RAF’s Elementary Flying Training School 13, so ATA was a cuckoo in the nest. Within 12 months White Waltham would be so busy that EFTS 13 was forced to move elsewhere.
The ATA pilots who came to White Waltham are listed in The Forgotten Pilots. Our photo archive contains photos of most of them, but we would be interested to know whether any of their logbooks survive. 25 of them were from the original intake who signed up on 11 September 1939, including one-eyed, one-armed Stuart Keith Jopp, speedway ace Wally Handley and Graham Head, extracts from whose diary appear in earlier news in this section of the website. By the end of 1940, three of the pilots (Fields, Clark and Cummings) would be killed. Five would be Commanding Officers of Ferry Pools: Handley at Hawarden (3 Ferry Pool), Vincent at Ringway ( sub-pool of Hawarden), White at Prestwick (4 Ferry Pool), Wills at White Waltham (1 Ferry Pool) and Sandeman at Ratcliffe (6 Ferry Pool). Bradbrooke would be Chief Ferry Officer, Napier Chief Technical Officer and White (a BOAC pilot) in charge of the training pool.