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With deep regret we record the passing on April 3rd of ATA First Officer Don Hoare, who lived at Flackwell Heath near High Wycombe.  Don joined the RAF in 1940 and was trained as a pilot in 1942 in the USA, then posted to a Wellington squadron.  He moved to ATA and served with ATA from 6 February 1943 until 15 April 1945.  Throughout that time he was based at No 9 Ferry Pool at Aston Down, which was also home to an RAF fighter squadron.  During his time with ATA, Don flew 34 different types, flew 769 hours and made 548 deliveries.  Since Aston Down was designated an Invasion Pool in 1944 (along with White Waltham), Don found himself flying Ansons with supplies and personnel into and out of Europe.  His first flight across the Channel was on 18 September 1944, to Caen with 1500lbs of freight and 4 passengers.  Two days later he went to airfield B59 just inside Belgium with 1500 lbs of freight and 5 passengers.  His logbook entries demonstrate the invaluable service ATA provided in shipping freight into France in support of the advancing allies.

Don received an ATA commendation in January 1944.  The citation reads “On 28 January 1944 First Officer D H Hoare was ferrying a Typhoon when the engine failed completely. He managed to reach a nearby small airfield and made a successful landing with the wheels down and without damage to his aircraft.”  His log book tells us that the aircraft was MN247, which he collected from Brockworth in the Cotswolds.  The destination is recorded as Northleach (the “small airfield” of the citation) , with a flight time of 10 minutes.  His notes, written in a neat hand, say “Forced landing – u/c down – no damage – defect fuel pump seizure”.  Exactly two months later he had to make another forced landing, this time in a Spitfire.  Our archive includes a filmed interview with Don which we recorded about 3 years ago.

ATA Veterans Don Hoare and Peter George.

Don Hoare (left) with Peter George at the opening of flew 769 hours. in October 2011

When he left ATA, Don served with the Fleet Air Arm, then with BEA and British Airways – his civilian aircraft were the Viking, Viscount, Comet and BAC One-Eleven. The only photo we have of him is in BA uniform.  Don served on the committee of the ATA Association for several years.


Don’s funeral will take place at 4pm next Monday, April 13th, at the Milton Chapel at Amersham Crematorium, Buckinghamshire.


“He has slipped the surly bonds of earth…”


Grandma Flew Spitfires!

"Hitler would have been worried!" Entry in our visitor book on 19 September from Mrs G F from London after flying our simulator.

"Brilliant! Kind, helpful and considerate volunteers" Entry from Mr L B of Bury (Lancs) on 20 September

We are open from 10am to 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday. If you are coming specifically to fly the Spitfire simulator, please phone to check that it is fully serviceable - Call 01628 780555 Pre-booking strongly advised.

You can fly a Spitfire simulator, just like the intrepid men and women of ATA! Watch video > Grandma Flew Spitfires at Maidenhead Heritage Centre is home to one of the world's largest collections of ATA memorabilia.

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Faith Bennet
Faith Bennet
Johnnie Jordan
W A Johnnie Jordan