Tel: 01628 780555

Official Opening of

Grandma Flew Spitfires! Exhibition and Archive

on 19th October

by HRH Prince Michael of Kent

A selection of pictures taken on the day follows this news item If you wish to see the full set of pictures please click here.

23 veterans of ATA and other guests assembled in Maidenhead on October 19th to hear Prince Michael of Kent open the Grandma Flew Spitfires! exhibition and archive. Pilots, flight engineers, air cadets, fitters and parachute packers were represented. AVM Stephen Hillier RAF paid tribute to ATA, and Peter Garrod (Commodore of the ATA association) described the life of an ATA pilot before the Prince declared the exhibition open. Then he toured the exhibition and flew the Spitfire simulator, executing a perfect barrel roll!

After the opening ceremony Prince Michael and the ATA veterans moved on to White Waltham airfield (home of ATA’s HQ during World War II), where they enjoyed a private lunch at the West London Aero Club.

Chairman Richard Poad greets Air Vice Marshal Stephen Hillier of the RAF

Chairman Richard Poad greets Air Vice Marshal Stephen Hillier of the RAF.

Chairman Richard Poad greets Prince Michael of Kent.

Chairman Richard Poad greets Prince Michael of Kent.

ATA Veterans Don Hoare and Peter George.

ATA Veterans Don Hoare and Peter George.


The ATA Veterans wait for the speeches to begin.


VIP’s, Prince Michael of Kent, Councillor Asghar Majeed (Mayor of Windsor and Maidenhead), Peter Garrod (Commodore of the ATA Association), Minnie Churchill (daughter of Gerard d’Erlanger, Commodore of the ATA) and Air Vice Marshal Stephen Hillier.


Prince Michael with the assembled ATA Veterans.


Prince Michael and the Mayor of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.


Prince Michael declares the Grandma Flew Spitfires! Exhibition and Archive open.


A row of photographs of ATA members catches the attention of Prince Michael.


Richard Poad explains the ATA Time line to Prince Michael.


Prince Michael flies the Spitfire Simulator.


Prince Michael chats to representatives of the Spitfire Society, Steve Williams, Chris Brice and David Evans.


Prince Michael examines Peter George’s ATA Log book with Martin Nicholson, John Cochrane and Edna Taylor.


Prince Michael chats to ATA Veterans, Wyn Roper, Molly Rose, Mary Cuningham, Joy Lofthouse and Jaye Edwards.


Prince Michael chats to some more of the ATA Veterans, Primrose Ratcliffe, Larry Lambourne and Mary Ellis.


Prince Michael signs the Visitor’s Book.


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.

We would love to hear from you if you have any photos that we could add to our gallery - please use our contact form to let us know.

Faith Bennet
Faith Bennet
Johnnie Jordan
W A Johnnie Jordan