Women Military Pilots of World War II

A History with Biographies of American, British, Russian and German Aviators


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About the Book

More than 2000 women in the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union flew military airplanes in organized units during World War II, yet their stories are largely unknown. These pilots ferried aircraft, flew targets for ground artillery practice, tested airplanes and equipment, and many of them flew in combat. The women pilots proved that they could manage bombers and fighters as well as their male counterparts, and several later remarked that “the airplanes didn’t care who flew them.” Topics covered include the training of female pilots, how female flight units were developed and structured, the hazards of conflict, and how these women reintegrated into civilian life following the war.

About the Author(s)

Lois K. Merry is an academic librarian and head of access services, Mason Library at Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire.

Bibliographic Details

Lois K. Merry
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 220
Bibliographic Info: 17 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4441-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5768-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      viii
Preface      1
Introduction      7

1. Transition from Civilian to Military Aviation      11
2. How Women’s Units Came About      21
3. Women’s Flight Units      33
4. Becoming Military Pilots      53
5. Daily Work in England and America      77
6. Hazards and Sacrifices      93
7. War’s End      114
8. Conclusion      126

9. The Leaders’ Stories      145
10. The Pilots’ Stories      156

Chapter Notes      195
Bibliography      205
Index      209

Book Reviews & Awards

“an important contribution to the growing scholarship on the role and experiences of women pilots during the Second World War”—H-Net Reviews.