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21 September 2010



I'm not a big fan of David Hare but he wrote a vivid portrait of a woman whose life never quite lived up to the exhiliration of her wartime activities in "Plenty" - did you ever see it?


I've heard it as a radio play. I thought the woman in it was a neurotic pain in the arse, very unlike those tough women aviatrixes who were (a) stoics and well mannered; (b) the type who would make the best of their situation.

A lot of blokes of course look back to their time in war as the best time of their life. I read Christopher Hitchens's autobiography, and his father who had been a commander in the Royal Navy was nostalgic about a time when he knew what he was doing and why he was doing it.


Yes, you are right about her being a pain in the arse, but it was the first time anyone had made me think about what it might have been like to have lived like that and then gone back to normal. I'd seen Carve Her Name with Pride but she died, so you didn't have to wonder whether picking the kids up from school might have been a bit dull after that. There was a quite intriguing news report the other day about a Carve Her Name with Pride type who survived and lived in a village for decades without telling anyone at all about her past exploits and only when she died (a week or five ago), did it suddenly all come out.

Penny Wood

My mother (Kathleen Lester) flew with the ATA and I think, as a broad accented, blue collar Leicester lass without a bean, suffered agonies trying to mix with these glamourous upper class ladies, many of whom were somewhat haughty and arrogant. She obviously adored flying and had some hilarious and hair raising stories but I think she was pretty miserable being desperately out of her depth socially. Surely she wasn't the only 'ordinary' woman who managed to fly? Was there anyone else who didn't have a Bentley and a fur coat?


Interesting about your mother. What the programme said was that only rich women had flying experience as they were the ones who could afford the aeroplanes, flying being an expensive and fashionable hobby in the 1930s.

Learn to Fly

Wow! she looks so hot in that helmet.

John Patrick Elford

Would any relative of Kathleen Lester ex ATA being willing to contact me vis facebook as I am writing a novel about a women who joins the ATA and any information about the ATA would be most welcome. Look me up...via email....Thanks

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