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ATA Girls

Heroes Remember

183 Squadron they decided to, no 186 Squadron at air, they decided to re-equip us with Typhoons. We thought that was wonderful, that was going to be great, then we could get on operations with Typhoons. So, they started dribbling in and one was coming in on the circuit, several of us weren't flying so we said, "Lets go down and see this thing when it gets to the tower." So we went down to the tower and by that time it had come in and taxied around, the pilot had climbed out and started walking across the tarmac, and pulled off "her" helmet, and all this hair fell down. Well that took us down a bit. And she had been in an accident, badly burned, her face was quite scarred. But those ATA girls, you know, they had about six classes of aircraft and if they flew one aircraft in that class, they could fly all aircraft in that classes. One fellow told me that one of them was flying a certain type of aircraft, and she was asked, "Have you flown this before?" "No." "How are you going to get off?" "Well I've got my book." "Well, how are you going to know what, how to land?" "Well, between here and there, I'll read the manual." Interviewer: You mentioned, Mr. Sproule, ATA girl, can you tell me what that means? Air Transport Auxiliary, yeah. Interviewer: And these were mainly women pilots? A lot of women pilots, yeah. They would take aircraft from the factory, fly it to the squadron, fly aircraft maybe to another place to get fixed up, deliver aircraft. They were very talented people, yeah.

Mr. Sproule remembers his surprise at seeing a female fighter pilot, and praises the abilities of the Air Transport Auxiliary.

Frederick Howard Sproule

Mr. Sproule was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, on September 22, 1918. He first served as a cadet with the Seaforth Highlanders before joining the regular service. He switched to the air force as soon as he was able, first being accepted as a gunner, and then into pilot training. After serving as a flight instructor on Harvards, Mr Sproule was shipped to Great Britain where he trained on a Hurricane. Eventually, he piloted a Typhoon as a bomber in the Burma Campaign, helping to drive back the Japanese. His tour finished as the Japanese were completely driven out of Burma.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Frederick Howard Sproule
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
186 Squadron
Supernumerary Flight Lieutenant

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