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Helen Kerly

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Nationality  British
Died  1992
Name  Helen Kerly

Spouse(s)  Storm Clark
Title  Third Officer
Employer  Air Transport Auxiliary
Helen Kerly
Full Name  Ruth Helen Kerly
Born  6 January 1916 (1916-01-06) London
Known for  female commended ATA pilot

Helen Kerly or Ruth Helen Clark (born 6 January 1916) was a British civilian female pilot officer who was one of only two such women commended for their work.

Contents

Helen Kerly FileHelen KerlyJPG Wikimedia Commons

Life

Third Officer Ruth Helen Kerly was born in 1916 in London and she came to notice as an officer who delivered Spitfires during the Second World War. Women were not permitted to be fighter pilots during the war, but they were allowed to deliver aircraft to replace those lost during either training or combat missions. Kerly had been photographed as a member of the Royal Aero Club in 1938, but although the ATA were desperate for pilots she was the 130th employed in 1943.

Kerly was one of only two women to be commended as pilots during the war. Her commendation was given for landing a Spitfire that had technical difficulties on 25 June 1944. She was in the Air Transport Auxiliary and it was her job to deliver planes from various factories including the Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory which was one of the main factories for assembling the planes. She would deliver the planes to airfields around Britain. She left the ATA in September 1945 and in 1947, she married and became Mrs Storm Clark.

Legacy

When she died in 1992 she left her Leather flying helmet and goggles to a fellow pilot named Alec Matthews. He in turn donated their joint memorabilia to Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum. The helmet and goggles are now on display in the Spitfire Gallery which opened in 2015.

References

Helen Kerly Wikipedia


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