Spitfire honours unsung women war pilots
HEADINGTON may have its shark but, for a limited time only, Abingdon has its own rooftop monument, a full-size Spitfire.
A replica of the famous Second World War fighter plane now sits on top of Lodge Hill Garage in Oxford Road.
But owner Peter Jewson says the plane will not become a permanent decoration similar to the shark sculpture lowered into the roof of radio presenter Bill Heine’s Headington home in the 1980s.
The flight enthusiast bought the plane to honour a little- known group of Second World War pilots.
Women from the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) flew Spitfires and other planes from factories in cities like Southampton and Coventry to their operational airbases.
Many of the 166 women perished during their missions.
Mr Jewson, who learnt to fly himself in 1957, said: “They had no radios, no weather reports and no bullets in the guns. If you met the enemy you were in trouble.”
Among those who lost their lives was Amy Johnson, the pioneering aviator who was the first woman to fly from Britain to Australia solo.
Tomorrow, Mr Jewson 79, will hold a 1940s lunch at the garage attended by surviving ATA pilots, including Joy Lofthouse, who was one of the first female pilots to fly a Spitfire in the Second World War.
A ceremony at noon is open to the public.