Pearce Jackie's step father,

brothers Laurence and Eddie, baby sister Rosemary, 

Jackie next to mother Veronica ,

 Aunty Mary (Veronica's sister) and children taken in Matatiele, Transvaal..

Mary Sorour and Veronica two sisters married two brothers.

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Laurence and Eddie Pearce, Jackie Sorour Veronica their mother and Rosemary baby sister.

Jackie with her mother after her first  solo flight in Johannesburg.

Jackie with her heroine Doreen Hooper, the first women Commercial Pilot. Jackie now knew what she wanted to be.

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The plane Jackie had her first lesson o

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Growing up

A girl with a mission - that just about sums up Jackie Moggridge, but what a girl. Jackie (Dolores Theresa, in fact) was born in 1920 in Pretoria, South Africa to English parents. She had a pretty conventional childhood, attending a convent school where she enjoyed English and many other subjects, but maths was certainly not one of them. She had two brothers and as always there was sibling banter and baiting, which one day set her on her future career, little did she realise at the time. Her brothers, bless their little socks, teased and teased her calling her a sissy and in reply, as an aeroplane flew overhead, she announced that one day she would be up there as a pilot of an aeroplane. The mould wasn’t quite cast yet however. Jackie did correspondence aviation course from America (she still had not been in a plane). The certificate letter refers to He and Him despite addressed to Miss Jackie Sorour. This Cert did not impress her brothers however.

 

On her 15th Birthday, her mother bought her a flight in a DH Rapide and for Jackie it was truly memorable; she was sick all over the place - a feeling that never left her as a passenger in aircraft. Nevertheless, a week later mother indulged Jackie with another flight and this time the flying bug sunk its teeth into her, never to let go.

 

That was how it started. By the time she retired she was credited with being: the youngest licensed woman pilot in South Africa; the first woman to make a parachute jump in South Africa; active throughout WW2 with the ATA (Air Transport Auxiliary); was one of the first women to be granted her ‘Wings’ by the RAF; accumulated 3,500 flying hours in 1,500 aircraft of 83 different types; was the first woman to become an airline captain; and so it went on. She also wanted to be the first woman to break the sound barrier, but unending fumbling and bumbling by the authorities allowed America’s Jackie Cochran to claim that first.

 

All this was in an age when women were expected to stay at home, quietly in the background, to bring up the children and to be home-makers, while the men went out to work and were recognised, unambiguously, as the bread-winners. On top of that Jackie was only 5ft 2in tall. She was a girl with a mission and a bee-in-her-bonnet!

(Taken with thanks from RNAS Yoevilton Museum Magazine following a Spitfire Girl talk Oct. 2019) at Fleet Airarm. Yeovil)

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"I remember nothing of that first flight except the studied disgust of the pilot as he delicately avoided my breakfast and the feeling of unutterable relief when my feet touched the soil again"

Jackie Sorour at her convent school. She loved school and English but dreaded Maths.  Later she had to have maths to fly she always said "If I could concentrate enough to pass my maths then anyone could do anything they just have to want to enough."

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Her mother bought her a flight on her 15th Birthday in this De Haviland Rapide, Jackie was air sick ! It could have been the  end of her flying career!

"When we are very young,
The grown-ups talk as though we cannot hear,
‘Poor Jackie’ mother says aloud, with poor me standing near."

                                         1938

"Insane with fear I stood up on the seat and clambered out on to the lower wing. The slipstream screamed at my insolence and only the firm grasp of the pilot leaning out of his seat prevented me from being blown off unceremoniously"

Going Solo

"In the most complete solitude I have ever experienced I joined the sky. Looking down at the earth receding into a blur of green and brown I sang and handled the aircraft carelessly."

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The day Jackie went solo

Dolores Teresa Sorour born 1st March 1920. She hated her name and chose Jackie (a boys name) in her teens refusing to answer to any other name.

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Preparing for her parachute jump, in front of the de Havilland Moth, at Swartkop  Aerodrome. They had no suits small enough to fit a 17-year-old girl – only men jumped out of planes in those days – so Jackie’s tiny frame was completely swamped.

 

 

I saw polo players approaching on horseback like an army of Pegasus.’ Jackie, the  first South African woman to perform a solo parachute jump, is carried back to the aerodrome with a broken ankle.

Jackie passed the Aviation Correspondence Course the letter referred to He and Him with an S added by hand for She!

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"Flying, and my motor-bike, injected me with confidence.  We would roll along, friends, reluctant to turn back, anxious to explore together the next hill, the next horizon."

Jackie flying a De Haviland Rapide many years later as a commercial pilot.  It was  this  type of plane which took her up on her 15th Birthday for her first flight.

A page from the first Up Up Up and Away, Pilot Jackie stories written by her daughter Candy and illustrated by her grandaughter Lara.

My mother’s life of adventure began in South Africa, where she was brought up to be a good, prim Catholic girl by her grandmother,  whom she adored.

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My mother's father 3rd from left,  and his father with the Sorour brothers.  He died of pneumonia before she was born. So her grandmother  brought Jackie up until she was 7 yrs old.