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First British Woman Airline Captain

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After Spitfires to Burma Jackie tried time and time again to find a position as a commercial pilot. Eventually after a few interim flying jobs, she was taken on to the books of Channel Airways where she became the first woman Airline Captain to fly passengers on scheduled flights, flying a variety of aircraft including Rapides, Doves and Vikings. One important aspect of commercial flying for Jackie was that she had to be inconspicuous and keep quiet on the intercom. Passengers could not know that the pilot was a female or they might not fly with Channel Airways again! She was the first to be awarded the Jean Lennox Bird Trophy for "Furthering the Cause of Women in Aviation".

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When she was awarded the Jean Bird Trophy Captain Jackie told the press that she was waiting for a time when there would be no awards for women Captains because women Captains wiould be commonplace. 60 years later we are getting there very slowly.

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Jackie with Reg outside Channel Airways they are both in uniform.

Solent Aviatrix is a fantastic resource dedicated to the women pilots of the Solent - for more information,visit the site here:

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Disgraceful Comments about ATA's Women!



"The trouble is that so many women are insisting on wanting to do jobs which they are quite incapable of doing.
The menace is the woman who thinks she ought to be flying in a high speed bomber when she really has not the intelligence to scrub the floor of a hospital properly, or who wants to nose around as an Air Raid Warden and yet can’t cook her husband’s dinner."

C G Grey, Editor, ‘The Aeroplane’

"The rich men of Britain, who are being ruined by the War, have found a new way of getting their money back.
They are putting their wives and daughters into the Air Transport Auxiliary, at enormous salaries, to fly vicious fighting aeroplanes, which these unnatural and decadent women will doubtlessly enjoy."

Lord Haw-Haw, broadcasting from Hamburg

"When Jackie turned up in her Captains uniform to pick up me up from school my friend said

What's your mum a Bus Conductor?"  - Veronica

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Captain Jackie with her two air hostesses.

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Jackie worked for Meridian Airmaps 1960 and also worked for TRAC Air.  Her plane was the first to find Sir Robin Knox Johnson's  when he had completed his solo sail round the world. The press photograher was thrilled to get the first photo.

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"‘There has been a misunderstanding,’ I explained. ‘I wrote to you for the flying post.’

‘But you are a woman,’ he frowned.

‘Yes,’ I said brightly."

Jackie at Weston-super-Mare, 1967, where she piloted pleasure flights.

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"My daughter, weighing six and a quarter pounds (though why that should interest puzzles me) and none the worse for having a few hundred flying hours to her credit, arrived punctually in the nursing home."

"If our week-end duties clashed I took Jill with me to the aerodrome, where she explored hangars and cockpits and soon possessed the privileges of squadron talisman. Once I suggested that Reg take her to the Territorials but apparently they do not do that sort of thing in the Army."

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Weston Pleasure flying 1960 with Bob Rid
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DKT 104 flying passengers to

 The Channel Islands, Rotterdam and Paris from  Southend, Portsmouth, Rochester and Shoreham. Captain Jackie with passenger  Portsmouth July 1957 

Between 400-700 passengers a day

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"I pulled off my helmet.

‘Good God. It’s a woman!"

"When she was working for Channel Airways in the late 1950s, she would often sneak me onto the plane along with the other passengers. If there was no seat to spare, she’d just plonk me down in the doorway between cabin and cockpit – hang health and safety!"


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Jackie contnued to encourage other women to fly. Here she is with the Women's Junior Air Corps (WAC) in the early 1950s

I knew that flying would not be enough without Reg and Jill. But, equally, Reg and Jill were not enough without flying. It is a man’s right to recognize and admit this by having his career and returning to his family in the evening and week-ends. I do not recognize that this is not also a woman’s right.


"I was qualified, had the experience and, through my husband’s gentle understanding, the domestic freedom, to roam the world in airliners. To greet dawn over the desert, sunset over the ocean and know summer when winter is at home. But wings clipped, in toy aircraft, I flitted meekly in England’s back-yard skies."

"I bade farewell enviously as the others left for Vulcans, Victors and Hunters, and drove home to a reproachful pile of washing-up and a martyred husband."

The summer I turned fourteen I joined her up in Perthshire where she was flying aircraft for Meridian Air Maps. Jackie was sick as a dog, but she wasn’t ill, she was pregnant. Somehow she managed to hide it from everyone. She continued to work right up until Candy was born, two months early, never letting on she was expecting. Amazingly, she was back flying again six months later.                           Veronica

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Barbie doll in 1957 was an air hostess. She  only came out as Airline Captain in 1999  42 years later.  Come on Barbie keep up!

She then found it hard to find work, so she decided not to put her gender on the next application.  She turned up to fly for Channel Airways in a smart dress. Leaving my sister outside the door she walked in.   Amused, but  seeing that she had so much  experience and was cheap being a woman (no Pauline Gower to argue for equal pay.) She got the job working for Channel Airways and became the first woman airline captain to fly passengers on scheduled flights furthering the cause of women in aviation. 


"Dear Madam, We regret to inform you that, owing to passenger psychology, it is not our policy at present to employ women pilots."

"I recalled the smell of hot oil and glycol, the thunder of the Lancaster, the lyrical Spitfire and a getting up in the morning with one eye on the sky.

I knew there were many others with the same temptation, whose station in peace mocked their achievements in war."

Jackie RAF records 2 pages - Copy - Copy
Jackie RAF records 2 pages - Copy - Copy

In 1954 her promotion to Flying Officer was cancelled due to the regulations at the time. A woman officer in the WRAFVR was not eligible for promotion above the rank of Pilot Officer!  Jackie had been promoted in error!

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"Women Shape the World"

Candy speaking at the Celebration of Women in the RAF dinner Oct 2019 with Barbara Cooper the first woman Air Commodore of the RAF Club taking a look and the first woman Air Marshal Sue Gray  (out of picture).


A new charity in memory of the talented women engineers and fitters who built the Spitfires in the factories during WW2, but had to keep it hush hush even their husbands didn't know what their wives were doing. It was launched last year. 

Dame Air Marshall Sue Gray read out Jackie's poem  "In Honour of the Engineer" (see poems) on the BBC Points West News, at the Opening of the  Secret Spitfires film launch  in Salisbury Cathedral.

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In Honour of the Engineer


A glorious life is the Pilots’ one,

They enjoy it too when all’s said and done,

They swoop through the sky both far and near,

Yet the real Hero’s the Engineer.

Without his knowledge the crafts won’t fly,

With his negligence the Pilot’s die.


By Captain Jackie Moggridge

Secret Spitfire poem read by Air Marshal
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Jackie took Monsignor Patrick Lynch and Father Danny of St Georges Catholic Church Taunton up in a plane to be closer to God Monsignor Lynch had never been up in a plane before - he loved it. 

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