Joy Lofthouse (14 February 1923 – 15 November 2017) was a British pilot, and one of the first women to fly a Spitfire. In World War Two, she flew Spitfires and bombers for the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), and was one of only 164 "Attagirls" who served.
Lofthouse grew up in South Cerney in Gloucestershire.
In 1943, 20-year-old Lofthouse and her elder sister Yvonne joined the Air Transport Auxiliary, after they saw an ad in a magazine which was seeking women to learn how to fly. Only 17 out of 2,000 applicants were accepted, including Joy, who had never even driven a car, and Yvonne.
She was one of a total of 164 women who were members of the Air Transport Auxiliary. Her job was to deliver aircraft from the factories where they were made to the airfields were they were to be flown from by Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots. Lofthouse was able to fly 38 different types of aircraft. During the war, they were based at White Waltham, in Berkshire.
After World War II, she became a teacher.
In May 2015, Lofthouse flew a Spitfire for the first time in over 70 years, to commemorate VE Day. She said, "It was the iconic plane, the Spitfire lasted much longer than [the Hurricane] because it was such a wonderful aeroplane, I think. [It is] the nearest thing to having wings of your own and flying."
She was married twice and had three children. Her second marriage was to Charles Lofthouse, himself a Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot, and they were married for 30 years until his death in 2002 at the age of 80.
- "Joy Lofthouse, Spitfire Girl – obituary". www.telegraph.co.uk. 16 November 2017. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/obituaries/2017/11/16/joy-lofthouse-spitfire-girl-obituary/. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
- "WW2 Spitfire pilot Joy Lofthouse dies". www.bbc.co.uk. 16 November 2017. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-42012740. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
- Greenfield, Patrick (16 November 2017). "Joy Lofthouse, second world war pilot and trailblazer, dies at 94". www.theguardian.com. http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/nov/16/joy-lofthouse-trailblazing-second-world-war-pilot-dies-at-94. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
- Smith, Louie (16 November 2017). "Last surviving female Spitfire and Hurricane pilot Joy Lofthouse dies, aged 94". http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/last-surviving-female-spitfire-pilot-11533462. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
- "Ecstatic 92-year-old Spitfire pilot takes to the skies again after 70 years". 8 May 2015. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/ve-day-92-year-old-second-world-war-veteran-flies-spitfire-for-first-time-in-70-years-10235907.html. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
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