Ann Wood-Kelly

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Ann Wood-Kelly
Ann Wood

(1918-03-31)31 March 1918
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died14 May 2006(2006-05-14) (aged 88)
NationalityUnited States

Ann Wood-Kelly (née Wood; 31 March 1918 – 14 May 2006) was an American aviator who flew with the British Air Transport Auxiliary in the Second World War.[1]

Early life[edit]

Ann Wood was born in Philadelphia in 1918 and was educated there and at Namur, Belgium.[1] When she returned to the United States she continued her education at Melrose Academy, Philadelphia and then graduated from D’Youville College, Buffalo, New York with a degree in English Literature in 1938.[1]


She gained a place on the Bowdoin College flight training program in 1941 and after eight hours of flying went solo.[1] Wood-Kelly then stayed with the college and became a flight instructor.[1] Jacqueline Cochran a pioneer female aviator tried to form an American auxiliary with female pilots, but with little interest from the authorities she recruited 24 women, including Wood-Kelly to sail to the United Kingdom to join the British Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA).[1]

During her time as a ferry pilot with the ATA she flew more than 900 aircraft of 75 different types ranging from the single-engined Supermarine Spitfire fighter to the four-engined Avro Lancaster heavy bomber.[1] In 1946, she was awarded the King's Medal for Service in the Cause of Freedom for her services to the United Kingdom.[2]

After the war she became an assistant to the United States Air attaché in London before she returned to the United States.[1] She became a public relations manager for Northeast Airlines, and later worked for Pan American Airways, becoming their first female vice-president.[1]

Family and later life[edit]

She married airline executive Jackson Kelly in 1948 and had a son but the marriage was dissolved.[1]

In her last ten years she travelled around the United States giving lectures on her experiences[1] and in 2005 D'Youville College awarded her an honorary doctorate.[2] She died on 14 April 2006 aged 88.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Ann Wood-Kelly." Times [London, England] 27 May 2006: 71. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 31 Mar. 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Ann Wood-Kelly, obituary". The Guardian newspapaer. Retrieved 7 January 2019.