Pauline Gower

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Pauline Gower
Pauline Gower.jpg
Pauline Gower at a Women's Engineering Society awards dinner in the 1930s
Born Pauline Gower
1910
Died 1947
Occupation Pilot

Pauline Mary de Peauly Gower, Mrs Fahie (1910–1947) was a British pilot and writer who established the women's branch of the Air Transport Auxiliary during the Second World War.

Early Life and Education[edit]

Daughter of MP Sir Robert Gower, and educated at Beechwood Sacred Heart School, she first flew with Alan Cobham and was fascinated by flying. In August 1931 she established a joy-riding and air taxi service in Kent.[citation needed] In 1932 to support British Hospitals, Gower toured the country with an Air Circus, giving air pageants in 200 hundred towns.[1] She also wrote for Girl's Own Paper and Chatterbox and published a collection of poetry, Piffling Poems for Pilots, in 1934. As a writer she was acquainted with W. E. Johns whose character Worrals was based on herself as well as Amy Johnson.[citation needed]

Engineering Work[edit]

Gower in the cockpit of a de Havilland Tiger Moth

In 1935 she was appointed as a council member for the Women's Engineering Society.[2] She chaired a meeting on "The History of British Airships", where Mr. M. Langley championed the airboat and Hon. A. F. de Moleyns the airship.[3] In 1936, Gower was the first woman to be awarded the Air Ministry's Second Class Navigator's Licence.[4] Later that year, Gower and her colleague Dorothy Spicer ('daring aeronauts') presented a technical paper at the Women's Engineering Society Annual General Meeting on the treatment of metals for aircraft engineers. [5] In 1938 she was appointed a civil defence commissioner in London with the Civil Air Guard. That year her work on women in aviation—Women with Wings—was published.[6] On the outbreak of the Second World War, Gower made use of her high-level connections to propose the establishment of a women's section in the new Air Transport Auxiliary —the ATA would be responsible for ferrying military aircraft from factory or repair facility to storage unit or operational unit—to the authorities.

Gower was appointed as the head of the women's branch, and commenced the selection and testing of women pilots, the first eight being appointed by the ATA on 1 January 1940. Early members included ice-hockey international Mona Friedlander, Margaret Fairweather (Lord Runciman's daughter) and former ballet dancer Rona Rees.[7] Later members included Amy Johnson and former Olympic skier Lois Butler. Gower (who was by then Mrs Fahie) received the MBE for her services and received a Harmon Trophy award posthumously in 1950.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Gower married Wing Commander Bill Fahie in 1944. She died in 1947 giving birth to twin sons.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Women's Engineer (1929 - 1934)". theiet.org. 3. Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  2. ^ "The Women Engineer". theiet.org. 4: 62–63. 1935. Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  3. ^ "The Women's Engineer". theiet.org. 4: 94–95. 1935. Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  4. ^ "The Women's Engineer". theiet.org. 4: 104–1055. 1935. Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  5. ^ "The Women's Engineer". theiet.org. 4: 204–205. 1935. Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  6. ^ Merry, Lois K. Women Military Pilots of World War II: A History with Biographies of American, British, Russian and German Aviators. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company Inc., 2010. ISBN 978-0-7864-4441-0
  7. ^ "ATA First Eight". www.airtransportaux.com. Retrieved 2016-10-28. 
  8. ^ "Mrs. W. C. Fahie". The Times (London, England). 4 March 1947. Retrieved 28 October 2016 – via Gale. 
  9. ^ Notice of Pauline Fahie's death, flightglobal.com, 13 March 1947.

Sources[edit]

  • Curtis, Lettice, The Forgotten Pilots, Nelson Saunders, Olney, Bucks, 1985; ISBN 0-947750-02-9
  • Edwards, Owen Dudley, "The Battle of Britain and Children's Literature" in Paul Addison & Jeremy A. Crang (eds), The Burning Blue: a new history of the Battle of Britain. London: Pimlico, 2000; ISBN 0-7126-6475-0
  • Edwards, Owen Dudley, British Children's Fiction of the Second World War. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007; ISBN 0-7486-1651-9
  • Fahie, Michael, A Harvest of Memories: The Life of Pauline Gower, MBE. Peterborough: GMS Enterprises, 1995; ISBN 1-870384-37-7
  • Whittell, Giles, Spitfire Women of World War II. (Hardcover) November 2007 by Harper Press; ISBN 0007235356 (ISBN 9780007235353)

External links[edit]