Women Pilots
Dave Jesse on December 1, 2017


A “just for fun” blog – nothing mentally challenging this time!

Portsmouth Guildhall

Every month I help our local scout group to raise funds through a jumble sale. I run the book stall, selling second hand books for a few pence each. At the last sale someone had brought in some old local newspapers, and a Portsmouth Evening News dating back to June 8th 1959 showed the opening of the rebuilt Portsmouth Guildhall.


Here is what the building looked like before the war.


This fine building had been bombed in the Second World War and the ensuing fire had burned most of the building, leaving only the external walls and the façade in place.



The entire centre of the building was rebuilt but the tower and finials were not fully reinstated, leaving the somewhat truncated column.  Here is what the building looks like today.



Capt Jackie Moggridge


What’s the relevance of that? Well, nothing at all, except that on page 4 I saw an article entitled “World of Aviation Full Of Praise For Captain Jackie”. The article continued: “Captain Jackie Moggridge, who is believed to be the only woman in the world to become a civilian passenger airline pilot, has been honoured for her achievement by members of her own sex.” Jackie worked at the Portsmouth Airport and was the first person to receive the Jean Lennox-Bird Trophy. The trophy was presented to her by the Queen’s Pilot, Capt O. P. Jones, at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London.

The article continued “Born in Pretoria, South Africa, Jackie began her career in the air with a parachute jump at the age of 17”. Even then they were printing fake news, as she had first flown at the age of 14!

During the war she was an aircraft ferry pilot and she and Jean Lennox-Bird were the first women to gain full RAF pilot’s wings. She was awarded the King’s commendation for her services ferrying fighters and bombers. She gained a commercial pilot’s license in 1946 and was flying cross-channel trips from Portsmouth at the time this article was printed.

A more comprehensive article about Jackie Moggridge can be found at https://solentaviatrix.wordpress.com/jackie-Moggridge-2/ and about Jean Lennox-Bird at http://bwpa.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/JeanLennoxBirdArticle.pdf

The Jean Lennox-Bird Pendant has been joined by the Jackie Moggridge Cup and both are still being awarded by the British Women Pilots Association. One member of the British Women Pilots Association works here at Flight Data Services, which brings this blog full circle. We’ll do some work next time.