I am pleased but not surprised to find that the female veterans themselves were equally unimpressed.
"Were you surprised at how much interest the press showed in the female members of the ATA?
Of course. I always feel that this doesn't mention the men. They were the ones who started the thing, and we joined about six months later. There were 640 men and we try terribly hard to get them involved but nobody wants to know.
And some of them were heavily disabled. There were two who had one eye and one arm and flew, and there were one or two with one leg. But we never talked about this in the ATA. It's something that happened and that was the end of it.
We got this special badge from Downing Street, and it was only the women who were going to get it. I happened to know Giles Whittell, who wrote the Spitfire book. So I said, "You can't do this, where are all the men?" There had to be the men as well. And all the ground staff.
It's just like the services - if you get given a medal, everybody has it because they've all contributed in some way or another. Anyway, that went through fortunately, so everybody got one". Reference
It turns out that :
- Labour was only going to give the campaign medal to the women!
- The men only got it because the female veterans insisted!
It's funny how women didn't seem to think they were oppressed until about 1970...
The reason this has come to my attention again is because the People's Commissariat for Propaganda (aka the BBC), has decided to screen a program called Spitfire Women, about the ATA as part of its Battle of Britain season. Even though Labour is out of power, the ghost of Hattie Harman still stalks the Studios of Shepherd's Bush. 'Spitfire Women' indeed. That and the other 129 types of aircraft they flew, and the three men for every woman.
Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against the ATA. I just object to the fact that it has been hi-jacked by the Left and turned into a 'wimin's issue'; some bitter female under-achievers are attempting to bask in the reflected glory of the WW2 generation, a generation who would have profoundly disagreed with their politics. But this has nothing to do with history or the war. It's all about politics today.
As George Orwell said in 1984, 'He who controls the past, controls the present. He who controls the present controls the future'.