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Trail blazing female pilot

Jean Lennox Bird was the first woman to be awarded full Royal Air Force pilot's wings, in 1952.

Jean learnt to fly in 1930, aged 18, and served as a delivery pilot during the Second World War. She flew types such as Wellington bombers, Spitfires, Dakotas and Hurricanes.

After the War, she qualified as a flying instructor, and earned her RAF pilot's wings. She later became a civilian commercial pilot.

On 29th April 1957, the aircraft she was flying crashed on take-off, and Jean was killed. We do not know if she was wearing her St. Christopher on that day.

Accession Number: 70/C/646