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I recall reading of a spitfire pilot who was suspended for taking a member of the WAAF up for a jaunt to impress her. She supposedly sat in the pilot's lap throughout the short flight and they were caught when they landed and a member of the ground crew noticed her alighting. I specifically remember the author referred to her as "a uniformed lovely" in his recounting.

I've spent some time googling around and rummaging in my library but to no avail. Can anyone identify this specific incident (ideally the exact account) and/or have there been other incidents that are similar?

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    $\begingroup$ Does anyone seriously believe that this happened only once? $\endgroup$ Dec 19 '20 at 23:01
  • $\begingroup$ @A.I.Breveleri - I guess we'll find out if/when someone posts an answer :-) $\endgroup$
    – Richard
    Dec 19 '20 at 23:26
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According to the book "A Spitfire Girl" the pilot's name was Flight Lieutenant Edward Gordon Brettell DFC of "Great Escape" fame, among other things, and he was court-martialed for flying his Spitfire Mark Vb of 92 Squadron to a dance with a WAAF on his lap. Squadron Leader Tony Bartley DFC helped defend him during the court-martial.

The man was a colorful character, to say the least. In one of the many references to him on the Internet I found this:

He had flown his girlfriend, a WAAF based at Tangmere, in his single seat Spitfire to RAF Biggin Hill for a squadron party. Unfortunately for him, the station commander who was there when they landed took a dim view of his actions and reported him. Among the charges at his later court martial was endangering the King's aircraft (King George VI was then on the throne). He called upon his friend, a Battle of Britain ace with a Hatfield-link, Anthony Charles Bartley (41816) for help.

Tony Bartley was acting as a test pilot for Supermarine at the time. He later revealed in his autobiography that he asked Jeffrey Quill (Supermarine's chief test pilot) and Joseph Smith (Supermarine's chief designer after Reginald Mitchell's death) for their help. Joe Smith even went so far as to draw up some mathematical equations alleged to prove the aircraft wasn't in any danger, which Bartley presented at the court martial. Although the clinching argument was when asked by the prosecution how he could prove it, Bartley admitted to having committed an identical offence previously. Now faced with the prospect of having to prosecute two badly needed officers with a war on, the charge was dismissed. Although Gordon Brettell was transferred away from the squadron.

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    $\begingroup$ Hey, he is a test pilot after all. It's his job to push the limits. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Jan 1 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ That was Bartley; Brettell was not a test pilot, he was just crazy. :) $\endgroup$ Jan 2 at 21:26

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