The Air Transport Auxiliary

The ATA was founded by British Airways Limited in May 1938 and organised by them into an operational unit at the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939. It was thus a civilian organisation which made an enormous contribution to the war by taking over from service pilots the task of ferrying Royal Air Force and Royal Navy warplanes from factories to maintenance units and front-line squadrons, and back again from the squadrons if damaged or due for an overhaul.