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Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) Veterans Badge
On 20 February 2008, the Secretary of State for Transport announced that a Veterans Badge would be awarded to members of the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) in recognition of their important work during the Second World War.
The ATA was a civilian organisation set up by Gerard d'Erlanger, Director of British Overseas Airways Corporation, under the auspices of the Air Ministry. It began operation in 1939 and over the course of the war was responsible for ferrying over 300,000 aircraft between factories and front-line airfields, freeing RAF pilots for operational duty.
By 1945 the group had pilots from 22 countries around the world, including Poland, Denmark, Chile, South Africa, Australia, Canada and the United States.
ATA personnel delivered 147 different types of aircraft including Spitfires, Hurricanes, Lancasters, Stirlings, Mosquitos and Barracudas. They flew in all weather conditions but yet had an incredibly low accident rate, as Winston Churchill commented to Gerard d'Erlanger in 1944 in a letter of thanks to the ATA;
"That this formidable task (aircraft delivery) should have been performed with so low an accident record resounds greatly to the credit of both your pilots and ground staff."
Tragically however, 173 air crew personnal lost their lives on ATA missions, including Amy Johnson the pioneering female civil aviatior.
When the ATA was disbanded in 1945, Lord Beaverbrook, first Minister of Aircraft Production, said:
"Without the ATA the days and nights of the battle of Britain would have been conducted under conditions quite different from the actual events .... They were soldiers fighting in the struggle just as completely as if they had been engaged on the battlefront."
If you served in the ATA during the Second World War then you are eligible to receive an ATA Veterans Badge. Please see below for details of how to apply.
The ATA Veterans Badged was launched at a special ceremony on 9 September 2009.
On this web page you will find a list of related frequently asked questions and answers. If you have any further queries please telephone 0800 089 1945 or email ATAveteransbadge@dft.gsi.gov.uk
Alternatively you can write to us at:
Air Transport Auxiliary Veterans Badge
Department for Transport
1/25 Great Minster House
76 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DR
MS Word version of the application form.
- 11 August 2008
Answers to frequently asked questions about the ATA Veterans Badge.
- 11 August 2008
A selection of interviews with former members of the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) during the Second World War.
- 13 August 2008
The Prime Minister and Minister of State for Transport presented medals to ATA Veterans at a special ceremony at Downing Street. Video available to watch on YouTube.
For related documents, pages and internet links, see the column on the right.