Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) Veterans Badge

ATA Veterans badgeOn 20 February 2008, the Secretary of State for Transport, Ruth Kelly 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.

Joan Hughes, ATA PilotATA 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.  Image: The laying up of the ATA flag at White Waltham church, Nov 1945. L R: Ron Elliot, Eric Crowder, Ann Wood (USA), Diana Barnato Walker, Faith Bennett, Jim Quaife, Dick Martens & HC Mason

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 

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


Air Transport Auxiliary Veterans Badge - application form (336 kb)

MS Word version of the application form.

11 August 2008

Frequently asked questions

Answers to frequently asked questions about the ATA Veterans Badge.

11 August 2008

Interviews with ATA Veterans

A selection of interviews with former members of the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) during the Second World War.

13 August 2008

Prime Minister pays tribute to ATA Veterans

The Prime Minister and Jim Fitzpatrick 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.