Susan Slade

A former pupil at Queen Ethelburga’s school now has a room named after her due to her decision to crash her plane, rather than swerve into the village near her airbase in Little Rissington in Gloucester. The school has named a room after her and often her wartime exploits have really impressed history students of all ages.

Jennifer Levitt, QE history teacher and RYH committee member, says: “My heroine is Susan Slade, who was one of the most experienced women aviators in the country during WW2. She signed up for the Air Transport Auxiliary in November 1940 and was soon promoted to Flight Captain. After serving her country in numerous flights, she crashed after take off on the 13th July, 1944 at Little Rissington in Gloucester because she swerved to avoid crashing into the village. The incident must have looked like a scene from one of the movies that have since used the air base, such as Die Another Day and the Thunderbirds film.

“Susan is remembered at Queen Ethelburga’s site with a room named after her and her story is often mentioned in history lessons – not all women were at home, in fields or in factories! In education, I think it’s important to show how women can, and did, follow their dreams and step outside of the traditional female roles to make a difference to the world around them- something which can be emulated by our young people today.”