PAULINE GOWER was the leader of the Spitfire women during the Second World War. After gaining her pilot’s licence at 20, she set up the first female joyriding business in 1931 with engineer Dorothy Spicer and took 33,000 passengers up for a whirl, clocking up more than 2,000 hours overall. Pauline went on to command the inaugural women’s section of the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) and achieved equal pay for her women pilots. She enabled them to fly ‘Anything to Anywhere’, including Tiger Moths, Hurricanes, Wellingtons and – their firm favourite – the Spitfire.
Sisters in Spitfires
Alison Hill's biography, Pauline Gower, Pioneering Leader of the Spitfire Women was published by The History Press on 1 September 2022. Copies from Amazon or elsewhere online and in bookshops.
Pauline Gower's life and achievements in aviation, both in the pioneering age of the 1930s and as Commandant of the women's section of the ATA during WW2, deserve to be remembered. This book outlines her significant contributions and lasting legacy for women in aviation and is brought up to date with interviews with contemporary women pilots, highlighting achievements of members of the British Women Pilots' Association (BWPA) in particular.
Sharon Nicholson, BWPA Chairwoman
Alison's poetry has appeared in a range of magazines, websites and anthologies. 'To a Girl on Platform Three' was nominated by SOUTH for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem and her first full collection, Slate Rising (Indigo Dreams, 2014) was nominated for the TS Eliot Prize. This was followed by Sisters in Spitfires in 2015, celebrating the lives and flights of the 164 women pilots of the Air Transport Auxilary. A new poetry collection, Rebel Diamonds, is on the runway.
Alison founded and ran Rhythm & Muse for ten years and was Kingston Libraries' first Poet in Residence. She has run events and workshops for schools, galleries, museums and libraries, and welcomes creative projects and commissions.