Anglo Chilean Society

Margot Duhalde (born 12 December 1920) is a Chilean pilot who served with the Air Transport Auxiliary of the Royal Air Force in World War II.

Life

Duhalde learnt to fly with the Air Club of Chile in Santiago.[1] At the outbreak of World War II, Duhalde volunteered with a French-Chilean group and travelled by ship to Europe with the intention of joining the French Free Forces as a pilot. She arrived in Liverpool, England, in April 1941, and was initially detained in jail in London for 5 days as a suspected spy.[2] On her release, she was informed that the French Free Forces did not accept women pilots, and she was instead assigned domestic work and kitchen chores. She subsequently learned that the Royal Air Force was willing to accept women pilots, and she applied to join the Air Transport Auxiliary of the RAF, an organisation responsible for transporting aircraft.[1] Although she spoke almost no English, she was trained as a transport pilot to enable her to fly both single and twin-engine aircraft, and both British and American machines. Over the next four years, Duhalde moved more than 900 aircraft, of 70 different types, from English bases to combat zones in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.[1] [2] She rose to become a first officer in the Women's Section of ATA.[3]

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