The daughter of a millionaire racing driver, Woolf Barnato and granddaughter of Barney Barnato who co-founded the De Beers mining company, by 1936 Diana had had enough of her affluent, chaperoned existence and sought excitement in flying, soloing at Brooklands after only six hours’ training. She has followed her own instincts ever since. Joining the Air Transport Auxilliary in 1941 to help ferry aircraft to squadrons and bases throughout the country, she flew scores of different aircraft – fighters, bombers and trainers – in all kinds of conditions and without radio. She lost many friends, a fiance and a husband before 1945 but continued to fly. In 1962 she was awarded the Jean Lennox Bird Trophy for notable achievement in aviation and then – her greatest moment – in 1963 flew a Lightening though the sound barrier becoming “the fastest woman in the world”. She was awarded the MBE in 1965. Her memoirs offer adventure, anecdotes and famous names and is the story of a special woman who, now in her 80s, continues to live life to the full from her home in Surrey.
Spreading My Wings
One of Britain's Top Women Pilots Tells her Remarkable Story From Pre-War Flying to Breaking the Sound Barrier
Diana Barnato Walker