Born in Kingston, Amy Johnson (1903 – 1941) studied at the University of Sheffield, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics. She then worked in London as secretary to the solicitor William Charles Crocker. She was introduced to flying as a hobby, gaining a pilot’s A Licence No. 1979 on 6 July 1929. With funds from her father, she purchased G-AAAH, a second-hand De Havilland Gipsy Moth she named “Jason”.
Amy achieved worldwide recognition when, in 1930, she became the first woman to fly solo from Britain, to Australia. She received the Harmon Trophy as well as a CBE in recognition of this achievement, and was also honored with the No. 1 civil pilot’s licence under Australia’s 1921 Air Navigation Regulations.
In July 1931, Johnson and her co-pilot Jack Humphreys became the first pilots to fly from London to Moscow in one day, completing the 1,760-mile journey in approximately 21 hours. From there, they continued across Siberia and on to Tokyo, setting a record time for flying from England to Japan. The flight was completed in a De Havilland Puss Moth. In July 1932, she set a solo record for the flight from London to Cape Town, South Africa in a Puss Moth. In May 1936, Johnson made her last record-breaking flight, regaining her Britain to South Africa record in G-ADZO, a Percival Gull Six.
In 1940, during the Second World War, Johnson joined the newly formed ATA, whose job was to transport Royal Air Force aircraft around the country – and rose to First Officer.