By Jim Russell

Stars and Stripes Staff Writer


Pfc. Jane B. Windham

LONDON, May 1 (Delayed).—Pfc. Jane B. Windham who considered flying for Air Transport Command as a flight engineer no more dangerous than crossing the street, was killed in a crash at a UK base on March 31. She was the first WAC to lose her life on flying duty in a theater of war. Pfc. Windham, who was 23 was one of a crew of three aboard a B17 which collided with a C47 while attempting to land. None of the crew members of either ship survived the crash.

Jane Windham’s background was strictly flying. She studied aeronautical engineering at the University of California and could fly anything from a Piper Cub to a B17. She was a licensed pilot and taught women to fly before joining the WAC 18 months ago. She earned her wings crewing bombers ferried by ATC to bases in the States and Alaska. On dozens of trips she took over the controls of the big ships, “just to keep her hands in,” as she put it.

With ATC’s Air Inspector in the ETO, Jane’s flight duties were modified by administrative work. She might have stuck to a desk, and lived, but she settled this with: “I didn’t come overseas to fly a desk.”

It was the sincerity of this blonde, blue-eyed girl from San Antonio that made her most attractive. Something she said three months ago, haunting and ironic today, summed up her attitude.

“I can’t say that I envy those men who fly combat,” she said. “They put their lives out on a limb every time they go up.”

Then she added: “The flying I do is like walking across the street.”

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