Canadian Aviatrix #54 – Mildred Yates (1920-2001)

Mildred Clements Yates (sometimes known as Wattie) was born around 1920 in Toronto to Arthur Yates (a confectioner) and Pansy Pirie.


1921 census

1931 census


Toronto ON

Toronto ON














Alice, Pansy’s older sister

Alice & Edna (Pansy's sisters)


On 17 March 1937, Mildred passed her flying test and received her PPL, making her the 54th female pilot in Canada. She was 17 years old.

Canadian Aviatrix #54 – Mildred Yates (born 1920)

Photo: The Province (April 22, 1941) – Mildred on the left

On 6 March 1941, she married Victor Fox – a 33-year-old pilot for Yukon Southern Air Transport. The wedding was originally scheduled for 2pm, but was very delayed. Victor’s plane didn’t arrive until 1.25pm and Mildred’s flight from Toronto to Vancouver was meant to arrive at 10.30am but didn’t land till 4pm. The ceremony was rescheduled to 7pm, but the minister didn’t get the message! Eventually, the couple tied the knot at 8pm – another Yukon Southern pilot was best man and Elianne Roberge was bridesmaid.

The Flying Seven hosted a lunch in honour of Mildred and Miss Hanyin Cheng – the only commissioned female officer in the Chinese Air Force and one of three female pilots sent to North America in the run up to the war, in order to raise support and money for China.

Victor flew the first plane to land at the new airport at Fort McMurray in 1942.

On 21 July 1951, Victor was flying a DC-4 airliner for the United Nations to transport American and Canadian troops and supplies for the Korean War. The plane disappeared and has never been found. There were six crew members and 31 passengers. The cause of the disappearance has not been determined, but it was a challenging route and there was heavy rain and low visibility due to icing. The Canadian crew and sailors lost on the flight are memoralized in the artwork ‘Towards Their Final Destination’ by Dan Ryan, viewable at the South Terminal of Vancouver International Airport.

It’s unclear what happened to Mildred after Victor’s disappearance. They may have had a young son at the time, but I haven’t found anything more than brief mentions in newspaper articles.

Mildred died in 2001, aged 81.

Note: Mildred was listed with an asterisk in No Place for a Lady – meaning the author hadn’t been able to find her. I just had "M.C.Yates" and the date of her PPL.

The First 100 Canadian Women Pilots


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