Canadian Aviatrix #62 – Marion Gillies (1915-1964)

Marion Angelina Gillies was born on 8 August 1915 in Waterloo, Ontario, to Frederick Fenton Gillies and Erma Selena Andrews.

 

1921 census

 

Kitchener ON

Fred

30

Erma

30

Marion

5

 

Fred had been a pilot in WW1 and formed Gillies Flying Service at Barker Field in Toronto in 1938. He asked his daughter to take flying lessons as a publicity gimmick and she agreed, as long as he taught her friend Margaret too.

On 3 August 1938, Marion passed her flying test and received her PPL, making her the 62nd female pilot in Canada. She was 22 years old.

Canadian Aviatrix #62 – Marion Gillies (1915-1964) 

Photo: Owen Sound Daily Sun Times (January 20, 1942)

On 26 January 1940, Marion became the tenth woman in Canada to get her commercial license. She then became the first woman in Canada to get her instructor’s rating.

Gas rationing closed the company and Marion wanted to join the Air Transport Auxiliary, but her parents were afraid to lose their only child.

After the war, Marion married Charles Aitchison, who had been one of her father’s pupils. They had two sons, but Marion continued to teach with her father’s company. According to her son, Michael, this caused a lot of friction, as she was essentially living away from Charles’ farm.

Marion died in 1964, aged 49, due to blood poisoning.

The First 100 Canadian Women Pilots

 

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