Canadian Aviatrix #80 – Ella Honsinger (1904-1955)

Ellen Lucretia Honsinger was born on 15 December 1904 to Charles Stanton Honsinger (tobacco merchant) and Jean Annette Ellis.

1911 census

1921 census

Owen Sound ON

Owen Sound ON

Charles

48

52

Jean

28

37

Gladys

7

17

Ella

6

15

Muriel

[1907-08]

-

Benjamin

2

12

Irving

-

7

 

Ella attended Normal School in Toronto, then became a teacher. She had a love of travel – touring Europe and spending a year in South Africa on an exchange programme. Ella made good friends in South Africa and two came to visit her in Canada. Ella toured North America too, including horseback riding with the Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies, a trip for experienced riders only.

In 1938, Jean became the first woman to be elected to the Owen Sound City Council. She served until 1947 and was the chairperson of the welfare department, as well as being on the Board of Health.

By 1939, Ella was teaching at the Earl Beatty School in Toronto and organized a Red Cross unit for Toronto public school teachers. She wanted to offer her services in the war, so took the Women’s Auxiliary Motor Service test in motor mechanics (getting 86%) and joined the Toronto Flying Club. She was a participant in the club’s dawn-to-dusk flight in celebration of Alcock and Brown’s flight across the Atlantic.

On 18 September 1940, Ella passed her flying test and received her PPL, making her the 80th female pilot in Canada. She was 35 years old.

Canadian Aviatrix #80 – Ella Honsinger (1904-1955) 

Photo: Owen Sound Daily Sun Times (September 3, 1943)

In 1943, Ella joined the Women’s Division of the RCAF and took the Recognition and Operational Course in Ottawa. She graduated as Sergeant and was posted to Regina to become an instructor in the course. When the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan was closed, she was in charge of the Aircraft Recognition and Armament Display at a special exhibition in Ottawa.

In 1945, Ella married Arni Alphonse Hohne. She met him when she visited South Africa on her exchange year.

The couple lived in Johannesburg and Ella was the head of the Rand Women’s Club and Study Circle.

Ella died in 1955, aged 50. Arni developed a suburb of Johannesburg and named it Elladoone after his wife.

Note: Ella 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. Honsinger” and the date of her PPL.

The First 100 Canadian Women Pilots

 

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