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Veldhuyzen van Zanten, Ida Laura

    Date of birth:
    June 22nd, 1911
    Nationality:
    Dutch (1815-present, Kingdom)

    Biography

    Ida Laura Veldhuyzen van Zanten, has the honour to be the only woman pilot to receive the Dutch Vliegerskruis (Flying Cross). She grew up in a family with six brothers. After having been rejected for a solicitation as stewardess with the KLM, she decided to make her fortune elsewhere. She took a flying course in Great Britain and received her Flying Brevet A in 1938. Again in the Netherlands she pleaded her case with the director of KLM, Dr. Plesman. Finally she was hired as a stewardess.

    When the Second World War broke out in September 1939, Ida worked with the KLM, but changed to a job as hostess with the Van Nieveld Goudriaan Shipping. After this she became a volunteer to help the injured of the bombardment of Rotterdam on May 14th 1940.

    After two failed attempts to reach Britain, she finally succeeded reaching Switzerland. Helped by former KLM people, she made her way to Britain by plane on August 13th 1942 from Lisbon to London. At first she worked with the intelligence Office, where she met Prins Bernhard. He managed to get her into the WAAF’s. Here she was transferred to the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), an organisation which transports the airplanes from the factory to the military bases.

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    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Unit:
    Air Transport Auxiliary, Air Ministry
    Awarded on:
    October 1st, 1942
    Action:
    Original Citation:
    "For in time of war with great care preparing their escape from occupied territory of the Netherlands and quick and with care escaping to England, an action that was with great danger by possible actions of the enemy."
    Details:
    Royal Decree No. 4 dd. October 1st 1942
    Kruis van Verdienste (KV)
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Unit:
    Air Transport Auxiliary, Air Ministry
    Awarded on:
    February 7th, 1948
    Action:
    Original Citation:
    "Has distinguishing herself through actions of initiative, bravery and persistence during one or more flights in an aircraft during hostile action, by in the period of May 18th 1943 until September 30th 1945, being placed in the rank of officer with the organisation of the Air Transport Auxiliary, has as pilot transported several types of aircraft of the Allied Air Forces from the factories in Great Britain to several War Bases and thereby made 583 flying hours."
    Details:
    Royal Decree No. 15 dd. Februari 7, 1948
    Vliegerkruis (VK)

    Sources

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