Danish WW2 Pilots

Inger Kristine Frith (née Pragholm)

(1909 - n.a.)

Inger Frith is - to my knowledge - the highest ranking Danish woman in service during the Second World War. She is a meteorological officer and advances to Captain.

Inger Kristine Frith (née Pragholm) is born on 23 January 1909. [1]

In 1940, shortly before the invasion of Denmark she leaves Denmark for Paris via Amsterdam and Brussels. Following a short stay in a Paris marked by the state of War, she travels through France and Italy for Naples. From here the travels to Athens and continues to Cairo. She is Cairo as the German troops cross the Danish borders on 9 April 1940.

Volunteers for service

In the beginning of 1941 she is evacuated from Egypt to South Africa on the SS EMPRESS of CANADA with other women and children. She volunteers for service in Cape Town. After some time she is accepted by the air force.

According to her own account, she is selected and trained for meteorological duties. Having completed her first course, she is posted to a Royal Air Force Coastal Command Training School. [2]

In December 1942 the Recruiting Office, Danish Nationals, has her address as: W.A.A.F. Camp, Rand Airport, Germiston, Transvaal, South Africa; and her rank and number: as Aircraftwoman (W/265733). [3]

A year later, having completed further training courses, she is commissioned. Soon she is posted to Middle East, in Cairo, wearing the "Danmark" ensign on her shoulder.

She was according to her own account on of the first four female Met Officers, and the only female Met Officer in Royal Air Force to carry out “operational forecasting” during the war. However, this cannot be confirmed by other sources. At some point she is appointed Captain. [4]

While stationed in Egypt, she marries Squadron Leader, Dr. Ronald Frith (132287) in Alexandria. They spend the honeymoon in Jerusalem. He is posted to England, while she stays in the Middle East. Five months later, she posted to London, and then Scotland, while her husband is posted to France. No specific date is indicated, but obviously this is post D-day. She visits Denmark for a brief visit, only a week after the VE-day. [5]

On 8 February 1951, she is commissioned as Flying Officer (8665), W.R.A.F.V.R. in the Meteorological Branch. This commission of relinquished on 8 February 1956. [6]

In service to Archery

In 1953, she becomes Vice-President of Fédération lnternationale de Tir à I’Arc (FITA) and from 1961 to 1977 she is the president of this organisation. She is the first woman to serve as president of an international sports federation. She is main architect of Archery's reintroduction to the Olympic programme in 1972. [7]

On 12 June 1971 she is awarded the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to archery, and in 1977 the Silver Medal of the Olympic Order in 1977 [8]

She dies in 1981. [9]

The above description has been compiled with the help of Amrit, Peter Davies, Stewart McLoughlin, and Vitesse, cf. http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9131. Some of the information is somewhat confusing. First of all, the service number, W/265733, does not seem to correspond with a W.A.A.F service number, but might match a South African W.A.A.F. Secondly, the commissioned rank ‘Captain’ does not match the W.A.A.F hierarchy either.

Sources

  1. England & Wales, Death Index: 1916-2005
  2. Frith, 1945
  3. Archive of the Recruiting Office, Danish Nationals
  4. Frith, 1945
  5. Frith, 1945, LG 36017
  6. LG 39335
  7. www.archery.org
  8. LG 45384, The Olympic Review, No 128, June 1978
  9. England & Wales, Death Index: 1916-2005