TEARS, pride and the sound of aircraft engines commemorated the work of many unsung male Second World War pilots at Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington.

Flying veteran Peter Godden, 95, travelled from Kent to join members of the Air Transport Association and direct descendants of the air crews of the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA).

Many had tears in their eyes as they witnessed ATA veteran Martin Nicholson of Otley, aged 90, unveil a plaque at the Allied Air Forces Memorial to the work of the male ATA pilots. There are now believed to be only a dozen surviving ATA aircrew.

The men, like the better-known women ATA pilots, delivered aircraft to front line squadrons and often had to fly aircraft types they were unfamiliar with.

Ian Reed, museum director said: “We are delighted to have been asked to add this memorial to the nation’s Allied Air Forces Memorial, and that these rare veterans like Martin are able to join us to recognise this important chapter in our history. The museum has previously recognised the women pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary within our Women’s Air Services Memorial, but this now includes the men as well. The women stole the glamour within the media but the men made up the bulk of the service.”

In bright sunshine and blustery winds, a Nimrod MR2 XV250, celebrating the fifth anniversary of its arrival at the museum, made two high speed ground runs and other aircraft including First World War fighters, did engine runs to mark the day.