Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
Women Combat Pilots of WWII's video poster
Play

In WWII only the Soviet air force put women in combat. If they fell into German hands the consequences were too awful to think about. Read more

328
backers
£5,142
pledged of £3,200 goal
0
seconds to go

Funded!

This project was successfully funded on August 17, 2013.

In WWII only the Soviet air force put women in combat. If they fell into German hands the consequences were too awful to think about.

About this project

In WWII American, British and German women flew aircraft from factories to the squadrons, taught other pilots to fly, or worked as test pilots. 

None of them saw combat. 

In the Soviet Union they did things differently. 

The Soviets had the "Night Witches". A regiment of women pilots who terrified German troops by bombing them at night. They would swoop in silently, in the cover of night, with their engines turned off, drop their bombs, start their engines and get away as fast as they could. A lot of them were killed in action.

They also had bomber pilots attached to predominantly male squadrons and fighter pilots - some of whom were very successful.  

Soviet Women Pilots
Soviet Women Pilots

They struggled to get into the Soviet air force to begin with and once in they faced great difficulty overcoming the unsympathetic attitudes of their male compatriots. And if they came down, and ended up in German hands, the consequences were too awful to think about. 

These were very brave and determined people and I want to include them in my body of work on WWII pilots - which so far is all male. 

I want to find as many of these women pilots as I can, meet them, interview them and photograph them in the "then and now" style I have used with my male WWII pilots (I have photographed* and interviewed 24 WWII pilots in six countries). 

An example of one of my "then and now" WWII pilot photos. I want to photograph former Soviet women pilots in the same style.
An example of one of my "then and now" WWII pilot photos. I want to photograph former Soviet women pilots in the same style.

* Mike Schoenholtz photographed my American pilots and I interviewed them. 

Risks and challenges

In terms of meeting, interviewing and photographing the pilots I have done this so many times now, I am an old hand at it.
The main problem I have is time. These fine old women are very old now and they will not be with us for much longer. In fact one died last week. So there is a real imperative to get out there and get the job done.
Ideally I would like to present the work in a book, but in order to do this I need more money than I am asking for in this KickStarter project. That is why I am offering the photos and stories of the women pilots in a folio of loose pages of black-and-white now-and-then prints with their respective stories being told in the accompanying eBook. However, if a funding threshold of £8,000 is reached, then I shall present the work in a (conventional) book form as well as an eBook.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

Ask a question

Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge £1 or more

    14 backers

    Pledge £1 to make this happen. Every bit makes a difference and your pledge will go toward acknowledging these extraordinary women for their bravery and determination.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge £5 or more

    71 backers

    An eBook featuring a pair of "then and now" photos of each woman pilot and short summaries of the stories of the women I am going to interview and photograph.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge £10 or more

    176 backers

    An eBook featuring "then and now" photos and life stories of all the Soviet women pilots I will interview as well as all 24 of the male WWII pilots I have interviewed and photographed* in six countries, including seven of the eight surviving American WWII fighter aces and the world's highest scoring surviving fighter pilot at the time.
    *My friend Mike Schoenholtz interviewed the American pilots and I interviewed them.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge £35 or more

    45 backers

    Either (i) a folio of A4 prints of the women pilot "then-and-now" photos presented loose in a folder and the eBook with their stories as described below, or (ii) if the funding received exceeds the £8,000 threshold you will receive a (conventional) book of all of the pilots.
    In addition to above, you will receive the eBook. This will include "then and now" photos and life stories of all the Soviet women pilots I shall interview and photograph AND the 24 male WWII pilots I have interviewed and photographed* in six countries, including all but one of the eight surviving American WWII fighter aces and the world's highest scoring fighter pilot still alive when I photographed him. *My friend Mike Schoenholtz interviewed the American pilots and I interviewed them. I photographed and interviewed all the British, German, Czech, Australian and South African pilots featured in the project.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge £100 or more

    4 backers

    Help fund the project and you will receive all the items listed above and appropriate acknowledgement.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge £500 or more

    0 backers

    Help fund the project and you will receive all the items listed above and appropriate acknowledgement.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge £1,000 or more

    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    Help fund the project and you will receive all the items listed above and appropriate acknowledgement.
    Speak to your friends and see if you can raise the pledge amount as a group.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge £3,200 or more

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    Fund the project and you will receive all the items listed above and appropriate acknowledgement. Speak to your friends and see if you can raise the pledge amount as a group.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (30 days)