Pioneering pilot who was the first woman to fly solo from London to Australia. Flying solo or with her husband, Jim Mollison, she set many long-distance records during the 1930s.
Born Yorkshire. Came to London as a secretary and started flying as a hobby. Sponsored by Lord Wakefield.
She flew in WW2 as a part of the Air Transport Auxiliary and disappeared during one of these ferry flights. Delivering a plane for the ATA, from Prestwick via RAF Squires Gate to RAF Kidlington near Oxford, Johnson went off course in adverse weather conditions. Reportedly out of fuel, she bailed out as her aircraft crashed into the Thames Estuary near Herne Bay, and was never found. Lt Cmdr Walter Fletcher, the captain of a ship that attempted rescue, died in the attempt.
It is possible that Johnson's plane was brought down by friendly fire, when she failed to correctly respond to a request for the identification code.
Londonist have a good post, focusing on her association with Croydon Airport.
When we published this, Phyllis A Sears wrote to tell us that Johnson "has a plaque in New York City too" and Mike Coleman wrote "there is a statue of her at Herne Bay together with a bench in her memory" and "There are also two(!) statues of her in her birthplace of Hull." Thank you both.