42 beatrice shilling passiton image

Photo by Arthur Edelmans on Unsplash

To download these free stories, please enter the newspaper publication you represent with your email address. Thanks!

Please enter your organization and email above before downloading these articles.

Download PDF Word .doc Download Photo .jpg

Pass It On®

Beatrice Shilling
The motorcycle daredevil who became a mechanical engineer and saved the lives of countless pilots in WWll.

By The Foundation for a Better Life

Beatrice “Tilly” Shilling had a penchant for speed. In 1913, at age 14, she bought her first motorcycle. She tinkered with it and roared around the English countryside, eventually racing for the British Motorcycle Racing Club.

Tilly might have been fine living an adventurous life, racing around tracks at 100 mph. But the war changed the world and nearly everyone who lived through it. Rolls Royce was making engines for the Royal Air Force. The Spitfire was speedy and highly maneuverable, and there was a great need for engineers to keep up with production and innovation. Tilly soon proved her mettle and moved up the ladder quickly at the Royal Aircraft Establishment. She was a no-nonsense, self-confident, tireless tinkerer who stood up to top brass the same way she had lapped men in motorcycle races. When Spitfires were stalling during extreme dives at the Battle of Britain and costing the lives of pilots, Tilly led a team of engineers tasked with finding a solution, fast.

For Tilly, the key in motorcycle racing and engineering was the same: Stay calm and keep it simple. She developed a thimble-shaped carburetor insert that prevented the engine from flooding on extreme dives. Equipped with this simple device, the Spitfires could compete with the Luftwaffe, and the rest is history.

Perhaps the unsung hero in this story is Beatrice Shilling’s first boss, Margaret Partridge. When Tilly was fresh out of secondary school, she got a job at an engineering company installing wiring and generators. Margaret — herself an electrical engineer — took it upon herself to nurture the next generation of women engineers and encouraged Tilly to study electrical engineering. Armed with a little extra confidence, Tilly enrolled at Victoria University of Manchester and became an electrical engineer, her first step toward a career in aviation engineering and the legendary solution that helped win the Battle of Britain.

Without that bit of encouragement, who knows how the whole world would have turned out — let alone Beatrice Shilling.

ENCOURAGEMENT...PassItOn.com

Copyright © 2021 | The Foundation for a Better Life | All rights reserved.

Pass It On®

The Foundation for a Better Life, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, gives your newspaper permission to publish these stories in print and electronic media (excluding audio and video), provided the stories are published in their entirety, without modification and including the copyright notice. For any modification, permission must first be obtained from the Foundation by emailing media-relations@passiton.com. Thank you.

  email

Your Comments

No comments have been made yet. Be the first!


Here are some other inspiring newspaper articles you might like.
An Impossible Journey.

An Impossible Journey.
How John Wesley Powell navigated the Colorado River and Grand Canyon in wooden boats.

Everybody Gets on Base.

Everybody Gets on Base.
Measuring the victories of life, one single at a time.

The Art of Pitching.

The Art of Pitching.
A little confidence at the right time goes a long way.

Born to Make a Difference.

Born to Make a Difference.
Kids who are changing their world.

Reach for the Stars…

Reach for the Stars…
No Matter How Long it Takes.

The Least Likely to Help.

The Least Likely to Help.
How a bedridden attorney still fights for the rights of others.

Beyond the Moon with an Eye on Mars.

Beyond the Moon with an Eye on Mars.
The story of a young woman who dreamed of pushing the boundaries and now designs launch systems for NASA.

A Lesson We Should Never Forget.

A Lesson We Should Never Forget.
The incredible story of American POWs smuggling rations to Russian prisoners at Stalag-B.

The Legacy of Dorothy Vaughan.

The Legacy of Dorothy Vaughan.
The Hidden Figure who Helped Put a man on the Moon.

The World Awaits You.

The World Awaits You.
The story of the first woman to circumnavigate the world.

Overcoming Our Own Worst Mistakes.

Overcoming Our Own Worst Mistakes.
Kaelin Clay made an unpardonable error in football. And he owned it.

Laughter is the Best Teacher.

Laughter is the Best Teacher.
How humor and history go together in this classroom.

Road Trip Across America.

Road Trip Across America.
A discovery of what unites us.

The Future Belongs to Kids.

The Future Belongs to Kids.
So far, things look pretty bright.

Taking Responsibility.

Taking Responsibility.
How one high school student supported her family during the pandemic.

Stay Curious.

Stay Curious.
The remarkable underwater life of Jacques Cousteau.

Being a Mother…

Being a Mother…
The roundabout journey to a dream fulfilled.

For the Cost of a Box of Cereal.

For the Cost of a Box of Cereal.
How just noticing makes all the difference in the world.