Two women have featured in RAF Benson’s year of honouring the bravery of flyers — one aged 88 and a veteran of the Second World War — and the other aged just 31 who received the Distinguished Flying Cross for her bravery in Iraq.

Flight Lieutenant Michelle Goodman has had a high profile since she was awarded her DFC – opening the Oxfordshire Poppy Appeal, reading the Remembrance Citation at the annual Service of Remembrance in the Royal Albert Hall and representing the RAF at the Cenotaph, where she accompanied112-year-old Henry Allingham as he laid his wreath.

Her commanding officer, Group Captain Paul Lyall, said: “She is typical of our young aircrew – brave, resourceful, dedicated and skilled. As the first female recipient of the DFC we are especially proud of her and the model she portrays for modern women, whether in the Armed Forces or not.”

Earlier in the year, Gp Capt Lyall paid tribute to the bravery of Benson resident Freydis Sharland, 88.

She was in the Air Transport Auxiliary during the Second World War, flying damaged and repaired aircraft to stations round the country.

They were known as the ‘Spitfire Girls’ and were awarded official recognition by the Government earlier this year.

Gp Capt Lyall said: “Often the aircraft were barely serviceable, but the Spitfire Girls flew on regardless and ensured the aircraft were where they were needed.

“Mrs Sharland amassed hundreds of hours flying time and flew 45 different types of aircraft.”

After the war, Mrs Sharland taught cadets to fly.

The base also held a veterans’ Battle of Britain dinner, and base personnel attended local remembrance day parades and ceremonies, A Puma and a Merlin helicopter also paid their tributes in a fly-past at ceremonies.

He added: “We have been honoured that our service personnel from RAF Benson have been able to play such a large part in honouring the veterans, both those lost and those who remain from past wars, and those in current operations.”