Waterlooville war pioneer Beatrice Shilling to be celebrated with commemorative plaque

Beatrice Shilling OBE, from Waterlooville, with her Norton motorcycle. Picture: Havant Borough Council
Beatrice Shilling OBE, from Waterlooville, with her Norton motorcycle. Picture: Havant Borough Council
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A FEMALE engineer’s impressive legacy is set to shine on as a council prepares to unveil a plaque to commemorate her achievements.

Waterlooville-born inventor Beatrice Shilling OBE will be remembered at a ceremony led by the mayor of Havant, Peter Wade, on International Women's Day on Friday. 

The unveiling at Waterlooville Library at 10am will coincide with what would have been Ms Shilling’s 110th birthday. She died aged 81 on November 18, 1990. 

Born and raised in Waterlooville, she was a leading engineer for the Royal Aircraft Establishment and invented a metal washer for aircraft during the Second World War. 

Known as Shilling’s Penny, or Miss Shilling’s Orifice, the component was first tested during the Battle of Britain and became vital for steadying the supply of fuel to the engines of the iconic British fighters Spitfires and Hawker Hunters. 

Leigh Park women’s campaigner Charlene Maines has welcomed the plaque. 

‘We need to keep remembering women like Beatrice because their stories can inspire the next generation,' the 34-year-old said. 

‘Children in school are taught history, but they don’t necessarily know about people like her who helped shape the war. 

‘I’ll be at the event on Friday, which is also my birthday, and I’m intrigued to learn more.’ 

Following the unveiling, Waterlooville Library will host displays, photos and books about Ms Shilling and the Havant University of the Third Age will give a talk about her life. 

Havant mayor, councillor Peter Wade, said: ‘Beatrice Shilling OBE was a pioneering woman who was pivotal in the war effort and inspirational for many.

‘I am honoured to be unveiling this plaque celebrating her achievements.’ 

Ms Shilling’s name is also being used for a new care home development, Shilling Place, at 38-44 London Road in Waterlooville.

International Women’s Day is an annual, worldwide event which highlights the social, economic, cultural and political achievements and contributions made by women.