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A flaming pathfinder of women's lib

A pioneering engineer, a celebrated racer, a war heroine. Beatrice 'Tilly' Shilling was a singular woman of many talents. During and after completing her BSc and MSc in Electrical Engineering at Manchester, Beatrice raced motorcycles, becoming only the second woman to lap the Brooklands circuit at more than 100 mph.

She would later race automobiles, but not before her greatest accomplishment. In 1940 Beatrice invented the RAE restrictor, (affectionately named by pilots as 'Miss Shilling's orifice') which eliminated engine cut-out in RAF fighter planes, enabling them to keep pace with the Luftwaffe. It was a crucial moment in the war effort – and an innovation that earned her an OBE.

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