W.108 First Officer   Freydis Mary Leaf
 flag england  b. 22 Sep 1920, Cambridge  17 Feb-43 to Oct-45

 Freydis Leaf 1939  RAeC 1939



 Father: Lt. Charles Symonds Leaf RM, mother Hon. Catherine Blanche [Kay-Shuttleworth]

"She is a granddaughter of Lord Shuttleworth. Her name is Norwegian and refers to the sister of Lief the Lucky, a Viking warrior ... she is 6 feet tall - almost as tall as her mother - dark and striking-looking"

prev: Mobile VAD Nurse, RAMC

Address in 1939: Freckenham Manor House, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

She was one of two hundred 'debutantes and ex-debutants' in the 'Guard of Honour to attend her Majesty the Queen' in March 1939:

  The Sketch

Postings include: 15FPP, 1FPP

One* accident:

- 28 Sep 1945, she 'exhibited bad airmanship' in (of all things) Tiger Moth DF210, when she taxied behind an aircraft with two engines running, and nosed over.

 Experience in ATA: 700 hrs in 40 aircraft types.


[Her brother, Lt Edward Derek Leaf DSC, FRGS, RNVR was killed in action, 15 Feb 1944.]

In January 1948, she and Margaret Frost were among the earliest recruits for the newly-formed WAAFVR:

 Margaret and Freydis, Nottingham Evening Post, 17 Jan 1948

 Others included Roy Mary Sharpe and Ruth Russell.


She and Veronica Volkersz flew RAF-surplus Tempests to Pakistan in 1949, for Mayfair Air Services.

In December 1953 she was awarded her RAF 'Wings', one of 5 women (all ex-ATA pilots) to do so when serving with the short-lived (1 Feb 1949 - 1954) Women's Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (WRAFVR). The others were Jackie Moggtridge, Benedetta Willis, Joan Hughes and Jean Lennox-Bird.

 "Miss Leaf is at present training girls for flying at the Women's Junior Air Corps in London and takes the girls up regularly in a Fairchild Argus called 'The Grey Dove'. Last year she took 1,950 students into the air". Also involved in the WJAC were Diana Barnato Walker, and Anna Daab.


In August 1954, she became the first woman to win the title of 'British Air Racing Champion' when she won the Goodyear Trophy in her Miles Hawk Major G-ACYO:


She was presented with the Cup by Mr John Profumo at the Royal Aero Club:



She also came 3rd in the King's Cup Air Race in 1954, and was described as "Britain's top woman pilot":


[She only owned G-ACYO from August 1953 to August 1954, and then sold it to Frederick Howard Stirling; he managed to write it off 28 Nov 1954 when he crashed at Elstree, Herts]


m. 1955 in South Africa, Timothy Herbert Abbott Sharland


In 1956, Veronica Volkersz wrote that Freydis was one of only 7 women flying commercially: -  "Freydis Leaf, who until recently was chief aviation advisor to the Women's Junior Air Corps, has left England to marry and settle in South Africa"  - and concluded that "The tragedy is that for women, commercial aviation is now - except, possibly, in Russia - a closed field."

[The others were Jackie Moggridge, Monique Rendall, Jean Bird, Suzanne Ashton, Zita Irwin and Diana Barnato-Walker]



d. 24 May 2014 - Benson, Oxfordshire


Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freydis_Sharland

 Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):  download grey

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