W.151

3rd Officer 

Sheila A Garrett 
 flag usa - flag UK  b. 18 Nov 1916, Marionville, Missouri, USA   3 Apr-44 to Jun-45

 ATA Sheila Garrett  ATA

     

 a.k.a. Sheila Browning

Father: Albert Alvin Garrett

Next of Kin: Lt. Mrs. Lee G Morse (sister, aka Lynn Browning); 8500 Holloway Dr, Hollywood, CA

sheila browning 1935 Far right, representing "Missouri" in 1935

She appears as an uncredited extra in the 1936 movie "The Great Ziegfield" (This appears to be her only pre-WWII acting job; however, her sister Lynn Browning was signed to Warner Bros. and appeared in 11 movies between 1932 and 1940, until her career was cut short by a car accident).

m. 28 Jun 1936 in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Harry [a.k.a. Henry] Frederick Wilcoxon, an English Actor born in Dominica, BWI, [he was 30, she was 19]

henry and sheila wilcoxon 1936 1936

She and Henry travelled together from the UK to the USA in May 1937 on the "Queen Mary", and here they are shortly aftwerwards, "christening the old swimming hole at his Malibu Mountain Ranch [in California, and called 'Seven Oaks']":

henry and sheila wilcoxon may 1937 The Los Angeles Times

 

"The former Sheila Garrett, now Mrs Henry Wilcoxon, looked so good to a sheik of the Ageyli tribe that he tried to buy her from the British actor. The sheik offered 10 Pounds British, gold, three she-camels, a quantity of grain, a jewelled dagger, a prayer rug from the palace of the Emir at Mecca, and several hareem girls."

"Sheila and Harry Wilcoxon tossed an outdoor gala at Sevenoaks Ranch. They hired a blimp to fly over and drop favors with numbered ribbons and raced a flock of pigeons back to town. Guests with ribbon numbers corresponding to the winning pigeons got prizes."

They were divorced on 1 Jul 1937 - "An interlocutory divorce decree was granted today to Mrs Sheila Wilcoxon, known in films as Sheila Garrett. She testified that Wilcoxon always left her at home when visiting his ranch and was rude to her. Her sister, Lynn Browning, corroborated her evidence."

So in June 1938 she sailed back from Quebec to the UK, alone, and stayed there until October 1938, returning to the USA once more on the "Queen Mary".

 Next, we find her living in France at the outbreak of WWII, and sailing back to the USA on 19 Sep 1939. In the 1940 US Census she is listed as a "Model - Dresses", renting a house in E 54th St, NYC.

And somehow, between 1940 and 1944, she managed to learn how to fly, having apparently shown no interest in it before then. Her ATA file says she had been a "flying instructress" and to have served in "War Training Service US Navy".

She then travelled from New York to Liverpool, arriving on the 10 Mar 1944 to join the ATA.

Address in Apr 1944: 12-13 Montague St, London WC1


 She was taken on as a pilot cadet, and promoted to 3rd Officer on 12 Aug 1944.


After the ATA, Sheila travelled back to the USA from Liverpool on 3-16 July 1945.

m. 3 Mar 1946 George Alfred Moszkowski (b. 1894 in Warsaw) in Habana, Cuba

"Sheila Garrett was a very close friend of my mother’s. After the war she had a long-term on and off relationship with author Robert Ruark (Something of Value). She used to come and stay with us at our home in Mexico City for long periods, sometimes with and sometimes without Robert.

On one occasion she arrived by taxi in the middle of the night, having totally destroyed her beautiful white Chrysler 300 by hitting a rock (at about 100mph, according to her) somewhere on the highway driving down from the US. I believe the rock survived!

 My mother used to stay at her flat in London on her visits. I knew her very well; she was very tall [actually, 5ft 8in, but described as 'tall build'] and absolutely gorgeous!"

In the 60s, she lived in Long Valley, NJ, but also had:

Greycoat Gardens ...a flat at 7 Greycoat Gardens, London SW1

 She appeared in 7 episodes of a TV series called "Bonsoir" in 1962, as "herself".

"Towards the end of her life she lived in San Pedro near Marbella, Spain and married Bill Vanderveldt who had been a boyfriend decades before and had never really fallen out of love with her - they were blissfully happy together in Spain until Sheila sadly predeceased Bill. We visited on numerous occasions, including one trip when Sheila and my mother (both in their 60s) drove Sheila’s unairconditioned right hand drive Mini Countryman from Andalusia to San Sebastian to catch the ferry to the U.K.

All the memories I have of Sheila are extremely happy ones. As our American cousins would perhaps say, she was “quite a gal!"

 


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

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