Roberta Boyd Sandoz Leveaux
I started to fly the summer 1928 when a not too busy
barnstormer explained to me why the little biplane didn't need to flap
it's wings, he took me for a ride over my house, my one-room schoolhouse
and the upper reaches of the Columbia River. My 10 year old world expanded
in a never to be forgotten way.
I was referred to J. Cochran by an officer of the RCAF to whom I had
written in 1941.
Memories of Dorval, a frenetic activity with lend-lease departures,
endless delays for us, incessant cold and windy weather, pneumonia and
St Mary's Hospital for me. Flying the AT6 was easy, just getting to
it was a problem!
Nancy has accurate record of when each group arrived. I was in the last
one with Mary Nicholson.
My favorite aircraft was the photo-recon Spitfire.
I was stationed at No.15 Pool, Hamble exclusively, with short
secondments for conversions at Ratcliffe and White Waltham.
Special memories for me seem to focus on people, such an
extraordinary collection of women at Hamble. Some of those with whom
I have kept in touch to the present or until their deaths:
Courageous, driven, and much loved Anna Leska of Poland. Friend and
Godmother to my first child, Mardi Gething of
Early soul mate who shivered with me across the North
Atlantic in a small-unescorted Norwegian freighter, the "Mosdale",
Emily Chapin of Rye, New York.
Sophisticated and gracious, friend Diana Barnato of England.
Wise, accomplished, thoughtful model for all of us, our
C.O. Margot Gore of England.
My good and beloved mentor and guide, Mary Nicholson of South Carolina,
lost too soon through aircraft failure.
My husband and I returned to the U.S. with our first two children in
1949, first to my family in the state of Washington,
then, as he became his company's trouble-shooter, in several other areas
of the U.S. We are now in our 58th year together.
On retiring from a second career I joined a soaring club in Arizona,
had a ball with no engine, and eventually a WAASP friend and I bought,
put together and flew an early ultra light, a Quicksilver MX , powered
by 35 hp snowmobile engine......just our speed!