Canadian Aviatrix #98 – Mollie Leach (1917-2005)

Ottilie Marion Leach (known as Mollie) was born on 13 October 1917 in Toronto, Ontario, to Major John Owen Leach and Ottilie Schreiber. John was “one of the outstanding Canadian pilots in the war”. He had fought the Red Baron with two other pilots and was the only one to return, although he was wounded and lost his right leg.

1921 census

Peel ON

John

27

Ottilie

27

Mollie

3

Anthony

4m

James R G

[born later]

 

In 1921, the family also had a “ward from the orphan home” living with them – George Sullivan, aged 10.

In 1930, John was assistant director of the Ontario Provincial Air Service, Forestry Branch, and flying a seaplane for photography purposes, when he crashed into the water at Port Arthur and died.

Mollie graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts and worked as a librarian at the Toronto Public Library.

On 3 October 1942, Mollie passed her flying test and received her PPL, making her the 98th female pilot in Canada. She was 24 years old.

Canadian Aviatrix #98 – Mollie Leach (1917-2005) 

Mollie immediately joined the Women’s Division of the RCAF. Her brother, Anthony, was also with the RCAF, as a rear gunner. In 1943, he was killed in an operation over Hanover, Germany.

On 22 February 1969, Marion married Arthur Dalzell Browne

Mollie died in 2005, age 88.

Note: Ottilie was listed with an asterisk in No Place for a Lady – meaning the author hadn’t been able to find her. I just had “O.M. Leach” and the date of her PPL.

The First 100 Canadian Women Pilots