Adopted son of Leonard L Garlow, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Attended Tucson University in 1934-5 and was a member of the Sigma Chi social fraternity.
Next of kin given as: "Mrs Spencer Kennelly, 677 S Bronson, Los Angeles"
prev. Arizona and Michigan Flying Schools, then from 1930 a commercial pilot.
prev. exp. 1419 hrs.
Posted to 8FPP on 13 December, but got lost on one of his first ferry flights (22 December) and force-landed in Eire. See www.ww2irishaviation.com
Joseph 'Gen' Genovese (q.v.) described him as a "tall, handsome, curly-headed fellow with a trim black mustache, who, before coming to England, had made several pictures in Hollywood", although this (as is not unusual with Mr Genovese) may be a slight exaggeration; Lee only seems to have appeared as an extra in the 1938 musical, “Start Cheering”.
'Gen' also says that Lee had "brought the playboy spirit with him from the States, where he had been a rich man's son, a sportsman flier .. but Lee had changed after flying for the ATA for a few months. He was more serious and seemed to take a sincere pride in the work he was doing. He told me once that flying for England was the first real job he had ever had and the first honest responsibility he had ever felt."
His instructors rated him as a "man of excellent character ... a good pilot but overconfident."
d. 26 Dec 1941 (Died in ATA Service) - Hudson III AE489 flew into ground nr Blacklaw Farm, 4 mi N of Stewarton, Ayrshire, 15mi NE of Prestwick, in thick fog.
2nd Officer David Marks (q.v.) also killed.
It appears that Lee had taken the Hudson without proper authorisation, having altered his own paperwork (which was for a Wellington).
Buried Monkton and Prestwick Cemetery, Prestwick, but later moved to the Cambridge American Cemetery.
After his death, his friend Mrs Kennelly claimed to have Power of Attorney for Lee's affairs, and asked for all his belongings "including his wings if possible" to be sent to her, but to "keep such clothes of useful [sic] to others in England."
However, it then emerged that Lee had only been informally adopted by Leonard Garlow and his wife Martha Snyder. Leonard had pre-deceased Lee, but Martha, along with Mrs Kennelly and his natural mother, Elizabeth Squires (formerly Baker) all made a claim to Lee's estate.
His estate (including the £2,000 insurance money) was sent to the American Consulate and it took until 1946 for them to decide that all three women should be joint beneficiaries.
With thanks to Dennis Burke for his research