FRANCIS Leadon died on August 4th in Mullingar Regional Hospital. He was one of the 70,000 Irish men and women who contributed to the Allied effort in World War II and had a long career in post-war military aviation and with Aer Lingus.
He returned to Ireland permanently in 1969 to join, as Bloodstock Sales manager, Aer Turas, the Irish cargo airline which specialised in the air transport of horses between the so-called Tri-Partite countries of Ireland, France and the UK.
At its peak, Aer Turas flew over 6,000 high-value horses a year on these and other routes. He was subsequently invited to join Kerr and Co, Ireland’s oldest bloodstock agency, as Director of Shipping and later established his own bloodstock transport company.
He was particularly proud of having chartered a Vickers Argosy aircraft to transport the legendary racemare Dahlia, for US silver magnate Nelson Bunker Hunt and the French trainer, Maurice Zilber.
He retired to Castlepollard in Co Westmeath and he and Eva (they were married for almost 70 years) enjoyed 28 very happy years there together. They travelled extensively and enjoyed a very wide circles of friends at home and abroad.
They were avid followers of the fortunes of the family racehorse, the incredibly appropriately named, My Snowdrop. Eva even reassured trainer John Oxx that she did not have to win!
Frank was predeceased by Eva in December 2018 and he is survived by his children, Desmond, Vanessa, Bernie and Cecelia and their families and by his grandchildren, Dawn and Dale, and by Eva’s sister Christina and her family.