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Thread: Needle in a Haystack Time: Sgt Plt Pearce, 1932-37

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    Default Needle in a Haystack Time: Sgt Plt Pearce, 1932-37

    Hi all

    I'm stuck and would appreciate some hints/suggestions from those more experienced than me, please.

    I have a Sgt Plt Pearce - no initials - who who was posted to 41 Sqn sometime between Jan 31 and Jun 32, as he appears on the June 1932 nominal roll but not the Dec 30 nominal roll (and there's no other nominal roll in between).

    He is mentioned in a couple of subsequent nominal rolls but again without initials or number. He was sent to Aden in the Sqn's advance party in Sep 1935, returned to the UK with the Sqn in Aug 1936, and was eventually posted to CFS for a flying instructors course on 3 Jan 1937.

    The CFS ORB shows that the course was No. 50 course, which ran from 4 Jan to 20 Mar 1937, and he graduated (from what I can establish) as a flying instructor Class B. He is not identified by name in the ORB (and neither are any other course students) but I know he was posted from 41 Sqn to CFS with two other Sgt Plts: 365793 Kenneth Samuel Smith and 365236 Herbert Walter Edwards.

    I cannot seem to pin down a passenger list for his voyage from the UK (prob Southampton) to Aden, which he embarked upon on 18 Sep 1935 (according to the Sqn ORB), or a passenger list for his return home from Aden with the whole Sqn aboard SS Somersetshire, which arrived at Portsmouth on 29 Aug 1936.

    He is NOT:

    • 357361 George Henry Pearce, who was on 41 Sqn 1925-28 but as ground crew (and transferred to the Reserve in Jan 1931), or
    • George Harry Pearce born 29 Jan 95, or
    • 248363 George Henry Pearce who transferred from the RNAS as F48363, or
    • Flt Sgt Pearce who was on 33 Sqn in 1930 (mentioned in Flight, but nothing in ORB).

    Looking at it from another angle...

    • Fellow 41 Sqn/CFS NCO plt 365236 HW Edwards joined as an aircraft apprentice, Entry 10, 1 AW, 1 STT, Halton, Sep 24 (grad 18 Jul 27), joined 41 Sqn 23 Jun 31
    • Fellow 41 Sqn/CFS NCO plt 365793 KS Smith joined as an aircraft apprentice, Entry 11, 1 AW, 1 STT, Halton, 13 Jan 25 (grad 16 Dec 27), joined 41 Sqn same period as Pearce

    One might therefore assume that Pearce was also an aircraft apprentice, but I am hesitant to jump to that conclusion for convenience.

    I have one possible candidate that fits circumstantially, but have no evidence he is the right man:

    590050 George Harold Pearce; born Maidenhead, Berks, 31 Dec 09; joined RAF as Apprentice Clerk, Oct 25; Prob Plt Off (45228), 28 Jan 41 (sen 18 Nov 40); Prob Fg Off, 1 Sep 41; Flt Lt (WS), 1 Sep 42; app to com as Flt Lt (ext svce), 24 Jul 47 (sen 1 Jan 43); appointed to PC as Flt Lt, 16 Sep 48 (sen 1 sep 45); trans to Sec Branch, 14 Jan 49; Sqn Ldr, 1 Jul 51; retired 31 Dec 58; d Northampton, Northants, Dec 87

    I've checked available ORBs, and multiple other online sources/docs, but cannot find any firm evidence to confirm who 'my' Sgt Plt Pearce was. I'm pretty disappointed that I cannot identify a man who served around five years on 41 Sqn - a fairly long period for an NCO pilot, I think. I'd really like to identify him and ensure he is included in the Squadron History, but am stuck.

    With a relatively common name like Pearce - while not a Brown, Jones or Smith - but with no initials, I am really looking for a needle in a haystack.

    Does anyone have a record of an NCO pilot named Pearce who was a flying instructor or operational pilot on a squadron they are researching between about 1930 and 1940, please? Any suggestions of possible candidates that I can look into further would be appreciated.

    Last edited by Steve Brew; 7th October 2020 at 10:54.
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946

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