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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.

    Thanks
    Steve
    Last edited by Steve Brew; 7th October 2020 at 11:54.
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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

    I've no research on NCO pilots Pearce, Steve, nor am I more experienced than you, I think. However, a couple of points occurred to me.

    Service nos: given the period, it may be unsurprising that you have the two NCO pilots with close service nos,
    365236 Edwards HW &
    365793 Smith KS
    which you are able to discount.

    However, they joined the Squadron close together and both fairly within Pearce's posting in range.
    Keeping in mind that that Service no band was then near to closing off (AB list shows 363281 to 370000, issued from Jan 1924, last issued no 366493) it occurred to me that, though there are quite a lot of Pearces, the AIR 78 rolls might give a clue of sorts, by focussing on any 365xxx Pearce entries. I discounted the 364xxx cases, details kept if wanted.

    Just three 365xxx cases, if I didn't miss any in AIR 78/124:
    365012 Pearce WM [should be WW - my transcription error]
    365914 Pearce FR
    365930 Pearce CHO

    Of them, just one match in the London Gazette 1June 51, Supplement 7 June 51:
    Warrant Officer Cecil Herbert Oldridge PEARCE (365930) Royal Air Force
    who was made MBE (Military) in the birthday honours. A significant recognition, but of what?

    Nothing further for any in TNA/Discovery.

    Possibly more coals to Newcastle but just perhaps these three, esp 365930 Pearce CHO MBE, might be worth follow up?

    If you've not done so, maybe ask RAFHAA www.oldhaltonians.co.uk/ for any record of an entry for him/them.
    If present, will record some personal details and his/their trade, fwiw.
    In the past I've found RAF Halton Archivist and RAFHAA Sec Derek "Min" Larkin, very helpful with such record enquiries.
    Contact email via the Home button on the home page.
    My regards to Min - I expect he's still The Man.



    Sources
    Air Britain RAF Service nos list (formerly at http://www.ab-ix.co.uk/rfc_raf.pdf)
    London Gazette https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/...upplement/3070
    RAFHAA RAF Halton Apprentices Association www.oldhaltonians.co.uk
    TNA Discovery AIR 78/124 rolls https://discovery.nationalarchives.g...ls/r/C15625509 and https://discovery.nationalarchives.g...ls/r/C15625510
    Last edited by Don Clark; 8th October 2020 at 10:09. Reason: Thanks to Paul: transcription errors always to be guarded against esp in own work!
    Toujours propos

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

    Hello,

    APPENDIX I - RAF HALTON - ENTRY NUMBERS AND INTAKES.

    Entry No.....Highest & Lowest Nos......Arrival Date.......Annual Totals
    No.09..........364462 - 365117.........January 1924.
    No.10..........365127 - 365692.........September 1924..1222
    No.11..........365625?- 365988........January 1925.
    No.12..........366003 - 366486.........September 1925..848.
    See:
    History of Royal Air Force HALTON No.1 School of Technical Training.
    Tunbridge,Paul.
    London:Barkland Publications Ltd.,1995.
    p.165

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 8th October 2020 at 06:18.

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

    365012 Pearce WM is actually 365012 Pearce WW
    this makes him

    William Windsor Pearce

    who is actually on 1939 Register
    Name: William W Pearce
    Gender: Male
    Marital status: Married
    Birth Date: 24 Jan 1908
    Residence Year: 1939
    Address: Hill Corner Gt Cheverell
    Residence Place: Devizes, Wiltshire, England
    Occupation: R A F
    -> He was a Sgt With No 1 FTS

    Death
    03/1988 (Mar 1988) Devizes Wiltshire England

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

    365914 Pearce FR

    Is on Dec 1940 AFL as W/O F R Pearse dated 1-10-1940

    I think he is in ARL 1954 so if anyone has a post war one they could maybe look him up and see if he is identifed
    Last edited by paulmcmillan; 8th October 2020 at 08:03.

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

    Thank you so much, Don, Col and Paul; I'm speechless. Such a brilliant response, thank you, and some very good leads to chase.

    Thank you all - especially with your in-depth response, Don - for taking the time to look things up and write/transcribe such detailed replies.

    I'll check them all out, but I do like the sound of William Windsor Pearce who was with 1 FTS in the 1939 Register.

    Regards
    Steve

    Paul - as a side note, I e-mailed you recently with a 1MB attachment. Did you receive it?
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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

    Steve

    The last email I can find from you from May 2020 ? re: Eric Lock have you sent anything more recently - but that was not large attachment?
    Many Thanks Paul

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

    So it look like WW Pearce at RAF Netheravon in 1939

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

    PS

    http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/sho...War-NCO-Pilots

    So


    PEARCE, G. H., number?; Sgt Plt, 41 Sqn, 1932-37; Flg Instr Crse, CFS Upavon, 4 Jan-20 Mar 37; grad CFS as QFI Class B, 20 Mar 37 [Possibly 590550 Flt Sgt George Harold Pearce, com Prob Plt Off (45228), 28 Jan 41]

    was discounted ?

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

    So... W. W. Pearce was at RAF Netheravon and not 1 FTS in 1939...?


    In re the second message, I have no proof that it was G. H. Pearce:

    Fact: PEARCE; Sgt Plt, 41 Sqn, 1932-37; Flg Instr Crse, CFS Upavon, 4 Jan-20 Mar 37; grad CFS as QFI Class B, 20 Mar 37

    Unproven assumption: PEARCE, G. H., [Possibly 590550 Flt Sgt George Harold Pearce, com Prob Plt Off (45228), 28 Jan 41]

    In re the e-mail, it was something more recent. I'll check the e-mail address is correct, though it didn't bounce last time, and will resend it.

    Cheers
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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