LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer Alan Louden PEARSALL

Service No: 408266
Born: Hobart TAS, 21 May 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 17 July 1941
Unit: No. 16 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Northolt, Middlesex,
Died: Air Operations (No. 16 Squadron Spitfire aircraft PA863), English Channel, 8 March 1944, Aged 28 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Benjamin James Pearsall and Olive Pearsall; husband of Dorothy Eva Pearsall, of Sandy Bay, Tasmania. Australia
Roll of Honour: Hobart TAS
Remembered: Panel 257, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 128, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On 8 March 1944 Flying Officer Pearsall flying Spitfire PA863 was briefed to carry out a photo reconnaissance sortie north-east of Calais. Just after he had completed his task, he called up on Button C stating the engine had stopped. Approximately 4 minutes after his first intimation of engine trouble, and on instructions from Bradwell Bay he baled out over the sea at 2,000 feet. From the first transmission to time of bale out he was in constant touch by radio with Bradwell Bay and Manston. The No. 11 Group Controller immediately despatched search aircraft. Owing to the fact that the pilot did not go over to Button D (Biggin Hill), no accurate fix was made. Bradwell Bay and Manston both obtained bearings, but owing to their respective positions relative to the aircraft, obtained a very inaccurate bearing only. Air Sea Water Rescue craft did not go out. There were gale conditions in the Channel and no sight of the pilot or dinghy had been obtained from search aircraft. The search continued for two days with no result. With no trace of the missing pilot being found following post war enquiries and investigations it was recorded in 1948 that Flying Officer Pearsall had lost his life at sea and had no known grave.

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/32/318

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