|Last Post film
Australian War Memorial
|Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
|15 December 2021
Second World War, 1939-1945
Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
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The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (428480) Pilot Officer Allan Harry Pearce, No. 467 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War.
The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Meleah Hampton, the story for this day was on (428480) Pilot Officer Allan Harry Pearce, No. 467 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War.Film order form
428480 Pilot Officer Allan Harry Pearce, No. 467 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force
DOD 2 February 1945
Today we remember and pay tribute to Pilot Officer Allan Harry Pearce.
Allan Pearce was born on 15 May 1922 in Adelaide to Harry and Iris Pearce.
Harry Pearce attended Norwood Public School, and afterwards found work as a mechanical engineer. Having served for 12 months as a gunner with the 48th Australian Battery, he enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force on 5 November 1942, aged 20. The following April he married his sweetheart, Thelma Jane.
Pearce underwent training in Australia, and in October 1943 had received his navigator’s badge. On 26 November, now a sergeant, he embarked for overseas service from Sydney, arriving in the UK in January. As part of the Empire Air Training Scheme he was one of almost 27,000 RAAF pilots, navigators, wireless operators, gunners and engineers, who joined Australian and British squadrons in Britain throughout the course of the war.
Further specialist training followed in England, and in May 1944 he was promoted to flight sergeant. On 20 October 1944 he was posted to No. 467 Squadron, RAAF. As part of Bomber Command, the squadron flew the four-engined Avro Lancaster heavy bomber.
On 8 of January 1945 Pearce was granted a commission as pilot officer.
On the night of 2 February Bomber Command mounted simultaneous raids on a number of targets in Germany, launching 1,200 aircraft. Some 250 of them were sent to bomb the town of Karlsruhe in Germany. No. 467 Squadron committed 19 aircraft, and Pilot Officer Pearce was the bomb aimer of Lancaster “PO-J”, which took off from the Royal Air Force Base at Waddington at 7.51 pm.
Two of the squadron’s Lancasters never returned, including Pearce’s. It later emerged that the aircraft had been shot down near the village of Karlsdorf, 12 miles east of the target. Also on board were Australians Flying Officer James Inkster, Warrant Officer Bertram Weber, and Flight Sergeants Frederick Bean, Frank Everatt, and Phillip Carter – along with British airmen Flight Lieutenant Noel Colley and Sergeant Dennis Howdle.
The bodies of the crews were recovered by the Germans and buried in a communal grave at the Karlsdorf Cemetery. After the war the remains of Commonwealth servicemen buried in Europe were examined and identified where possible. The remains of Pearce, Everatt, and Carter could not be identified, and so they were reinterred together, some 270 kilometres away at the Durnbach War Cemetery. Pearce’s headstone bears the inscription: “We who loved him will never forget. Ever remembered by all.”
He was 22 years old.
Pearce left behind a mourning wife and a son he had never met, Barry, who was born in mid-1944. His younger brother Raymond had also enlisted in the RAAF in 1944, but had yet to be posted overseas when the war ended.
Pilot Officer Allan Pearce’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, along with some 40,000 others from the Second World War.
This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Pilot Officer Allan Harry Pearce, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.
Editor, Military History Section
Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (428480) Pilot Officer Allan Harry Pearce, No. 467 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War. (video)