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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. L H B Pearce


Leonard Hilary Borlase Pearce, of Harrogate, was born on 31st March 1914 at Chatham. He attended Haileybury School and joined the RAFVR about August 1938 as an Airman u/t Pilot.

He was awarded Aero Certificate 18856 at Cambridge Aero Club on 26th June 1939.



Called up on 1st September 1939, he went to 11 Group Pool at St. Athan on the 3rd and converted to Spitfires. He then joined 92 Squadron at Tangmere on 7th October, when it was being reformed.

Pearce was with 32 Squadron at Biggin Hill in early July 1940. He shared a Me110 destroyed on 15th August. Three days later he was shot down in combat over Canterbury and baled out, slightly wounded. His Hurricane, R4106, crashed at Rose Garden Cottage, Chartham Hatch.

On 17th September Pearce was posted to 249 Squadron at North Weald. In October he was with 46 Squadron at Stapleford Tawney and on the 13th he made a forced-landing at Biggin Hill after being attacked by Me109’s over Dungeness. He was slightly wounded.

Pearce was killed on 9th April 1941, as a Flight Sergeant with 46 Squadron. After an operational patrol his Hurricane V7610 was coming in to land at Sherburn-in-Elmet just before midnight when it stalled and crashed near Barkston Ash, Tadcaster.

Pearce was 27 and is buried in the churchyard extension of St. John the Baptist at Kirkby Wharfe.




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