Battle of Britain Monument Home THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN LONDON MONUMENT Battle of Britain London Monument
The Battle of Britain London Monument "Never in the field of human
conflict was so much owed
by so many to so few
Site of Battleof Britain London Monument Work in Progress London Monument Site Drawing of Battle of Britain London Monument
Battle of Britain London Monument Home    

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


Leonard Hilary Borlase Pearce, of Harrogate, was born on 31st March 1914 at Chatham, the son of Engineer Captain Thomas Pearce (1881-1928) and Annie Christina Pearce (nee Borlase 1877-1949).

He attended Haileybury School and appears on the Navy List as a Sub-Lieutenant for the years 1934 and 1935 but he must have abandoned this career as he joined the RAFVR about August 1938 as an Airman u/t Pilot.

Pearce 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 posted to 32 Squadron at Biggin Hill on 16th November 1939 but was moved to 79 Squadron, also at Biggin Hill, on 19th March 1940 and went to France with it on 10th May 1940.

He shared in the destruction of a Hs126 on the 14th and shared another Hs126 and damaged a Do17 on the 20th, the day that 79 Squadron returned to Biggin Hill.

He moved yet again in June to rejoin 32 Squadron. On the 8th he destroyed a Me109 over Le Treport. On 10th July he shared in destroying a Do17, on the 30th he damaged a Me109, on 15th August he destroyed a Me110 and on the 16th he probably destroyed a Me109.

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 serving with 46 Squadron at Stapleford Tawney and on the 13th he made a forced-landing at Biggin Hill after being attacked by Me109s 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.







Battle of Britain Monument