25.10.1942 No 486 RNZAF Typhoon Ib R8814 P/O. Pearse
Operation: Coastal Patrol
Date: 25th October 1942 (Sunday)
Unit: No. 486 Squadron RNZAF (11 Group)
Type: Typhoon Ib
Base: RAF West Malling, Kent
Location: Willesborough, Kent
Pilot: P/O. 'Shorty' Jesse Pearse NZ/40427 RNZAF Age 23. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 09:35 hrs as leader of a section. 30 minutes later black smoke began to pour from the Napier Sabre engine and the pilot informed the others that he had to return to base. Complete engine failure followed very shortly and P/O. Pearse called to say he was baling out. However it appeared that the parachute caught on the cockpit surround as the aircraft spun into the ground.
Napier Sabre engine (courtesy Wikipedia):
"Problems arose as soon as mass production began. Prototype engines had been hand-assembled by Napier craftsmen and it proved to be difficult to adapt it to assembly-line production techniques.
Quality control proved to be inadequate, engines were often delivered with improperly cleaned castings, broken piston rings and machine cuttings left inside the engine. RAF Mechanics were overworked trying to keep the Sabres running and during cold weather they had to run them every two hours during the night so that the engine oil would not congeal and prevent the engine from starting the next day.
These problems took too long to remedy and the engine gained a bad reputation. To make matters worse, mechanics and pilots unfamiliar with the different nature of the engine, tended to blame the Sabre for problems that were caused by incorrect handling. This was exacerbated by the representatives of the competing Rolls-Royce company, which had its own agenda. In 1944, Rolls-Royce produced its own version called the Eagle."
P/O. Jesse Pearse. Maidstone Cemetery. Plot C.C. 1. Grave 137. Born on the 22nd April 1919, the son of George and Isabella Pearse, brother to John, Sam and Dick of Whakatane, Auckland, New Zealand. Total of 391 flying hours logged with 41 on this type - had taken part in 22 operational sorties.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum for use of photographs, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below: