06.07.1942 No. 419 (Moose) Squadron RCAF Wellington III X3556 VR-L F/Sgt. Robert Wakefield Pearson
Date: 6 July 1942
Unit: No. 419 (Moose) Squadron RCAF. Motto: "Moosa aswayita" ("Beware of the Moose")
Badge: A moose attacking. The moose, representing the squadron's nickname acquired from its first commanding officer, is a ferocious fighter and is indigenous to Canada. The motto is in the Cree language. Authority: King George VI, June 1944.
Base: RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk
Location: Crashed near Catworth, Huntingdonshire
Pilot: F/Sgt. Robert Wakefield Pearson R/78288 RCAF Age 20 - Killed (1)
2nd Pilot: F/Sgt. Stefan Douglas Palmason R/95316 RCAF Age 23 - Killed (2)
Observer: P/O. A.L. Parnall J/6662 RCAF Age 26 - Slightly injured (3)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Richard Bryan "Barney" Cowell J/15416 RCAF Age 24 - Killed (4)
Air/Gnr: F/Sgt. Charles Franklin Williams R/75063 RCAF Age 22 - Killed (5)
Passenger: Cpl. Kenneth Ernest Victor Denyer 575253 RAFVR Age 18 - Killed (6)
Passenger: LAC. Allen William Patmore R/77966 RCAF Age 28 - Killed (7)
Passenger: Pte. 1st Class David J. Rudd 36158740 USAAF - Killed (8)
Passenger: Pte. 1st Class Fred L. Baral 13029108 USAAF - Killed (9)
Passenger: Pte. 1st Class Carl Conrad Nelson 39081914 USAAF - Slightly injured (10)
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REASON FOR LOSS
According to the report on the accident the aircraft took off on a Non-Operational Day Cross Country. The accident occurred in daylight with excellent visibility, approximately two miles south of Molesworth. The aircraft was seen circling Molesworth, apparently on one engine, the starboard engine having failed through an unknown cause. The Pilot evidently decided he could not make the aerodrome and attempted to land downwind in a ploughed field with wheels down. The aircraft turned over on its back and burned out.
The starboard engine was returned to Mildenhall and examined under the direction of the Station Engineer. No apparent reason for failure of the engine could be found.
It was concluded that the accident was undoubtedly due to an error of judgement on the part of the pilot when the starboard engine apparently failed.
It was also stated that the accident was to be the subject of a full investigation but unfortunately the findings of any such investigation have not been found.
The report also noted that the only surviving member of the crew i.e. the Observer [Pilot Officer A. Lloyd Parnall] was unable to report on the incident as he was at his navigating table at the time of the crash.
According to RAF reports No 551 the accident occurred at 11.40 hours at Catworth and the RCAF Casualty Notification Forms give the location of the crash as "Approximately 1 mile west [of] Catworth, Huntingdonshire - two and a half miles south of Molesworth Aerodrome."
(1) F/Sgt. Robert Wakefield Pearson
was born on 14 February 1922 at Toronto, Ontario, Canada the son of George Pearson a Printing Compositor, and Mabel Virginia Pearson nee Kiefer of 99 Spruce Hill Road Toronto. He was educated at Balmy Beach School, Toronto (1927-36) and Malvern Collegiate Institute, Toronto (1936-40). He played basketball and canoed extensively whilst playing baseball, rugby, tennis and hockey moderately.
When he enlisted at Toronto on 17 October 1940 he was 6' 1½" tall weighing 144 lbs with medium complexion, grey eyes and light brown hair. After initial training at Toronto he was posted to No. 10 Elementary Flying Training School at RCAF Mount Hops and No. 8 Service Flying Training School at RCAF Moncton he was awarded his Pilots Flying Badge and promoted to Sergeant on 27 July 1941.
On arrival in the UK he was posted to No 22 Operational Training Unit at RAF Wellesbourne Mountford, Warwickshire and to No. 419 Squadron at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk on 20 March 1942. He was promoted to Flight Sergeant on 20 February 1942
His brother, Sq/Ldr. George T Pearson was the Air Bomber of Halifax HR915 LQ-O of 405 Squadron, Captained by P/O. J.T. Maddock, that was shot down over Berlin on 31 August 1943. He and four other crew members became prisoners of war whilst the Wireless Operator and the Rear Gunner are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
(2) F/Sgt. Stefan Douglas Palmason was born 12 January 1919 at Winnipeg, Manitoba. Canada the son of Ireland born Icelandic parents Sveinn Palmason, a Carpenter and Mrs Groa Palmason nee Sveinnson of 654 Banning Street, Winnipeg Manitoba.
He was educated at Greenway and General Wolfe Schools (1926-34) and Daniel MacIntyre Collegiate Institute (1934-36) all at Winnipeg. After leaving school he was employed as a Clerk by the Canada West Grain Co later becoming a Grain Buyer for the company. He played hockey extensively as well as golf, baseball and rugby moderately.
When he enlisted at Winnipeg on 4 March 1941 he was 5' 7" tall weighing 145 lbs with a fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. After pilot training at No. 15 Elementary Flying Training School at RCAF Regina and No. 4 Service Flying Training School at RCAF Saskatoon both in Saskatchewan he was awarded his Pilots Badge and promoted to Sergeant on 10 October 1941.
On arrival in the UK he was posted to No. 23 Operational Training Unit at RAF Pershore, Worcestershire on 16 December 1941 and to No 419 Squadron at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk on 13 May 1942
He was promoted to Flight Sergeant on 10 April 1942.
In 1977 the memory of Stefan Douglas Palmason was honoured by the Province of Manitoba with the naming of Palmason Lake NE of Roblin, Manitoba.
(3) P/O. A.Lloyd Parnall is thought to be A. Lloyd Parnall born in Ontario Canada c1915 the son of Richard Parnall and Eva Jane Parnall nee Bennett. He had a brother Maxwell born 1914 and a sister Burn born 1919. In 1921 the family lived at Peterborough City, Peterborough West, Ontario. Prior to enlisting in the RCAF Lloyd worked in Insurance.
He trained at No. 1 Air Navigation School at RCAF Rivers, Manitoba in 1941 and afterwards served with No. 419 Squadron and later at No. 5 Operational Training Unit. He was promoted to Flying Officer in October 1942 and after returning to Canada served at No. 34 Operational Training Unit at RCAF Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick. He was ultimately promoted to Flight Lieutenant (date unknown).He was married to Norma G. Parnall.
A. Lloyd Parnall died in 2003 aged 88 and was buried at Little Lake Cemetery, Peterborough, Peterborough County, Ontario, Canada. (With thanks to David Archer of Operation Picture Me for his help with this biography)
(4) P/O. Richard Bryan "Barney" Cowell was born at Romford Essex on 28 January 1918 the son of Irish father Richard William Ledger Cowell and English mother Amy Mary Cowell nee Keeble and later of 1618 Pendrell street Vancouver BC. After emigrating to Canada in 1924 the family lived at 10248 95th Street, Edmonton, Alberta where Barney attended H. A. Gray Public School (1924-32) and Eastwood High School (1932-36) later studying book-keeping at MacDougal Commercial 1936-37.
After leaving school he was employed by the Department of Public works (Prov. Govt.) as a Bookkeeper from 1937 to 1939 and J.C Burger Lumber Co also as a Bookkeeper from 1939 until enlisting in the RCAF. He engaged in swimming, tennis and hockey all moderately.
When he enlisted on 12 October 1940 at Edmonton he was described as 5' 6" tall weighing 138 lbs with a fair complexion, blue eyes and fair hair. After training at Camp Borden and No. 2 Wireless School at RCAF Calgary, Alberta he was posted to No. 5 Bombing and Gunnery School at RCAF Dafoe, Saskatchewan where he graduated 1st in his class. He was awarded his Air Gunners Badge and promoted to Sergeant on 22 July 1941. The following day he married his fiancée Violet Lilian Blatchford and they later lived at 11542 123rd Street, Edmonton. Barely three weeks after getting married he embarked on 15 August 1941 for the UK. After arriving in the UK he was posted to No. 1 Signal School at RAF Cranwell, Lincolnshire on 29 September 1941 and on 16 December to No. 23 Operational Training Unit at RAF Pershore, Worcestershire. On 1 May 1942 he was commissioned as a Pilot Officer and joined No. 419 Squadron at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk on 13 May 1942.
Violet Cowell, married for less than a year was now a widow, fate having even denied her the chance to say a last goodbye to her husband. And as she waited for the last tangible contact with her husband, the return of his personal effects, she received the following letter from the Administrator of Estates in Ottawa:
(5) F/Sgt. Charles Franklin Williams was born on 3 March 1920 at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan the son of Charles Edward Williams a Stationery Fireman and Selina A Williams nee Spear of 916 8th Street, Saskatoon. He had two sisters Eileen and Constance Mae and a brother, Ronald.
He was educated at Albert School, Saskatoon (1926-34) and Saskatoon Technical School (1934-38). After leaving school until joining the RCAF he was employed as a Grocery Store Clerk at OK Economy Stores, Saskatoon. He skated extensively and played hockey, rugby and soft ball moderately.
When he enlisted at Saskatoon on 26 September 1940 he was 6' 11½" tall weighing 153 lbs and after training at No. 2 Wireless School at RCAF Winnipeg, Alberta and No 5 Bombing and Gunnery School at RCAF Dafoe, Saskatchewan he was awarded his Air Gunners Badge and promoted to Sergeant on 7 November 1941. After arriving in the UK he was posted to No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre on 19 December 1941, No. 7 Air Gunnery School at RAF Stormy Downs near Pyle, Bridgend, Wales on 3 April 1942, No. 22 Operational Training Unit at RAF Wellesbourne Mountford, Warwickshire on 16 April 1942, No. 1483 (Target Towing and Gunnery) Flight at RAF Newmarket, Suffolk on 9 May 1942 and to No. 419 Squadron at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk on 23 May 1942. He was promoted to Flight Sergeant on 7 May 1942.
The memory of Charles Franklin Williams was honoured by the Province of Saskatchewan with the naming of Williams Lake.
(6) Cpl. Kenneth Ernest Victor Denyer was born in 1923 at Midhurst, West Sussex the son of Ernest Denyer and Beatrice May Denyer nee Hayes later of Arum Bell, Frog Grove Lane, Wood Street village near Guildford Surrey.
He had two brothers Robin Bertram James Denyer (1921-1993) and Noel Christopher George Denyer (1926-2012). Kenneth won a scholarship to the County Technical College, Guildford and he joined the RAF immediately after leaving the college. His death occurred on the same day as his elder brother, Robin, also in the R.A.F. was married. Kenneth was formerly a choirboy and server at St. Alban's Church, where his funeral service was conducted on Saturday 11 July 1942 at 11 o’clock by the Rev. G. L. Bell.
The coffin, draped with the Union Jack, rested overnight in St. Alban's Church, guarded by N.C.O.'s of the Home Guard until the service which preceded the funeral procession to Worplesdon Churchyard.
The Rev. C. L. Bell (priest-in-charge), who conducted both the services in church and at the graveside, paid high tribute to Kenneth Denyer and to his faithful church service there before he left to serve his country. Miss A. Barnes, organist of St. Alban's Church, played funeral marches by Mendelssohn and Beethoven. The Wood Street branch of the British Legion was represented by a standard bearer and escort, and N.C.O.'s of the Home Guard acted as bearers. Apart from the family tributes, wreaths were sent by the village of Wood Street, Wood Street A.R.P., British Legion (women's section), British Legion (men), Rev. and Mrs. C. L. Bell, Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Goddard, and Wood Street School. (Courtesy Surrey Advertiser 18 July 1942)
Kenneth Ernest Victor Denyer is commemorated on the Wood Street Royal British Legion War Memorial.
Jane Morgan is the Great Niece of Kenneth Denyer and in addition to providing the above photograph of her Great Uncle kindly and proudly provided Aircrew Remembered with a copy of the following much treasured poem written by Kenneth's mother shortly after her son was killed.
The light of his young life went down and sinks behind the hill
The glory of a setting star; clear; suddenly and still.
Hold him O father in thine arms and let him be a messenger
Between our human hearts and thee.
To my darling Kenneth, Mothers best love.
(7) LAC. Allen William Patmore was born on 15 March 1914 at Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada the son of Garnet Wolseley Patmore a Plumber and Tinsmith and Ethel Elizabeth Patmore nee Graham of 222 Fenwick Avenue, Cranbrook. He was educated at Cranbrook Central School and Cranbrook High School leaving in 1934 when he commenced a Motor Mechanics Course at the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art. He completed the course in 1937 and was employed by CM&S Co of Canada at Trail BC as a Boilermakers Helper until 1939 and then as a Security Guard until enlisting in the RCAF. He engaged in skiing, skating swimming badminton and tennis all moderately
When enlisted at Calgary, Alberta on 31 January 1941 he was described as being 5' 8" 137 lbs with a fair complexion, hazel eyes and dark brown hair. After initial training at RCAF St. Thomas, Ontario and No. 4 Bombing and Gunnery School RCAF Fingal, Ontario he was promoted to Leading Aircraftsman on 1 January 1942 with a Trade Classification of Air Frame Mechanic (MR), Group B. After arriving in the UK on 21 January 1942 he was posted to No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre and ten days later to No. 419 Squadron at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk.
In 1964 the memory of Allen William Patmore was honoured by the Province of British Columbia with the naming of Mount Patmore, West side of Cliff Lake, East of Fort Steele, North East of Cranbrook, Kootenay Land District.
(8) Pte. 1st Class David J. Rudd was born on 2 February 1919 at Magoffin, Kentucky, USA the twin brother of Margaret Mae Rudd (died 2008) and son of Henry Clay Rudd, an Insurance Agent and Carrie Lee Rudd nee Mullins. He had five brothers Herbert (1910-1965), Hobert (1914-1985), John S (1915-1980), Paul (1922-1988) and one other, name unknown. In 1930 the family were living at Marion, Hardin, Ohio, later moving to Alger, Hardin, Ohio and in 1940 were living at Stockbridge, Ingham in Michigan. When David Rudd enlisted at Fort Custer, Michigan on 17 July 1941 his residence was recorded as Alaska and his occupation as "Decorators and Window Dressers". He became an Air Corps Gunner serving with 504 AAF Bomb Squadron and 340th Bomber Squadron, 97th Bomber Group, Heavy. At the time of his death he was seconded to No. 419 Squadron, RCAF.
(9) Pte. 1st Class Fred L. Baral was born in 1920 probably in Philadelphia USA the son of Louis F. Baral and Katherine Baral of 2525 W Firth Street, Philadelphia. He had four siblings and in peacetime he was an Electrician.
He enlisted at Philadelphia on 15 September 1941 and later served with the 340th Bomber Squadron, 97th Bomber Group, Heavy. The 97th Bomb Group was based out of Polebrook, England from 13 Jun to 9 Nov 1942. Polebrook is 78 miles north of London. At the time of his death he was seconded to No. 419 Squadron, RCAF.
(10) Pte. 1st Class Carl Conrad Nelson was born on 8 October 1919 at Kingsburg, Fresno County, California, USA the son of Nels Nelson and Hanna Alfreda Peterson. Together with his three brothers, Frank, Bill and Harold sister, Alice he worked on the family farm.
When he enlisted at Presidio of Monterey, California on 7 August 1941 his occupation was recorded as "Attendants". He served as an Engineer on B17 bombers, was wounded and shot down twice. He was awarded two Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
He died on 28 April 2007 at Seaside, Monterey aged 87 and was buried at Mission Memorial Park, Seaside, Monterey County, California on 5 May 2007.
BURIAL DETAILS OF THOSE WHO DIED IN THE ACCIDENT
(1) F/Sgt. Robert Wakefield Pearson
was buried on 10 July 1942 at St. John's Churchyard, Beck Row, Suffolk - Grave reference Row B. Grave 4.
His epitaph reads:
He gave only love
(2) F/Sgt. Stefan Douglas Palmason buried on 10 July 1942 at St. John's Churchyard, Beck Row, Suffolk - Grave reference Row B. Grave 5.
His epitaph reads:
Live, blest in triumph
Of the truth
Which your spirit pure
(4) P/O. Richard Bryan Barney Cowell was buried on 10 July 1942 at St. John's Churchyard, Beck Row, Suffolk - Grave reference Row B. Grave 3.
His epitaph reads:
"Duty nobly done"
With love and admiration
(5) F/Sgt. Charles Franklin Williams was buried on 10 July 1942 at St. John's Churchyard, Beck Row, Suffolk - Grave reference Row B. Grave 6.
His epitaph reads:
Rest in peace
(6) Cpl. Kenneth Ernest Victor Denyer was buried at St Mary's Churchyard, Worplesdon near Guildford, Surrey. Grave reference: Near east boundary
His epitaph reads:
The light of
His young life went down
Like the glory
Of a setting star. R.I.P.
(7) LAC. Allen William Patmore was buried on 10 July 1942 at St. John's Churchyard, Beck Row, Suffolk - Grave reference Row B. Grave 7.
His epitaph reads:
He is just away
(8) Pte. 1st Class David J. Rudd was original buried in the UK. In 1949 his body was returned to the United States of America for reburial. Re-burial rites were conducted by the Rev. Wesley Clark, Methodist pastor at 2 p.m. on Sunday 16 January in the Hanson funeral home in Alger. Reburial was at Preston Cemetery, Alger, Hardin County, Ohio, USA. Grave reference: Section 2A, row 21
(9) Pte. 1st Class Fred L. Baral was buried at the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, Coton near Cambridge - Grave Reference Plot C. Row 5. Grave 10
Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for all the relatives and friends of the members of the crew - January 2017
With thanks to our Colin Bamford for details from the Canadian Commemorative Geographical Naming Project and to the sources quoted below.