27th January 1945 747 Squadron Barracuda II LS954 Sub/Lt. (A) Pearce
Date: 27th January 1945 (Saturday)
Unit: No. 747 Squadron. Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm
Type: Barracuda II
Base: Ronaldsway, Isle of Man. HMS Urley
Location: Irish Sea - see map
Pilot: Sub/Lt. (A) Arthur Leslie Pearce RNZNVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed
Nav: Sub/Lt. (A) Herbert William Wakely RNVR Age 19. Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. (A) Terence Neville Woodhead FAA/FX. 95670 RN Age 21. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking part on a Homing exercise when LS954 was seen turning sharply at 1500 ft. at 10:55 hrs. Seconds later seen to dive steeply into the sea 5 miles off Ronaldsway.
Another Barracuda who witnessed the crash circled the area but saw only debris, oil and an inflated 'M' dingy on the surface.
Sub/Lt. (A) Arthur Leslie Pearce. New Zealand Naval Memorial, Devonport, Auckland. Panel 9. Born on the 06 February 1923 at Christchurch. Worked as a postman for Postal and Telecommunications in Christchurch. Enlisted at Rongotai on the 27th April 1942. Transferred to the RN/FAA on the 16th March 1943 as aircrew under training. Trained in Canada. Joined 747 squadron on the 16th December 1944. Son of William Percival and Daisy Elizabeth Pearce (née Watkins), of Avonside, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand.
Sub/Lt. (A) Herbert William Wakely. Lee-On-Solent Memorial. Bay 6, Panel 6. Son of William Henry and Amy Doris Wakely, of Bristol, England.
P/O. (A) Terence Neville Woodhead. Lee-On-Solent Memorial. Bay 6, Panel 1. Son of Wilson and Alice Woodhead, of Heaton Chapel, Stockport, England.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, AWMM, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below: