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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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FAA Crest
27th January 1945 747 Squadron Barracuda II LS954 Sub/Lt. (A) Pearce

Operation: Training

Date: 27th January 1945 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 747 Squadron. Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm

Type: Barracuda II

Serial: LS954

Code: -

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


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.

Burial details:

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:

KTY 30-03-2021

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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