Alan Louden PEARSALL


PEARSALL, Alan Louden

Service Number: 408266
Enlisted: 17 July 1941
Last Rank: Flying Officer
Last Unit: No. 16 Squadron (RAF)
Born: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 21 May 1915
Home Town: Sandy Bay, Hobart, Tasmania
Schooling: Hobart High School, Tasmania
Occupation: Country Traveller & Fruit Grower
Died: Flying Battle, English Channel, 8 March 1944, aged 28 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Albert Park South Melbourne & Sydney Swans Football Club Honour Roll, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Runnymede Air Forces Memorial
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World War 2 Service

17 Jul 1941: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, SN 408266, Hobart
17 Jul 1941: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, SN 408266
8 Mar 1944: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, SN 408266, No. 16 Squadron (RAF)

Further Information about Alans service in the RAAF and RAF

Alan Pearsall enlisted in the RAAF in 1941 as Air Crew and trained as a pilot. He was transferred to the RAF and took part in the Battle of Britain as a fighter pilot. On the 8th March 1944 he was returning from a photographic sortie north-east of Calais, France when he radioed to say that his engine on his Hurricane had failed.

On instruction he bailed out over the English Channel at around 2000 feet. Aircraft were immediately despatched to search, but no accurate fix was obtained on Pearsall’s position. Air Sea Rescue was delayed due to gale force winds, and although a search continued for two days no trace of Pearsall or his plane was ever found.
On 8 March 1944 Flying Officer Pearsall flying a Spitfire PA863 was briefed to carry out a photo reconnaissance sortie north-east of Calais. Just after he had completed his task, he called up on Button C stating the engine had stopped. Approximately 4 minutes after his first intimation of engine trouble, and on instructions from Bradwell Bay he baled out over the sea at 2,000 feet. From the first transmission to time of bale out he was in constant touch by radio with Bradwell Bay and Manston. The No. 11 Group Controller immediately despatched search aircraft. Owing to the fact that the pilot did not go over to Button D (Biggin Hill), no accurate fix was made. Bradwell Bay and Manston both obtained bearings, but owing to their respective positions relative to the aircraft, obtained a very inaccurate bearing only. Air Sea Water Rescue craft did not go out. There were gale conditions in the Channel and no sight of the pilot or dinghy had been obtained from search aircraft. The search continued for two days with no result. With no trace of the missing pilot being found following post war enquiries and investigations it was recorded in 1948 that Flying Officer Pearsall had lost his life at sea and had no known grave.

The son of Benjamin and Olive Pearsall, Alan Pearsall was born on 21 May 1915 in Hobart, Tasmania. Before enlisting in the Royal Australian Air Force Pearsall worked variously as a farmer, as a clerk, and as a salesman for a Hobart firm. A talented sportsman, Pearsall played first-class cricket for Tasmania. An all-rounder, in his final match before leaving for service with the RAAF he led Kingborough to the premiership, scoring a century in the final. The Mercury stated that Pearsall was "able to adapt himself to any sort of game, & on many occasions he turned what looked like certain defeat into victory".

Also a champion footballer, Pearsall played full back for his local team, Leroy, and represented his state in football. While in Victoria undertaking his air force training, he played two games for the South Melbourne Football Club in the Victorian Football League.

On 15 March 1941 Alan Pearsall married Dorothy, and in July he enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force to begin training as a pilot. The following January Dorothy gave birth to their daughter, Kaye. At this time Alan's brother Tom, a lieutenant with the 2/29th Battalion AIF, was fighting in Malaya and Singapore. Tom was one of the 22,000 Australians who became a prisoner of the Japanese in 1942. He survived the war, returning home to Tasmania in 1945.

In August 1942 Alan Pearsall embarked for overseas service. As part of the Empire Air Training Scheme he was one of almost 16,000 RAAF pilots, navigators, wireless operators, gunners, and engineers who joined Royal Air Force squadrons throughout the war.

Once in Britain, Pearsall represented Australia in the RAAF cricket team during the 1943 season, with a high score of 97 and a top bowling performance of seven for 13, including a hat trick.

In July 1943, Pearsall was posted to No. 16 Squadron, Royal Air Force, a high-altitude photo-reconnaissance squadron that flew Spitfires and P-51 Mustangs. On 8 March 1944 Pearsall was flying on a sortie to photograph areas north-east of Calais, France. On his return, over the English Channel, he radioed that he was experiencing engine trouble. With his engine stopped, he was instructed to bail out. Rescue aircraft were sent out to find him but with strong gales and rough seas there was no sighting of the pilot or his dingy. After days of searching Pearsall was listed as missing. He was 28 years old.

Pearsall's body was never recovered, and his name is commemorated upon the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede. His name , on the Roll of Honour along with around 40,000 Australians who died in the Second World War. There is no photograph in the Memorial's collection to display beside the Pool of Reflection.
No known grave – Runnymede memorial & Aust war memorial
Pilot of aircraft operating from the UK

He played with the Lefroy football club full back and several combined league teams a leading tassie cricketer and Captain of Kingborough 1st grade team

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Biography contributed by Elizabeth Allen

Alan Louden PEARSALL was born in Hobart, Tasmania on 21st May, 1915

His parents were Benjamin James PEARSALL & Olive Mabel MARSDEN

He married Dorothy Eva BUMFORD in St Stephens Anglican Church in Sandy Bay, Tasmania on 15th March, 1941 - one daughter Kaye Margaret

He enlisted with the RAAF as Air Crew on 17th July, 1941 in Hobart - later ranks were Pilot Officer & Flying Officer

He died on 8th March, 1944 in a Flying Battle during Air Operations over the English Channel off Calais in German occupied France - his plane came down in the English Channel and his body was never recovered (see attached story for more details of his service)

At the time he was serving with the 16 Squadron of the RAF (Station Northcolt in Middlesex)

His name is memorialised on the Australian War Memorial and the Runnymede Memorial


Two of his brothers also served during WW2

1. Benjamin James Roy PEARSALL (SN T26633) served with the 40th Infantry Battalion - discharge date unknown

2. Thomas Gordon PEARSALL (SN TX6060) & (SN T11414) - Army- discharged in 1945 (POW)