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William James Pearson

Portrait, WW2, William James Pearson - This image may be subject to copyright

Portrait, WW2, William James Pearson - This image may be subject to copyright

Identity

  • Title
  • Forenames
    William James AWMM
  • Surname
    Pearson AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    Bill AWMM
  • Service number
    71497 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi / Hapū / Waka / Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    Unknown AWMM 22 Dryden Street, Grey Lynn, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Mrs C. Pearson (mother), 22 Dryden Street, Grey Lynn, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Pre 1942 AWMM Single AWMM

Service

Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
    Pacific Theatre of War AWMM
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    71497 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    WW2 Unknown AWMM Letterpress machinist/Civilian AWMM
    AWMM
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment

Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    Killed in Action, Cause of Death AWMM

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • William Pearson was the son of Samuel George Pearson and of Catherine Pearson (nee Johnstone), of Grey Lynn, Auckland

    He was an armourer sergeant with the 29 Battalion, killed by mortar fire on the beach at Falamai on Mono Island on 27 October 1943. His tent mate and best friend Ted Stephenson was killed the same day, 40 New Zealanders died in the battle for the Treasury Islands.

    Sergeant R Freeland, a friend, wrote to William's mother : 'In a beautiful wee spot overlooking a quiet bay in the Pacific he rests, waiting the day when His Lord will come for him'. written 14 November 1943. The letter is exhibited in the 'War in the Pacific' exhibition of Scars on the Heart in the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

    The battles for Guadalcanal in 1942 between the American and Japanese navies was the start of the most ferocious campaign in history.The Americans entered this campaign with inaccurate maps and some, including Major-General Alexander Vanegrift who was in command, not knowing where the Solomon Islands were.However they acquired skills which were to prove essential to later victories in the Pacific. It was a difficult campaign due to multiple factors such as the isolation, heat, dense jungle, lack of basic infra-structure and the great distances between base and supplies, and the front line. Though largely a US naval and military struggle, New Zealand's contribution was important.New Zealand was involved in the battle as it was imperative that the Japanese advance on the Pacific be stopped or they would have reached New Zealand.New Zealand's main contribution was in the form of the 3 NZ Division.The Forward Maintenance Centre (advanced base) was joined by the 14 Brigade on 27 August 1943, Divisional troops and units on 2 September and the 8 Brigade on 14 September 1943.New Zealand troops were involved in a number of battles was they moved up the Solomon's gaining control of islands as they went.The 14 Brigade and HQ 3 Division landed on Vella Lavella on 18 September 1943,and on Green (Nissan) Island on 15 February 1944, and the 8 Brigade landed on Mono Island on 27 October 1943. The capture of Mono Island would provide a radar site to cover the Bougainville landings and its harbour was ideal as a staging area for ships during the invasion. At no time did all of New Zealand 3 Division fight together due to the cross over of the battles. Other New Zealand troops were also involved, such as the NZ Engineers in road and airstrip construction (on the very underdeveloped islands, especially Guadalcanal), as well as support from the signals and medical corps and transport and air support.

    37mm ‘Japanese’ Mountain Gun (W1031.4). Captured on the day of the landing by members of the 36th Battalion under the command of Lieutenant. Les Booth, 29.10.1943 is on display in Scars on the Heart gallery, Auckland War Memorial Museum AWMM
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Death

About death

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  • Death
    27 October 1943 AWMM
    Age 24 AWMM
    Mono IslandTreasury Islands AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Bourail New Zealand War Cemetery, New Caledonia AWMM 6.23 AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference

Memorials

Memorial

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  • Memorial name
    • Auckland War Memorial Museum, World War 2 Hall of Memories AWMM
    • Roll of Honour, Dilworth School, 2 Erin Street, Epsom, Auckland AWMM

Roll of Honour

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Sources

Sources

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  • External links
    Commonwealth War Graves Commission record
    https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/2385071
    Sources Used
  • References
    • Auckland Museum. Roll of Honour, Auckland Province, 1939 - 1945. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS 93/139. AWMM
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1942). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 7 (Embarkations from 1st January, 1942 to 31st March, 1942). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      WW2 7: WW2 111 AWMM
    • Pearson, William James. Documents relating to service in World War II. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS 93/147. AWMM
      Includes photographs of Pearson's service in World War II. AWMM

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