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Jesse Pearse

Portrait, photograph corner embossed by the studio Steele, Auckland - This image may be subject to copyright

Portrait, photograph corner embossed by the studio Steele, Auckland - This image may be subject to c …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Jesse AWMM
  • Surname
    Pearse AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    Shorty AWMM
  • Service number
    • NZ40427 AWMM
    • WWII 40427 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi / Hapū / Waka / Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    22 April 1919 AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    • Mrs G. Pearse (mother), RD, Whakatane, New Zealand AWMM
    • WW2 Mother: Mrs. I. M. Pearse, Whakatane R. D. , Bay of Plenty AWMM
    • WW2 Parents: Mr. & Mrs. G. Pearse of Whakatane AWMM
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
    Pilot/Military RNZAF Biographies (R17845614)
  • Enlistment
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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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
    Killed on air operations when the aircraft engine failed AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Son of George and Isabella Pearse of Whakatane. Brother of John, Dick and Sam

    Attended Hamilton High School 1934 -1935

    He had been selected to represent the Squadron as half-back in a rugby match that was scheduled in London, November 1942

    He wrote from Scotland, 22 December 1941 "Dear Mum and Dad. I am getting the boys to forward this letter in the event of my becoming deceased owing to enemy action or such circumstances, and sincerely hope you may never open it.

    My life has been very short but very sweet, never knowing sickness, poverty or unhappiness and this is entirely up or due to your efforts and cannot possibl[y] write my feelings towards you both. All I say is please do not grieve as life is so short for all of us & sorrow should not enter into it, altho' in many parts of the world, especially now, peoples are suffering from this malady.

    You in NZ, are indeed extremely fortunate to have such fine conditions and one does not realize until seeing other parts. I thank you for giving me this knowledge."

    My savings I leave in your custody for 'young Johnnie's' education, it is a small amount but will give him 3 years secondary & hence "matric". That is a sound base, even if he prefers the land it is essential that he obtains this standard. I can't stress this too much and only wish he could carry on further for a profession."

    His letter continues, writing "While in Canada I met a very nice girl, ..., and unashamedly I can say [I] love her very much. We did not talk of these things as I thought under the conditions of war time it is hardly fair to both parties, especially when one is a Pilot. However it was my intention to bring her home, and [I] hope that someday Pauline will stay with you awhile. The address is 233 Scotia St, Winnipeg, Canada. I am sure she would appreciate an invitation.

    Flying has been a wonderful experience & all through it has been one happy holiday so you can be assured I have gone down with a smile.

    My religious life has not been a full one but [I] was always aware at all times of distinguishing between right and wrong and that again reflects on your teachings. Yes Dad & Mum, you have done your duty well and [I] only wish I could have had children to love and teach God will forgive and you will find comfort there. It is wonderful to know I have fine brothers in John, Dick & Sam and hope you are always near them.

    I have never forgotten our farewell scene, so with so much love I say simply thank you. God bless you. Jesse."

    Almost all those attending his funeral were New Zealanders from his own Squadron and a New Zealand flag draped his coffin.

    His roomate Frank Murphy (NZ411928) wrote to his family and also sent photographs.

    Known to the Squadron as Shorty

    Attended Hamilton High School (Source: RNZAF Biographies (R17845614)) AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    25 October 1942 AWMM
    Age 23 AWMM
    WillesboroughKent AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Maidstone Cemetery, Kent, England AWMM Plot CC 1. Grave 137 AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name
    • St George's Royal Air Force Chapel of Remembrance, Biggin Hill, Bromley, England AWMM
    • Auckland War Memorial Museum, World War 2 Hall of Memories AWMM

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  • External links
  • References
    • Information kindly provided by family AWMM
    • Please note that the 12 volumes of the "RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Biographies of Deceased Personnel 1939-1945" held at Archives NZ (formerly known as AIR118) should be used in conjunction with Errol Martyn's "For Your Tomorrow". FYT reflects detailed examination of all of the AIR118 bios which contain many inaccuracies and omissions. AWMM
    • Sortehaug, P. (1998). The wild winds : the history of number 486 RNZAF Fighter Squadron with the RAF5. Dunedin, N.Z.: Author. AWMM
    • The Evening Post AWMM
    • Martyn, E. (1998-2008). For Your Tomorrow (Vols. 1-3). Christchurch, N.Z.: Volplane Press. AWMM
    • Sortehaug, P. (1998). The wild winds : the history of number 486 RNZAF Fighter Squadron with the RAF5. Dunedin, N.Z.: Author. AWMM
      Sortehaug, P. (1998). p. 40 AWMM
    • This record is a work in progress and was partially compiled from the “Database of New Zealand Airmen who took part in Advanced Air Training in Canada during WW2”. Researched by Ivan and Lorna Lindsey of Tauranga. N.Z. 2003 – 2012. Reproduced with permission. AWMM
    • RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Biographies of Deceased Personnel 1939 - 1945 (Bound Volumes) - Na - Py. Archives New Zealand (R17845614) - Former archives reference: AIR118 AWMM
    • List of RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Personnel - List of Personnel Killed or Missing in Various Theatres, 1940 - 1945. [List of Killed - Officers (Canada, Pacific, Europe) - Airmen (Canada, India and Far East)]. Archives New Zealand (R17845748) AWMM


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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
27 August 2017JeniferWairarapaResearcher
11 July 2015SarndraAuckland, New ZealandResearcher

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