Pilot Officer ROBERT 'Bob' GEORGE PEARCEY (photo added)

Serviceman Headstone image Serviceman thumbnail gravemarker Serviceman thumbnail
Rank Pilot Officer
Forenames ROBERT 'Bob' GEORGE
Surname PEARCEY (photo added)
Initials R G
Place of Birth Unknown
Date of Birth Unknown
Date of Death Monday, 16 August 1943
Age 23
Nationality British
Residence or Entered Service From BRENTWOOD, ESSEX, UNITED KINGDOM
Service Number 155212
Force Royal Air Force
Service/Corps/Regiment Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Unit / Ship / Battalion / Squadron 207 (Royal Air Force) Squadron
Military Honours and Awards
Place of Burial/Commemoration HOULGATE (BEUZEVAL) COMMUNAL CEMETERY
Roll of honour
Grave/Memorial Location Plot 10. Grave 5.
Previous Place(s) of Burial Unknown
Epitaph
Family Details SON OF GEORGE EDWIN AND DOROTHY GRACE PEARCEY; HUSBAND OF EDNA BEATRICE PEARCEY, OF WARLEY, BRENTWOOD, ESSEX.

Additional Information

23 year old Pilot Officer ROBERT 'Bob' GEORGE PEARCEY was 1 of 7 crew onboard Avro Lancaster Mk I, ED498, EM-O, with 207 Squadron, Royal Air Force taking off at 21.32 hrs1 from RAF Langar, Nottinghamshire, England, United Kingdom.2

 

Their mission was a bombing raid on Milan, Italy on the night of 15th/16th August 1943. On their return journey their Lancaster was hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed at Beuzeval, Calvados, Normandy, France. Just over 0.5 miles (1 kilometre) East of Houlgate some 15.5 miles (25 Kilometres) North-East of Caen.

 

Only 1 man survived the crash, Flying Officer George Blakeman.3

 

This aircraft was 1 of 199 Lancaster Bombers that were on a mission to bomb war production factories in Milan, Italy. 7 were lost, most to German night fighter aircraft which were waiting for the bombers' return over France.4

 

The 6 men, of the 7 man crew, of Lancaster Mk I, ED498, EM-O, who were killed, were:

 

Sergeant HARRY CLEMENT R/172270

 

 

Sergeant JOHN CHARLES CUNNINGHAM 121245

 

 

Sergeant JACK KIRKMAN 1035586

 

 

Pilot Officer ROBERT 'Bob' GEORGE PEARCEY 155212

Pilot Officer ROBERT 'Bob' GEORGE PEARCEY.

 

 

Sergeant JAMES STANLEY WHITE 1397951

 

 

Sergeant ROBERT WILLIAM WILCOCKSON 1586239

 

 

The 1 crewman who survived was the Navigator Flying officer George Blakeman. After recovering from his wounds, he was taken prisoner and became Prisoner of War No. 2257, in Stalag Luft III.

 

 

Flying Officer George Blakeman.

 

 

Flying Officer George Blakeman went on to become Wing Commander George Blakeman, Order of the British Empire (OBE). 

 

The following is an account of what happened, onboard Lancaster Mk1, ED498, EM-D, taken from a conversation with George Blakeman:


'On their way they passed directly over Cabourg on the Normandy coast north of Caen. After 15 minutes on track for their next turning point - the southern tip of Lac Annecy - they were hit by a nightfighter which inexplicably did not continue its attack. Nevertheless the port inner engine overheated and had to be shut down. They decided it would be safer to continue to Milan than to return on their own to Langar. On their homeward journey, over Cabourg again and almost over the Channel, Flying Officer George Blakeman saw a bright flash down in the bay. The next he knew the aircraft was on fire and in a vertical dive.


With just one buckle of his parachute connected, like the rest of the crew he was pinned by gravity, unable to move. Through a window he watched as the rivets in the wing root changed colour as they melted... He regained consciousness two days later, tended in a French farmhouse, guarded by German soldiers. The other six members of his crew lie together in a cemetery in HOULGATE (BEUZEVAL) COMMUNAL CEMETERY, Calvados, France.
'8

 

Today there is a Memorial at Langar Airfield commemorating 207 Squadron, Royal Air Foce, that was stationed there during the Second World War. There is also a website memorial page for Langar Airfield 207 Squadron RAF Memorial.9

 

 

The 6 graves to the right are crew from Avro Lancaster M1, Serial Number ED498.10

 

 

Pages from family photograph albums of Pilot Officer ROBERT 'Bob' GEORGE PEARCEY.

 

 

References
1. Research Carl Shilleto, sources: Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War Vol:5 Aircraft and Crew Losses 1943, p.269, by W R Chorley, Midland Publishing. Published 1996. NB: 207 Squadron, Royal Air Force, History webpage  confirms this information, but states aircraft squadron number EM-D instead of EM-O.
2. An Operational Reference Book 1939-1945. pp.755. Midland Publishing. Published 1996. & Bomber Command No.207 Squadron, Royal Air Force webpage.
3. Research Carl Shilleto, sources: Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War Vol:5 Aircraft and Crew Losses 1943, p.269, by W R Chorley, Midland Publishing. Published 1996.
4. Research Carl Shilleto, sources: from Middlebrook, Martin and Chris Everitt. The Bomber Command War Diaries; An Operational Reference Book 1939-1945. pp.422. Midland Publishing. Published 1996.
5. Photographs, unless otherwise credited, kindly provided by Ron Pluck nephew of Pilot Officer ROBERT 'Bob' GEORGE PEARCEY.
6. Photograph kindly provided by Susan Evershed-Lewis, cousin of Sergeant JOHN CHARLES CUNNINGHAM.
7. Photograph kindly provided by Liz Bellamy, granddaughter of Sergeant ROBERT WILLIAM WILCOCKSON.
8. Information from Ron Pluck, nephew of Pilot Officer ROBERT 'Bob' GEORGE PEARCEY from 207 Squadron History Page on Langar Model Aircraft Club website
9. Langar Airfield 207 Squadron RAF Memorial.
10. Photograph kindly provided by Susan Evershed-Lewis, cousin of Sergeant JOHN CHARLES CUNNINGHAM.

 

Acknowledgements and Credits
Source of original data: Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Headstone photograph: Carl Shilleto
Cross marker photograph: Susan Evershed-Lewis, cousin of Sergeant JOHN CHARLES CUNNINGHAM.
Individual photograph: Ron Pluck, nephew of Pilot Officer ROBERT 'Bob' GEORGE PEARCEY.
Additional photographs provided by: Ron Pluck, nephew of Pilot Officer ROBERT 'Bob' GEORGE PEARCEY.
Additional information provided by: Carl Shilleto, Ron Pluck, nephew of Pilot Officer ROBERT 'Bob' GEORGE PEARCEY, Susan Evershed-Lewis, cousin of Sergeant JOHN CHARLES CUNNINGHAM & Liz Bellamy, granddaughter of Sergeant ROBERT WILLIAM WILCOCKSON.

 

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