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LT  Robert C. PEARSON

UNIT: 351st BOMB Sqdn POSITION: P

Lt Robert C. Pearson started his flying career in the RCAF and transferred to the USAAF.  Served with Capt Dick Carey in RCAF and both ended up at 100th BG. 

SERIAL #: O-1699547 STATUS: POW
MACR: 00272 CR: 00272

Comments1: 4 JUL 43 LaPALLICE (EAC - CL) (former RCAF Pilot)

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW
 
      A/C #42-30051  "Nevada Wildcat"
MACR   #272,    Micro-fiche 90

1st Lt Robert C.Pearson                     P   POW  4 July 1943     La Pallice,France   
2nd Lt Melville G.Boyd,Jr                    CP  POW  4 July 1943    La Pallice,France  
1st Lt Bruce T.Rinker                    NAV  POW  4 July 1943      La Pallice,France   
2nd Lt John L.Dunbar                   BOM  EVADEE 4 July 1943   La Pallice,France  
 T/Sgt Jack M.Goss                       TTE  POW  4 July 1943      La Pallice,France  
 T/Sgt Randall G.Yilla                    ROG   POW  4 July 1943      La Pallice,France  
   Sgt Everett J.Moore                   BTG  POW  4 July 1943      La Pallice,France  
 S/Sgt Lonnie B.Rutledge               RWG   POW  4 July 1943    La Pallice,France  
 S/Sgt John T. Westwood              LWG   POW  4 July 1943   La Pallice,France  
 S/Sgt Albert N.Purcell                      TG   POW  4 July 1943   La Pallice,France  

 351st Sqdn. Original Crew #20.  This was the fourth Crew lost by the Group

 Lt Charlie Wilson, Lt Robert Pearson and Capt. Richard Carey, were ex RCAF Americans. 
Capt. Mark Carnell was another ex RCAF member.  His RCAF service number was C 6873. 
He was a staff pilot at #4 Wireless School. He transferred to the USAAF May 1942.
 
V.E.Fienup,E.V.Mulholland and T.E.Murphy reported last sighting of A/C.
One of these gave following report: "#1 (Pearson) of 2nd Element approximately a mile from
target and slightly behind other formation. Formation turned slightly to left. Pearson turned
slightly to, the right and down. No 2 & 3 A/C of this Element followed throttled back and over
ran Pearson. Pearson motioned for 2 & 3 A/C to go ahead. This left #2 & #3 in rear of
formation These A/C proceeded to catch up. All during this time Pearson had bomb bays open.
Pearson descended turning and heading west over water. All engines were turning. No props
feathered or engine smoking. He descended very rapidly. Fienup saw 051 release bombs short of
target,do a 180  turn and lose altitude. Reason unknown."


Melville Boyd,Jr. later stated that all crew members bailed cut safely and landed on IL D
Oleron. He last saw all crew members safe in U.S.

In May 1979 Al Purcell returned a Crew roster of Crew #20 noting that all members except
Dunbar were POWs. Dunbar an evadee. Enlisted men in Stalag 17-B.

Al Purcell letter dated 9 Feb.1980   . . . ."As we started our bomb run both inboard engines
went out at the same time,which accounted for our loss of altitude so fast. Jack Goss(our
engineer) told me later that the 2 engines lost power at the same time for no apparent
reason,as if sugar or something had been put into the fuel. We dropped our bombs over the
water and as I understood we were trying to make it to Spain. At this point ME 109s attacked
us from the rear and knocked out another engine -- with, only one left we were ordered to bail
lut. We did shoot down 2 MEs. After the tail gunner I was the 3 or 4 man out. As I floated
down I watched the plane crash and burn on the small island. Pearson landed in the water,Boyd
broke an arm landing,Dunbar was lucky,the French hid him and he escaped capture. I had just
enough time to roll up my chute before being picked up. The rest of the crew were picked up
along with me. As for the engine failure -- Jack Goss gave me details at the time -- and said
Pearson was questioned by the Germans as to why he was leading 2nd element instead of A
flight. This made us think there was sabotage of some kind since the Group commander or some
high ranking officer was to fly with us but changed his mind the night before the mission.


Subj: Requested Pictures 
Date: 7/29/2001 11:41:51 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From: theboyds@megalink.net (Mike Boyd)To: MPFaley@aol.com (Mike P Faley)

Hello Mike,
Good to hear from you again and thanks for the update. I have found some great pictures and documents. John Westwood sent me a picture of the entirecrew together, along with others. I have attached 3 pictures:
1. Crew 20A - Left to Right:  Standing M. Guy Boyd, Robert Pearson, Bruce Rinker, Lonnie Rutledge, Everett Moore ?? John DunbarFront rowJack "Goose" GossRandall VillaJohn Westwood Albert Purcell ??

2. Crew20B - Left to right Jack "Goose" Goss, Lonnie Rutledge, Randall Villa - seatedJohn Westwood, Mr. Brown - (left crew -flight school)

3. My fathers picture from flight school

I have so many documents scanned and collected that a story is forming.Original Stalag records, debriefings, diaries, and censored letters, etc.One addition to the sabotage information is that Crew #20 missed the first 5 missions because they were in a place called "Wash" for advanced training.It appears this was due to a special officer and his staff planning to flywith them on July 4th for a secret mission. He backed out the night before.I tried to send other documents to Cindy Goodman, but I don't know what made it. The attachments are huge files as you can see. I had to scan them at a high resolution for clarity and preservation. Talk to her and see if any ofthat helps you.Keep in touch and let me know if I can provide any other information. I maynot have my files complete for some time, but I will again offer a CD of what I have to date.Thanks Again,Mike

One addition to the sabotage information is that Crew #20 missed the first 5 missions because they were in a place called "Wash" for advanced training.  It appears this was due to a special officer and his staff planning to fly with them on July 4th for a secret mission. He backed out the night before.

Subj: Nevada Wildcat 
Date: 7/29/2001 11:55:28 AM Pacific Daylight Time 
From: theboyds@megalink.net (Mike Boyd)To: MPFaley@aol.com (Mike P Faley)  
Mike,One other item I forgot to mention. Because the crew was in advanced training they never got to do the nose art. They were going to name the plane Nevada Wildcat after the pilot Bob Pearson. 

Also I wanted to give you Jack "Goose" Goss's information: 1815 Oxford Square, Bel Air, MD 21015 Phone - 410-838-6415 And John Westwood:RFD BOS 212Allport, PA 16821 Phone - 814-345-6126.  Goose went on to fly missions in Korea, and then worked for the SAC, and was flight engineer for Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson. He retired in 1968.

Mike Boyd.

Dear Nicole (Nicole Piner, daughter of Bob Pearson),
Thank you so much for your kind message and the terrific pictures of young Bob.My story about the war and my time with your Dad and all the other wonderful men of the 100th Bomb Group is in my book, Luck of the Draw, that was published last year by FNP Military Division, Trumbull, CT. If you would like a copy please let me know and I will arrange to get one to you.I remember the day your Dad was shot down very well because my crew flew the same mission and I recall one of our gunners calling out that your father's airplane was falling out of our formation. We later learned that he lost two engines.Your father had been a POW about three months when I arrived in Stalag Luft III. By happenstance I was assigned to a room in the barracks building just across the hall from him and could not have been happier to see someone I knew from the 100th BG. Your father had a marvelous philosophical view of our situation and was particularly helpful to me in my efforts to cope during my difficult first days trying to adjust to being a prisoner of war--and thereafter as a matter of fact. He was always calm, sensible, and practical. It is such a pleasure to hear from you. Regrettably, I will not be in Palm Springs but hope that we can meet another time as I have the fondest memories of your wonderful father.Regards and best wishes,Frank Murphy 

Subj: Re: RCAF in USAAF  
Date: 6/10/2002 5:35:53 PM Pacific Daylight Time 
From: wpf13@hotmail.com 
To: MPFaley@aol.com, Nicole.Piner@sdsheriff.org 
Sent from the Internet (Details) 
 
Mike,
Since hearing from Bob Pearson's daughter, Nicole Piner, I checked my RCAF 
records for any Robert C. Pearson information. I located a Robert C. Pearson 
of Los Angeles receiving his RCAF pilot's wings in 1941 at Uplands, an RCAF 
pilot training base which was located outside of Ottawa, Canada (the WWII 
hangars are still there)

I'll try and locate more information on my next trip to Ottawa.

Wally

 I'm researching U.S. citizens who enlisted in the RCAF prior to Pearl Harbor.
As your website lists, Lt Charlie Wilson, Lt Robert Pearson and Capt. Richard Carey, were ex RCAF Americans. Capt. Mark Carnell was another ex RCAF member.  His RCAF service number was C 6873. He was a staff pilot at #4 Wireless School. He transferred to the USAAF May 1942. Two others also served/trained with RCAF  MAGEE CHARLES FULLER, SERVICE NUMBER;  R66199 Enlisted Niagara Falls 8-9-40 and  Michael Gramenko completed EFTS training  (basic flight training) before transferring to the US Forces.  Found another Lt Reginald Smith He graduated from No. 5 Service Flying Training School Brantford, Ontario.…Wally


**** NOTE*** A litle known fact!!  While crew #20's plane was going
down, they dropped their bombs. Lonnie Rutledge was moving toward the
escape hatch and fell through, getting caught in the gears. Jack "GOOSE"
Goss stayed and pulled him free before the plane crashed, and this is
the only reason Lonnie survived. I spoke with Jack Goss yesterday, He
just turned 82, and he recalled this account to me. I also spoke with
John Westwood, who turns 80 next month, and he is doing well. He was
left behind in Stalag 17B due to his legs being so infected he couldn't
walk, but Jack Goss has good memories of the march. I'm sure someone
will want to talk to both of these hero's?

Regards and Thanks,
Mike Boyd

MEMO 2:

POW/KIA notes: Original 100th, Crew #20.  Former RCAF Pilot.

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: LaPallice DATE: 1943-07-04  
AIRCRAFT: "Nevada Wildcat" (42-30051) CAUSE: EAC-Crash Landed  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  

PHOTOS:

Robert C. Pearson crew. Standing (Left to Right): M. Guy Boyd; Robert Pearson; Lonnie Rutledge; Everett Moore;Bruce Rinker; John Dunbar 
Front row (Left to Right) Jack "Goose" Goss;John Westwood; Randall Villa; Albert Purcell  

 Robert C. Pearson crew. Left to Right); Jack "Goose" Goss; Lonnie Rutledge; Randall Villa - seated; John Westwood; Mr. Brown - (left crew -flight school) Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

Robert Pearson on right and Lonnie Rutledge on left, stateeside. They are part of original Crew 20, the Robert C. Pearson crew. Detailed information. (100th Archives)

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

ID: 4050