Pearce | Allan Conrad

  • First names

    Allan Conrad

  • Age

    25

  • Date of birth

    15-03-1919

  • Date of death

    28-10-1944

  • Service number

    868484

  • Rang

    Lance Bombardier

  • Regiment

    Royal Artillery, 33 Field Regt.

  • Grave number

    I. E. 2.

Lance Bombardier Allan Conrad Pearce
Lance Bombardier Allan Conrad Pearce
grave Conrad Allan Pearce
grave Conrad Allan Pearce


Biography

Allan was the 8th of eleven children born in India to Alice and Bertram Pearce. There were eight sons and three daughters. Of the eight sons, four died in early childhood, and Allan was killed in action during World War 2.
 
Allan and a younger brother both started school life in Kindergarten at St Anthony’s School in Lahore. But after a short time both boys approximately 5 and 6 years old they were taken to England by one of their older sisters and her husband who was in the armed forces in England and  they were enrolled as boarders at Newcastle Infants School in the North of England. They stayed there for two years and then were brought back to India, where they continued their education.
 
Next they were sent as boarders to Lawrence College, Muree Hills, then Sanawar Royal Military School.
Then the brothers parted ways, Allan to Oak Grove Military College for boys in the North West Province of India. His younger brother to start a 3 year apprenticeship in Lahore.
Allan and his brother’s nick-name at this time, was ‘Cruncher’ probably referring to their boxing skills. At Oak Grove College Allan was known also as O.G.
 
Most of the brother’s school years, were spent away from family life in Lahore, at boarding schools. They broke up in November and returned in February, spending only Christmas and New Year home each year. Allan’s brother
wrote that their young lives, away from their family, and their military-style schooling and boarding experiences, and having to be responsible for themselves, made them into the young men they turned out to be and that, ’there young lives were not easy’.
 
After leaving Oak College around 1936-1937, Allan joined the army at Rawalpindi into the Royal Artillery, 33rd Field Regiment, where he was listed on his map reading certificate as ‘Gunner’ with ‘R’ Field Regiment.
At some time he was transferred to the 3rd Infantry Division of the Regular Army in India sometime around 1937, which then went on to serve in France and Belgium from September 1939 to May 1940.
The B.E.F. returned to England in June 1940 and remained there in training until 6th of June 1944 and D-Day and then to fight again on through France, Belgium, and the Netherlands until Germany surrendered in August 1945.
 
Allan’s younger brother had also enlisted in India into the Regular Army and had hoped to be in the Royal Artillery the same as Allan. But there was some mix up with his attestation papers and much to his disappointment he ended up as a Line Soldier. Another younger brother later joined up also.
 
Before he left India, Allan had become good friends with an English soldier called Johnnie Nash who had been in India for 11 years and served in the army there. They remained good friends until Allan died.
After arriving back in the UK in June 1940, Allan and Johnnie were detailed for a time to look after the needs, and assist the commissioned officers who were stationed in a large house on the edge of a small market town in
Yorkshire. After the war ended, Johnnie returned to live in this town because he had such good memories of being there. Allan also met up occasionally with his younger brother whilst in England whenever they could and according to the younger brother, they had some amazing times together.
 
Then, Allan was sent to Scotland to prepare and train for the return to Europe. This included training for amphibious landings along the coast at Muir of Ord and Inverness. Later, he also moved to other areas of England as they prepared to build up their strengths and train the army.
 
Memories collected through the years from people who knew and loved Allan, spoke and remembered him as being, happy and caring, empathetic, thoughtful and knowledgeable. He was always immaculately dressed, a very tidy person. Organised, versatile, probably learned from those years of boarding schools and army training
He was a popular person with male and female and the elderly.
 
He had a good speaking voice and was well mannered. He was an excellent dancer and musical – had a beautiful singing voice and was an accomplished guitar player.
He played and sang for those close to him and around him. He also entertained the men in his unit as they fought their way through France, Belgium and Holland, until he was killed at the end of October 1944. His commanding officer related in a letter how, he and the soldiers appreciated and enjoyed his singing and playing at night, and that after his death, he and his music were sorely missed.
He was also very articulate and a very good writer and wrote many letters during those 4 years, which were sadly destroyed in later years. However some pieces of poetry, cards and black and white photos did survive.
 
Allan’s remaining sisters left India around 1947 and returned to England and various places around the world where they settled and raised families.
His mother and father returned to England around 1947. Allan’s mother died in 1973 and his father in 1963. They were parents who had carried a heavy burden and grief after losing 5 children before they could grow and live full lives.
 
Allan’s death was a tragedy experienced by millions of families. But Allan left a lasting legacy behind, a daughter born at the end of 1941 and a son born at the beginning of 1944.
And that legacy goes on with his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and the generations to come…
 
He would have delighted in them all!
 

“And when he shall die, take him and all those who died with him
 
And cut them out in little stars
 
And they will make the face of heaven so fine…”
 
William Shakespeare

Allan Pearce and Johnnie Nash
Johnnie Nash and Allan Pearce
Allan Pearce in the middle
Allan Pearce in the middle

Letter of condolance

Extract from Commanding Officers letter of condolence on Allan Pearce’s death

‘…there is no need to have any qualms about LBdr Pearce’s death. He died instantaneously, without pain or knowledge, hit by shell fragmentation…
Our battery position was shelled and the command post received a direct hit, killing LBdr Pearce, two officers and two gunners. Three command post staff were also critically injured.

This all occured between Oploo and Overloon. Two small villages west of Venraij. We were shelled on three separate occasions by German 105mm guns. This was during the original push up to the river Maas.
Our dead were buried in the little military cemetery on the right-hand side of the main road between Oploo and Overloon.’     

Sources and credits

Jeanne Sagar, Allan’s daughter.

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