Howard Pearce 1919-2009

My Grandfather approached life with humility, humour and inquisitiveness. The only survivor of his Wellington Bomber, he was shot down over Bremen in World War 2, marched to Poland and made a Prisoner Of War in Stalug Luft 3- the setting for "The Great Escape". Dressed as a German decorator, with impeccable forged passport and attire, he was discovered in the Tunnel "Harry" on that fateful night in March,1944. His name was amongst the 150 names placed into a hat. 50 were chosen and brutally shot dead on Hitler's orders. Returning home after the War he married Phyllis Pearce-their marriage lasting 63 years.

With a voracious appetite for History and Literature, My Grandfather was an endless source of fascination for me as I grew up. I compared him to the comic book heroes I read about in "Victor" and "Hotspur" as a little boy. Because my Dad had left home when I was 2 and my brother 4-Granddad became our father, and there was no finer as far as we were concerned. His bravery and memory will live long in our hearts.


JP said...

Sounds like a fantastic man.



Oscar Grillo said...

May he rest in peace, Matt.

Matt Jones said...

Sad news & a fine tribute to him. What a life story. God bless him.

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alberto mielgo said...

Sorry, Matt.

Many times I ask myself who are the people who survive to this extreme situations, Who survive wars and attacks... very strong people I guess.

What an amazing life!
Are you going to create The Amazing adventures of Howard Pierce?

Jeff Shelly said...

I remember you telling me the story about him and "The Great Escape".
Best Jeff

Matthew Cruickshank said...

Thanks fella's.

I've always wanted to Illustrate his adventure, maybe one day. I miss him too much to do it right now.

Kristian said...

What a magnificent man. My thoughts go to you and your family

Oscar Grillo said...

Cool avatar, ain't it?

Matthew Cruickshank said...

Thanks a lot Kristian.

Oscar- you like it?! You used it!

Oscar Grillo said...

Maybe you should ask your Chinese correspondent what does he think of the avatar, Matt.
This week I had about a dozen of those comments (Spam)

cameron kim jones said...


Your gramps was a legend. My condolences in his passing.

You've pretty much inspired me to honour one of my relatives who was a spy and trained guerilla's against the Japanese during WW2.

Nice illo, too.


Unknown said...

Appreciate your post for Dad, thanks Matt. We'd all love to see an illustrated version of his wartime exploits, could be something very special. I'd be well into contributing chronology, facts, anecdotes, beer and sandwiches towards the story.
His presence still often with me - i think he appreciated the fine send-off we gave him. He'd've loved your image of him - so do I.

Anonymous said...


lyndolpho said...

amazing story