681464 GNR H. O. PEARCE. R.F.A.
Hubert Odell Pearce was born in the last quarter of 1888 in Peckham Rye, Surrey and he was baptised at East Dulwich St John the Evangelist on15 March 1890. His father was James Odell Pearce (b. 1861 in Brighton, Sussex), a ladies and gents tailor. His mother was Laura Olivia Bassil (b. 1859 in Holborn). James and Olivia were married in Walthamstow in 1880 and they had 8 children: Laura May (b. 1880), Mabel Ethel (b. 1882), James Bassil (b. 1883), Frederick Bassil (b. 1885), Beatrice Sarah (b. 1887), then Hubert, then Doris Olivia (b. 1893) and finally Vera Josephine (b. 1898). The family moved to the Wirral in about 1895 and settled in Birkenhead. James and many of his children, including Hubert, worked in the tailoring business. In 1913, Hubert married Nellie Louisa Richards (b. 1893 in Portsmouth) and the couple had two children: Robert Basil (b. 1914) and Hubert Howitzer (b. 1915). By 1915, they had moved to the Toxteth area of Liverpool. Young Hubert Howitzer was born on 10 May 1915, just about the time his father was signing up to join the Royal Field Artillery. Hubert was assigned service number 681464 and posted to “D” Battery (yes, a howitzer battery!) in 286 Brigade.
In June 1917, 286 Bde were engaged in the defence of Armenitères. At 6.30am on 30 June one enemy shell penetrated a gun pit of D/286Bde. The gun was damaged, 5 O/Rs were killed and 1 wounded. Hubert Pearce was among the dead. He was 28 years old.
Service Number: 681464
Date of Death: 30/06/1917
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, “D” Bty., 286Bde
Cemetery/memorial reference: VIII. B. 17.
Cemetery: CITE BONJEAN MILITARY CEMETERY, ARMENTIERES
Additional Information: Son of James Odell Pearce and Olivia Pearce; husband of Nellie Louisa Moran (formerly Pearce), of 33 Greenfield Street, Birkenhead.
After the War, in 1922, Nellie married again, her second husband being Cecil Moran (b. 1899 in Preston). Cecil had joined the Navy in 1915 and served throughout the War, being discharged in 1920 because of poor eyesight.
Hubert’s older brother Frederick Bassil had also joined the artillery – he was 696487 DVR. F. B. PEARCE. From his service number we know he served with the 57th Divisional Artillery Column and was attached to 286Bde. He enlisted on 29 January 1915 and was discharged, having served throughout the War, on 16 May 1919.