The Spalding dairy farmer who made it to Hitler’s bunker

Going for a drive: 'Mall' ended up as one of the few Englishmen to see inside Hitler's bunker.
Going for a drive: 'Mall' ended up as one of the few Englishmen to see inside Hitler's bunker.
Have your say

A SPALDING dairy farmer was one of the few Brits who visited Hitler’s Berlin bunker in the aftermath of the defeat of the Nazis.

Joseph Mallow “Mall” Pearson died last month, aged 89, and his son Brian has shared some of the remarkable tales of his life – including his small part in one of the 20th Century’s most significant historical moments.

Joseph Mallow "Mall" Pearson

Joseph Mallow "Mall" Pearson

Brian (60), who lives in Pinchbeck, said that his dad, like many of his generation, would rarely mention his wartime exploits – but would occasionally talk of the conflict and what he saw while serving in the RAF.

Those stories included the harrowing and vivid memories he had of the “skeletal zombies” at Belsen concentration camp – which he visited just after the camp, in north-west Germany, had been liberated.

Mr Pearson had also been the driver for his Commanding Officer – who he still had to run around once the conflict came to a close in 1945.

He found himself in Berlin and tasked with taking his CO to Hitler’s bunker – in the Russian sector – and after asking if he could tag along he was able to take a look inside the Führerbunker – one of few Englishmen to do so.

Mall on the farm at Clay Lake, Spalding

Mall on the farm at Clay Lake, Spalding

Brian said: “He didn’t really say a lot but often these little gems would come out while you were working with him. He’d just tell you these little bits and pieces, sometimes there were one or two gory bits but never anything more graphic.

“The war had the greatest single impact on his life and everything reflected back on that as I am sure it did for most other people involved.

“You can’t imagine what it was like, it’s beyond us really. For each generation that comes along it is harder for them because the stories are second and third hand.”

Brian said he was very proud of his father, who leaves behind widow Margaret Pearson (nee Harpham), and said he also played an important role in the history of Spalding.

“Mall” worked on his father’s Clay Lake dairy farm until it was eventually sold off, and then stayed on as manager until he retired in 1989.

Brian said: “He and his father played quite a part in Spalding’s history with the farm – it was used for grasstrack racing and Spalding Town used to play on the land.”

Mr Pearson had had an eventful start to life as well – he contracted tuberculosis after he was gored by a cow and missed a lot of school.

He was left fragile by the incident but, on the advice of his doctor, took up a sport and developed into an accurate shooter.

He married Margaret in 1947 at Spalding Baptist Church and the pair had five children – Jennifer, Brian, Colin, John and Rosamund, although Colin died aged five months.