May 17, 1917 - May 5, 1946
Daisy Louise Vallis, born in Pembroke, Bermuda, was the daughter of Clive Valentine Selby Vallis and Edith Beatrice (nee Belvin) Vallis of Hamilton, Bermuda. Daisy had one brother, Clive Valentine Vallis of Hamilton, Bermuda, and three sisters, Matilda Beatrice Vallis, Gladys Marion Outerbridge, Hamilton and Devonshire, Bermuda, and Grace Muriel Evans, London, England. The family was Anglican.
The headmistress of The Bermuda High School for Girls, Hamilton, Bermuda wrote: "Daisy Louise Vallis was a pupil of this school from 1922 to 1932. She completed the school course up to the Junior Cambridge Local standard and then taught for two years as a student-teacher in the Kindergarten. Her conduct was at all times most satisfactory. She proved a capable and efficient helper in the Kindergarten. I can recommend her as a steady and highly esteemed young lady of the community." Daisy left the position as reading and music teacher, as the school was 'overstaffed.'
Rector Strong, of the Pembroke Rectory, Bermuda, wrote a letter of reference for Daisy in May 1943. "I have known Miss Daisy Louise Vallis for the last seven years and I have a high opinion of her character and capability. Miss Vallis belongs to a family highly respected in this community."
On May 27, 1942, the Chairman of H. A. and E. Smith Limited, Hamilton, Bermuda wrote: "The bearer of this letter, Miss Daisy Vallis, is anxious to join the Royal Canadian Air Force and I am very pleased to be able to recommend her most highly. Since leaving school, Miss Vallis has been in our employ and I can only speak of her in the highest terms. She is honest, trustworthy, and most efficient in her work. If she is accepted, I am sure she will prove to be a credit to the RCAF and a worthy respresentative of Bermuda in the war effort." Daisy worked as a cashier (dry goods) for nine years.
Daisy, on her attestation papers, dated Sunday, September 26, 1943 indicated that her plan after her discharge would be to marry or to work for British Airways. She noted she was a Sunday school teacher and chair member of the Lady's Hospitality, Organization Sailor. She enjoyed dancing, swimming, badminton, and ping pong. She stood 64" tall, weighed 120 pounds had brown hair and brown eyes.
In Montreal, on September 20, 1943, F/O Madeleine Fortin, "M" Depot Selection Board noted: "Pleasant and attractive appearance. Self possessed and poised. Teacher in a kindergarten for a year and cashier for 9 years. Slight knowledge of bookkeeping and typing. Willing to be place where best suited." Additional information: "Fit. Quite good type."
TRAINING AND POSTINGS:
She found herself in Quebec, Ontario, then overseas to London where she was a member of the Overseas Estates Branch in England until the spring of 1946, before she returned to Quebec awaiting transportation back home to Bermuda.
On October 2 1945, LAW Daisy Vallis wrote a memo: "It is my intention on receiving my discharge, to proceed to Bermuda."
In a letter dated November 2, 1945: "In the case of former residents of Newfoundland, Bermuda, and the British West Indies, the Commissioner states there will be no objections to their entry into Canada providing the RCAF will assume full responsibility for their care and welfare until such time as transportation has been arranged to the place of their residence immediately prior to enlistment."
On December 8, 1945, a letter from the RCAF Overseas HQ noted that LAW Daisy Vallis, clerk administrator, "enlisted in Canada but was not normally resident there. According to statements made by [her], [she] has no intention of making [her] home in Canada and therefore has not made application under the provision of the Immigration Act to enter Canada. The Commissioner of Emigration has, however, approved [her] return to Canada as a member of the RCAF (WD) but has stated that discharge from the service should not be effected until transportation has been arranged for the airwoman to return to [her] respective home outside of Canada. At the present time, the above airwoman is not eligible for repatriation but will be repatriated under their normal RGN."
As part of LAW Vallis's discharge: "Scoudouc, NB: general clerical work in repair section of hangars; July 44: overseas; O/S HQ London - typing and work with files in Estates Branch...is considered to have good ability to learn and high clerical ability. CAREER CHOSEN BY INDIVIDUAL: Work with British Overseas Airways Corporation (clerical or other) or return to former work. Training under BOAC depending on job opportunities available."
LAW Daisy Vallis was granted leave from April 26th to May 16th, 1946. On May 5, 1946, she was killed in an automobile accident between St. Albans and Burlington, New York on a curve and hill. "LAW Vallis was killed when the car, in which she was a passenger, got out of control and turned over. The injuries resulting in her instant death was a fractured skull." No. 2 Release Centre, Lachine, PQ. The driver, Philip Pearo, was 55 years old, a resident of West Swanton, Vermont. Nature of injury: fatal - chest. Edward Pearo, St. Albans, Vermont, aged 27 had three fractured ribs, a fractured collar bone and bruises. June E. Solomon of St. Armand, Quebec, aged 22, had minor bruises and scratches.
LAW Daisy Louise Vallis's funeral was held in the United States. "The prevailing rates in St Albans and locality were investigated by the escort S/O Russell and it was found that the lowest price quoted was $125 for the casket, hearse service, embalming, and care of body. I therefore authorize..that the amount of $125 be borne by the public. On information from the Funeral Director and the escort, it was learned that the condition of the body and laws concerning the removal of the remains to another state necessitated the use of a hermetically sealed case. The price of this sealed case $105 was authorized by me." G/C W. F M. Newson, Commanding Officer, RCAF Station, Lachine, Quebec. "Funeral Expenses: At St. Albans, Vermont and Roslyn, Long Island, New York: The account of C. R. McAllister, Funeral Director, St. Albans, Vt: $385. (amount authoriaced by F.R. (Air) - $230.)...Account of H. J. Hutchings, Roslyn, Long Island, NY, $25." In one document and drawing, LAW Daisy Vallis was to be buried at the Roslyn Cemetery in Roslyn, New York. Other sources have her buried in Pembroke (St. John) Churchyard, Bermuda.
On May 8, 1946, a Court of Inquiry was struck. Corporal June E. Solomon was the first witness at the RCAF Court of Inquiry. "I am W315564 Cpl June E. Solomon of Maintenance Command HQ, Uplands, Ontario. I was at a dance in Burlington with LAW Vallis, Edward Pearo and Philip Pearo. We left the dance at 0010 hours on 5th May. A second car driven by John Pearo, brother of Philip Pearo (deceased) had left the dance a few minutes ahead of us and after we had driven north on Highway #7, we passed the second car driven by John Pearo. He drove along for a little way, speeded up and hit a guard rail on the right hand side of the road. He tried to pull the car away from the guard rails but pulled over too much and headed for the left hand side of the road. He tried to straighten the car, but hit the left hand side ditch where there was a large rock, the whole side of the car in the front of the driver seemed to come in. I pulled myself out of the car through the driver's side and ran up to the side of the road. Just as I arrived at the side of the road, then John Pearo drove up." LAW Solomon stated that she and LAW Vallis were both on leave. LAW Vallis was staying with LAW Solomon at her home for the weekend. "My knees and mouth were cut, bruised in the accident and I was badly shaken. I was examined by a doctor but I was informed there were no serious injuries and was allowed to return to my house. Mr. Edward Pearo was injured and admitted to the hospital at St. Albans Sunday morning and was discharged May 8th. Mr. Philip Pearo was killed and LAW Vallis was killed." She added, "I was riding in front with Philip Pearo, the road was up and down and curves. He was driving quite fast, perhaps 50-55 and I was trying to get some music on the radio. I felt the car go to the right, and as it swerved, I looked up, but couldn't do anything. The car went over to the left and rolled over."
Cpl June Solomon and LAW Vallis's service numbers were W315564 and W315558, respectively. Most likely, they met during their training and became close friends.
The second witness was Chief Inspector Myer Gardner, Burlington, Vermont. "On night of May 4th, in company with investigator Frank McCarty, Patrolman Walter Corbett and Patrolman Donald Ravey, I was on duty at the Heineburg Country Club where a dance was being held. I distinctly recall seeing and talking with on several occasions during the evening, a Canadian LAW in uniform on which she had a Bermuda shoulder flash. In addition to talking with her and others of her party during the course of the dance, Patrolman Corbett, Ravey and myself were standing in front of the main exit at approximately midnight when she and her party left the building and I can definitely say there was no question as to her sobriety. I also had an opportunity to observe the conduct of the group that this girl was with and I have no reason to believe that they were under the influence of liquor."
Edward Pearo "remembers hitting guardrail on right side, and he swerved over in seat. Next thing he recalls, his father was pulling him out of the car. Doesn't know anything about speed they were travelling. Was talking to Vallis girl about Paris. Vallis was in back. Solomon and Philip were in front."
James McDonald, Officer, remarked: "This accident occurred on Route US No. 7 and 2 in the town of Colchester in what is known as Elm Hill Hollow. This Hollow is about 1/4 miles north of the intersection of Route 2A with US No. 7 and 2. The car involved was travelling in a northerly direction, and failed to negotiate a reverse curve going into the ditch on the westerly side of the road and overturning. It is evident in my opinion, that the direct cause of the accident was excessive speed. The car, after descending a grade, failed to make the first half of the reverse curve to the left, and in so doing, struck the cable guardrail, then continued along the highway, all up grade, and went across the road and into the ditch on the left side. After going into the ditch, the car turned over, I believe, one and one half times, ending bottom side up with the front of the car on the edge of the highway, and the rear of the car across the ditch. After striking the guardrail on the right, or easterly, side of the road, the car travelled diagonallly across the highway, a distance of 240 feet, before going off the left, or westerly side of the highway into the ditch. After going off the highway into the ditch, the car apparently turned, or nosed, over onto its top, striking a large boulder which jutted out of the embankment, crushing the front of the top down very close to the level of the hood. It then continued up on through the ditch and ended up as previously described. The car travelled a total distance of 141' 6" through the ditch after leaving the highway before coming to rest; thus making a total distance of 381' 6" that the car travelled after first striking the cable guardrail on the easterly side of the road at the foot of the Hollow. This distance is all up grade. Upon my arrival at the scene of this accident, I found that all the passengers in the car had been removed from the vehicle. Two of them, namely, Philip Pearo and Daisy Louise Vallis, were laid out on the embankment and both dead. The other two, namely Edward Pearo and June E. Solomon had been taken to the St. Albans Hospital. I immediately had calls put in for the State's Attorney and selectmen, and also put in a call to Inspector Alexander to check relative to the two injured taken to the St. Albans Hospital."
In the Report of Members of Court of Inquiry: "The bodies of Philip Pearo and LAW Vallis were ordered removed to McAllisters Funeral Home, St. Albans, Vermont, where they were reviewed by the coroner, Dr. N. H. Kenyon, of Colchester, Vermont. Because of the obvious cause of death to the driver of the car, Philip Pearo and LAW Vallis, no inquest or autopsy was held. The skull of LAW Vallis was split open from the upper bridge of the nose across the forehead and top of the head to the back of the skull. The upper part of the face was crushed almost beyond recognition. The District Attorney informed members of the Court that bcause of the fatality of the driver, no action claims or charges would be laid or taken by the State of Vermont. The members of the Court proceeded to the scene of the accident and corroborate the diagram draughted by Patrolman James MacDonald of the Vermont State Police. The members of the Court interviewed Edward Pearo who was a passenger in the rear seat of the car involved in the accident, and Mrs. John Pearo, wife of Mr. John Pearo, driver of the second car and both concurred in the evidence given by Cpl June Solomon. They could give no further evidence as to the details of the accident and declined to make any further statement. The members of this Court attended at the funeral home of Charles McAllister, Front Street, St. Albans, Vermont and viewed the remains of LAW Vallis. The body was dressed in the uniform of an airwoman of the RCAF bearing "BERMUDA" shoulder flash and the Volunteer Service ribbon with clasp. On her hand was a small signet ring bearing an RCAF crest."
FINDING OF THE COURT: "The car involved in the accident was a 1941 Ford Tudor, registered number State of Vermont 51507 and was operated and owned by Philip Pearo of West Swanton, Vermont. The weather was clear and the condition of the highway was good. At the time of the accident, W315564 Cpl June E Solomon of Maintenance Command Headquarters, RCAF, Uplands, Ontario, was a passenger in the front seat of the said Ford car. Edward Pearo of St. Albans, Vermont, was seated in the rear seat of the said car with W315558 LAW Daisy Vallis. The passengers of the said car had attended a dance at the HEINEBERG Community Club, Burlington, Vermont, and were returning to Cpl Solomon's home in St. Armand, Quebec," 75 kilometers away...."The accident was caused by the operator of the car losing control of the car while driving at excessive rate of speed...LAW Vallis was on disembarkation leave from the Repatriation Pool at Lachine, Quebec. Cpl Solomon was on leave from Maintenance Depot Headquarters, Uplands, Ontario."
Edward Pearo was a veteran of World War II, having served with the U.S. Army's 63rd Division in the Rhineland. He earned the rank of staff sergeant.
In a letter dated June 13, 1945, addressed to Mr. C.V.S. Vallis: "Your request for a copy of the proceedings of the Service Court of Inquiry which investigated the unfortunate accident which resulted in the death of your daughter LAW Vallis, D. L., has been referred to this Headquarters for reply. It is regretted that under existing regulations, it is not possible to supply you with a copy of the RCAF Court of Inquiry, but the facts concerning this accident, as revealed in the proceedings of the Court, are as follows: Your daughter, while on disembarkation leave from the Repatriation Pool at Lachine [Quebec] proceeded to a dance at the Community Club, Burlington, Vermont, with Philip Pearo, Corporal Solomon, and Edward Pearo. At approximately 12:30 am on the 5th of May 1945, while returning to the home of Corporal Solomon at St. Armand, Quebec, in a car owned and operated by Philip Pearo, the party was involved in an accident as a result of the automobile failing to make the first half of a reverse curve with the result that it struck a cable guard rail, crossed the highway and turned over in a ditch on the opposite side of the highway. The accident appears to have been caused by the operator losing control of the car as he attempted to negotiate the 'S' curve as the weather was clear and the conditions of the highway was good at the time of the accident. In addition to the fatal injuries sustained by your daughter, the operator of the car, Philip Pearo, was also fatally injured, while Cpl Solomon and Edward Pearo appear to have sustained only minor bruises. It is hoped that the above information will serve your purpose and if there is any further details which you require, please do not hesitate to write concerning them." Group Captain J. G. Scott, for Chief of the Air Staff
In the list of personal effects of LAW Daisy Vallis, she had a bundle of books, a cardboard box of postcard pictures and souvenir programmes, a cardboard box of souvenirs, a pair of red slippers, one pair of blue shoes, a bundle of sheet music and two handle locks. She also had clothes, make up, prayer books, a flashlight, 60 photographs, a cookie jar, and a cigar box 'containing odds and ends.' Her valuables included a necklaces (two strand silver and a single strand gold), a Ronson lighter, an inlaid wooden cigarette box, a silver cigarette case, a gold combination extension pen and pencil, a travelling alarm clock, a monogrammed gold ring and a Lusina watch bracelet (unserviceable).
On May 8, 1946, S/L A. H. Nethery, Officer in charge of Estates, RCAF Overseas, London, England, wrote to Colonel L. M. Firth, Director of Estates, Ottawa. "We have just learned of the death under rather tragic circumstances of LAW Vallis who was for approximately two years on the strength of this Branch. We understand from relative in this country that following her repatriation in April, she was spending her 30 days leave in the States and at the time of her death, as a result of a motor car accident, she had not been able to arrange transportation to the home of her parents in Bermuda. As LAW Vallis was a very efficient member of the Estates Branch Overseas and was highly regarded by us, I would bespeak for her estate the usual efficient attention which I know your Branch gives to matters of this kind."
On August 5, 1946, Mrs. Vallis wrote to the Director of Estates in Ottawa. "One carton and one suitcase have now been received, also a registered package containing a compact and watch combination. According to the inventory, there was one box of trinkets. This was not in the carton, suitcases or registered parcel. I have received a letter from my daughter who is in England, in which she states that her late sister, Daisy, had with her several pieces of sterling silver for the family in Bermuda, also her personal jewellry. The following articles were mentioned: sterling silver necklace, two sterling silver bracelets, sterling silver cigarette case, biscuit jar, travelling clock, jewellry belonging to the deceased. It appears some of the above named articles were perhaps in the missing trinket box. The biscuit jar and clock are not mentioned on the inventory. Although the letters, inventory, case and registered package were addressed to my son-in-law, Mr. Howard Outerbridge, I witnessed the opening and unpacking of the above, therefore sign this letter."