Group Captain Percy Charles "Pick" Pickard

Discussion in 'Biographies' started by liverpool annie, Sep 12, 2008.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    My friend was telling me today that her Dad knew "Pick" very well .... so I thought I'd look for him ..... my goodness what a life he led !!

    In Memory of
    D S O and 2 Bars, D F C, Mentioned in Despatches
    39392, Cdg. 140 Wing., Royal Air Force
    who died
    on 18 February 1944
    Son of Percy and Jenny Pickard; husband of Dorothy Pickard, of Highlands, Southern Rhodesia.
    Remembered with honour

    Group Captain Percy Charles "Pick" Pickard DSO & Two Bars, DFC, (16 May 1915 - 18 February 1944) was a British bomber pilot and commander during World War II. He is best remembered by the public for his role in the 1941 wartime propaganda film Target for Tonight in which he featured as the pilot of 'F for Freddie' – a Wellington bomber of No. 149 Squadron.

    Percy Charles Pickard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Percy Charles Pickard (1915 - 1944) - Find A Grave Memorial

    Target for Tonight - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    During World War II, Operation Biting (also known as the Bruneval Raid) was a successful Combined Operations raid to capture components of a German Würzburg radar set at Bruneval, France, on 27/28 February, 1942.
    British scientists, led by R.V. Jones, needed to find out more about Würzburg radar so that they could come up with countermeasures in their ongoing battle of the beams with German scientists. Jones thought that the Germans might locate Würzburg radars at the same sites as Freya radar, so he requested aerial reconnaissance of known Freya sites. On 22 November 1941, a reconnaissance Spitfire took photographs of a Freya radar site in the grounds of a cliff top hotel at Bruneval, a village on the French coast, a few dozen miles [1] from Le Havre, which contained unknown structures. On 5 December, a low-level reconnaissance flight by Tony Hill took very clear front and side pictures of the Würzburg radar with a person in the frame, which allowed the size of the radar dish (about 3 meters (10 feet) in diameter) to be assessed.
    R.V. Jones judged that it was probably a Würzburg installation, so Combined Operations, which was under the command of Lord Louis Mountbatten, looked at the feasibility of a raid. A plan was drawn up to use a team to carry out a raid drawn from the recently trained paratroopers of 1st Parachute Brigade. A RAF radar operator, Flight Sergeant Charles W.H. Cox, would accompany them, and they would photograph the radar in detail and carry off whatever components they could.
    On 27 February 1942, the raiding party of 116 men from B & C Companies, 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment led by Major John Frost, took off from RAF Thruxton and was dropped on Bruneval from twelve Whitley V bombers of 51 Sqn RAF led by Squadron Commander Wg Cdr P. C. Pickard. The raid met considerable enemy resistance but they were able to photograph the installation, rip out some of the key electronics, and capture a Würzburg technician. As planned, they then retreated from the cliff tops down onto a beach where their naval evacuation was covered by men drawn from units of V Corps providing protection during the naval evacuation stage. It was later discovered that the Royal Navy flotilla had been playing 'cat-and-mouse' with a German force of a Destroyer and E-boats who passed within a mile of the landing. The British losses were two killed, six wounded and six captured on the night itself. Two signallers were captured 9 days later trying to reach Switzerland. Five Germans were killed and two taken prisoner, including the technician.

    Operation Biting - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  2. Adrian Roberts

    Adrian Roberts Active Member

    A skilled and versatile pilot and commander.

    I was struck by his photo: does he look just 28? You can see this with many photos of the time. Did people age faster then, or was it the war?
  3. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    I think it's the hat Adrian .... it doesn't suit everybody !! :)

    But yes you're right ! ... young men really grew up fast then !
  4. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

  5. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Yeah, thanks, Annie, you've made Kyt mention a book I've never heard of. Sigh, up goes the wish list.

    Mind you, I am always amazed at the seemingly never ending "supply" of incredible people and their exploits. Long may we continue to be fascinated!
  6. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    I came across this today ........

    CHARLES PICKARD (1915 - 1944)

    Group Captain P.C. 'Pick' Pickard, DSO, DFC, CzMC

    "one of the truly great characters of the 1939-45 Air War"

    Charles was born at 82 Main Road, Handsworth, Sheffield, on 16 May 1915, the youngest in the family of two sons and three daughters of Percy Pickard, stone merchant, and his wife, Jennie Skelton. In 1920 the family moved to Hampstead, London, where Pickard's father began a successful catering business that later became part of the Mecca Organisation. After an undistinguished academic career at Framlingham College, Suffolk, Pickard left for Kenya in 1932, where he farmed for four years and earned a three handicap at polo. In November 1935 he joined the King's African rifles reserve as a territorial.

    After returning to England in 1936, Pickard failed to qualify as an army officer, but was accepted by the RAF and was commissioned in 1937 as a pilot officer in the Royal Air Force reserve of pilots (for which his public school education qualified him) and was posted to Bomber Command. By 1939 he was assistant and personal pilot to Air Marshal Sir John Baldwin, commandant of the RAF college at Cranwell. On 11 November 1939 he married (against her parents' wishes), at Caxton Hall register office, Westminster, Dorothy Hodgkin (1912/13–1998), daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Harry Sidney Hodgkin and his wife, Elsie Gray McMordie, daughter of a former lord mayor of Belfast. They had a son, born in 1943.

    Charles Pickard (1915-1944)
  7. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    I've read about him several times recently with regard to Operation Jericho (the Amiens prison raid). I think it might have been while referencing someone else (probably Bowman's Mosquito - Menacing the Reich and Mark Lax's and Leon Kane-Maguire's The Gestapo Hunters) but I'm sure I read something else on him recently. Will have a look.
  8. Braddock

    Braddock New Member

    "Pick" Pickard had a son born in 1943 and presumably he moved to Rhodesia with Mrs Pickard. Any ideas about what became of him.
  9. npickard

    npickard New Member

    Hi Braddock, I am Percy's Grandaughter. Yes my dad Nicholas did move to Rhodesia with Dorothy (my Gran). He was a very successful musician, and opened his own sound studio where he did everything from Movie scores to Advertising jingles. Unfortunately he passed away in 2009 from the dreaded cancer. My gran passed away in 1999. If anyone is interested I have made a facebook page to honour my Grandad as well as one for my dad: there are lots of photo's :)

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