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.
Pickard received a short service commission into the Royal Air Force
in January 1937, which was made substansive in November. He served with a bomber squadron before being appointed personal assistant to the air officer commanding a training group at Cranwell
in 1938. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross
(DFC) in July 1940 while serving as a flight lieutenant in a bomber squadron. He was promoted to squadron leader with No. 311 Squadron
and was awarded a Distinguished Service Order
(DSO) in March 1941. In May 1942, as wing commander in charge of No. 51 Squadron
, he was granted a bar
to the DSO in recognition of his leadership in Operation Biting
(also known as the Bruneval raid) on 27 February 1942. In March 1943, while commanding No. 161 Squadron
at RAF Tempsford
he was awarded a second bar to the DSO for outstanding leadership ability and fine fighting qualities. He was the first RAF officer in World War II to be awarded the DSO and two bars.
Pickard led the February 1944 low-level attack on the Amiens Prison, in the raid known as Operation Jericho. The attack was carried out at the request of the French resistance in order to allow a considerable number of their imprisoned members, who were soon to be executed by the occupying forces, the chance to escape, the Resistance stating that the prisoners had said they would rather take the chance of being killed by RAF bombs than be shot by the Nazis. Operation Jericho was a success but Pickard, together with his Navigator, Flight Lieutenant J. A. "Bill" Broadley, DSO, DFC, DFM, were both killed when their de Havilland Mosquito, HX922, "EG-F", was shot down by a Fw 190 flown by Feldwebel Mayer of 7. Jagdgeschwader 26 in the closing stages of the operation.
He was buried along with John Alan Broadley (aged 23) in Plot 3 at the St. Pierre Cemetery near Amiens, France..
- Mosquito At War by Chaz Bowyer - Ian Allen - 1977 - ISBN 0-7110-0474-9
- Armstrong Whitworth's Night Bomber by Ray Williams - Aeroplane Monthly - October 1982 issue.
- Royal Air Force A/Group Captain Percy Charles Pickard, Obituary. The Times, 22nd September, 1944.