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[Home] [Profiles 103 Sqn N to Z] [Philip Picot and crew 103 Sqn]

P/O P M Picot RAFVR and crew – 103 Squadron – RAF Elsham Wolds – 1944

Failed to Return – 11/12th December 1944 – Avro Lancaster I – ME649 – Op Essen.

Philip Picot and his crew were posted to 103 Squadron at Elsham Wolds on the 14th October 1944 from 11 Base

P/O Philip M Picot RAFVR

Sgt E Williams RAFVR

Sgt W Tarleton RAFVR

Sgt TS Boynton RAFVR

Sgt PA Lewis RAFVR

F/S MA Williams RCAF


Picot Tarleton and Boynton

Above L to R - Picot, Tarelton, Boynton, Tarelton and unknown

Lewis and Williams Williams and Yates

Above L to R - Lewis, E Williams, M Williams and Yates.

103 Squadron Yates Picot

F/S Prince Edward Gooderham Yates RCAF

This crew went on the fly the following operations being lost on the 12th December 1944 in an attack on Essen.

04-Nov-44 - Bochum  - Lancaster - LM295 - P/O PM Picot - Coned and hit by flak. No casualties.

09-Nov-44 - Wanne Eikel - Lancaster - PD287 - P/O PM Picot

11-Nov-44 - Dortmund - Lancaster - ME698 - P/O PM Picot

18-Nov-44 - Wanne Eikel - Lancaster - NF999 - F/O PM Picot - Bad weather at base. Diverted

21-Nov-44 - Aschenaffenburg - Lancaster- LM131 - F/O PM Picot

27-Nov-44 - Freiburg - Lancaster – ME848 - F/O PM Picot

29-Nov-44 - Dortmund - Lancaster - ME649 - F/O PM Picot

04-Dec-44 - Karlsruhe - Lancaster - PD236 - F/O PM Picot

12-Dec-44 - Essen - Lancaster - ME649 - F/O - PM Picot - FTR - Flak victim.

Picot and Yates were killed and rest at the Rheinberg War Cemetery. The other 5 were able to bale out and were taken POW.


F/O Philip Mourant Picot RAFVR – Pilot – 103 Sqn – Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.

Sgt E Williams RAFVR - 103 Sqn - POW - Camp L7 - POW No 1355

F/S W Tarleton RAFVR - 103 Sqn - POW - Camp L7– POW No 1347

F/S TS Boynton RAFVR – 103 Sqn  - POW - Camp L7– POW No 1313

 Sgt PA Lewis RAFVR - 103 Sqn - POW - Camp L7– POW No 1335

F/S MA Williams RCAF - 103 Sqn - POW - Camp L7– POW No 1356

F/S Prince Edward Gooderham Yates RCAF – Air Gunner – 103 Sqn  - Son of Oscar and Alverretta Mary Yates, of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada - Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.


Account courtesy of Gary Godel who interviewed Stuart Boynton when he visited the Channel Islands some years ago.

“Picot's crew flew 9 operations over Germany and each one seen to require a new aircraft such was the flak damage when the bomber limped home to Elsham Wolds.

Ironically in terms of flak the 10th mission was very gentle said Stewart but we were late so were exposed when we turned towards home after dropping our bombs over Essen.

I heard that the rear gunner saying we had a fighter on the port side and about five minutes later he cried were on fire.

Phil ordered us to abandon aircraft and as I left and I remember saying cheerio Phil see you downstairs.

The last moments of the pilot's life were passed on to Stewart by the Canadian mid upper gunner who was the last to leave the aircraft.

Apparently the rear gunner accidentally deployed his parachute inside the aircraft rendering it useless. Refusing to jump without him the pilot tried unsuccessfully to keep control and crash land the plane.”

Avro Lancaster Mk I (ME649) was operated by 460 Squadron from RAF Station Binbrook for most of 1944 until October when it was transferred to No 103 Squadron RAF. Whilst on the strength of 103 Squadron it flew 19 operations being lost on its 20th.


12-Dec-44 - Essen

103 Squadron detailed 16 aircraft for this attack on Essen. Weather for take off was rather poor. W/O McArthur broke his tail wheel while taxying and his take off had to be cancelled. Weather improved en route but on arrival in the target area it was found to be covered in 10/10ths cloud with tops to 16000 ft. Wanganui flares were very few in number and rather scattered so it is believed the bombing was in consequence inaccurate and scattered. Bombing was from between 18000 ft to 20000 ft. Defences consisted of a heavy flak barrage with some fighter activity. F/O Picot and crew are missing from this operation. All other aircraft returned to base.

For this attack on Essen Bomber Command detailed a total of 540 aircraft - 349 Lancasters, 163 Halifaxes, 28 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 4 and 8 Groups. 6 Lancasters lost. This was the last heavy night raid by Bomber Command on Essen. During the post-war interrogations of Albert Speer, Hitler's Armaments Minister, he was asked which forms of attack were most effective in weakening the German war effort. After referring to the effectiveness of daylight raids and to some of the Oboe Mosquito attacks, Speer paid a compliment to the accuracy of this raid on Essen: "The last night attack upon the Krupp works, which was carried out by a large number of 4-engined bombers, caused surprise on account of the accuracy of the bomb pattern. We assumed that this attack was the first large-scale operation based on Oboe or some other new navigational system."


Lancaster - ME649

This machine flew 20 operations mostly with F/O R A Evans and crew. See below :-

03-Oct-44 – Westkapelle - Lancaster - ME649 - F/O RA Evans

05-Oct-44 – Saarbrucken - Lancaster - ME649 - F/O RA Evans

07-Oct-44 – Emmerich - Lancaster - ME649 - F/O RA Evans

14-Oct-44 – Duisburg - Lancaster - ME649 - F/O RA Evans

14-Oct-44 – Duisburg - Lancaster - ME649 - F/O RA Evans

19-Oct-44 – Stuttgart - Lancaster - ME649 - F/O RA Evans

23-Oct-44 – Essen - Lancaster - ME649 - F/O RA Evans

25-Oct-44 – Essen - Lancaster - ME649 - F/O RA Evans

28-Oct-44 – Cologne - Lancaster - ME649 - F/O RA Evans

30-Oct-44 – Cologne - Lancaster - ME649 - F/O RA Evans

31-Oct-44 – Cologne - Lancaster - ME649 - F/O RA Evans

02-Nov-44 – Dusseldorf - Lancaster - ME649 - F/O RA Evans

06-Nov-44 - Heligoland Bight - Lancaster -  ME649 - F/O RA Evans

09-Nov-44 - Wanne Eikel - Lancaster - ME649 - F/O RA Evans

16-Nov-44 – Duren - Lancaster - ME649 - F/O J Pearton

21-Nov-44 - Oslo Fjord - Lancaster - ME649 - F/O FG Durrant

29-Nov-44 – Dortmund - Lancaster - ME649 - F/O PM Picot

04-Dec-44 – Karlsruhe - Lancaster - ME649 - P/O CS Hart RAAF

06-Dec-44 – Leuna - Lancaster - ME649 - F/O DI McDonald RAAF

12-Dec-44 – Essen - Lancaster - ME649 - F/O PM Picot – FTR - Flak victim. Rear Gunner's

parachute opened inside aircraft. Refused to go out in tandem. Pilot thought to be

attempting to crash land

Item compiled by David Fell with thanks to Gary Godel, Stuart Boynton and Tony Lewis. Yates photo courtesy of the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.


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