The Royal Air Force’s attack against Amiens prison is possibly one of the Royal Air Force’s most enigmatic operations conducted the during the Second World War. At one level it is remembered as a daring, precision Mosquito attack which freed imprisoned members of the French Resistance while costing the life of G/C Charles “Percy” Pickard, well-known to the public from the wartime film “Target for Tonight”. It has been, and continues to be, the subject of a considerable number of major and lesser works and provided the basis of the fictitious storyline for “Mosquito Squadron” the 1969 sequel to the classic “Mosquito movie” – “633 Sqn”. Yet despite this it has never quite captured public interest in the manner of such operations as the breaching of the Ruhr Dams.
The Amiens Prison Raid, spectacular as it was, did not make the headlines in the next day’s national press. There was no Victoria Cross for its leader or public adulation of its participants. Indeed, it seems to have been consciously underplayed by the authorities. As a result of this apparent paradox, and at times seemingly conflicting evidence, the operation has become the subject of considerable discussion and controversy as to its origins and real intent and purpose.
In addition to providing a narrative of the operation, the tour also considers some of the conflicting attributions surrounding the raid’s planning and consequences, which are still debated to this day.