PICKARD, Cecil Gerard Verity

1st World War
Date of Birth
Date Attested
Attested at
Toronto, Ontario
Regimental Number
Second Lieutenant
Date of Death
Age at Death
22 years
Biographical Summary

RANK:                                Second Lieutenant
SQUADRON:                     Royal Air Force
                                             No. 41 Wing
                                             104th Squadron
                                             Motto: “Strike Hard”
                                             Independent Force
SERVICE NO:                   C595
RESIDENCE:                    Toronto - Ontario
DATE OF BIRTH:            August 19, 1896
                                             Exeter – Stephen / Usborne Townships – County of Huron - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH:           August 22, 1918                   22 years
CEMETERY:                     Niederzwehren Cemetery – Kassel –
                                             Hessen – Germany
                                             II     H      16
PARENTS:                         Mr. Robert and Elizabeth Pickard – Exeter - Ontario
Occupation:                        Student                                 Religion:     Methodist
Enlistment:                         February 8, 1917 – Toromto – Ontario into the Canadian Army Dental Corps.
Enlistment Age:                 20 years     5 months

He and shipmates boarded the SS Justicia in Halifax on May 3, 1917 and arrived in Liverpool on May 14, 1917. On the same day he was appointed Acting Sergeant and then attached to the Segregation Camp at Ptterpool then he was attached to the Canadian Depot in Shorncliffe for dental services.
On October 20, 1917 he transferred to the General Depot for courses with the Royal Flying Corps based in Shorncliffe. He was then on command to No. 2 Cadet Wing of the Royal Flying Corps on October 22, 1917 which was based at Hastings.
He was Taken on Strength with the Military School of Aeronautics also in Hastings on January 4, 1918. Then we was Taken off Strength and discharged from the Royal Flying Corps at the end of January 1918 as he had been appointed to a command in the Imperial Army, Royal Flying 
No. 104 Squadron went to France in May 1918 and was posted to the bombing force which on June 6th became
   known as the Independent Force.
From June 8th this squadron was engaged on long-range daylight bombing raids into Germany.
No.104 Squadron had to reform three times due to heavy losses of machines and men. The squadron was based at St. Azelot in the Lorraine area of France.
The squadron was equipped with the De Havilland DH9 – a British bomber – single engine – underpowered -  unreliable engine – low power which caused very heavy losses.
The maximum speed of the DH9 was 113 mph – a maximum ceiling of 15,500 feet and an endurance time of 4½ hours in the air.
Between May and November of 1918 two squadrons (99 & 104) lost 54 aircraft to enemy aircraft.
This aircraft had a crew of two - had one forward firing Vickers machine gun and two rear facing Vickers machine guns and could carry 460 pounds of bombs.
104 Squadron became part of the Independent Force and from June 6, 1918 until the end of the war they carried out long distance day time raids into Germany. On most of the raids 104 Squadeon met heavy opposition from large formations of enemy fighters. During this period they lost 54 aircraft and destroyed 30 aircraft and shot down another 27. As well during this period they dropped 41 tons of bombs mostly on German towns far behind the lines. These locations had enemy railways, enemy aerodromes and industrial centres. 
On the day of his death he was the Observer on this flight and he had two Vickers machie guns which were rear facing. The DeHaviland DH9 on this day was piloted by 2nd Lieutenant R. J. Searle who became a Prisoner of War following this flight. Second Lieutenant Pickard and his pilot we attacked by a much faster and more agile enemy aircraft and he died in action performing his duties.