Operation Jericho (Ramrod 564) on this day in 1944 was an Allied bombing raid of the Amiens Prison in German-occupied France to rescue French Resistance prisoners.
Mosquito fighter-bombers led by a Captain Pickard breached the prison walls, buildings and destroyed guard barracks.
With 832 prisoners, 102 reportedly died during the bombing and 74 were wounded. Then 258 escaped including 79 of the Resistance; a third of these were never recaptured by the Nazis.
Pickard spent more time over the target than any other aircraft in his style of leadership. After the bombing ended he loitered in air, waiting for smoke to clear and see prisoners escaping from the prison.
His final words were a code for success “Red Daddy, Red Daddy” before two German FW190 targeted him. Although he evaded for some time his tail was hit; Pickard and his operator crashed and died.
“Per Ardua Ad Astra” as the RAF Motto says… which doesn’t really translate to death or glory but it’s close.