WW2 RAF ÒGreat EscapeÓ 1943 Cartoon Caricatures by Flight Lieutenant Henri A Picard One of ÒThe FiftyÓ
These three large caricatures are all signed Henri Picard, who as a member of the Forger Team in Stalag Luft 3 earned his place in the Great Escape, on the run he was captured and one of the 50 Prisoners executed on Adolf HitlerÕs personal orders. The first caricature depicts full length a Flight Lieutenant with an Observer brevet to the chest, smoking a pipe. Signed in pencil ÒHenri Picard 10-3-43Ó. The reverse with a faint ink stamp. ... Accompanying the drawing is an old hand written note ÒThis was William ÒBillÓ Barrett shot down over Rhur mid October 41 just as the Sqdn moved from Oakington to Bourne. He lived at Peterborough before the war. I heard that he died some years ago.Ó .... The second caricature depicts a Flying Officer Air Gunner, he is full length wearing slightly scruffy service dress uniform, with cravat and smoking a pipe. Signed in pencil ÒHenri Picard 10-3-42Ó. This also has an old hand written note ÒThis was ÒRichardÕs an air gunner. He was sole survivor of a Wellington shot down near Sicily on way to Egypt when part of 1010 Sqdn was detached and sent to Middle East to form ? of a new Squadron (Mid 42). .... The third caricature depicts a Pilot Officer Observer, wearing battledress uniform and jumper, he is also smoking a pipe. Signed in pencil ÒHenri Picard 5-3-43Ó There is no additional information to this item. The overall size is 15 x 16 inches. Condition is good the drawings of good quality. Paper with fold marks and pin holes to the corners.
Flight Lieutenant Henri A Picard Croix de Guerre was a Belgian fighter pilot, he was born in 1916, and in 1935 he as commissioned into the Belgium army joining a Cavalry regiment, however his true interest was in flying and soon transferred to the Belgium Air Force. At the outbreak of WW2 he was at an advanced Flying School, which moved to France. After the fall of France, he escaped to Britain and after further training was posted to 131 Squadron in 1941 and later that year 350 Squadron operating Spitfires. Flying operationally through 1942 he shot down three FW-190 German fighters and in August was himself shot down whilst on Bomber escort duties, coming down in the sea he was adrift for six nights, before being picked up off the French coast and captured. Recovering he was sent to the prison camp Luft 3., here he was appointed a forger a under Flight Lieutenant Walenn, this earned him a place in Tunnel Harry on the night of the escape. Waiting anxiously in turn in the tunnel, he got the signal and was up and away, he was free he was on the run, but his taste of freedom would be short lived on the run he was captured within days and on the 29th March he faced Hampton Reinholt Bruchardt from the Danzig Gestapo who shot him, making Flt/Lt Henri Picard one of the Ò50Ó, those Great Escapers who were murdered on HitlerÕs orders. Some of PicardÕs sketches were later exhibited in London with a number appearing in the popular socialite magazine the Tattler. The caricature of Flight Lieutenant William Bill Barratt, is believed to be Flight Lieutenant Walter Barratt, he was serving with 101 Squadron when he was shot down on an op to Dusseldorf on the 3rd October 1941. He was held in Luft 3 from March 1942 through to January 1945. 101 Squadron did move from EAF Oakington to Bourne at the time noted.