Geoffrey Pidcock

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Geoffrey Arthur Henzell Pidcock
Born (1897-11-06)6 November 1897
Eastbourne, Sussex, England
Died 12 February 1976(1976-02-12) (aged 78)
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Royal Air Force
Years of service 1916–1951
Rank Air Vice-Marshal
Unit
Commands held
  • No. 55 Squadron RAF
  • No. 1 Air Observers School
  • Director of Armament Development
  • President of the Ordnance Board
  • Director-General of Armament
  • Director-General of Technical Services
Battles/wars First World War
 • Western Front
Second World War
Awards Companion of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Croix de guerre (France)
Legion of Merit (USA)

Air Vice-Marshal Geoffrey Arthur Henzell Pidcock CB, CBE (6 November 1897 – 12 February 1976) was a senior officer of the British Royal Air Force. After becoming a flying ace in the First World War, credited with six aerial victories,[1] he remained in the newly created Royal Air Force after the war, serving as a senior officer during the Second World War and specializing in the development of armaments. He retired in 1951.

Early life and education[edit]

Pidcock was born in Eastbourne, Sussex, and was educated at St Cyprian's School there,[2] and then at Haileybury College, Hertfordshire, from 1911. He left school in February 1915,[3] and joined the Royal Flying Corps as a cadet in April 1916.[4]

First World War[edit]

Pidcock completed his basic flight training, and was awarded Royal Aero Club Aviators' Certificate No. 3259 on 17 July 1916,[4] being commissioned as a second lieutenant (on probation) the same day.[5] He was appointed a flying officer on 4 August,[6] and was confirmed in his rank on 24 August.[7] Although posted to No. 60 Squadron in August 1916,[4] he did not gain his first aerial victory until 5 April 1917, when flying a Nieuport 17 he shared in the driving down out of control of an Albatros D.III over Riencourt with five other pilots.[1] Soon after, on 14 April, he was appointed a flight commander with the temporary rank of captain,[8] and shortly afterwards returned to England where he was transferred to No. 44 Squadron on Home Defence duties.[4] In October 1917 he was posted to the Fighter Instructors' Refresher Course,[4] and on 17 December 1917 was promoted to lieutenant.[9]

Pidcock returned to France in March 1918, posted to No. 73 Squadron, flying the Sopwith Camel, and soon after, on 1 April, the Army's Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service were merged to form the Royal Air Force. A week later, on 7 April, Pidcock drove down a Fokker Dr.I north of Lamotte, and on the 12th he destroyed an Albatros D.V over Lestrem. On 3 May he drove down another D.V over Ploegsteert, and on 11 June gained his fifth victory by destroying another D.V north-east of Courcelles, earning his "ace" status. Two days later, on 13 June, he shared in the destruction of a Type C reconnaissance aircraft south of Thiescourt.[1] On 23 September he was awarded the Croix de guerre by France.[10]

Inter-war career[edit]

Pidcock remained in the Royal Air Force after the end of the war, being granted a short service commission with the rank of flying officer on 24 October 1919.[11] He was sent to India in early 1920 to serve in No. 1 Squadron,[4] and on 1 January 1922 he was promoted to flight lieutenant.[12] On 6 March 1923 his short service commission was made permanent,[13] and he was then posted to the headquarters of Iraq Command on 23 March,[14] as a supernumerary officer on administrative duties.[4] He returned to the Home Establishment on 13 November 1923, temporarily assigned to the RAF Depot,[15] until posted to No. 19 Squadron, based at Duxford, on 15 December.[16] On 18 August 1924 Pidcock was posted to the Armament and Gunnery School at Eastchurch,[17] then on 27 February 1925 to the Staff at the headquarters of No. 7 Group at Andover,[18] then to the headquarters of the Wessex Bombing Area on 12 April 1926.[19] On 22 October 1928 he joined the Air Staff at the Directorate of Training, based at the Air Ministry in London,[20] and there on 25 July 1929 he married Evelyn Catherine Watkin[21] (née Hardacre), widow of Hugh Watkin.[22]

Pidcock was promoted to squadron leader on 14 May 1930,[23] and returned to Iraq to command No. 55 Squadron, based at Hinaidi, until 17 June 1933.[24] On 26 August he was appointed Armament Officer at the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Martlesham Heath,[25] serving there until 1 January 1935,[26] and on 21 January he returned to Eastchurch to serve as an Armament Officer at the Air Armament School there.[27] On 1 January 1937 Pidcock was promoted to wing commander,[28] and on 2 August was appointed Officer Commanding of No. 1 Air Observers School at North Coates Fitties.[29]

Second World War[edit]

On 28 September 1939, soon after the declaration of war on Germany, Pidcock was appointed Assistant Director Armament (Bombs),[4] and served as a member of the Ordnance Board, based at the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich.[30] On 1 January 1940 he was appointed a temporary group captain,[31] and on 24 April was transferred to the RAF Technical Branch.[32]

On 1 December 1941 he was appointed a temporary air commodore,[33] and in February 1942 was appointed Director of Armament Development at the Ministry of Aircraft Production,[34] where he was involved in the introduction of a number of new weapons. These included the RP-3 rocket projectile, the Hurricane Mk IID "tank-buster" equipped with the 40 mm Vickers S cannon, the Mosquito FB Mk XVIII Tsetse equipped with the Molins 6-pounder gun, and the "Tallboy" and "Grand Slam" earthquake bombs.[35] On 14 April 1942 he was promoted to group captain, while still holding the temporary rank of air commodore,[36]

In January 1944 Pidcock was appointed Vice-President of the Ordnance Board at the Ministry of Supply,[35] and on 1 May was appointed an acting air vice-marshal.[37] On 1 May 1945 he was granted the war substantive rank of air commodore,[38] and in August 1945 was appointed President of the Ordnance Board.[35]

Post-war career[edit]

Following the end of the war, Pidcock was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) on 1 January 1946,[39] and the same day he appointed a temporary air vice-marshal.[40] On 5 November 1946 Pidcock was granted permission to wear the insignia of a Commander of the Legion of Merit which has been conferred on him by the United States,[41] and presented to him in October by the military attaché Major-General Clayton Lawrence Bissell "for exceptional meritorious service as Director of Armament Development."[42]

On 1 July 1947 he was promoted to air vice-marshal,[43] and on 14 October was appointed Director-General of Armament at the Air Ministry.[35] On 1 January 1948 Pidcock was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB).[44] By 1950 he was serving as Director-General of Technical Services,[45] and on 23 April 1951 retired at own request.[46]

Pidcock died on 12 February 1976.[1]

References[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ a b c d "Geoffrey Arthur Henzell Pidcock". The Aerodrome. 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  2. ^ St Cyprian's Chronicle, 1919
  3. ^ "Recipients of the Croix de Guerre". Haileybury Independent Boarding School. 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Barrass, M. B. (2015). "G. A. H. Pidcock". Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  5. ^ "No. 29634". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 June 1916. pp. 6202–6203. 
  6. ^ "No. 29723". The London Gazette. 25 August 1916. p. 8399. 
  7. ^ "No. 29722". The London Gazette (Supplement). 22 August 1916. p. 8384. 
  8. ^ "No. 30044". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 May 1917. p. 4167. 
  9. ^ "No. 30774". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 June 1918. p. 7730. 
  10. ^ "No. 13325". The Edinburgh Gazette. 23 September 1918. p. 3541. 
  11. ^ "No. 31616". The London Gazette. 24 October 1919. pp. 13032–13033. 
  12. ^ "No. 32563". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1921. p. 10720. 
  13. ^ "No. 32803". The London Gazette. 6 March 1923. p. 1823. 
  14. ^ "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight. XV (750): 257. 10 May 1923. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  15. ^ "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight. XV (779): 731. 29 November 1923. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  16. ^ "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight. XV (781): 757. 13 December 1923. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  17. ^ "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight. XVI (816): 519. 14 August 1924. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  18. ^ "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight. XVII (847): 171. 19 March 1925. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  19. ^ "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight. XVIII (904): 251. 22 April 1926. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  20. ^ "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight. XX (1038): 995. 15 November 1928. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  21. ^ "Personals: Married". Flight. XXI (1078): 909. 22 August 1929. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  22. ^ Office for National Statistics, Marriage indices.
  23. ^ "No. 33605". The London Gazette. 13 May 1930. p. 2966. 
  24. ^ "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight. XXV (1284): 791. 3 August 1933. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  25. ^ "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight. XXV (1389): 903. 7 September 1933. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  26. ^ "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight. XXVII (1362): 128. 31 January 1935. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  27. ^ "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight. XXVII (1365): 205. 21 February 1935. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  28. ^ "No. 34356". The London Gazette. 1 January 1937. p. 17. 
  29. ^ "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight. XXXII (1495): 197. 19 August 1937. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  30. ^ The Air Force List. London: Ministry of Defence. December 1939. p. 49. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  31. ^ "No. 34765". The London Gazette. 2 January 1940. p. 24. 
  32. ^ "No. 35273". The London Gazette. 12 September 1941. p. 5295. 
  33. ^ "No. 35435". The London Gazette. 27 January 1942. p. 450. 
  34. ^ "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight. XLV (1848): 567. 25 May 1944. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  35. ^ a b c d "Service Aviation: R.A.F. Appointment". Flight. LII (2028): 535. 6 November 1947. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  36. ^ "No. 35525". The London Gazette. 14 April 1942. p. 1650. 
  37. ^ "No. 36524". The London Gazette (Supplement). 19 May 1944. p. 2340. 
  38. ^ "No. 37114". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 June 1945. p. 2889. 
  39. ^ "No. 37407". The London Gazette. 28 December 1945. p. 32. 
  40. ^ "No. 37423". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 January 1946. p. 349. 
  41. ^ "No. 37776". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 November 1946. p. 5404. 
  42. ^ "Royal Air Force: News in Brief". Flight. L (1975): 469. 31 October 1946. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  43. ^ "No. 38015". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 July 1947. p. 3256. 
  44. ^ "No. 38161". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1947. p. 4. 
  45. ^ "Higher Organization of the R.A.F". Flight. LVIII (2167): 14. 6 July 1950. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  46. ^ "No. 39217". The London Gazette (Supplement). 27 April 1951. p. 2453. 
Bibliography
  • Shores, Christopher F.; Franks, Norman & Guest, Russell F. (1990). Above the Trenches: a Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the British Empire Air Forces 1915–1920. London, UK: Grub Street. ISBN 978-0-948817-19-9.