2 June 1916 – Lancelot Prickett

Today, Captain Lancelot Pickett was killed at Netheravon when his aircraft burst into flames following a crash. He was the passenger in a training flight in a Morane-Salunier Type L aircraft with Lieutenant William Archibald Buchanan for. The aircraft taxied out of the hangar for takeoff. As the aircraft left the ground it banked steeply before side slipping into the ground. Officers and men to the wreck site where they managed to drag Buchanan out of the wreckage before the petrol tank exploded. Lancelot Prickett was trapped under the wreckage of the aircraft and could not be rescued. The fire was put out with sand and his body was recovered..

Lancelot Prickett was born at 20 Brookdale Avenue, Ilfracombe in Devon on the 3rd of September 1888 the only son of Major William Robert Prickett, Royal Artillery, and Maria Stewart (nee Treffry) Prickett later of Worfield, St Botolph’s Road, West Worthing.

He left Hazelwood School in the spring of 1902 for Marlborough College where he was educated from May 1902 to December 1905. He went on to be instructed by D.J. Cowles Esq. of Manor House, Felixstowe from January 1906 to May 1907.

He applied for the examination for entry to the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich on the 1st of May 1907 and entered in 1908, passing out the following summer. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Garrison Artillery on the 21st of July 1909 and was promoted to Lieutenant on the 23rd of July 1912.

On the 15th of March 1912 he embarked onboard the P&O steamer “Oceana” at Tilbury to travel to India to join his battery at Attock. At 4am the following morning, while some four nautical miles off Beachy Head, the “Oceana” was rammed by the German steel barque “Pisaqua”. He related that he only escaped in night attire and lost of all his kit but he was among two hundred and forty three passengers and crew who were rescued, with seventeen dying when No. 1 Lifeboat overturned while being launched while the vessel was still underway. She sank at 10am.

imageFollowing the outbreak of war he returned from India with the 71st Heavy Battery in December 1914 and went to France where he was involved in actions around Ypres and Hill 60.

In April 1915 he joined the Royal Flying Corps as an Observer and was posted to No.1 Squadron, 2nd Wing on the 1st of July 1915 and was promoted to Captain on the 21st of July 1915. He was in continuous operations over the German lines until October when he returned to England for pilot training.

He obtained his Royal Aero Certificate ( 2335) at the Military School, Catterick on 27 January 1916 flying a Maurice Farman biplane. He was promoted to Flying Officer on the 5th of May 1916 and posted to Netheravon in Wiltshire for further training.


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