Thomas Prickett


Air Chief Marshal Sir Thomas Öther Prickett, KCB, DSO, DFC (31 July 1913 – 23 January 2010) was a Royal Air Force bomber pilot in the Second World War and a senior commander in the 1950s and 1960s. He was chief of staff to the air commander, Air Marshal Denis Barnett, for Operation Musketeer (the Anglo-French-Israeli plan for the invasion of Egypt to capture the Suez Canal during the Suez Crisis).

Sir Thomas Prickett
Birth nameThomas Öther Prickett
Born(1913-07-31)31 July 1913
Lindfield, Sussex
Died23 January 2010(2010-01-23) (aged 96)
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchRoyal Air Force
Years of service1937–70
RankAir Chief Marshal
Commands held

RAF career Edit

Educated at Haileybury, Prickett initially worked on sugar estates in India before deciding to join the Royal Air Force in 1937.[1] He served in the Second World War initially as a pilot with No. 148 Squadron flying Wellington bombers and latterly as a flight commander with No. 103 Squadron flying Lancaster bombers.[1] He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order following a very successful bombing raid on the Peenemünde Army Research Center.[2][3]

After the war he was made Station Commander at RAF Tangmere before joining the Air Staff at Headquarters Middle East Air Force in 1951 and then becoming Station Commander at RAF Jever in Germany in 1954.[1] With the Suez Crisis unfolding in autumn 1956, he was appointed Chief of Staff for Operation Musketeer.[1] The planning for the operation was undertaken in great secrecy over a three-month period in a basement office at the Air Ministry.[2]

Returning to the UK he became Director of Air Staff Briefing at the Air Ministry in December 1956, Director of Policy at the Air Ministry early in 1958 and then Senior Air Staff Officer at Headquarters No. 1 Group in May 1958.[1] He went on to be Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Operations) in 1960, Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Policy & Planning) in 1963 and Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Near East Air Force (including responsibility for British Forces Cyprus and Administration of the Sovereign Base Areas) in 1964.[1] He was knighted KCB in the 1965 Birthday Honours.[4] His final appointments were as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Transport Command (subsequently renamed Support Command) in 1967 and as Air Member for Supply and Organisation in 1968 before he retired in 1970.[1]

In retirement he assisted the Duke of Richmond to redevelop the Goodwood estate.[2]

Family Edit

In 1942 he married Betty, an American woman; they had a son and a daughter.[2] Following the death of his first wife, he married Shirley Westerman in 1985;[2] she died in 2023.[5]

References Edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation – Air Chief Marshal Sir Thomas Prickett
  2. ^ a b c d e "Air Chief Marshal Sir Thomas Prickett". The Telegraph. 26 January 2010.
  3. ^ "No. 36183". The London Gazette (Supplement). 21 September 1943. p. 4245.
  4. ^ "No. 43667". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 June 1965. p. 5473.
  5. ^ "Prickett". Register. The Times. No. 74131. London. 24 June 2023. col 3, p. 78.
Military offices
Preceded by
Station Commander RAF Tangmere
Succeeded by
J A Kent
Preceded by
G Powell-Shedden
Station Commander RAF Jever
Succeeded by
Preceded by Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Near East Air Force
Commander British Forces Cyprus

Succeeded by
Preceded by Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief RAF Transport Command
Command renamed Air Support Command
Command formed by renaming RAF Transport Command Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Air Support Command
Succeeded by
Preceded by Air Member for Supply and Organisation
Succeeded by