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The Airmen's Stories - F/O E Cassidy

 

Ernest Cassidy was born on 25th October 1916 and joined the RAF on a short service commission in December 1937. He completed his elementary flying training and on 5th March 1938 was posted to 7 FTS Peterborough, after which he joined 25 Squadron at Hawkinge on 17th September.

Cassidy was posted to 249 Squadron at North Weald on 21st October 1940. In May 1941 the squadron was ordered to the Middle East. It sailed in the carrier HMS Furious on the 12th.

 

Above: Cassidy (left) with P/O ARF Thompson of 249

 

At Gibraltar the Hurricanes were transferred to HMS Ark Royal, which then sailed into the Mediterranean. On 21st May 249 flew off to Malta and once there was told that it would be staying. On 9th July Cassidy shot a SM79 down into the sea. At the end of the month he was posted as a Flight Commander to the Malta Night Fighter Unit, then about to be formed.


On the night of 5th/6th August he destroyed a Fiat BR20, on the 26th he shared in damaging two more and on 9th November he damaged an enemy bomber.

Cassidy was awarded the DFC (gazetted 2nd January 1942) and returned to the UK, becoming a Flight Commander at 61 OTU Rednal.

He commanded 64 Squadron from November 1943 to April 1945. He served in the RAF postwar and was one of the first pilots to qualify on the Canberra.

Awarded the AFC (gazetted 5th June 1952), he retired on 1st June 1958 as a Squadron Leader, retaining the rank of Wing Commander.

He died in 1995.

 

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