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The Airmen's Stories - F/O C W Passy


Cyril Woolrich Passy, whose family came from Cornwood, Devon was born on 27th February 1916 in Quetta, India.

Passy's grandfather, Captain De Lacy Dayrell Passy, died on service with the Indian Army in Baluchistan in 1868.

His father, Major De Lacy Woolrich Passy, was serving with the 25th Punjabis in India when he married Nora Miles (1882-1968) in Surbiton on 8th May 1915.

He was then attached to the 8th (Service) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers for the Gallipoli landings. He was wounded there in early August and died on 12th August. He is buried in the Lancashire Landing Cemetery there.

His only brother, Captain Logan Deare Passy, was killed serving with the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry at La Bassee on 21st October 1914 and lies in the Guard's Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy.


CW Passy attended Marlborough College from 1930 to 1935.

He was awarded a School Scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge where he obtained a BA in Modern Languages. He was commissioned in the RAFVR in November 1937 and was called to full-time service in October 1939.

Passy completed his training and arrived at 5 OTU Aston Down on 24th March 1940. After converting to Hurricanes he joined 605 Squadron at Wick on 22nd April 1940.



On 15th August he made a forced-landing one mile from Usworth after a combat off the east coast, in Hurricane P3827, unhurt. Passy shared in destroying a Me109 on 7th October and on the 26th he made a forced-landing at Town Row Green, Mark Cross in Hurricane P3737 after being damaged in combat with Me109s.

He was shot down by a Me109 on 1st December and baled out, wounded. He was posted to RAF Cranage on the 18th to join 96 Squadron, about to be formed there from 422 Flight.

In 1942 Passy was serving with 89 Squadron in the Middle East and later North Africa. On 20th December 1942 he destroyed a Do217 and a Ju88.

He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 12th February 1943).

Later serving with 138 Special Operations Squadron, Passy was captain of Halifax II NF-W LW281 on the night of 18th/19th October 1943 which was on a sortie to drop two Dutch agents by parachute. Hit by flak, the Halifax crash-landed at Larum, west of Geel in Belgium. The crew and agents survived and were able to make contact with the Resistance. His crew comprised:

F/O GEA Hadgett
P/O RP Mantle
F/Sgt. JE Grout
F/Sgt. KI Rabson DFM
Sgt. JP Healey RCAF
Sgt. J Bruce

They were processed along the Comet escape line to Spain but not with Passy, who was held back until his identity could be verified. The fact that he spoke French and German had aroused suspicion. He was eventually sent via Paris, Bordeaux and Bayonne to the Spanish border, which he crossed on foot on 6th December 1943.

Passy was made an OBE (gazetted 14th June 1945) and retired from the RAF on 4th June 1947 as a Squadron Leader, retaining the rank of Wing Commander.

He died in June 1971 at Plympton, Devon.


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