550 Squadron Photos

Flight Lieutenant Jim Cassidy DFC* (RAAF)

Many of the photographs and documents on this page were kindly made available by F/Lt James Cassidy DFC* (RAAF), a Navigator with 550 Squadron; this was his second operational tour (the first being with 12/626 Squadron out of RAF Wickenby).

S/Ldr W F Caldow Crew

The S/Ldr Caldow crew were posted to 550 Sqdn from No. L.F.S. w.e.f. 13.11.44:

Below are some photographs of the crew and individuals in London for awarding of decorations at Buckingham Palace.

Flight Lieutenant Cassidy The upper picture includes F/Lt Cassidy when collecting his Bar to DFC at Buckingham Palace in 1945.

The lower picture shows the S/Ldr Caldow crew, taken in North Killinghome in March 1945.
Flight Lieutenant Cassidy F/Lt Cassidy in London on the occasion of his brother Hugh Cassidy (Navy) collecting his DSM.

F/Lt Cassidy (RAAF) and his brother Hugh Cassidy (credited with a couple of kills on Baltic patrols where he served as a gunner).

Three other Cassidy brothers served in Australian forces in the Pacific theatre, with the last brother still too young to join up when the war ended.
- Photo taken during training in Canada
- F/Lt Cassidy in the Met. Office, North Killingholme, December 1944

F/Lt Cassidy Medals

Medals Medals Left-to-right:
DFC and Bar
The 1939-1945 Star
The Air-Crew Europe Star (France and Germany)
The Defence Medal (1939-1945)
War Medal (1939-1945)
Australia Service Medal (1939-1945)

F/O Cassidy was awarded the DFC during his first tour with 626 Squadron (London Gazette 21 April 1944) for a specific incident as recorded in 626 Squadron crews (page 6). Later the then F/Lt Cassidy added a Bar to DFC completing his second tour with 550 Squadron, see London Gazette 23 October 1945.

Squadron and Operational Documents

Operations Lists

F/Lt Cassidy completed two full operational tours - the first with 12/626 Squadron and the second with 550 Squadron - and saw war service from 6th December 1942 until demobbed on 27th February 1946. He made a total of nine visits to Berlin during his time with the 12/626 Squadron. In the period between his two operational tours he was an instructor. He flew the majority of his operations in Lancasters (Marks I and III), but also a number of his early (12/626 Sqdn) operations in Wellingtons. He also flew in Halifaxes and trained, of course, in Ansons. Below are the full lists of the operations undertaken on F/Lt Cassidy's two tours.

Flight Lieutenant Cassidy F/Lt Cassidy, first tour ops (with 12/626 Sdqn, flying out of RAF Wickenby).

These operations were the subject of the book Lancaster Target by Jack Currie, Cassidy's pilot. This book has been described as ".. one of the best three books about life in Bomber Command during World War II".

See also The Lancaster Legend Vintage TV documentary 'The Lancaster Legend', made in 1980 to accompany the late S/Ldr Jack Currie's book 'Lancaster Target' (YouTube video)

In total the Currie crew visited Berlin nine times, including the last operation of their tour.
Their visit to Hamburg was particularly difficult and they eventually limped home, after falling in an uncontrolled spin for 10000ft, having to jettison the bomb load before reaching the target, and with ailerons missing with pilot Currie steering by engine control alone.
Flight Lieutenant Cassidy F/Lt Cassidy second tour ops (with 550 Sdqn, flying out of RAF North Killingholme).

The 2nd op, on BQ-B, The Phantom of the Ruhr, to Aschaffenburg was the last op for the Phantom of the Ruhr; S/Ldr Caldow, a very experienced pilot, had her grounded on their return as no longer air-worthy.

Some other flights were "exciting". For example, the operation to Ulm on NG336 on 17th December: NG336 was hit, not by flak, but by incendaries from an aircraft flying above (a not uncommon occurence); a fuel tank was pierced but amazingly they managed to limp home. Later Steve George (F/Eng) expressed astonishment the tank had not ignited.

Log Books

- Log Book Cover

Interestingly the title is "RCAF Observer's and Air Gunners Flying Log Book". F/Lt Cassidy was of course RAAF having enlisted in Brisbane, but the first part of his training was carried out in Canada which is clearly where he took delivery of his documentation.

Click here to see further pages from the log book, or specifically 550 operations and training.

Click here to see further pages from the log book (626 Squadron operations).

Navigation Charts

Navigation log Aschaffenburg 27/11/1944 (Page 1)

Click here to see the remainder of this chart and further charts for 550 Squadron operations

Click here to see the charts for 626 Squadron operations

550 Squadron Battle Order (Nuremberg)

Flight Lieutenant Cassidy 550 Squadron battle order on the night of 16 March 1945 (target: Nuremberg)
S/L Caldow and crew completed their tour of operations with this flight, coming home on three engines
Sadly one of the crews on the list (NG336, pilot F/O Liefooghe) FTR from this operation. F/O Liefooghe became a PoW but the remainder of the crew were killed. Click here for details.

Service Record Documents

Training in Canada

Like many air-crew F/Lt Cassidy did his training in Canada; some of the documents associated with his time in Canada are shown below.

Flight Lieutenant Cassidy RCAF ID Card (although a RAAF service-man) while stationed in Halifax in 1942.
Flight Lieutenant Cassidy Flight Lieutenant Cassidy Vaccination date certified while at No. 12 "Y" Depot, RCAF Halifax, NS.
Citation: Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross
Flight Lieutenant Cassidy Flight Lieutenant James Cassidy, Citation for Bar to DFC
Source: http://www.awm.gov.au/: Australian War Memorial - Honours and Awards
Service Career Documentation

Most of these documents have been obtained from the National Archive of Australia, available from the http://www.awm.gov.au/ (Australian War Memorial) web-site. This site provides an online application service (http://www.awm.gov.au/research/people/) to allow relatives and researchers to apply for service records of veterans.

The Australian Government also publishes a Veteran Certificate for servicemen.

Flight Lieutenant Cassidy DFC Citation
Source: National Archive of Australia (and with permission of F/Lt James Cassidy)
Flight Lieutenant Cassidy Citation for Bar to DFC
Source: National Archive of Australia (and with permission of F/Lt James Cassidy)
Flight Lieutenant Cassidy Return from Active Service Badge
Source: National Archive of Australia (and with permission of F/Lt James Cassidy)
Flight Lieutenant Cassidy Operational, Non-Operational and and Training Details
Detailing training in Canada on Ansons and HCU on Halifax and Lancasters
Active operations with 626 and 550 Squadrons
Source: F/L James Cassidy (by way of AU site)
Flight Lieutenant Cassidy Certificate of Service
Source: National Archive of Australia (and with permission of F/Lt James Cassidy)
Flight Lieutenant Cassidy Certificate of Service and Discharge
Source: National Archive of Australia (and with permission of F/Lt James Cassidy)
12/626 Squadron Records

F/Lt (then F/O) Cassidy carried out his first tour with 12/626 Squadron flying out of RAF Wickenby, first in Wellingtons, later in Lancasters. His pilot was Jack Currie who, post-war, became well-known writing several books and making a number of TV documentaries about his war-time service.

- Jack Currie DFC

On Ops: Dresden

Notes made by F/L Cassidy when recording his experiences with RAAF. These notes are from an addendum to a family history in which he records a typical day in the life of an operational air crew of Bomber Command, and in particular he describes the raids on Dresden.

Flight Lieutenant Cassidy

Addendum, page 1.
Stationed at North Killingholme
Flight Lieutenant Cassidy

Addendum, page 2.
Crew informed they would be taking part in the Dresden Raid
Flight Lieutenant Cassidy

Addendum, page 3.
Route details to Dresden
Flight Lieutenant Cassidy

Addendum, page 4.
Flight Lieutenant Cassidy

Addendum, page 5.
Return from Dresden and debriefing
Flight Lieutenant Cassidy

Addendum, page 6.
Extract from the book "Churchill - A Life" by Martin Gilbert detailing the reasons for the Dresen raid.
Flight Lieutenant Cassidy Addendum to Notes - full document, 6 pages, ca. 4.5M
Source: F/Lt James Cassidy

Cullybackey Branch Royal British Legion: War Time Memories

Below are a few pages from a booklet, War Time Memories, published a number of years ago by Cullybackey Branch Royal British Legion. The booklet features an article by F/Lt James Cassidy, a navigator with RAF 550 Squadron.

Front CoverPage 6-7Page 8-9Page 10-11
RBL: Lanc Navigator RBL: Lanc Navigator RBL: Lanc Navigator RBL: Lanc Navigator

Caldow Crew Reunion (1990s)

Flight Lieutenant Cassidy Caldow Crew (1990s reunion but with Reg Sloggett (B/A) absent)
L-to-R: Charles Squires, Jim Cassidy, Willie Caldow, Derrick Gear, Jack Marston, Steve George
Picture taken in the 1990s (possibly 1992) at the house of Derrick Gear
Picture made available by James Cassidy (Nav) and by the son-in-law of Charles (Sam) Squires

2007 Unveiling of The Phantom of the Ruhr

Unveiling of BQ-B, The Phantom of the Ruhr as the BBMF Lancaster at RAF Coningsby in April 2007.

Jack Harris, current BBMF Lancaster Pilot
Jim Cassidy and another 550 Squadron member
Jim Cassidy, Steve George, Jack Harris
550 Squadron (various)
Jim Cassidy walking back from the fly-past
The champagne tent attracts interest
Jim and Steve George can be seen
Steve George and Jim Cassidy

War Service

F/Lt Cassidy wrote some pages for a family history (he was one of six brothers five of whom volunteered for war service, and each of whom contributed a chapter to the book). Two of the brothers fought in Europe and three in the Pacific. This is F/Lt Cassidy's chapter.

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Jim Cassidy died in July 2015 at the age of 93 in Ballymena, Northern Ireland.

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At his funeral one of his granddaughters read a poem she had written about her grandfather.

Flight Lieutenant Cassidy Respect - A poem about Jim Cassidy
By Elizabeth Coulter, proud granddaughter of Jim Cassidy
Flight Lieutenant Cassidy "Respect for man who fought for freedom at 23":
The poem was published on the Letters page of The Bristol Post: letter from Nigel Currie (son of Jack Currie DFC (Jim's first tour pilot)