RAF Regiment Commemorates Courageous Desert Hero Casano MC

24 November 2006

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Service In Thanksgiving by the RAF RegimentA Service of Thanksgiving took place on Thursday, 23rd November at St Clement Danes Church in London to commemorate the distinguished military service of WWII RAF officer, Squadron Leader Michael Casano MC. Sqn Ldr Casano, who died at the age of 93 in July, was considered one of the RAF's most colourful and dashing characters during the desert campaigns of the Second World War. Known affectionately as “Cass” by all who knew him, he commanded No2 Armoured Car Company from 1941-43. He was noted for his √©lan and leadership and was awarded the Military Cross for his sustained gallantry and leadership during the Iraq Revolt of 1941. His Military Cross citation read: “…the work that his Company performed was a triumph of organisation and foresight…he operated virtually alone and his zeal and devotion to duty deserves the highest praise. He displayed the greatest gallantry.”

RAF RegimentThe Thanksgiving service at St Clement Danes, which is the Central Church of the Royal Air Force, was attended by members of the Armoured Car Companies Association, the RAF Regiment Association and serving officers and men from the RAF Regiment. Air Commodore Peter Drissel, Commandant General of the RAF Regiment, reading from the eulogy, said of Casano, “He knew just what to do and how to get his men to achieve it. They loved him for his style of leadership – fearless but not foolhardy. He rarely ordered his men to do anything. Always preferring to ask or suggest what his requirements might be. There is no doubt that his men would have followed him to the ends of the earth.”

No2 Armoured Car Company was the forerunner of the elite No2 Squadron of today's RAF Regiment. Squadron Leader David Tait, who until recently, commanded No 2 Squadron met Casano only a month before he died. “Cass was a truly inspirational leader and a real character. When I last spoke to him, he was in excellent form and still had that glint and sparkle in his eye. He was extremely modest and would never talk about his deeds; indeed, he was more interested in what the Squadron had been up to recently.

Squadron Leader Michael Casano MC"There is however, a group of men who worked for him whom I met the other weekend. The level of respect that these men showed to Cass was immense and this Thanksgiving Service is a truly fitting tribute to a man who was a genuine hero”. During the Second World War other units knew Casano's Company simply as “Cass' Boys”. Many years later at reunions his men, now in advanced years, held him in such high esteem and respect that when he entered a room every man would stand.” WWII veteran John Evans travelled from Folkestone to attend the service. He had served with the Royal Engineers in Iraq and had known Sqn Ldr Casano for the twenty years as a fellow member of the Folkestone Rowing Club. He said, “[Casano] epitomised an English gentleman of the finest quality…he was always full of praise for everyone.”

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