An exceptionally rare Fighter Pilot’s
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Zuschlagspreis: n. a.
An exceptionally rare Fighter Pilot’s C.G.M. group of five awarded posthumously to Pilot Officer John Casson, No. 250 Squadron, Royal Air Force, together with the group of four awarded to his brother, Sergeant W. H. Casson, killed whilst serving with No. 102 (Ceylon) Squadron Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (Flying), G.VI.R. (778890 F/Sgt. J. Casson, R.A.F.); 1939-45 Star; Africa Star; Italy Star; War Medal, these last four officially engraved as issued by the Rhodesian Government (P/O. J. Casson, C.G.M. 250 Sqdn.) in box of issue with official Rhodesian named condolence slip, and a contemporary manuscript page giving information on John Casson’s movements with 250 Squadron in 1944; together with his brother’s group of four, comprising 1939-45 Star; Air Crew Europe Star; Defence & War Medals (778385 Sgt. W. H. Casson, 102 Sqdn.) in box of issue with official Rhodesian named condolence slip, extremely fine (9) £5000-7000 Footnote C.G.M. London Gazette 23 June 1944: ‘One morning in May, 1944, this airman took part in an attack on mechanical transport on the Alatri-Frosinone Road. Despite intense opposing fire, Flight Sergeant Casson pressed home his attacks with great determination. Whilst making a second run over the target his aircraft was hit by a shell. Flight Sergeant Casson was badly wounded in the thigh. Although faint through the loss of blood and shock, this valiant pilot flew his damaged aircraft to base. He was unable to operate one rudder-bar owing to his exhausted condition. Nevertheless, he effected a safe landing. As he was lifted from the controls, Flight Sergeant Casson collapsed. This airman displayed courage, fortitude and devotion to duty of the highest order.’ Pilot Officer John Casson, a P-40 Kittyhawk pilot from Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, was educated at Plumtree School, and as a Desert Air Force Sergeant Pilot in early 1944 flew anti-shipping and ground attack missions with 250 (Sudan) Squadron during the Battle for Rome. On 16 February 1944, as part of the long effort to break the Gustav Line, he took part in an early attack on the line’s strongpoint, the monastery at Cassino. On 2 March he reportedly ‘sunk a 3,000 ton ship with a direct hit forward of the funnel’, the results later being ‘confirmed by reconnaissance’; and in April, ‘broke an Adriatic coast bridge with another direct hit’, in the face of intense flak. On 12 May 1944 the operations of 239 Wing intensified with the Fifth Army’s big push on the Gustav Line and the breakout from the Anzio bridgehead. 250 Squadron joined in the operation of the famous Cassino ‘Cab Rank’ by which its Kittyhawks bombed and strafed mortar and gun positions, tanks and M.T. columns, with successes measured in terms of ‘flamers’, ‘smokers’, and ‘damaged’. On 26 May, Casson, whose commission was about to be promulgated, led ‘an armed recce of Kitty bombers which destroyed 10 German vehicles’, and next day was again given his head; his Flight Commander, Flt.-Lieut. Lucas McBryde, of Adelaide, flying as his number two on an armed reconnaissance of the Caprino-Arche-Frosinone road. Leading twelve aircraft, Casson sighted twenty plus enemy vehicles facing Alatri, and took Red Section into the attack, obtaining ‘4 direct hits on the road and scoring 1 M.T. destroyed’ when it blew in flames shooting 300 feet into the air. Flak was intense from several points and during the run McBryde’s aircraft was hit in the engine and wings forcing him to break off and to ultimately to belly-land on the Allied side of the lines. Casson meanwhile took Red Section up to act as top cover while Blue Section attacked and scored further hits. ‘Pilots in Casson’s section heard the other leader call out “Loads of Ack-ack,”’ before Casson went in to strafe the vehicles a second time. ‘After he was hit, Casson said over the radio: “My leg’s been pretty well shot off.” Pilots who heard him say this thought he meant the leg of his undercarriage.’ Although seriously wounded and with his Kittyhawk, F
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