No.531 Temp/Sergeant Richard Joseph Casey
Richard Casey was born in July 1894 to John Casey and Margaret Theres Hart at Woodend in Victoria. His father, John Casey, was a local councillor and was the president of that Shire in 1915.
His siblings were all born at Woodend. They were:
- Mary Catherine - born 1896
- John Edward - born 1898
- Terrence - born 1900
Richard Joseph Casey took his Oath and enlisted in the Australian Flying Corp (A.F.C.) at the Sturt Street Recruitment Depot in Melbourne on 4 July 1916, and was sent to the Laverton Base for training with the Reinforcement Australian Military Flying Squadron. While there he was appointed as a Private with the 2nd Flying Squadron A.F.C. on 21 August 1916. (This is when his name was first published in The Werribee Shire Banner's Roll of Honor.) At the time of departure from Australia he had become an Air Mechanic 2nd Class.
The enlistment of R.J. Casey from Woodend was recorded in his parents hometown newspaper.
The Bendigo Advertiser, 6 July 1916, p.5.
Richard embarked at Melbourne per HMAT Ulysses A38 on 25 October 1916 with No 2 Australian Flying Squadron, and the 1 to 4 Reinforcements. They disembarked at Plymouth in England on 23 December 1916. He was then attached to the 69th Australian Squadron, Royal Flying Corps., at South Carlton. *
Between 13 January 1917 and 13 February 1917 Richard attended a wireless course at South Farnborough, and then returned to his unit, where he was promoted to a 1st Class Air Mechanic. He was then attached to the 37th Radio School at Scampton between 3 March 1917 and 20 May 1917. On 2 August 1917, Richard was reclassified as a Wireless Operator, and sent to the Halton Camp, east of Oxford.
Richard was sent to France on 30 November 1917 with No 3 Sqn., A.F.C. / 69 Sqn. They were based at Bailleul in Northern France, and were flying R.E.8 reconnaissance and artillery spotting aircraft.
Between 5 February 1918 and 26 February 1918 he was admitted to the 7nd Australian Field Ambulance for treatment, and then moved to the 7th General Hospital at St. Omer in France, suffering from mumps.
On regaining his health, Richard was attached to the 3rd Squadron, and was remustered on 17 May 1918.
On 12 August 1918 he was appointed as Acting Corporal and was attached for duty with the 1st Division Artillery Headquarters in the field in France. At this time they were stationed in the area around Villers Bretonneux, Corbie and Sailly-Laurette. He was transferred back to 3 Squadron and the Australian Flying Corps on 16 September 1918, and was granted one week’s leave in England. He was also granted a week’s leave in Paris in January 1919.
After his leave 6 February 1919, Acting Corporal Casey was detached to 1st Div Artillery Headquarters on 6 February 1919. At this time they were stationed in the area around Morialme, and they were in the process of demobilising.
On 3 March 1919, Acting Corporal Casey marched out to England from Hevere Camp. He disembarked at Weymouth, and marched in to No. 3 Training Brigade. One month later, on 24 April 1919, Richard was promoted to Acting Sergeant. He was then serving with the A.I.F. Education Service at Lidworth Camp in England.
On 6 May 1919, he embarked for Australia per Kaiser-i-Hind, and arrived in Melbourne on 16 June 1919. He was then treated as an outpatient at the No 5 A.G.H. at St Kilda, between 16 June 1919 and 20 July 1919. Richard was discharged from the Australian Imperial Force through the 3 M.D. on 28 August 1919, and returned to his previous job with the Post Office.
In 1919 he was living at 18 Marlton Crescent, St Killda. By 1924 he had moved to Kaniva, and had been promoted to Postmaster. He married Brenda Constance Fitzpatrick in 1921, and their first son John William Richard was born at Kaniva on 27 May 1922. The family returned to Melbourne by 1937, and Richard was been appointed as the Postmaster at Yarraville. He lived there with his wife Brenda, and son John Edward.
His last listing on the Victorian Electoral Roll was in 1963, and it showed him as retired, and living with his family at 538 Neerim Road, Oakleigh, Victoria.
Richard Joseph Casey died at Caulfield in 1966, aged 71 years.
Medals & Entitlements:
- British War Medal
- Victory Medal
A.F.C. Australian Flying Corp.
A.I.F. Australian Imperial Force
B.E.F. British Expeditionary Force
R.F.C. Royal Flying Corp.
3 M.D. 3rd Military District
* Australian Designation No.2 Squadron AFC was also known by the British designation of No. 68 (Australian) Squadron RFC.
*Australian Designation No.3 Squadron AFC was also known by the British designation of No. 69 (Australian) Squadron RFC.
R. Casey from Laverton first appeared in The Werribee Shire Banner Honor Roll, 9 November 1916.
Wireless Operators in WWI: By the end of 1916, the R.F.C. had 2,000 wireless operators mainly attached to artillery units to work with the spotting aircraft. They played a vital role as sometimes a gun battery would be out of line of sight of both the target and the spotting aircraft. Communication with the planes was mostly one way, and employed morse code to the aircraft, and a response by the pilot using flares. By the end of the war the number of wireless equipped aircraft in the RAF has risen to 400 plus (possibly 500) with 1000 ground stations and 18,000 wireless operators. By 1918, two way wireless communication was increasing, and this had the advantage that a battery could signal when it had fired, and when the shells should arrive on target. This made it much easier for the aircraft to spot the fall of shot, from the battery it was servicing.