Commando Aircrewmen Remember Fallen Comrade
On a wet spring day a group of Commando Aircrewman from the Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, both serving and retired laid a poppy wreath at the memorial stone to Petty Officer Kevin “Ben” Casey (26).
The moving ceremony on 23 April, was the anniversary of the accident that saw a Sea King from 846 Naval Air Squadron crash into the South Atlantic and killed Ben. The tragic loss of Ben was to be the first British casualty of Operation Corporate. The Sea King had been moving stores between HMS Hermes and other ships in the Task Force sent to retake the Falkland Islands. On this particular occasion there was just a single pilot with Ben, and it was as they were returning to HMS Hermes to pick up a second pilot that the Sea King was lost in the deteriorating weather.
The Falklands Memorial Avenue at Yeovilton had recently been refurbished and looked splendid for the 30th Anniversary of the 1982 War. Attending the event was retired Warrant Officer Alf Tupper and still serving Warrant Officer John Sheldon. They both served with Ben on 846 NAS.
The organiser of the event Chief Petty Officer Andy Vanes spoke to the Casey family who were delighted about the ceremony and sent their own personal message and a red rose to be laid at the Memorial. CPO Andy Vanes said, “Ben was a lively aircrewman and well liked among the squadron and his friends. It is only right and proper that we hold a ceremony and mark the occasion. Ben’s family are very grateful.”
“I remember being at Ascension Island when we heard about the accident, it was a sad time for the squadron, everyone was affected by the loss,” said Warrant officer John Sheldon.
Other Aircrewman present at the ceremony were Chief Petty Officer John Fagan, CSgt Pete Wooldridge and Ex Petty Officer Aircrewman Harry Worth; all had served with the Commando Jungly Squadrons at RNAS Yeovilton.