Theodore Edgar James Casey

Ted Casey, Military Records

This photograph can be seen on the wall entering the
Monaghan Wing at St. Paul's High School

When going for his interview to join the Royal Canadian Air Force Theodore Edgar James Casey was described by the recruiting officer as a “Good type youth” (Military Records). Casey was just 18 years old at the time and was already putting his life on the line for his country. Casey was one of 1.1 million Canadians to serve in World War 2 (Oxford Reference). Of these 1.1 million, many were very young and lost their lives too soon serving their country.

Theodore Edgar Casey was not only a brave, young St. Paul’s student who served in the Air Force, he was also a sign of the times. When going for his interview to join the Air Force, Casey was described by the recruiting officer as a “Good type youth. Neat and personable. Should with training make air force material. Extremely anxious to serve in the Air Force.” This attitude of Casey is indicative of the times surrounding Canada’s entry to the war. Casey was only 18 years old when joining the battle, and was not old enough to know of the horrific First World War which saw 60,000 Canadians lose their lives. Although Canada as a whole was not eager to join the war, young men realized that this had to be done and many were excited to serve the country.

Based on his military records, Theodore Casey seems like a person that I can relate to. He was one of Edgar Casey's five children. His mother, Emmiliene Pauvrehomme, met Edgar Casey during his time in Paris as a Canadian soldier during World War I. The couple was married in Paris, France in 1919. After the war Emmiliene and Edgar moved to Winnipeg to start a family and had their second child Theodore on August 18, 1922 . Casey was born at St. Boniface Hospital and grew up in Norwood. Unfortunately his mother Emmiliene passed away from Tuberculosis on May 11, 1927 (Emmiliene Pauvrehomme). This was obviously very tough for young Theodore who was only four years old at the time. He was raised by his father Edgar who was a very hard worker. Growing up he went by Ted and loved to play hockey, roller skate, and build model airplanes. He attended Holy Cross Catholic School in the Norwood area, which was close to his home at 79 Crawford Avenue. After the eighth grade he enrolled at St. Paul’s High School. Casey was a bright student and completed grades nine and ten at St. Paul's. He worked summers at the carnival that his father owned. The carnival was known as E.J. Casey Shows, and Ted lists this as his occupation when enlisting. Prior to enlisting he had been planning to stay in business with his father at that carnival. It was tough to find information on his father's carnival business, but I found a poster on "The Balloon Man" Blog which describes the show as "The Fun Fest of the West" (The Balloon Man). This sounds like a fun summer job, but surely it was tough work. Ted probably became a hard-worker through travelling with the circus and he was definitely well suited for the Air Force; he paid attention to detail, was always neat and on time, and had a strong desire to serve his country. Ted Casey was just a bright young man who chose to serve for Canada in the war, and is very relatable for St. Paul’s students 70 years later. (Military Records)

Casey was accepted to the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941. RCAF members were trained until ready to serve overseas, going through Elementary Flying School, Service Flying School, and Air Observer School (British Commonwealth Air Training Plan). Casey was assigned to the 57 Squadron Overseas. He took the occupation of air gunner and also spent time as a wireless operator (Military Records). During Casey's service from 1941-1943, the 57 Squadron used Lancaster planes which were capable of carrying the 22,000 pound Grand Slam bombs, and had "impressive flying characteristics and operational performance" (Avro Lancaster). There were over 7300 of these Lancaster planes produced, and it was no small task to fly one. He served as an Air Gunner in 1941, Ted returned to his home on 79 Crawford Avenue while on leave in early 1942. Casey eventually earned the rank of Sargent. In April he married Mary Holden McDermott, a young woman from Creemore, Ontario. The wedding was held at Holy Cross Church in Norwood (Military Records). It is unclear how the young couple met, it would be interesting to know the circumstances.

Casey disappeared on February 11, 1943. This is the same day that Dwight Eisenhower was commissioned to lead the Allied forces in Europe (Second World War). His plane took off in an operation in Germany, and is believed to have been shot down. Casey was serving as the wireless operator on the flight and as per military operations there was radio silence after takeoff (Military Records). According to German documents a Lancaster was shot down at 20:44 off the Northwest coast of Germany. Three aircraft were in the area were lost, but two were later accounted for. The bodies of Theodore and six others RCAF men were reported missing by the Globe and Mail on March 20. Casey was "for official purposes presumed dead" on September 23 (Air Force Casualties). Ted's body was never recovered. He was a very brave and intelligent man. Casey is buried in Surrey, UK at Runnymede Memorial. This site was used to bury Canadian soldiers who passed away in the second World War with no known graves (Cemetery Details). The loss must have been very difficult for Ted's father and his new bride to hear. Getting the letters that he has been presumed dead but never knowing for sure would have been the hardest part.

Ted Casey was not only a brave young soldier, he was a representation of Canada's times during WW2. By the end of the war Casey was surely much more mature than when he enlisted, and at only 20 years old he lost his life so young. Ted had just started his life. Casey can be easily related to by my classmates and I, he was young man who enjoyed playing hockey with friends and working for his dad. Casey should be remembered as a hero, and I am proud to go to the same high school as this courageous young man.

Service Personnel Information

  • Name: Theodore Edgar James Casey
  • Service Regimental Number: R91856
  • Rank: F/SGT
  • Height/weight: 5 feet 9 3/4 inches, 138 pounds
  • Colour of eyes: Hazel
  • Marital status: Single (later married)
  • Religion: Roman Catholic
  • Address: 79 Crawford Ave, Norwood, Manitoba
  • Next of Kin: Edgar Casey (Father)City and province of enlistment: Winnipeg, MB
  • Date of enlistment: February 5, 1941 (Age 18)

Military Service Record

  • Age (at death): 20
  • Force: Royal Canadian Air Force
  • Unit: RCAF 57 Squadron Overseas
  • Service Number: R91856
  • Honours and Awards: Air Gunner's Badge
  • Next of Kin: Was previously father, now Mrs. T.E.J Casey (Wife)Date of Death: February 11, 1943
    • Married Mary Holden McDermott while on leave in April 1942
  • Country of Burial: UK
  • Cemetery: Runnymede Memorial
  • Grave Reference: Panel 181
  • Location: Surrey, UK
  • Book of Remembrance: WW2, Page 144

Pg 144 Book of Remembrance, Veterans Affairs Canada

Air Gunners Badge, WW2wings.com

Grave Reference

Runnymede Memorial, Veterans Affairs Canada

  • Name of Cemetery: Runnymede Memorial
  • Grave Reference: Panel 181

Runnymede Memorial was used to remember over 20,000 Air Force men who lost their lives in World War 2. This memorial was used for men with no known graves, and can be found in Surrey, UK (Cemetery Details).

Lancaster Plane:

Lancaster Plane, Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum

For more information on Lancaster planes visit http://www.warplane.com/pages/aircraft_lancaster.html

View Larger Map
Ted Casey's childhood house at 79 Crawford Avenue in Norwood (Google Maps)

Holy Cross Church, Holy Cross Parish Historical Archives

Holy Cross Church, Norwood where Casey attended Church, school and was married to Mary McDermott

E.J. Casey Shows Poster, "The Balloon Man" Blog

Additional information:

Works Cited:

“Air Force Casualties.” Globe and Mail 23 Sept. 1943: n. pag. Canadian War Museum. Web. 23 Apr. 2012.
Globe and Mail reports that Casey was previously reported missing but now for official purposes presumed dead, shows that after about 6 months missing the soldier is reported dead.

"Avro Lancaster." Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. 9 May 2012. http://www.warplane.com/pages/aircraft_lancaster.html Gives info about Lancaster planes which Casey flew during WW2, also great picture that I used above.

“Book of Remembrance: Second World War.” Veterans Affairs Canada. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2012. <http://www.veterans.gc.ca/images/collections/books/bww2/ww2144.jpg>. Gives the page of memorial of Theodore Casey, I will use this image on my website. His name can be found between Cantin and Cassidy, on page 144 of the book. The books are sorted by year of death.

“The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP).” Royal Canadian Air Force. N.p., 3 Apr. 2009. Web. 27 Apr. 2012. <http://www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca/v2/hst/page-eng.asp?id=556>. This website provides info on air force training during WW2, this is something I will focus on in my essay. Will use this to explain what it would be like for a young man to enter the air force and train to fly overseas.

“Casualty Details.” Commonwealth War Graves Commission. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2012. <http://www.cwgc.org/‌search-for-war-dead,%20THEADORE%20EDGAR%20JAMES>. This site provides information about Casey’s death and memorial. Soldiers with no known grave who served for Canada are remembered here. This gives the place of his memorial in Surrey, UK at the Runnymede Memorial.

"Cemetery Details." Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Web. 27 Apr. 2012. <http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/109600/RUNNYMEDE%20MEMORIAL> This site provides information about Runnymede Memorial and why it was used.

"Emilienne Pauvrehomme." Family Tree Maker//. Genealogy.com, n.d. Web. 12 May 2012. <http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/j/a/c/Tressa-Jackson-Wawanesa/WEBSITE-0001/UHP-0005.html>
This is the genealogy page for Casey's mother- I wanted to know how she died when he was so young and this page indicates she died of
Tuberculosis. Also says that she was married during WW1 to Edgar James Casey.

Granatstein, J.L. “The Oxford Companion to World War II.” Oxford Reference Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2012. <
>. Found good background on Canada’s war efforts during WW2. I can use this information to contextualize Theodore Casey’s life as a “sign of the times” during the early 1940s. Also will use this source for background on the RCAF during WW2.

"Holy Cross Parish Historical Archives." Holy Cross Parish. N.p., n.d. Web. 12
May 2012. <http://www.holycrossparish.ca/history/history.html>.Provides an image of Holy Cross Church, where Casey was married and also attended elementary school and church.

“The RCAF Overseas Timeline.” Royal Canadian Airforce. N.p., 3 Apr. 2009. Web. 27 Apr. 2012. http://www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca/v2/hst/page-eng.asp?id=560. Includes excerpts from the RCAF handbook. Gives info about the different planes and squadrons for the RCAF in WWII.

“Runnymede Memorial.” Veterans Affairs Canada. N.p., 1 Oct. 2011. Web. 27 Apr. 2012. <http://www.veterans.gc.ca/mem/‌runnymede>. Gives info of where Runnymede Memorial is and why it was used. Says more than 20, 450 Canadians died in WWII and bodies were not recovered; these are commemorated at Runnymede. Provides info about the design of the site and why it was chosen.

Schwartz, Bob, comp. "Royal Canadian Air Force - Air Gunners Badge." WW2 Wings.
N.p., 24 Mar. 2012. Web. 8 May 2012. <http://www.ww2wings.com/wings/canada/canadaairgunners.html>. Provides an image of Air Gunners badge
which would be similar to the one Casey earned in WW2.

Stacey, C P. “Second World War (WWII).” The Canadian Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2012. <http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/second-world-war-wwii>. Provides a strong background of WW2 and Canada’s role. Good info on the airforce and RCAF training.

"The Balloon Man." Blogspot. Web. 12 May 2012.
<4.bp.blogspot.com/_lG_FbyGodcs/TU08i1h5QbI/AAAAAAAATFU/wM4-L5P6xPE/s400/ej_casey_allcan_shows.jp> This poster was found on a blog called "The Balloon Man", blog is an unreliable source but posts pictures of various carnival and amusement park pictures. The poster from EJ Casey's Shows was used for the website.

Archival Reference

Military service files of Theodore Edgar James Casey (R91856, Acc. 1992-93/166, Box 5855-37) obtained from Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario.

Page made by Carter Liebzeit