Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1982, Petty Officer Aircrewman Kevin “Ben” Stuart Casey, 846 Naval Air Squadron, died in a tragic incident during the Falklands War.
He had joined the Royal Navy ten years earlier as an aircraft mechanic, and served on RNAS Culdrose HMS Ark Royal, HMS Dedalus and HMS Osprey. It was during his service on HMS Daedalus that he began to train as a helicopter crewman. He received his wings in 1977 and then served on HMS Nubian as a missile aimer on a Wasp flight, after which he went to the Falkland Islands with HMS Alacrity as part of Operation Journeyman. By September of 1980 he had completed the Petty Officer Aircrewman course and joined 707 Squadron for the Commando course, after which he joined 846 Squadron on HMS Hermes.
On the day of his death he was aboard a Sea King MK 4, moving stores between the various ships in the fleet. One of his colleagues reported “the weather deteriorated and it was soon pitch black and a howling gale. Ben’s aircraft decided to return for a second pilot but didn’t make it back. They ditched in the sea. I remember Ben as a really nice fella. He always had a smile and joke for everyone. He was forever singing Monty Python's ‘Always look on the bright side of life!’ I know we had only just seen it on a film, but with Ben you got the feeling that he was actually like that - always looking on the bright side of life, no matter what.”
The pilot survived and was picked up by another helicopter from HMS Hermes. Despite an extensive search Petty Officer Aircrewman Casey was pronounced “missing presumed drowned.” Because of the deep water, it was not possible to carry out a full investigation of the wreckage, and only two stubwings and a flotation gear pack were recovered.
Ben, from Stratford-upon-Avon, was 26 years old and married.