Squadron Leader M P Casano MC

Between April – June 1941, the Iraqis led by Rashid Ali, and with the backing of the Axis powers, rose againt the British in what became known as the “Iraqi Revolt”.

Squadron Leader Michael Peter Casano, MC with Butch the dog.
Squadron Leader Michael Peter Casano, MC with Butch the dog.

At this time No 2 Armoured Car Company (ACC) under the command of Squadron Leader Casano was operating around airfields in the Western Desert in Eqypt. Casano received orders to reinforce Habbaniyah where an enemy force of 9000 under Al Rashid had assembled on the plateau outside Habbaniyah. On 10 May half of No 2 ACC proceeded to Fort Rutbah where they engaged light enemy forces in a wadi to the southeast of the fort. Later combining air and ground forces, the whole area was back in British hands 24 hours later.

From 14 May the half Squadron was attached to “Kingcol” and had orders to advance on Baghdad. On the 28 and 29 May 1941, three armoured cars under Casano under constant enemy fire at Fallujah Bridge held ground while the bridge (just 14 miles from Baghdad) was repaired. During the fight the the car commanded by Flight Lieutenant Douglas MC was hit and all the crew wounded. On 30 May an armistice was announced.

Painting depicting No 2 Armoured Car Company in action at Fallujah Bridge, 29 May 1941.
Painting depicting No 2 Armoured Car Company in action at Fallujah Bridge, 29 May 1941.

On 20 June, Casano was ordered to the Syrian border. On route to Palmyra they came under fire constantly from French (Vichy) guns and artillery for over a week long period, the fire was accurately directed by their reconnaissance aircraft. Having been in almost constant contact for two months “Cas” became a legend in his own time for his dash and leadership. He continued to command No2 ACC during the battles in North Africa including El Alamein. He was seriously wounded in an air raid in Mar 1943, and was later evacuated as a casualty.

On 1 January 1942 the London Gazette reported that the King graciously approved his Military Cross.

Born in June 1913. He originally enlisted as a private in the Buffs, but subsequently obtained a commission in the RAF in 1935. He served until 1958. He died aged 93 in 2006.