Crawford County

Capt. Charles G. Cassaday

Findagrave Photo




Flew on Photographic Mission Over Beachhead in France

Charles G. Cassaday Reports D-Day Invasion as Seen From Plane

Editors Note: Capt. Cassaday, husband of Mary Jane Crow Cassaday, Mason City, and a son of Mr. and Mrs. R.S. Cassaday, Denison, flew alone in an unarmed "Lightening" to record on film the invasion on the northern French beachhead according to the following story received from headquarters in England.

An 8th AAF Photo Group, England -- "The sky was full of our aircraft. I didn't see any enemy planes. Saw fires at several places and flashes from what I judged to be enemy guns. There were lots of troops and hundreds of boats. Noted 2 crashed aircraft on the ground. One was British and the other was American."

In just such sharp, terse, sentences Capt. Charles G. Cassaday, 26, of Mason City and Denison, reported the "D-Day" invasion on returning to this 8th AAF station from a photographic reconnaissance mission over the allies northern French beachhead. He flew alone to record on film the greatest invasion in the history of warfare.

"Boats of every description crowded the channel and ran in steady steams from one coast to another," he said. Huge warships were broadside to the coast hurling fire at enemy defense installations. I could see the flash from their guns and that from enemy guns returning the fire. Several boats had been hit and were burning. A few of the tanks and vehicles our troops were unloading on the beach were burning too.Soldiers were pouring from invasion craft and were splashing through the choppy channel to worm their way through obstructions on the sandy beach.

"Already the battle had been carried inland and I could see our fighters diving and strafing enemy installations. Small French villages along the entire coastal area were burning but there was no indication of life in any of them. I guess the inhabitants had heeded the allied pre-invasion warning and left before the fight began.

"In some places the ground was dotted with various colored parachutes and I could see gliders here and there where our airborne troops had landed. Although the enemy resistance was tough and his fire heavy, our boys appeared to be pushing him back and streams of tanks and trucks were moving towards the front.

Capt. Cassaday is the husband of Mary Jean Crow Cassaday, Mason City, and son of Mr. and Mrs. R.S. Cassaday, 523 North Main street, Dension. Prior to entering the army as a cadet Jan 22, 1942, he was assistant manager of Denison Ice and Cold Storage company.

Source: Mason City Globe-Gazette, June 20, 1944

Denison -- Word has been received by Mr. and Mrs. R.S. Cassaday that their son, Capt. Charles G. Cassaday, has been missing in action in the European was area since June 8. He was in the photo-reconnaissance service and had been stationed in England since last October.

Source: Mason City Globe-Gazette, June 27, 1944

Capt. Charles G. Cassaday is buried at the American Cemetery located in Margraten, Netherlands.

Photo Source: Fields of Honor database