CACHIA, John Thomas
- 21 years
- Warrent Officer Class II
- Wellington Mk. III, BJ657
- 6th December 1942
- Allied Aircrew Memorial, Guernsey
He attended primary and high schools, technical college and the College of Art in Toronto before enlisting with the RCAF on November 20, 1940.
When he enlisted with the RCAF, he stated he had no flying experience; his special qualifications were: painting, lettering and map drawing; his hobbies included: swimming handball, basketball, fencing and horseback riding. He was 5 feet 9.5 inches in height; with a dark complexion, brown eyes and dark brown hair.
Warrant Officer Class 2 Cachia enlisted in the RCAF on 20 November 1940 as a wireless operator / air gunner. He enlisted in Toronto, where he was living and working as a salesman at the Robert Simpson Company. Enlisting for the war likely seemed quite natural for him as he had a brother and a half-brother who were already serving in the army.
On 20 August 1941 Sergeant Cachia was posted overseas, arriving in England on 28 September. He learned the latest wireless instruments and procedures at No. 2 Signals School after which he was attached to 285 Squadron for training on 16 December. On 16 April 1942, newly promoted Flight Sergeant Cachia was posted to No. 22 Operational Training Unit.
Operations at No. 22 OTU went smoothly for the most part except on the night of 31 July / 1 August 1942 when the crew returned from a mission. The crew’s Wellington was picked by searchlight cones while flying at 1,000 feet over Walcheren Island. Descending to 50 feet to escape the lights, the aircraft was hit by machine gun fire from the ground, one of which hit F/S Cachia in the upper right arm.
Two weeks later, the crew was able to participate in their first mission. On 17 November they were one of three aircraft who dropped mines, which was a normal operation for the first mission.
The next mission was on 23 November when they took off on a four-hour daytime reconnaissance flight over the North Sea. At 4:59 PM on 6 December, WO 2 Cachia and his crew took off in Wellington BJ657, call sign KW-G. They were part of a 272 plane operation against Mannheim. Nothing special was heard from them until 12:20 AM on 7 December at which time he requested a bearing to fly to return to base. This was the last that was heard of WO 2 Cachia and his crew.