Pte, Samuel Cassidy KOSB Arnhem

Discussion in 'Airborne' started by Lofty1, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. Lofty1

    Lofty1 Senior Member

    Hi all.
    For all forum members keen to see Dig WW2 Arnhem, I would like to take this opportunity to relate a story that goes back to 1999, that will possibly add a little more insight to the program, and illustrate a large number of coincidences, fate, luck, call it what you will, the biggest being the choosing of Sam Cassidy as central to the program.
    The story starts at Raydon Air Show in 1999, I was approached by a chap asking where he might find an ambulance like mine to restore. I could be no help on that, but suggested a K2A (GS Version) that I knew of to get started, he soon viewed the K2A and purchased it (absolute total wreck). The chaps name was Paul Wright.
    Soon after purchasing it he borrowed from me a K2 workshop manual to photocopy. He returned it some weeks later, on a Sunday morning I seem to remember. We sat and talked about K2s, what they are like to drive, how far do I go with it, general chat.
    I mentioned to Paul we often went to Arnhem with mine, to which he replied, “my uncle died at Arnhem”. He had spotted my copy of Off At Last and he knew his uncle was KOSB from a photo his mum had, and that his name was Sam, Samuel what he didn’t know, but his mum would, so he rang her, Cassidy, Samuel Cassidy he said, I turned to the index of Off At Last where a reference is made to an S. Cassidy page 59, it reads “Samuel Cassidy who accidently shot himself shortly after leaving the glider.” This was sad news indeed for Paul as he had no knowledge of his uncle’s demise.
    Some days later Paul returned with a picture of Sam and his last letter to Paul’s grandmother before Arnhem, which Pauls mum wanted to share with me, in the photo of Sam he is wearing the KOSB Glengarry. (I passed a copy of the photo to Robert Sigmund who passed a copy to David Truesdale now on page 49 of The Brotherhood of the Cauldron.)
    In April- May 2002 I invited Paul to join us on an Arnhem trip in the ambulance, and during that trip we visited the Dreyeroord Hotel (The White House) and Paul put down a cross by the tree in the garden. Sam Cassidy has no known grave, Paul chose that spot because a picture in Off At Last (on page 98) had had a lasting impression on him. Unbeknown to Paul the placing of that cross at that time would be the start of an incredible story which I will do my best to relate to you here.
    I believe three crosses were laid by the tree at the Dreyeroord prior to the 2004 60th Anniversary commemorations, I well remember April- May 2003, Paul laying a cross there as he had by then acquired his own ambulance and we went to Arnhem in convoy.
    In 2004 I invited Paul to join my party of two veterans and twelve others to attend the 60th. He chose to lay a wreath at the same spot as all the previous crosses, in the garden of the Dreyeroord by the tree, and we had planned to do this on the Sunday after the service at the cemetery. As we were leaving the cemetery we had a call from Robert Sigmund, who, when told about the wreath, suggested it was not laid until we had made contact with him as he would be in the hotel, having laid on lunch for the KOSB veterans.
    On arrival at the Dreyeroord he was told party had arrived and soon after appeared will a small column of KOSBs, they stood in line by the tree, and Robert then suggested Paul made a short speech, he was not expecting that but did very well, offering a short history of Sam, and his connection with him very clearly to the veterans. The wreath was laid and the veterans showed their respect as only they can for one of their comrades. We were all very moved by those moments.

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  2. Lofty1

    Lofty1 Senior Member

    However the story does not end there. After the wreath was laid Paul was approach by one of the veterans, John Crossen who said “Tragic wasn’t it what happened to Sam.” Paul explained that although the story is weak he understood Samuel died on the drop zone. “No no no” said the veteran, he died not far from here and briefly told him what had happened. The veteran went on to say he was surprised Paul knew so little about his uncle Samuel, as he had been in touch with Samuels daughter for a good number of years and she knew all the facts.
    This was the day that Paul was to learn that Samuel had a daughter, alive and well and living in Ireland, it’s also the day that he and I have pondered over many times, as recent evidence points to Samuels field burial was just yards from that original wooden cross Paul laid in 2002 in the garden of the Dreyeroord by the tree.
    On returning from the 60TH Paul made contact with John Crossen who kindly provided Paul with a copy of his memories of nine days in Arnhem which includes the demise of Sam Cassidy. It was evidence enough; Samuel was not killed on the drop zone but during the fierce fighting around the Dreyeroord on the 21st, and with it came an address in Belfast for Samuel’s daughter.
    Paul joined us for another trip in 2008 another cross was laid,
    This story gains momentum in 2009 the 65th anniversary when Paul again laid a wreath for Samuel by the tree in the garden of the Dreyeroord, attended by seven KOSB one of whom was George Barton, Samuel’s platoon sergeant. Robert Sigmund invited Paul and company to join a walk around where the fighting took place, and the veterans would do some commentary. No mention of Samuel was made at this time, but on returning back at the Dreyeroord Paul was approached by John Crossen and George Barton to accompany them to the very spot that Samuel died. They walked up Van Dedemweg to the junction of Cronjeweg and stopped, it was here that during the fight stood a 6lb A/T gun which Samuel was in support of, it was looking down the road towards Stationesweg, where two German tanks were sitting.
    George Barton sent John Crossan down Cronjeweg to snipe from an upstairs window, down onto the tanks to draw them up towards the anti tank gun. It worked. Up came the first tank and it was hit and stopped. The second tank supported by infantry then started to withdraw. At this point Samuel shouted for a Bren gun and took off down the road after the tank. By this time John Crossen had come down from his position upstairs, and was crouched in the drive of number seven. Moments later he saw Samuel in the road in front of him banging his Bren on its butt, it was jammed, John Crossen heard a deafening crack and down went Samuel. Everyone was extra careful thinking he had been shot by a sniper. Sometime later John returned to Samuels body and it was evident the shot had come from Samuels Bren, killing him instantly. Paul and the two veterans were still at the gun position on the junction. They then walked along Cronjeweg to the very spot Samuel Died. Paul put down a cross there on the boundary between 7/9 there, at that time there was a small tree growing through the pavement, as can be seen on Google maps but it has sadly been removed when the footpaths were repaired recently.

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  3. Lofty1

    Lofty1 Senior Member

    They returned to the Dreyeroord, where Robert Sigmund explained to Paul that a document had been found in the German archives indicating that a number of KOSB had been buried in the garden here, under what is now the wood shed, one of whom is believed to be Sam Cassidy (yards from the 2002 cross) they were all reinterred in Oosterbeek cemetery as unknown. Robert also asked Paul if he had contacted Samuels’s daughter.
    On returning home Paul did what he now says he should have done five years earlier. He made contact with Sam’s daughter, and in April 2010 took his family and parents to Belfast to meet her and her family. The Belfast family had never been to Arnhem, so it was decided that they would be there in September 2010 and they were.
    After the service at the cemetery, and lunch at the Dreyeroord Paul and his new found family all walked to Cronjeweg, where Paul had laid a cross the year before with the two veterans. He was amazed to see it still there. The lady of the house appeared; curious as to what in her drive was attracting so many people, Paul explained briefly about Samuel. She said there was someone here last year that laid a cross. That was me said Paul. The lady explained she took it in, and put it out again at the start of this year’s commemorations. How nice.
    In the Dig WW2 program to be screened soon, the Dreyeroord is where they dig. Samuels daughter and granddaughter and Samuel, are I believe central to the programme, I cannot wait to see it.
    I do hope I have pieced this story together in such a way, you also can see, that a chance meeting, in 1999, Paul then choosing that spot to lay down that first cross, has led to Samuel Cassidy’s story being made complete for his descendants, primarily due to coincidences, fate, luck, or borrowing a workshop manual, you decide.
    Note, all this has been done very much from memory spanning thirteen years, I had help from Paul to sort out the time frame, it is not intended to be an in depth account of the demise of Samuel Cassidy, it’s nothing more than the jottings of someone who thinks it makes for an interesting and somewhat tragic read.
    Regards lofty

    Note. Something that's just come to light is that the front cover of Perimeter depicts, the scene and the spot of Samuels tragic death

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  4. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    Nice write up; this story is indeed a big part of the Dig WW2 Anhem story. It was very moving to be there with Sammy's daughter and granddaughter last summer.

    We hope the programme will finally be screened sometime in April/May.
  5. Lofty1

    Lofty1 Senior Member

    Nice write up; this story is indeed a big part of the Dig WW2 Anhem story. It was very moving to be there with Sammy's daughter and granddaughter last summer.

    We hope the programme will finally be screened sometime in April/May.

    Thanks Paul, I am especially glad you said that, as I had made certain assumptions about the program, I certainly did not want to imply my input here would add to the program, its purely about a curious chain of events. the program being the final accolade.
    I met all the family from Belfast on their first visit to Arnhem they seemed very glad they made the trip, and were very moved by it all,
  6. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Great story Lofty, thanks mate. Look forward to seeing the programme.
  7. Paul Pariso

    Paul Pariso Very Senior Member

    A wonderful story Lofty, thanks very much for sharing it with us.

    All the best mate...........:)
  8. Ramon

    Ramon Senior Member

    A wonderful story Lofty, thanks very much for sharing it with us.

    All the best mate...........:)

    Thanks for sharing lofty.
    Hope somebody can make a copy of the programme for me.
  9. markinbelfast

    markinbelfast Senior Member

    are you aware of this?

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  10. kingarthur

    kingarthur Well-Known Member

    As always Lofty, either big or small, your offerings to the forum come straight from the heart, thank you for posting such a wonderful story.
  11. TomTAS

    TomTAS Very Senior Member


    Well done my Friend what more can I say....

  12. ronald

    ronald Senior Member

    Thanks Lofty, great story and very well written down...

  13. britman

    britman Senior Member

    Lofty, thank you for posting such a great story.
  14. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Lofty ... loved it! Good job mate.
  15. Pegasus_2406

    Pegasus_2406 Theirs is the glory...

    Great Lofty. I have contact with the person that lived at the house during the battle... Amazing to read about this. Thank you! Paul
  16. Lofty1

    Lofty1 Senior Member

  17. Pegasus_2406

    Pegasus_2406 Theirs is the glory...

    The person that lived in the house Cronjeweg 7, Henk van Zoest, writer of the booklet Perimeter, told me that he knew that a soldier died before their house, but he didn't know who it was or how he died. He knows now, thanks to Lofty and Dig WW2! On the front of the booklet coincidentally he assembled 3 pics into 1 pic: a tank, the house and a british gun position, exactly the situation in which Sam died. Henk told me that when they had to leave the house on thursday 21-9-44 there was a german tank and yelling german soldiers, a confusing situation... That's why he put the tank of the cover of his booklet... Regards, Paul
  18. Lofty1

    Lofty1 Senior Member

    Thank you Paul for taking the time to contact the author of Perimeter, I hope he was pleased to learn a little more about the situation outside his house, and fascinating how he just put the cover picture together.
    I would also like to thank everyone for their kind comments regarding the story. Thank you all. ( Would it be correct bump this thread again just before program is to be shown on TV)
    regards lofty
  19. Jon Horley

    Jon Horley Member

    That's a very moving but heart-warming story. Thank you.
  20. Elizabeth Ross

    Elizabeth Ross Junior Member

    Having read Lofty's story of Sammie Cassidy in Arnhem I would like to add to the story. I am sammies grand daughter and my mum Elizabeth Cassidy/Ross never knew what happened to her father except that he had been Killed at Arnhem. I decided in 2002 that I would find out what happened to him. I first contacted the KOSB Divisional Headquarters and they put me in touch with the Reunion Secretary who in turn gave me the address of one of the Veterans. Each time I wrote to someone they gave me another person to contact who in turn gave me a wee bit more information. I also started to read a lot of books relating to the story of Arnhem. I also joined the Arnhem 1944 Veterans Club for my mum and put an add in the Newsletter. I contacted a Cafe in Oosterbeek that I had read Veterans visited whilst there and asked would they put up a poster asking for information, they said they would so I sent the poster. I started to get more and more information around this time The Home Office sent me his war record and also the letter stating that he was originally buried by the Germans in the White house grounds.
    One of the books I first purchased was 'Off at last' and I had originally written to Robert to tell him he had named my grand father in a photo which wasn't him and also that in his first print it stated that he was killed in a glyder accident and this was also incorrect after this we kept in contact and everything I found out subsequenly I sent him copies off to keep him informed.
    When I was finally told what happened to Sammie it took me while to tell my mother as I didn't really know how to tell her it was an accident and the gun had jammed.
    Although we as yet don't know where he is resting all we can assume is that he is one of the 8 KOSB Privates buried in Osterbeek Cemetary we knew none of this when I first began searching in 2002.
    In 2010 I got an email from Paul Wright saying that he was a relative of ours on Sammies side. We knew nothing of this side of the family as paul's grandmother was Sammies step sister who my mother was previously inaware of. What was more surprising was that he too had been researching my grandfather and thorough talking to the people I had also been in contact knew of our existence.
    We travelled to Arnhem with Paul in 2010 and it was an amazing time to see all the places we had read about and we met Verteran Jeff Roberts who told us first had what had happened. It was an emotional time not just for my mum but for the entire family as now we knew what had happened and saw where it had happened. We hope to go back soon.
    The programme came about in a surprising way as Paul Reed had taken 360 Productions to Arnhem as they were making a programme about the Arnhem Story, As fate would have it they stayed at the 'White House' and Robert Sigmond was assisting them with the story, he told them more about the KOSBs and as 360 Productions is a Northern Irish company they asked was there a Northern Irish connection Robert told them about Sammie.

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