Who's Who - Jean Casale

Jean Casale Jean Pie Hyacinthe Paul Jerome Casale (1893-1923) was a French air ace of the First World War, with 13 confirmed victories by the war's close.

Born on 24 September 1893 in Olmeta-di-Tuda, Casale was orphaned by the time he was fifteen.  Called up to the French Army in 1913 he served with the cavalry.

With the onset of war in Europe in 1914 Casale was almost immediately wounded, on 19 August.  In December he sought and received permission to be seconded to the budding aviation group at Dijon.  Four months later he emerged from his training at Chartres with a pilot's license.

His initial aviation service was with in long-distance reconnaissance.  His first 'kill' was achieved on 8 July 1915 and in November 1915 Casale was attached to N23 commanded by Robert de Beauchamp, where his fellow pilots include Maxime Lenoir.

On 10 May 1916 Casale was awarded the Medaille Militaire for his successes in long-distance reconnaissance.  This was followed in March 1917 by the Legion d'Honneur for his success in shooting down enemy aircraft and, in particular, an enemy observation balloon under difficult circumstances.

By the armistice Casale - who had reached the rank of Second Lieutenant while flying with numerous squadrons - had amassed a total of 13 confirmed successes, although he himself claimed 17 victories.

He subsequently worked as a test pilot for Bleriot-Aeronautics, setting numerous world records for altitude and speed.  He was killed during an air meeting on 23 June 1923.

The Austro-Hungarian declaration of war was the first ever delivered by telegram.

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