Bob Whiting
Bob Whiting

1:15 AM - May 21, 2010 #21

Hi, Came across this interesting discussion by accident today. Herbert W. (Bert) McRostie was my uncle whom I never knew. Unfortunately his siblings are all dead now but my understanding is that the only information that they received was a copy of the same letter/information from the RAAF. The letter advising the aircraft's probable loss is among the documents in his file which is accessible on line as mentioned. He and the crew he served with on that night 'failed to return' after reporting contact. What happened will never be known unless there are some German records of the action which I have not managed to find. I did come across a French site which mentioned the loss of JP167 on 11/6/1944 but does not include my uncle among the crew and merely lists place of loss as being "ocean". I do not know where this site sourced this information.

Joined: 2:59 PM - Oct 30, 2009

8:34 AM - May 21, 2010 #22


Like the last poster, I also came across this by accident. Perhaps, I can offer some 'insight' into the loss, and your remark of:

"Do you think that my fathers plane would have been blown apart in the sky or they would have been on fire and knew they were going to die if so wouldn't they have got a message back to say they were going down as they had been hit"

1. During my own research into a family member, I noticed that many Halifax's 'went down' without sending a message, and very few crew members managed to bail out. Probable reason: there was little or no armour plate on the aircraft, (too heavy).

2 Crew reports: these aircraft were unlike those you are probably familiar with! Dark, cramped, smelling of oil, and fuel. Most reports of shoot downs refer to the aircraft blowing up, or becoming a 'ball of fire'.

3. Messages: they simply never had time to get one off, even if they were able to. The average engagement was perhaps 2 or 3 minutes at most, in the case I researched the Halifax was intercepted by a Nightfighter at 22:49, Berlin time and was recorded as destroyed at 22:52!

remember it would only take one shot from a machine gun into a fuel tank, to create a fire, and that fire would have spread rapidly, and then if able, the crew's whole time would be taken up in trying to save the aircraft, not sending messages.

Not probably what you want to hear, but it is part of the 'general facts' of air warfare.


Terry M

Joined: 10:36 PM - Jul 09, 2014

10:40 PM - Jul 09, 2014 #23

Thank you for that information I will indeed look into that and see if I also can find anything out

I stumbled across this chain of correspondence. My uncle was Thomas Preston who was also on the missing Halifax. It would be great to hear if you have found any other information. My mother was Elizabeth Preston.

Linda Selman

Joined: 4:49 PM - Nov 07, 2017

4:55 PM - Nov 07, 2017 #24

Dear Christine, I have just checked my sources and found out your father was on a Coastal Command Halifax and not a Bomber Command Halifax.

RAF 58 Squadron was used for anti-submarine duties to hunt down U-boats. In my record sources I find at least five 58 Squadron Halifaxes that were shot down by U Boat crews so this was dangerous duty.

BUT none of these Halifaxes that were recorded as shot down by the Uboats fit the date and time of the patrol of your fathers Halifax.

I will look further on his missing Halifax.

It should be pointed out that after mid-1943 the Uboat crews were told by their command to shoot it out with the Allied submarine partol aircraft and not to dive underwater when the aircraft attacked. This must be part of the story of the loss of JP167 and her crew.

With regard to your fathers crew and their relatives I found the following:

Hopkin-Hill, James no address - Squadron leader
Wiles, Kenneth Edward " "
Douglas, Philip Hulme - wife was Agnes Davis Douglas of Edinburgh
Preston, Thomas Baxter - father/mother John + Margaret of Edinburgh
Crostie, H M nothing at all!?
Farquharson, William -nothing
Chadwick, Harry - nothing

Hopefully this will help a bit.

Perhaps the other researchers here can add to this, please bounce back with any further info you have and we can help fill in more info for you.

Cheers, Karl

Hello just responding to this old message Harry Chadwick was my grandmothers brother. i have a picture of harry but none of the crew , would love to see a picture of the crew/aircraft


10:42 PM - Apr 13, 2018 #25

I had contact with this page many years ago when researching my late Uncle David Charles Grant (tail gunner RAAF serving with the RAF)  who was shot down over Germany on 20/21 Dec 1943 on Halifax HX186. All crew members except for two were lost and my uncle was one of the ones whose remains were  never located. He was filling in for the regular tail gunner on  HX186 and the crew mmebers were:
Sgt W Borthwick RAFVR  (Pilot) - Killed, never recovered, commemorated on Panel 143 at Runnymede
Sgt C J Baxter (Navigator) - POW
Sgt A Hayes RAFVR (Flight Engineer) - POW
Sgt T Paling RAFVR (Wireless Operator) - Killed, never recovered, commemorated on Panel 161 at Runnymede
Sgt J M H Rochecouste RAFVR (Air Gunner) - killed, buried in the Rheinberg War Cemetery
Sgt T G F Kingham RAFVR  (Bomb Aimer) - POW
F/Sgt D C Grant RAAF (Air Gunner) - Killed, never recovered, commemorated on Panel 192 at Runnymede

David's regular aircraft was  Halifax JD314 Z-AX which, sadly, went down over Holland just a week later on 29th Dec 1943 with the loss of all hands.  That crew was:

1556996 - Fl. Sgt. - Pilot - Paul Brian Green - RAFVR - Age: 22 - Dunstonon-Tyne, Co. Durham, UK
Grave 449 - Ruinerwold General Cemetery - CWGC ref. 2820849
R/145968 - W/O Class II - Air Bomber - Robert Edward Roos - RCAF - Age: 20 - Mount Forest, ON, CAN
Grave 450 - Ruinerwold General Cemetery - CWGC ref. 2820850
1474360 - Sgt. - Navigator - Andrew Colbourne - RAFVR - Age: 20 - Fulwood, Preston, Lancashire, UK
Grave 452 - Ruinerwold General Cemetery - CWGC ref. 2820848
1254960 - Sgt. - Flt. Eng. - Walter Douglas Hall - RAFVR - Age: 23 - Wimbledon, Surry, UK
Panel 152 - Runnymede Memorial - CWGC ref. 1799154
169387 - P/O - ?W/O - Air Gnr.? - Stanley Webb - RAFVR - Age: unknown - UK
Panel 133 - Runnymede Memorial - CWGC ref. 1531142
1604813 - Sgt. - Air Gnr. - Donald Robert Cox Appleyard - RAFVR - Age: unknown - UK
Grave 453 - Ruinerwold General Cemetery - CWGC ref. 2820847
1003229 - Sgt. - Rear Gnr. - Philip John Greenmon - RAFVR - Age: 20 - Buttershaw, Bradford, Yorkshire, UK
Panel 151 - Runnymede Memorial - CWGC ref. 1798806 - .................................................................................................Philip was Uncle David's replacement.
Another man from Uncle David's regular crew was Wireless Operator Robert (Bob) Harris who was not on JD314 but died when on JN883  Z-AS went down with all hands on a mission to Berlin.

I have all of David's records from the AWM but wondered if any descendants of the two survivors of HX186 who were taken POW, would have any further information.

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