John David Johnstone missing 25/11/43

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by nemesis, Jul 31, 2018.

  1. nemesis

    nemesis Senior Member

    A friend of my wife asked her if it would be possible to find out anything about a Lancaster Pilot named John David Johnstone. She remembers that he was reported missing on 25 November 1943. She remembers this as it was her first birthday . She said that he was on the Runnymead memorial. I have looked in the usual places but nothing with a middle name David appears. I will try to get more info. But this is all I have just now. I haven't spoken to the lady who asked the question as this info has came via my wife.
    Thanks for reading this
  2. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Well-Known Member

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  3. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    The following comes from RAF Bomber Command Losses - W R. Chorley

    23-24 November 1943

    103 Squadron
    Lancaster III JB528 PM-Q
    Op. Berlin

    Took off from Elsham Wolds at 1706 hours. Believed to to have crashed at Grebs, 16km west south west of Grabow. those who died were buried at Grabow on 25 November, since when two have been interned in Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery.
    F/O. Johnston is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.


    F/O. J D. Johnston +
    Sgt. R. Crossley pow
    Sgt. A H. Stanton pow
    F/O. R H. Kerr RCAF pow
    F/O. R T. Jones pow
    Sgt. D. Clark +
    Sgt. J B. Reilly +
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  4. nemesis

    nemesis Senior Member

    Brilliant. My wifes friend will be very pleased. Thank you very much for taking the time to reply
  5. nemesis

    nemesis Senior Member

    Brilliant information, I will pass this on right away. Maybey because of this they will find his grave. Thank you very much for taking the time to reply
  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Have to agree with those above

    UK, Commonwealth War Graves, 1914-1921 and 1939-1947
    Name: John David Johnston
    Age: 26
    Birth Date: abt 1917
    Death Date: 23 Nov 1943
    Cemetery: Runnymede Memorial
    Burial Country: England
    Father: George Johnston
    Mother: Mary Jane Johnston
    Regimental Number: 138152
    Region or Memorial: Memorial Register

    UK and Ireland, Find A Grave Index, 1300s-Current
    Name: Flying Officer John Johnston
    Death Date: 23 Nov 1943
    Cemetery: Runnymede Memorial
    Burial or Cremation Place: Englefield Green, Runnymede Borough, Surrey, England
    Has Bio?: N

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  7. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Further to Peters information, another website JB528 info has the following slightly different wording:
    T/O 1706 Elsham Wolds. Crashed in a wooded area at Grebs, 6 km W of Lehnin. Those who died were buried at Grebs on 25 November, since when two have been interred in the 1939 - 1945 War Cemetery in Berlin. F/O Johnston is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
    Pilot F/O - JOHNSTON J. D. +
    F/Engr Sgt - CROSSLEY R. POW
    Nav Sgt - STANTON A. H. PoW
    B/Aim F/O - KERR R. H. RCAF POW
    W/Op F/O - JONES R. T. PoW
    A/G F/Sgt - CLARK D. +
    A/G F/Sgt - REILLY J. B. +

    The CWGC information adds
    CLARK, DOUGLAS. Flight Sergeant (Wireless Op./Air Gunner). Service Number 657815
    Died 23/11/1943. Aged 24
    103 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    Son of Charles Henry and Mary Clark, of Worting, Hampshire.
    Buried at BERLIN 1939-1945 WAR CEMETERY
    Grave reference: Plot 5. Row H. Grave 35.

    This is perhaps a bit too raw to pass on to your wife's contact, but two air crew were buried in a Collective Grave and reinterred in 1947 into Berlin Cemetery in Graves 34 and 35. One was identified as Clark, the other as "Unknown" with a date of death as 4 March 1943 (before the loss of JB528). His original burial was in Werder Neuer Friedhof (Werder New Cemetery) and two other sets of remains in another collective grave were RAF crew buried/shot down on 30 Jan 1944 (Mosen and Morris) who now continue to rest alongside them in Graves 36 and 37. Quite why 2 burials 6 or so months apart were in in one grave is nknown, I just repeat the Concentration Report information.

    REILLY, JAMES BLACK. Sergeant (Air Gunner). Service Number 1566048. Died 23/11/1943. Aged 20
    103 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    Son of John and Jane Reilly, of Uphall, West Lothian.
    Buried at BERLIN 1939-1945 WAR CEMETERY. Grave reference: Plot 8. Row K. Grave 21.

    Reilly was buried initially at Grebs Cemetery before being reinterred on 11 January 1947. At that time, no one had made the connection that the crew had presumably baled out, some perhaps leaving it too late. With Reilly being at Grebs, the stated crash site, presumably he was recovered from the wreckage. Why Johnstons remains were not apparently recovered is possibly due to an intense fire or explosion if the bombs were still aboard.

    With the knowledge base that now exists it may be possible for others to locate Luftwaffe records as to how and when the loss occurred and perhaps Johnston's remains may be identified. Reilly may have been the only RAF casualty in Grebs, as I'd assume that any Grave Recovery team would collect all remains when visiting each cemetery, rather than revisit.

    Those of the crew who successfully baled out may have completed Repatriation Questionnaires which may provide better details.
    Kerr, the Canadian bomb aimer was held at Stalag L1, PoW Number 1594;
    Crossley at 4B and L3 PoW No 263573;
    Jones was also at L1 PoW No 1593 (consecutive with Kerr);
    Stanton at L6 and 357 PoW No 3601.

    Hope that adds a tad more.
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  8. nemesis

    nemesis Senior Member

    Thanks for the detailed info on the burials. I dont know my wifes friend but if she was one year old in 1943 shes in her mid 70s now. I will make a point to meet her and will sound her out on how far in depth she wants to go with this. I will take your advice and not disclose anything that might alarm her for now. Thank you again for the assistance.
  9. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    You might want to obtain the service records of the Air Bomber, J22197 F/O Richard Harold Kerr, RCAF of Toronto. RCAF records are far more detailed than RAF records. As Air Bomber, Kerr would have been, ideally, the first man out and could say whether F/O Johnston was still alive.

    As Kerr died in 1966, his file will be open. Send this:Richard Harold Kerr (1911-1966) - Find A Grave...
    to the address here: Requests for Military Service Files - Library and Archives Canada

    It takes about six months, but it is free.


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  10. nemesis

    nemesis Senior Member

    Thanks for info Dave

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