ROSTANT – Keith J.K.

Flight Lieutenant – Pilot – 145 Sqn – Spitfire – POW

Volunteer Trinidad ETS, trained Piarco, 2nd Course Posted 145 sqn, Africa, flew as wingman to Sqn Ldr Ian Glead 1942/43. Shot down 1943, Cape Bone Africa. POW to end of war. Lives in Scotland. Son is in RN

[Source: CMHA]
ATS, Piarco, Trinidad. 2nd Course – Standing: F.W. Farfan, K. Rostant, T.H. Meyer – Sitting: I. Bourne, R. Williams (instructor), Lieut. J.F. Carroll (chief instructor), W. Brown (ground engineer), J.D. Lenagan/Lennigan? (senior cadet) [Source: CMHA]

8 additions to “ROSTANT – Keith J.K.”

  1. Michael Rostant adds:

    We had my Father’s uniform for many years and it had Warrant Officer’s badges on the cuffs. I don’t think he was ever a Flight Lieutenant. He died in 2001 at the age of 80. All three sons were in the Royal Navy at one time or another.

  2. Thierry Kleinprintz adds:

    Dear Mr Rostant
    I’m a French air war history enthusiast doing some research about German ace Heinz Bär. It seems that your Father was probably shot down by Bär on April 16th 1943. I don’t have enough information from RAF side and so would need your help.
    Please contact me for any further question.
    I look forward to hearing from you.
    Thierry Kleinprintz

  3. Jerome Lee adds:

    I have searched the London Gazette and found no entries for Keith Rostant. It would appear therefore that his correct rank was WO as his son states and not Flt Lt

  4. Michael Rostant adds:

    Dear Thierry,
    There is a book called ‘Fighter Leader’ about Wing Commander Ian Glead (I don’t know the author). I believe there is an entry in it regarding who shot my father down on the same day Ian Glead was killed

  5. Thierry Kleinprintz adds:

    Dear Michael
    Thank you very much for reply. The book is from Norman Franks. It is believed your Father was shot down by Lt Berres and Gleed by Lt Reinert. But as it don’t match with the German archives (Berres 20km N/W Cap Bon and Reinert 15km S/W Cap Bon) I hoped your Father wrote a Diary or told you what happened.
    Regards, Thierry

  6. Michael Rostant adds:

    Dear Thierry,

    My father never kept a diary and rarely spoke about his experiences during the war. He wasn’t very specific about where he was shot down other than ‘near Cap Bon’ I’m sorry I can’t be of more help.


  7. Jerome Lee adds:

    This article was in the Trinidad Guardian 29 May 1943: FS K Rostant, attached to 8th Army in Tunisia, Spitfire, reported missing April 16th. Three days ago, received details of how he was shot down into the sea off Tunisia by FS Louis Gordon Smith, serving in same Squadron, son of D Gordon Smith of SMC. FS Smith wrote in part : “Yesterday afternoon our chaps escorted 4 Squadrons of Kittyhawks on a patrol waiting for transport aircraft. They ran into a “terrific gazzle”. About 40 transport crash-landed on the beach to avoid being shot down. And then this morning early, some more Kittys ran into 15 transport aircraft and their escorts and they shot down all the 15 transport aircraft. I should not like to be in their shoes now. I am afraid to say that in the course of these big “dices” Keith Rostant was shot down; but the chaps in his Squadron say that they saw him bail out and that he landed in the sea not far from shore. So he is either a POW or he may have swam ashore and hidden somewhere.” FS Rostant’s letter to his parents from the POW Camp: ” Here I am in a German POW camp, somewhere in Germany, safe and sound not having sustained the least bit of injury when I was shot down. I had to bail out over the sea and spent some hours in my dinghy before being picked up by an enemy warship.” FS Rostant then mentions that he was in a temporary camp only and would probably be moved to a permanent one. After further training he was assigned to a fighter squadron which formed a component part of the 8th Army. About 10 months ago, he was wounded when his plane was shot down over Libya but rejoined his squadron on recovery. Mr & Mrs Rostant have 2 other sons in the services and a 3rd leaving shortly to enlist in the RAF in Canada.

  8. Thierry Kleinprintz adds:

    Dear Michael
    It seems we will never know what exactly happened. I pass on to you what we know from German side (Jochen Prien: History of JG77- 77th Fighter Wing- part 3, in German)
    I./JG77 (1st Group of 77th Fighter Wing) was on escort mission (ships convoy) and “free hunting”. Leading Flight [ Maj Heinz Bär(Group CO), Lt Karl Heinz Rentrop (deputy group CO) and Ofw(warrant Officer) ] reported an airfight with 12 Spitfires 20 km N/W Cap Bon.
    Victory claims :
    Lt Berres 3./JG77 (3rd Sq leader -acting) Spitfire 15.48 (42nd victory )
    Maj Bär (Group CO) Spitfire 15.50 (176th victory)
    Fw Hosman 2./JG77 (2nd Sq) Spitfire
    Lost : Lt Rüdiger Belling 1./JG77 (1st Sq) wounded in airfight against Spitfires N/W Cap Bon
    Lt Reinert’s 4./JG77 (4th Sq) reported an airfight with Spitfires but 15 km S/W of Cap Bon
    Lt Reinert claimed a Spitfire at 15.44
    On an other claims list it is a Mustang at 15.49, 25 km SW Cap Bon, 50 m !
    As it is known that when the all Group flew Bär let his deputy group CO go free to lead the group and flew as lookout with Ofw Niederhagen high over his group, to be able to intervene if something went wrong, it can be assumed that Lt Berres possibly hit Wing Commander Gleed first. Your Father probably attacked Berres to protect his leader and was shot down himself by Bär two minutes later.
    But other screenplays are too possible.
    You will find more on discussion board. marcus78 left a reply: “Sgt JK Rostant was my Grandfather-known as Keith Rostant”
    I left a private message for marcus78 but without answer at time.
    Thank you very much for reply and thanks also to Jerome Le

Leave a Reply