ROOKS – Colin Olton

Major – RCAF – MIA

Reported missing June 1944. son of Errol Rooks, RFC/RAF WWI No data on CWGC or Canadian

[Source: CMHA]

5 additions to “ROOKS – Colin Olton”

  1. Duncan Richardson adds:


    The official report on Colin’s crash in Belgium is as follows:
    Particulars Relating to the Crash of Aircraft Halifax III Serial No. MZ-522 on April 27/28 1944. Squadron No. 431.
    Members of Crew –
    RCAF J-27317 Flying Officer Colin Olton Rooks, Air Gunner
    RCAF J-7761 Flight Lieut. John Maxwell Hill, Pilot
    RCAF J-14513 Flying Officer John Stoyko, Navigator
    RCAF J- 85144 Pilot Officer Alden Clarence Donnell, Air Bomber
    RCAF J-19403 Pilot Officer John Benwell Morrison, Air Gunner
    RCAF J-85172 Pilot Officer John Leslie Leyne, Air Gunner
    RCAF – C-85727 Pilot Officer John Brian Millar, Flight Engineer
    RAF – 172893 Pilot Officer C.G.M. Gage, Wireless/Air Gunner
    Mission – Operational night bombing over Montzen, Belgium
    Survivors – all survived. F/O Stoyko and P/O Morison were taken prisoner-of war. The other members of the crew made their way back to Allied lines and were reported safe in Britain September 1944.
    Stamped SECRET but that stamped printed over “CANCELLED”
    “Ref: I.S.9/W.E.A./MB1311
    Colin Olton Rooks – Date of Birth 31.5. 1924. Peacetime Profession: student Date of Enlistment – 2.8.1942. Private address: Apex Oil Fields, Fyzabad, Trinidad.
    Other members of Crew –
    F/ Lt. Hill – Pilot, safe
    F/O Stoyko – Navigator, fate unknown
    P/O Gaze – Wireless operation, last seen nr. Raccour
    P/O Donnell – Bomb aimer “ “
    Sgt. Miller – Engineer “ “
    P/O Morison – Mid under gunner – contacted organisation in Liege
    P/O Leyne – Rear gunner “

    We took off from CROFT at 2230 hrs on 27 Apr 44 and at approx. 0100 hrs on 28 Apr we were forced to bale out. On touching down I broke my leg. I hid my equipment and with difficulty made off in a S.E. direction. After getting as far as I could I hid under a thick hedge until 0900 hrs when I knocked at the door of the house and asked for help. I learned that I was in the village of GELINDEN 9N.W. EUROPE 1:2500,000 sheet 3, K.24). In the afternoon I was taken by an officer of the White Army to his house at GOYER where I spent a day then moved on to a large house owned by a Countess near WAREMME (K.23). I remained here until 2 May 44, during which time my leg was treated by a doctor.
    On 2 May the doctor moved me in his car to another house in WAREMME. My leg was still in a plaster cast. Three weeks later I moved back to the Countess and remained with her until I was able to walk again.
    On about 5 Jun I went by tram to BREY where I remained 5 days with a tram conductor. From here I went by bicycle to CRISNEE (K.33) where I met four members of my crew, F/Lt. Hill, P/O Donnell, P/O Gaze and Sgt. Miller. We remained here until about 27 Jul 44. The head of the organisation in LIEGE and a number of the members were denounced at this time which meant considerable delay before we could be moved on.
    On our next move to BOIRS (K.44) we were split up, F/Lt Hill staying with me, while the other three were taken to another house in the vicinity. On 17 Aug 44 F/Lt Hill and I went to a convent in the vicinity of BOCLANCHE where we stayed for 5 days and on 23 Aug went to LIEGE. We remained in Liege until 7 Sep. 44 about which time the Allied troops arrived.
    Interviewed by: I.S.9(W.E.A.) 13 Sep 44 Distribution: W/Cdr G.H. Doble
    A.L.O., M.I. 9
    Report No.K – Aircraft type: HALIFAX III No. Letter: U. Squadron: 431.
    Date of Loss: 27/28.4.44. Target: Montzen. Cause of Loss: Flak ?
    Base: Croft. Time of Take Off: 2230. Bomb Load: All H.E. Special Equip. None.

    Name Rank Duty Experience Fate

    Hill, J.M. F/L P 18
    Stoyko, J F/O N 18 Killed (say Belgians)
    Donnell P/O B 18 Safe
    Millar Sgt F/E 19 Safe
    Gage P/O W/OP 18 Safe
    Rooks F/O MUG 18
    Leyne P/O R/G 18
    Morison P/O Mid-under/G 23 ? in Liege ?

    Narrative: 10 mins from target, no flak in area, after bombing. Suddenly loud thump and slight shudder. Then a/c filled with smoke and sparks. Whole underside of a/c on fire, and flames inside. (? hydraulics). So pilot gave “bale out”. Flames from behind pilot to mid under position. F/E hit in leg by fragment (flesh wound). Crew left, all three gunners at back because of fire.

    Nav. and B/A got hatch out by kicking after sticking it in hole in usual way, a/c well under control. Baled out NAV, B/A, W/OP, F/E all OK. Pilot called up gunners, no reply. Pilot trimmed a/c and left, no snags. A/c sailed on under control, blazing and hit ground 2 mins later. Belgians said Nav. found with chute unopened (? perhaps not same man). M/U/G broke leg hitting ground or baling out. B/A, W/OP uninjured.

    Hit at 15,000’, no S/L. No moon, no cloud but hazy. No fighter flares. Saw 7 other a/c go down in same place and in same way, no flak or tracer seen. Baled out at 13,000’. No engines or tanks hit.
    M/U/G says: Stbd. wing had 32 holes in it just in front of flaps. This points to fighter. Saw green flame go up 10-12 feet in air from stbd. wing. Probably petrol tank hit (no explosion). Flames in M/Under/Turret. Yellow fire. No flak bursts seen, nor tracer. When “bale out” given M/U/G went out straight away feet first. No trouble leaving a/c. Broke leg landing due to not seeing ground.

  2. Frank Rooks adds:

    The town of Zepperen, Belgium, maintains a website describing in detail the escapes of Colin Rooks and his fellow crew members following the crash. Some photos are also included. See

  3. Derl Ivan Donnell adds:

    Nephew of Alden C. Donnell – pleasure on this day November 11th 2012 to learn more on my uncle the men he served with

  4. Les Leyne adds:

    So good to stumble upon this site. Helped me find the Zepperen site, which includes the adventures of my father, John Leslie Leyne.

  5. Patrick Morison adds:

    Son of John Benwell Morison – Was doing research for a friend from Trinidad on the loss of a relative and pleasantly surprised to learn not only about his family but also more about my father and his crew. Gratitude to all who maintain and contribute to these sites.

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