Name: Bob Ankerson
Rank/Branch: Squadron Leader/Royal Air Force
Home City: Great Britain
Date of Loss: 23 January 1991
Country of Loss: Iraq
Loss Coordinates:
Status: Released POW (see text)
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Tornado
Other Personnel in Incident: Simon Burgess (released)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 09 March 1991 from one
or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources,
published sources, interviews.
SYNOPSIS: On January 16, 1991, Allied forces began concentrated air strikes
on Iraqi military targets in Iraq and Kuwait. The United Kingdom had the
second largest military contingent of troops after the U.S. with 35-40,000
troops, 75 Tornado fighter/bombers, and sixteen warships.
Squadron Leader Bob Ankerson and Flight Lieutenant Simon Burgess were
crewmen of a Tornado GR1 fighter/bomber which flew in the early strikes of
the war. On January 23, 1991, their aircraft was shot down and the two
airmen were captured by the Iraqis.
Beginning on January 20, Allied POWs began to appear on Iraqi television and
radio making "peace statements." The men were clearly under great duress and
apparently had been tortured. Despite condemnation from world leaders, the
propaganda continued. Then during the last week of January, Iraq announced
that it would no longer show Allied POWs on television. Many observers fear
that the lack of media - even propaganda - will keep the POWs an
international secret, limiting the chances the world community will demand
their release.
According to national television, all Coalition POWs were released by March
6 except for one Kuwaiti. It is assumed that Ankerson and Burgess were among
those released. U.S. media did not focus on British and other Coalition POWs
to the extent that all names were immediately known.