Name: Robert John Stewart
Rank/Branch: Navigator/Royal Air Force
Home City: Great Britain
Date of Loss: 18 January 1991
Country of Loss: Iraq
Loss Coordinates:
Status: Prisoner of War
Status in 2002: Released POW (see text)
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Tornado
Other Personnel in Incident: Thomas N.C. Elsdon; Robert M. Collier (both
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. Updated by the POW NETWORK 2002.
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.
Three airmen - Flight Lieutenant Robert M. Collier, Wing Commander Thomas
N.C. Elsdon, and Navigator Robert J. Stewart - were crewmen of Tornado GR1
fighter/bombers which flew in the early strikes of the war. Collier and
Elsdon were on one of the aircraft and Stewart on the second. If there was a
second crewman with Stewart, that information has not yet been released. On
January 18, 1991, Collier, Elsdon and Stewart were shot down and declared
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 Collier, Elsdon and Stewart
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.