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baronWastelan
04-25-2009, 11:34 PM
25th April 2009 was ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand - the day that these nations remember their men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in time of war. It is the anniversary of the day in 1915 when troops of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps went ashore at Gallipoli, Turkey - the first time substantial bodies of troops from those two young nations (Australia 1901, New Zealand 1907) had gone into battle as soldiers of their nations, rather than purely and soley as troops of the British Empire (although they still retained that status).
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Flight Lieutenant William Newton VC

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/91/100644Newton.jpg

Flight Lieutenant William Ellis (Bill) Newton VC was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest decoration for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to a member of the British and Commonwealth forces. He was honoured for his actions as a bomber pilot in Papua New Guinea during March 1943 when, despite intense anti-aircraft fire, he pressed home a series of attacks on the Salamaua Isthmus, the last of which saw him forced to ditch his aircraft in the sea. Newton was still officially posted as missing when the award was made in October 1943. It later emerged that he had been taken captive by the Japanese, and executed by beheading on 29 March.

Raised in Melbourne, Newton excelled at sport, playing cricket at State level. He joined the militia in 1938, and enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in February 1940. Described as having the dash of "an Errol Flynn or a Keith Miller", Newton initially served as a flying instructor in Australia before being posted to No. 22 Squadron in New Guinea, operating Boston light bombers. He was on his fifty-second mission when he was shot down and captured. Newton's was the only Victoria Cross awarded to an Australian airman in the South West Pacific theatre of World War II, and the only one earned by an Australian flying with an RAAF squadron.

Born in the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda, Bill Newton was the son of dentist Charles Ellis Newton and his wife Minnie. He was educated at Melbourne Grammar School, where he completed his Intermediate Certificate. Considered at school to be a future leader in the community, Newton was also a talented all-round sportsman, playing Australian rules football, golf and water polo, as well as gaining selection in the Victorian Cricket Association Second XI.

Newton had been a sergeant in his cadet corps at school, and joined the militia on 28 November 1938. Employed in a silk warehouse when World War II broke out in September 1939, he resigned to enlist the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) on 5 February 1940. Newton underwent flying training at RAAF Laverton, and was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on 28 June. After completing his advanced training at RAAF Point Cook in September, he became a flight instructor, and was promoted to Flying Officer on 28 December. He served with No. 2 Service Flying Training School, Wagga, and No. 5 Service Flying Training School, Uranquinty. Newton was raised to Flight Lieutenant on 1 April 1942 and posted to No. 22 Squadron, based at Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, the following month.

Flying a Douglas Boston twin-engined bomber, Newton made the first of his fifty-two operational sorties on 1 January 1943. During February he flew low-level missions through monsoons and hazardous mountain terrain, attacking Japanese forces ranged against Allied troops in the Morobe province. In early March he took part in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, one of the key engagements in the South West Pacific theatre, bombing and strafing Lae airfield to prevent its force of enemy fighters taking off to intercept Allied bombers attacking the Japanese fleet.

Newton gained a reputation for driving straight at his targets without evasive manoeuvre, and always leaving them in flames. This earned him the nickname "The Firebug".

On 16 March, Newton led a sortie on the Salamaua Isthmus in which his aircraft was hit repeatedly by Japanese anti-aircraft fire, damaging fuselage, wings, fuel tanks and undercarriage. In spite of this he continued his attack and dropped his bombs at low level on buildings, ammunition dumps and fuel stores, returning for a second pass at the target in order to strafe it with machine-gun fire. Newton managed to get his crippled machine back to base and, two days later, made a further attack on Salamaua with five other Bostons. As he bombed his designated target, Newton's aircraft was seen to burst into flames. Attempting to keep his aircraft aloft as long as possible to get his crew away from enemy lines, he was able to ditch the Boston in the sea approximately 1,000 yards (910 m) offshore.

The Boston's navigator, Sergeant Basil Eastwood, was killed in the landing but Newton and his wireless operator, Flight Sergeant John Lyon, survived and swam for shore. They were soon captured, however, by a Japanese patrol of No. 5 Special Naval Landing Force. The two airmen were taken back to Salamaua and interrogated until 20 March, before being moved to Lae where Lyon was bayoneted to death on the orders of Rear Admiral Fujita, the senior Japanese commander in the area.

Newton was later returned to Salamaua where, on 29 March 1943, he was beheaded with a Samurai sword by Sub-Lieutenant Komai, the naval officer who had captured him. Komai was killed in the Philippines soon after, and Fujita committed suicide at the end of the war.

It was initially believed that Newton had failed to escape from the Boston after it ditched into the sea, and he was posted as missing. The details of his capture and execution were only revealed later that year in a diary found on a Japanese soldier. Newton was not specifically named, but circumstantial evidence clearly identified him, as the diary entry recorded the beheading of an Australian Flight Lieutenant who had been shot down by anti-aircraft fire on 18 March while flying a Douglas aircraft. The Japanese observer described the prisoner as "composed" in the face of his impending execution, and "unshaken to the last".

General Headquarters South West Pacific Area, however, while releasing details of the execution on 5 October, initially refused to name Newton. Aside from the lack of absolute certainty, Air Vice Marshal Bill Bostock, Air Officer Commanding RAAF Command, contended that identification would change the impact of the news upon Newton's fellow No. 22 Squadron members "from the impersonal to the closely personal" and hence "seriously affect morale". News of the atrocity provoked shock in Australia. To alleviate anxiety among the families of other missing airmen, the Federal government announced on 12 October that the relatives of the slain man had been informed of his death.

Newton was awarded the Victoria Cross on 19 October 1943 for his actions on 16–18 March, becoming the only Australian airman to earn the decoration in the South West Pacific theatre of World War II, and the only one while flying with an RAAF squadron. The citation, which incorrectly implied that he was shot down on 17 March rather than 18 March, and as having failed to escape from his sinking aircraft, read:

The KING has been graciously pleased, on the advice of Australian Ministers, to confer the VICTORIA CROSS on the undermentioned officer in recognition of most conspicuous bravery: —

Flight Lieutenant William Ellis NEWTON (Aus. 748), Royal Australian Air Force, No. 22 (R.A.A.F.) Squadron (missing).

Flight Lieutenant Newton served with No. 22 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, in New Guinea from May, 1942, to March, 1943, and completed 52 operational sorties.

Throughout, he displayed great courage and an iron determination to inflict the utmost damage on the enemy. His splendid offensive flying and fighting were attended with brilliant success. Disdaining evasive tactics when under the heaviest fire, he always went straight to his objectives. He carried out many daring machine-gun attacks on enemy positions involving low-flying over long distances in the face of continuous fire at point-blank range.

On three occasions, he dived through intense anti-aircraft fire to release his bombs on important targets on the Salamaua Isthmus. On one of these occasions, his starboard engine failed over the target, but he succeeded in flying back to an airfield 160 miles away. When leading an attack on an objective on 16th March, 1943, he dived through intense and accurate shell fire and his aircraft was hit repeatedly. Nevertheless, he held to his course and bombed his target from a low level. The attack resulted in the destruction of many buildings and dumps, including two 40,000-gallon fuel installations. Although his aircraft was crippled, with fuselage and wing sections torn, petrol tanks pierced, main-planes and engines seriously damaged, and one of the main tyres flat, Flight Lieutenant Newton managed to fly it back to base and make a successful landing.

Despite this harassing experience, he returned next day to the same locality. His target, this time a single building, was even more difficult but he again attacked with his usual courage and resolution, flying a steady course through a barrage of fire. He scored a hit on the building but at the same moment his aircraft burst into flames.

Flight Lieutenant Newton maintained control and calmly turned his aircraft away and flew along the shore. He saw it as his duty to keep the aircraft in the air as long as he could so as to take his crew as far away as possible from the enemy's positions. With great skill, he brought his blazing aircraft down on the water. Two members of the crew were able to extricate themselves and were seen swimming to the shore, but the gallant pilot is missing. According to other air crews who witnessed the occurrence, his escape-hatch was not opened and his dinghy was not inflated. Without regard to his own safety, he had done all that man could do to prevent his crew from falling into enemy hands.

Flight Lieutenant Newton's many examples of conspicuous bravery have rarely been equalled and will serve as a shining inspiration to all who follow him.

More here:
http://www.freerepublic.com/fo...f-news/2237966/posts (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2237966/posts)

steiner562
04-26-2009, 12:29 AM
^^

WTE_Ibis
04-26-2009, 01:19 AM
And another.
To my knowledge Clive Caldwell equalled the highest scoring American ace while flying
P40s and Spits.

http://www.diggerhistory.info/...-heroes/caldwell.htm (http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-heroes/caldwell.htm)


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Feathered_IV
04-26-2009, 02:44 AM
Another one. One you may not have heard of.
Pilot Officer Warren F. Cowan, pilot of an RAAF Hudson who fought Voss-style against some of Japan's leading aces, including Sakai, Nishizawa, Honda and Sasai.


http://www.abc.net.au/austory/..._Monday1July2002.htm (http://www.abc.net.au/austory/archives/2002/04_AustoryArchivesIdx_Monday1July2002.htm)

Cowan's bravery has never been officially recognised by the Australian government.

R_Target
04-26-2009, 07:49 PM
Originally posted by WTE_Ibis:
To my knowledge Clive Caldwell equalled the highest scoring American ace while flying
P40s and Spits.

Not to detract from the thread, but this is incorrect. Richard Bong is the leading U.S. ace with 40 victories. Caldwell would be in the top ten though. Anyway, Cheers to the ANZACs! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Ritter_Cuda
04-26-2009, 08:11 PM
Originally posted by R_Target:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by WTE_Ibis:
To my knowledge Clive Caldwell equalled the highest scoring American ace while flying
P40s and Spits.

Not to detract from the thread, but this is incorrect. Richard Bong is the leading U.S. ace with 40 victories. Caldwell would be in the top ten though. Anyway, Cheers to the ANZACs! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE> in a p-38 and killed in a p-80 test flight.

jamesblonde1979
04-27-2009, 02:05 AM
Originally posted by R_Target:

Not to detract from the thread, but this is incorrect. Richard Bong is the leading U.S. ace with 40 victories. Caldwell would be in the top ten though. Anyway, Cheers to the ANZACs! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Those were only the ones he claimed.

Same can be said for most fighter pilots of the era, they were a modest bunch.

I read his biography, a fascinating read and it doesn't pull any punches.

Thanks for remembering our day here guys, it's appreciated.

WTE_Ibis
04-27-2009, 06:24 AM
Originally posted by R_Target:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by WTE_Ibis:
To my knowledge Clive Caldwell equalled the highest scoring American ace while flying
P40s and Spits.

Not to detract from the thread, but this is incorrect. Richard Bong is the leading U.S. ace with 40 victories. Caldwell would be in the top ten though. Anyway, Cheers to the ANZACs! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
--------------------------------------------

Yes you are quite right, my mistake.
Though 27.5 puts him up there with Robert.S.Johnson.
http://www.acepilots.com/
thanks
Ibis


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adamjoseph74
03-23-2018, 06:36 PM
Thanks for publishing this post.

I am a grand-nephew of Bill Newton VC.

I have begun a first draft of an Opinion Piece (intended for publication in The Australian newspaper 29th March 2018 (the 75th anniversary of his execution).

75 years ago today, Bill would have been seven days into his term as a prisoner, where he was subjected to interrogation and (I presume) horrendous torture.

It is difficult to say with any authority how one might best honour Newton. He died long before I was born, and although I am related, I don't feel any particular right, nor would I claim to know what he would have wanted. I'd encourage any Australian to reflect on his service, or the service of their own forebears, and consider what symbolic and practical memorials befit.

I feel duty bound, however, to honour Newton, because of the love and respect I have for his late half-brother, Sgt Stuart Jack Miller. My grandfather was scarred for life by the loss of his only brother.

When Bill left for war, anticipating his mother might receive a dreaded telegram, he told her; "“If you hear – when you hear – there's a bottle of sherry on the mantelpiece. Have a drink for me, will you? Don't make a fuss.”

Last Friday a service was held at 22nd Squadron HQ at RAAF base Richmond NSW (complete with defence force band, aircraft fly-over, a speech by the Commander of the ADF Air Marshall Leo Davies, and the dedication of monument in Newton's honour). The lone wedge tailed eagle that circled above throughout was either: a specially-trained ceremonial eagle used by the RAAF; a sign from above that Bill approved of the "fuss"; or a random coincidence.

That ceremony, and other scheduled tributes to Newton over the coming month, are being filmed by (former head of ABC news and current affairs) Max Uechtritz.

The next commemorative service will be Easter Saturday. Bill (and his crew Basil Eastwood and John Lyon) are welcome to attend the upcoming Last Post ceremony on Easter Saturday, or watch live on the AWM's YouTube channel (4.40pm, Saturday 31st March):

https://www.awm.gov.au/commemoration/last-post-ceremony

Adam Joseph
+61(0)409 933 158

adamjoseph74
03-23-2018, 06:51 PM
Clearly I need a sub-editor...

Bill Newton and his crew will of course be present on Easter Saturday at the AWM in Canberra -- but sadly only in spirit.

It is a public event -- any interested member of the public can attend in person (or watch via YouTube live)

Adam:o