Flight Lieutenant William Newton V.C.Print Page Print this page

18-May-2016 (Russell Byers)
18-May-2016 (Russell Byers)

Photographs supplied by Glen Yeomans / Russell Byers

A rest area commemorates William Newton who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during World War Two. 

Newton was posted in 1942 to the newly formed 22 squadron to fly Boston`s in New Guinea. Based at Ward strip the squadron had to negotiate the Owen Stanley range to reach its targets, and Newton soon earned a reputation as a skillful courageous pilot through his direct and unflinching attacks on heavily defended targets, often refusing to take evasive action, so that he could be sure of hitting the objective. This tactic proved to be very effective, and Newton’s targets were often left in flames.

After a successful bombing raid over the Salamau Isthmus, Newton`s aircraft was hit and ditched into the sea and he was presumed dead and recommended for the Victoria Cross. Newton and his radio operator Lyons had survived the crash and were picked up by friendly locals. They decided to leave the natives and strike out on their own. They were captured by a Japanese search patrol. They were recognised as aircrew and interrogated, after which Lyons was bayoneted to death. Newton was recognised as the pilot of a Boston, because of the blue cricket cap which he was carrying. He was then returned to Salamua, and beheaded.


Address:Federal Highway (Remembrance Driveway), Bywong, 2621
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.143483
Long: 149.334423
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Park
Monument Theme:People
Actual Event STart Date:29-March-1943
Actual Event End Date:29-March-1943


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1997
Front Inscription

Plaque :

William Newton VC Rest Area

Dedicated to the memory of a gallant soldier who gave his life for his comrades and his country.

250748 Flight Lieutenant William Ellis Newton
No. 22 Squadron, RAAF
16 March, 1943, on Salamaua Isthmus, New Guinea

Flight Lieutenant William Ellis Newton served in New Guinea from May 1942 to March 1943 and completed 53 operational sorties.  When leading an attack on 16 March 1943 his Boston aircraft was hit repeatedly and although it was crippled he managed to return the aircraft to base and make a successful landing.  He returned next day to the same location.  His aircraft again was hit and it 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 and to take his crew as far away as possible from the enemy`s positions.  With great skill he brought this blazing aircraft down on the water."  Two members of the crew extricated themselves and were seen swimming to shore.  One of them was Flight Lieutenant Newton.  He was captured and later executed on 29 March, 1943, at Salamaua, New Guinea.  

"Without regard to his own safety, he had done all that man could do to prevent his crew 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."  (London Gazette : 19 October 1943).

William Ellis Newton was born at St. Kilda, Victoria on 8th June, 1919.  His body was recovered when Salamaua was recaptured by Australian troops and he is buried at the Lae War Cemetery.


Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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