William Ellis Newton, VC was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross. He was honoured for his actions as a bomber pilot in Papua New Guinea during March 1943. 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. It later emerged that he had been taken captive by the Japanese, and executed by beheading on 29 March.
About Bill Newton in brief
William Ellis Newton, VC was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross. He was honoured for his actions as a bomber pilot in Papua New Guinea during March 1943. 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. Newton excelled at sport, playing cricket at youth state level. He joined the Citizen Military Forces in 1938, and enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in February 1940. Newton served as a flying instructor in Australia before being posted to No. 22 Squadron, which began operating Boston light bombers in New Guinea late in 1942. Having just taken part in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, he was on his fifty-second mission when he was shot down and captured. Newton is the only Australian airman to receive a Victoria Cross for action in the South West Pacific theatre of World War II. He is also the sole Australian to be so decorated while flying with an RAAF squadron. Newton had been a sergeant in his cadet corps at school, and joined the Citizens Military Force on 28 November 1938, serving as a private in the machine-gun section of the 6th Battalion, Royal Melbourne Regiment. He had earlier attempted to enlist when he turned eighteen in 1937, but his mother refused to give her permission; with Australia now at war, she acquiesced.
His three older half-siblings from Charles’ earlier marriage included two brothers, John and Lindsay, and a sister, Phyllis. He gave up further study when his father died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of fifty-one, and began working in a silk warehouse. In January 1938, Newton dismissed Test batsman Bill Ponsford—still the only Australians to twice score 400 in a first-class innings—for four in a Colts game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The following year, he gained selection in the Victorian Second XI, taking a total of 3113 including the wickets of Ron Saggers and Arthur Morris who, like Miller, went on to become members of the Invincibles. He completed the requisite flight instruction course at Uranquinty Flying School in September 1941. He subsequently began training students under the Empire Air Training Scheme at No.2 Service Flying Training School near Wagga Wagga. In October 1941, Newton transferred as a flight instructor to No 5 Service Flying School at Cooky, New South Wales, and was promoted to flying officer on 28 December 1941. In December 1942, Newton found frustrating instruction at No 5 Service Training School at Uran quinty frustrating, and found it difficult to find a frustrating course to follow. He later joined No.1 Service Flying training School at Laverton, Victoria, flying De Havilland Tiger Moths and with No 21 RAAF Station at Wirraways.