William Ellis (Bill) NEWTON VC

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NEWTON, William Ellis

Service Number: 250748
Enlisted: 5 February 1940
Last Rank: Flight Lieutenant
Last Unit: No. 22 Squadron (RAAF)
Born: St Kilda, Victoria, 8 June 1919
Home Town: Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria
Schooling: Melbourne Grammar School
Occupation: Salesman
Died: Executed (beheaded - POW of Japan), Execution, Salamaua, New Guinea, 29 March 1943, aged 23 years
Cemetery: Lae War Cemetery
Plot. S Row. A Grave. 4, Lae War Cemetery, Lae, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Ballarat Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial, Keith Payne VC Memorial Park, Narre Warren North War Memorial, North Bondi War Memorial, RAAF Wagga Mural Memorial - Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS)
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World War 2 Service

5 Feb 1940: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, SN 250748, 1 Elementary Flying Training School Parafield, Parafield, South Australia
5 Feb 1940: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Lieutenant, SN 250748
28 Dec 1940: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Lieutenant, SN 250748, Central Flying School, Empire Air Training Scheme
28 Dec 1940: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, Central Flying School
30 Dec 1940: Transferred Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, No. 2 Initial Training School, Began training students under the Empire Air Training Scheme at No. 2 Service Flying Training School near Wagga Wagga
1 Mar 1942: Transferred Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, No. 1 Operational Support Unit, Sent to No. 1 Operational Training Unit at Sale, Victoria for conversion to twin-engined light bombers
1 Apr 1942: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Lieutenant, No. 22 Squadron (RAAF), Based at RAAF Station Richmond, New South Wales
1 Nov 1942: Transferred Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Lieutenant, No. 9 Squadron (RAAF), Port Moresby, New Guinea
16 Mar 1943: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Lieutenant, SN 250748, No. 22 Squadron (RAAF), Air War SW Pacific 1941-45
19 Mar 1943: Imprisoned Air War SW Pacific 1941-45
29 Mar 1943: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Lieutenant, SN 250748, No. 22 Squadron (RAAF), Prisoners of War
17 Aug 1943: Honoured Victoria Cross

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Biography contributed by Paul Trevor

Newton, William Ellis (Bill) (1919–1943)
by Alan Stephens


William Ellis (Bill) Newton, air force officer, was born on 8 June 1919 at St Kilda, Melbourne, son of Australian-born parents Charles Ellis Newton, dentist, and his second wife Minnie, née Miller. Bill was educated to Intermediate certificate level at Melbourne Church of England Grammar School, where his masters regarded him as having qualities of leadership. Six ft 3 ins (191 cm) tall and 16 stone (102 kg) in weight, he was a fine all-round sportsman who played cricket for the Victorian second XI. He worked in the silk-warehouse of Makower, McBeath & Co. Pty Ltd before enlisting in the Royal Australian Air Force on 5 February 1940. Newton qualified as a pilot and was commissioned in June. After serving as a flying instructor, he was posted in May 1942 to No.22 Squadron which was based in Port Moresby and equipped with Boston light bombers.

In fifty-two operational sorties—90 per cent of them flown through anti-aircraft fire—Flight Lieutenant Newton displayed exceptional courage and a remarkable determination to inflict the utmost damage on the enemy. Disdaining evasive tactics, he always 'went straight at his objective' to achieve maximum accuracy with his weapons. On one occasion his aircraft's starboard engine failed over the target, but he completed the attack and then flew 160 nautical miles (296 km) to a safe airfield. His exploits earned him the nickname of 'The Firebug': 'Wherever he flew he left a big fire behind him'.

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https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/newton-william-ellis-bill-11232 (adb.anu.edu.au)

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