Daniel Leahy 2004
William Ellis Newton, 250748 (POW, executed March 29, 1943, BR) St. Kilda, VIC
Bomb / Nav FSgt
John Lyon 401706 (POW, executed March 20, 1943, BR) Footscray, VIC
Gunner Sgt Basil Gilbert Eastwood, 13055 (MIA / KIA) Caulfield, VIC
Ditched March 18, 1943
Pilot Newton posthumously earned the Victoria Cross on
October 20, 1943 for his actions on March 16, 1943 piloting this aircraft, the only Victoria Cross awarded during the Pacific War. Today, his Victoria Cross and medals are displayed at the Australian
War Memorial. During 1944, Nadzab No.
4 Airfield was named in "Newton Field" in his honor.
Built by Douglas. Assigned Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number AL887. Allocated to the Netherlands East Indies Air Force (NEIAF) and shipped overseas. On the way, the shipment was diverted to Australian instead. Assigned to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) on March 29, 1942 to 1 AD. Reassembled at Geelong on March 30, 1942.
On April 27, 1942 assigned to 22 Squadron on April 27, 1942 with tail code DU-Y. Then to 1 AD for fitting long range fuel tanks on June 16, 1942 then returned to 22 Squadron on July 14, 1942. Departed Wards Drome (5 Mile Drome) on November 10, 1942 on a flight to Laverton Airfield arriving November 28 and temporarily assigned to 3 AD. Departed on December 2 and returned to Wards Drome on December 7.
On March 18, 1943 took off from Wards Drome (5 Mile Drome) near Port Moresby on a bombing mission against Salamaua. Over the target, hit by anti-aircraft fire
and ditched. Gunner Eastwood did not escape and went down with the aircraft.
Fates of the Crew
Newton and Lyon survived the ditching and were seen swimming towards shore. Captured by the Japanese, both became Prisoners Of War (POW) detained at Salamaua. Lyon was executed on March 20, 1943. Newton was executed on March 29, 1943. After the Australian Army forces recaptured Salamaua September 1943 they located and exhumed the remains of Newton and Lyon.
Lyon was officially declared dead on March 20, 1943. Newton was officially declared dead on March 29, 1943. After the recovery of remains, both were exhumed and both were permanently buried at Lae War Cemetery. Newton at S. A. 4. Lyon at M. B. 14. Eastwood was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized at Lae War Cemetery on panel 7.
London Gazette October of 15, 1943
ADF Serials - Boston A28-3
CWGC - William Ellis Newton
CWGC - John Lyon
Basil Gilbert Eastwood
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May 22, 2017
POW / MIA