William Ellis Newton, 250748 (POW, executed March 29, 1943, BR) St. Kilda, VIC
Bombardier / Navigator 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. Constructors Number 3819. Assigned Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number AL887. At the factory, painted in RAF markings and camouflage. No known U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) serial number was allocated.
This Boston was one of twenty-two Bostons from the RAF production that were instead allocated to the Netherlands East Indies Air Force (NEIAF) and over painted with the markings of the Kon Marine (Dutch Navy). Disassembled and shipped overseas bound for the Netherlands East Indies. After the fall of Java while still in transit, diverted to Australia.
On March 29, 1942, delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as DB-7B Boston Mark III serial number A28-3. The next day reassembled by 1 Air Depot (1 AD) at Geelong. On April 27, 1942 assigned to 22 Squadron with tail code DU-Y.
On June 16, 1942 assigned to 1 Air Depot (1 AD) for fitting long range fuel tanks then returned to 22 Squadron on July 14, 1942.
On November 10, 1942 took off from Wards Drome on a flight to Laverton Airfield arriving November 28 and temporarily assigned to 3 Air Depot (3 AD.) Departed on December 2, 1942 flown back to Wards Drome arriving on December 7, 1942.
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 and was declared Missing In Action (MIA).
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.
Boston in service with Royal Australian Air Force
ADF Serials - Boston A28-3
London Gazette October of 15, 1943
CWGC - William Ellis Newton
CWGC - John Lyon
Basil Gilbert Eastwood
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February 4, 2018