Flight Lieutenant William (‘Bill’) Newton VC

18 Mar 1943

During a raid by six RAAF Bostons of No 22 Squadron on Japanese storage buildings at Salamaua, New Guinea, the aircraft captained by Flight Lieutenant William (‘Bill’) Newton was crippled by 40 mm cannon fire from the ground. Turning his bomber away from the target, he crash-landed in the sea a kilometre from shore. Newton and his wireless operator/air gunner managed to escape the wreck before it sank and swam to the beach, where they were captured shortly afterwards. After they were taken to Lae for a week of interrogation, Newton’s crewman was bayoneted to death outside the town. Newton himself was returned to his captors at Salamaua and beheaded on 29 March. A series of missions he had performed with great gallantry prior to being shot down led to him receiving in October the only Victoria Cross awarded to a member of the RAAF in the Pacific War.