Image copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This image is licensed under CC BY-NC

ID number ART27536
Title Flight Lieutenant William Newton
Collection Art
Object type Painting
Maker Cook, Alfred (Artist)
Place made Australia: New South Wales, Sydney
Date made 1958
Medium oil on hardboard
Measurement overall: 76.2 x 61 cm


This posthumous portrait of Newton in his flight gear was based on a photograph provided by the VC's brother Lindsay, and was the result of extensive research by the artist. While Cook reported the photograph was 'most valuable' in assisting him to create the work, he also carefully listened to recollections of Newton by friends and relatives; when they viewed the finished work they judged it an 'excellent likeness'.

Flight Lieutenant William Newton was a member of No. 22 Squadron, RAAF, and was awarded the Victoria Cross, when leading an attack on Japanese installations at Salamaua, New Guinea. In this attack, one of many carried out by Newton, his aircraft was seriously damaged by ground fire, but he maintained his course and bombed from a low level. Buildings and two large fuel tanks were destroyed. He then managed to fly the crippled aircraft back to base and land safely. Next day in an identical attack, his aircraft was again hit and burst into flames. Forced to ditch in the sea, Newton and one of his crew were captured and later executed by the Japanese.