Grostenquin France

G/C WFM Newson

NEWSON, S/L William Francis Montgomery (C983)

[DFC Ribbon] Distinguished Flying Cross - No. 408 Squadron

Award effective 6 August 1943 as per London Gazette dated 13 August 1943 and AFRO 1849/43 dated 10 September 1943. Born in Calgary, 19 July 1917; home in Edmonton. Enrolled in RMC, 1936; commissioned 1939. Served in Eastern Air Command until 1942 when he was posted to England. Later commanded No. 431 Squadron. Appointed CFI at a Heavy Conversion Unit before posting to No. 405 Squadron. Remained in RCAF, attending Staff College; to AFHQ, 1947 (organizing Air Cadet League); 1949 made CFI, Centralia before going to NATO duties; National Defence College, 1954; to staff of No. 1 Air Division Commanding Officer at 2 (F) Wing Grostenquin France October 1955 to July 1957; to Edmonton, 1959 as CO, Station Namao; less than a year later made commandant, RCAF Staff College. In 1964 made CO, 36 NORAD Division (Brunswick, Maine; first member of RCAF to command on US territory); promoted to Brigadier, 1968 and posted to NATO. Retired 1972. Awarded Queen's Coronation Medal, 23 October 1953 while a Group Captain in Training Command. Active in Canadian Aviation hall of Fame. Died 24 March 1988.

This officer has completed numerous operational missions and has won the admiration and respect of all the members of his squadron. His aircraft has been twice damaged by anti-aircraft fire but in spite of this he has returned to base on each occasion and effected a safe landing. Squadron Leader Newson is an ideal leader whose courage and devotion to duty have been a fine example.

NEWSON, W/C William Francis Montgomery, DFC (C983)

[DFC Ribbon] Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross - No.431 Squadron

Award effective 5 August 1944 as per London Gazette dated 15 August 1944 and AFRO 2101/44 dated 29 September 1944.

Wing Commander Newson has shown marked ability both as a squadron commander and as a captain of aircraft on operations. Since the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross he has completed attacks on such targets as Berlin, Magdeburg, Stuttgart and Dusseldorf in a most gallant and efficient manner. His courage, leadership and resolution have set a fine example to all.

NOTE: Public Record Office Air 2/9632 has recommendation by G/C D. Edwards, Commander, RCAF Station Croft, dated 6 May 1944 when he had flown 178 hours ten minutes on operations from England (29 sorties), of which eleven sorties (67 hours) had been since his previous award. The text and sortie list add much to the record of this officer.

No. 408 Squadron

No. 431 Squadron

Since his association with Bomber Command in August 1942, Wing Commander Newson has displayed the highest qualities, both on operations and as a leader, particularly as Squadron Commander of No.431 (RCAF) Squadron. He has led the squadron from Wellington aircraft to Halifax Mark Vs in September 1943, and recently converted it to Halifax Mark IIIs.. He has, during all this trying period, shown the highest efficiency in operations, and his administrative ability as Commanding Officer of the squadron has marked him as a fearless and inspirational leader. His capacity to get the best out of his men has been done with a devotion to duty deserving of the highest praise.

Since being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, this officer has completed eleven sorties as captain of aircraft, which included against most heavily defended enemy targets (Berlin, Stuttgart, Magdeburg, Dusseldorf, etc). On all occasions he has performed his mission in the highest and most gallant manner.

On two occasions, to Berlin and Stuttgart, while still recovering from a wrenched back, he pressed home his attack, though suffering pain throughout.

In addition, Wing Commander Newson has completed 477 hours 40 minutes on Coastal Command (Hudsons) with No.11 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and No.13 (Operational Training) Squadron, Patricia Bay, British Columbia.

I strongly recommend Wing Commander Newson for a Bat to the Distinguished Flying Cross.

This was minuted on 22 May 1944 by Air Vice Marshal CM McEwen, Air Officer Commanding, No. 6 Group:

I concur. A very fine officer and squadron commander whose qualities of leadership, resolution and courage have set an example to all. Recommend the non-immediate award of a Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross.

NEWSON, G/C William Francis Montgomery, DFC (C983)

[DSO Ribbon] Distinguished Service Order - No. 405 Squadron
Award effective 8 September 1945 as per London Gazette of 21 September 1945 and AFRO 1704/45 dated 9 November 1945.

This officer has a long and varied career of operational duty. After completing a tour of duty with Coastal Command in Canada he was appointed to command a squadron in this country. He has taken part in many sorties since the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross, many of them in a most important role. The success of a number of sorties, against such heavily defended objectives as Chemnitz and Zweibrucken, has been due in no small measure to his work as master bomber. Group Captain Newson is an outstanding officer who, by his keenness and efficiency, has set a fine example.

William Francis Montgomery Newson

Birthdate: July 19, 1917
Birth Place: Calgary, Alberta
Year Inducted: 1984
Death Date: March 24, 1988
Awards: DSO DFC CD

"His lifetime dedication to aviation in both war and peace, particularly his outstanding effort to preserve and present the human aspects of aviation for the purpose of increasing public knowledge and appreciation for Canada's aviation heritage has been of considerable benefit to Canadian aviation and to the nation."

William Newson joined the RCAF in 1939 and learned to fly at Camp Borden, Ontario. His first assignment was to fly coastal operations, escorting convoys on the Atlantic crossings, often under very difficult weather conditions. He transferred to the United Kingdom Ferry Command and was later posted as Squadron Commander of No. 431 Squadron. In October 1944 Newson served as Commanding Officer of the famous Pathfinder Squadron, where he remained until war's end. Following WWII, he held several senior staff and command appointments in Canada and overseas. He retired from the Armed Forces in 1972 after accumulating nearly 6000 flying hours. Newson was approached in 1977 to take on the role of Executive Vice President of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame. Accepting the position, he successfully! brought to fruition the concept of this unique institution and preserved the human aspects of Canadian aviation heritage for the benefit of the nation.

Photos of G/C WFM Newson at 2 Wing Grostenquin France

Click on the description text to view the photograph.
  1. G/C WFM "Bill" Newson at an undicentified function - December 1955.
    Courtesy Varlerie Roine (now Malandrakis).

  2. G/C WFM "Bill" Newson - November 1955.
    Courtesy Bob Bolster.

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Updated: September 29, 2002