15.11.1941 234 Squadron Spitfire Vb AD326 Sgt. H.A. Newman
Date: 15th November 1941 (Saturday)
Unit: 234 Squadron
Type: Spitfire Vb
Base: RAF Warmwell, Dorset, England
Location: Le Havre, Calvados, North France
Pilot: Sgt. Harry Arthur Newman 912090 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Update July 2017 - relatives now contacted - further details added. Late July 2017: New contact made from other friends
REASON FOR LOSS:
RAF Combat & Casualties for Fighter Command for the 15th November 1941 records that Sgt. Newman’s Spitfire was shot down by flak over Cherbourg. However, other documents record that the loss may have been attributed to German Bf-109s. The exact circumstances leading to the loss of Sgt. Newman and the location of the aircraft's crash site has yet to be determined.
The National Archives has a record, AIR 81/10307, entitled "Sergeant H A Newman: killed; enemy action, Spitfire AD326, 234 Squadron, 15 November 1941". This document may provide additional information but it is currently not accessible (Oct 2020).
We have placed this article on the website as a French ex-serviceman wants to honour Sgt. Newman by placing a plaque in the area and we would therefore like to trace this pilot's relatives.
On the 10th July 1941 Sgt. Newman took off in Spitfire IIb, P8659, on a bomber escort mission to Cherbourg. 234 Sqn flew as medium cover in arrow formation in sections of pairs. Sgt Newman was flying as 'Green 2'. On reaching the target the bombers were lost in the haze and the Sqn let down to 2000ft and made two circuits of the target before turning for home. At about 12:30 hrs as the Sqn was coming away from Cherbourg they were attacked by approximately 7 Bf-109s from above and out of the sun. In the ensuing combat Sgt. Newman’s section leader, 'Green 1' was shot down but he bailed out. "Green 2' was also attacked from dead astern, damaging the aircraft and wounding Sgt. Newman but he managed to return to base. The resulting combat saw 2 Bf-109s destroyed and 1 damaged, whilst 234 Sqn reported 2 Spitfires missing, one damaged with 1 Pilot missing and 1 wounded. The missing pilot 'Green 1’, was Sgt. Ivan Edgar Pearce, 754145 who is remembered at The Runnymede Memorial, Panel 50.
A Mr. Robin Lowther contacted us also in late July 2017. One of the sisters of Harry Newman, Gwyneth (a long standing friend of Robin) heard that he had planned to visit Normandy on a motorcycle trip and asked if he could place a card on the grave with flowers. He did just that, laminating the card and photo to be placed on the grave and kindly sent us copies. He described it as a very moving experience for him and the friends he had travelled with.
With thanks to Polly Johnson for marvellous retouch work on this once, very poor photograph. We hope to get more photos from one of his sisters who made contact in July 2017.
Sgt Newman was trained at 58 Operational Training Unit in Grangemouth, Scotland earlier in 1941. The Spitfire IV, AD326 was built at the Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory, fitted with the Merlin 45 engine.
Grave of Sgt. Harry Arthur Newman (courtesy Dale Heighway)
In June 2018 Ron Pier and his group of vintage bikers went and visited his grave, placing flowers and a remembrance cross. (courtesy Ron Pier)
Sgt. Harry Arthur Newman. St. Honorine-Des-Pertes Churchyard, Calvados, France. Single CWGC grave south east corner. Born on the 17th July 1920 in Brentford, Middlesex. Son of Hubert Arthur and Daisy Alice Elizabeth (née Butler) Newman of Sudbury Avenue, Wembley, London, England. Brother of Gweneth, Kathleen, Denise and Leslie. (as at July 2017 Harry has two surviving sisters, Kathleen Spencer and Denise McKechnie.
Kevin Newman contacted us in July 2017 and provided much of this personal information, he is one of many nieces and nephews. Sgt. Newman is also remembered on a memorial at St. Johns Church.
With thanks to Francis Bernier, Dale Heighway, Kevin Newman, Kathleen Spencer, Polly Johnson, Mr. Robin Lowther and Ron Pier. Updated information added by Aircrew Remembered (Oct 2020). Thanks also to Jérôme Aner for pointing out the RAF Combat & Casualties for Fighter Command information (Oct 2020) Additional sources as quoted.