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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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145 crest
18.01.1945 145 Squadron Spitfire LF.VIII JF878 Fg Off. Andrew G.P. Newman

Operation: Armed Reconnaissance

Date: 18th January 1945 (Thursday)

Unit No: 145 Squadron (motto: Diu noctuque pugnamus - 'We fight by day and night'), 244 Group, Desert Air Force

Type: Spitfire LF.VIII

Serial: JF878

Code: ZX:?

Base: RAF Bellária, Italy

Location: Cavarzere, Italy

Pilot: Fg Off. Andrew George Patterson Newman 414664 RNZAF Age 24. KiA


Taking off leading 5 others at 11:30 hrs on an armed reconnaissance operation. 15 plus barges were seen stationary in the River Adige. Fg Off. Newman with his No. 2, Flt Sgt. Britton dived to bomb the target but both missed.

Flt Sgt. Blagdon Cecil Britton 198805 RAFVR survived the war. He was appointed to a commission and promoted to 1461392 Pilot Officer (Plt Off) in May 1945. He was born on the 4th September 1921 at Tetbury, England. Blagdon Cecil Britton passed away in 2005.

Above Flt Sgt. Britton posing with Spitfire LF.VIII JF750 (Courtesy of Adrian Dwyer)

Above: In the foreground is Spitfire LF.VII JF750, ZX:R. In the background is a P-51 Mustang. The markings on this Mustang indicate that this was P-51C, ’By Request' of Col. Benjamin O. Davis the Commanding Officer (CO) of the Tuskegee Airman 'Red Tails', 332nd Fighter Group, USAAF. This was one of a few unique P-51B/Cs that had the extended tail fillet fitted to the D-model Mustangs (Courtesy of Adrian Dwyer).

Note: This photograph may have been taken in a sequence to the photograph above but from a different perspective.

Above: Log Book entries from Flt Sgt. Britton for the month of January 1945 which records the loss of Fg Off. Newman on the 18th January 1945 (Courtesy of Adrian Dwyer)

They dived again strafing the barges then Fg Off. Newman broke away and started strafing buildings on the banks of the river. One of these exploded whilst Fg Off. Newman flew over at 100 ft. He continued flying at the same height but when his engine caught fire the Spitfire dived into the ground and he was killed.

Above: Flt Sgt. Newman shown recording a message home from the Casino area with NZ Broadcasting Unit's Archibald Curry on the 27th April 1944. Hear the interview by clicking the link below. (Courtesy Sarah Johnson - November 2023)

NZ Broadcasting Unit Interview

Above Rear L-R: William Myles McLeod 414655, James Forde 411609, William Arthur Cook 414595, Charles Ambrose O'Halloran 414666, C.C Williams, A.J.C Rogers.

Centre: Vincent Xavier Kirby 414640 , J.H McDonald, Owen Raymond Chapman 414589, George Roland Gould 414612, John Russell Petrie 414337 , J. Thom, Andrew George Patterson Newman 414664 , R.R Hore 404367

Front: LA Henderson, John Arthur Cross 405798, S.J Dillon, David Gordon Simpson 414689, A. Wealleans, Andrew James Newell Scott 414685 .

Burial details:

He was initially buried at the crash site. He was recovered and laid to rest at the Padua War Cemetery on the 11th September 1947.

Fg Off. Andrew George Patterson Newman, Padua War Cemetery. Grave VI.B.14. Born on the 1st November 1920 in Timaru. Son of Charles William Newman (died 23rd November 1934, age 68), and of Harriet Madalene Newman (née Bain - died 5th April 1957, age 75), of Timaru, New Zealand.

He worked as an apprentice mechanic for Watson Motors prior to service. Enlisted in the RNZAF on the 17th August 1941 at Levin after 14 months in the RNZ Army. 767 flying hours logged and completed 167 operational sorties. Credited with 2 enemy aircraft destroyed

Researched by Kelvin Youngs (Webmaster) and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the National Archives AIR/27/987, Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, AWMM, Weekly News of New Zealand (Feb 2021). Updated by Kelvin Youngs (Feb 2023). Interview added (Nov 2023). Reviewed and updated by Aircrew Remembered. Thanks also to Adrian Dwyer, son-in-law of Blagdon Cecil Britton for photograph of his photographs and log book entries (May 2024).

Other sources listed below:

RS 08.05.2024 - Reviewed, updated, photograph and Log Book entries added

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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