Captain John M Newton

17 Nov 1946

Captain John Mitchell Newton was the son of John and Lucy Newton of Lincoln. After completing his training at the Officer Cadet Training Unit (OCTU) he was granted an emergency commission on 10 October 1943 and served with the Corps of Royal Engineers.

He volunteered for Airborne Forces towards the end of 1944 and qualified as a parachutist on course 147, which ran at RAF Ringway during the first two weeks of January 1945. He was also promoted to the substantive rank of Lieutenant in 1945 and served with 1st Airborne Squadron, Royal Engineers which formed part of the 6th Airborne Division. Later he was promoted to Temporary, or Acting, Captain while serving in Palestine.

Jewish saboteurs mounted a campaign to dislocate the Palestinian railway network and terrorize the train crews. In November 1946 this campaign intensified resulting in 21 attacks against the railway in the first three weeks. The saboteurs employed two principal techniques: mining the railway by night in order to blow up a passing train the following day or simply blowing up the permanent way, which would disrupt services until it could be repaired. The former was more lethal, invariably resulting in the loss of life.

Around this time the saboteurs introduced a new type of anti-handling device to the railway mines. Unaware of the booby trap, Captain Newton was called to make safe one such railway mine and lost his life.

He died on 17 November 1946, aged 24 years, and is now buried at the Ramleh Cemetery, Israel.

Profile photograph courtesy of Dick Armstrong.

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Service History

John M Newton


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