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The Airmen's Stories - F/O M A Newling


Michael Alan Newling was born on 28th February 1920 in Richmond, the son of Major George Arthur Newling MC, Royal Marines (1891-1967) and Dorothy Esmond Cranstone Williamson (nee Woods 1897-1983).

His father's Military Cross was gazetted on 17th July 1917, the citation read 'Temp. 2nd Lt. George Arthur Newling R.M. For conspicuous, gallantry in an attack, when he led his platoon with great courage and skill, and held the objective, when captured, against numerous counter-attacks.'


MA Newling was educated at Oakham School. He joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his initial training on 23rd January 1939 at No. 1 E&RFTS Hatfield.

Newling carried out his intermediate and advanced flying training at 11 FTS Shawbury on No. 12 Course, which ran from 15th April to 23rd October 1939.



With his training completed, he joined the reformed 145 Squadron at Croydon on 23rd October. The squadron was based at Manston but deployed to Merville in France on 18th May.

That afternoon a flight was dispatched to intercept a formation He111s of KG flying west of Brussels.

At least one Heinkel was shot down, but Newling's Hurricane N2600 was damaged by return fire and he broke off to return to Merville. Over the village of Pamel-Roosdaal Newling was forced to bale out, he landed safely and was led through the German lines by Gerard Kestens, then 13 years old, who recalled:

'We heard machine gun shots between 2 and 3pm, this was soon followed by the noise of a Hurricane flying from Brussels, over Ternat towards Ninove. Suddenly he caught fire ... and a little later fell a man in a yellow-shiny suit, it all went so quickly and suddenly.

Immediately my father shouted "It is an English paratrooper, come and help him." We walked over and a little later we heard a great explosion. The burning Hurricane had crashed into the orchard of Jozef Stockmans (Groenenboomgaardstraat), where the whole thing had buried itself a few meters deep in the ground.

When we all came to the Englishman, he was just stripped of his parachute. I had never seen a parachute or a pilot. The parachute seemed to me to be a very large golden satin-like sheet with many cords, belts and buckles. The pilot, in a nice blue uniform, was a good-looking, young, slender and athletically built man, with blond hair and blushing cheeks.

His first words were "Englishman ..", and we all reacted spontaneously in flat Flemish and in an intelligible sign language that we made it clear that the "English" had only just left, that he had to follow them and that we would follow him, pointing.

We walked along a small road, between half-grown grain fields and a little further hidden behind a high hedge. We feared that at any time the Germans would arrive on the Ninoofsesteenweg. Indeed, a few moments later it was time, as we could see through the hedge. Immediately above and around the row of houses a German barrage of exploding shells developed, which made us rush on. The Germans guessed exactly where the pilot could already be at that moment. While we were hiding sweat ran off the pilot's blushing face. But we too were all scared.

We carried on and in the "De Pilter" café we were called in to drink a 'nen Bock' beer. The pilot downed it in one sip ... and we were gone again, to Pamel-Dorp. At really rapid pace we went straight to the river Dender. On the other side lay the English who were in position on the other side of the Ninove-Denderleeuw railway.

The pilot waved his arms in the air and blew a whistle to attract the attention of the English. Before wading through the Dender, the pilot wanted to give us a memento. I suppose it must have been a piece of money or another license plate. Fortunately we refused. I still don't know why we refused that from a weeping goodbye pilot. Arriving at the bridge, the man descended into the silt of the bed of the Dender. The sludge reached him as far as the chest. Immediately on the opposite side a jeep with four soldiers came over. They cast a few ropes with the help of which the pilot was pulled to the other side.'

Newling rejoined his squadron two days later.

Over Dunkirk on 31st May he shared in the destruction of a Me109 and on 1st June destroyed a Me110.

On 12th July Newling shared in probably destroying a Ju88 and shared in damaging three Me110s and on the 19th he shared in destroying a He111. In this action his Hurricane, P2770, was hit in the glycol tank and hydraulic system by return fire.

Newling made a forced-landing at Shoreham aerodrome, slightly concussed, and was admitted to Shoreham Hospital.

Newling recovered and was flying again on the 21st, twice, from Tangmere to Church Fenton and from Church Fenton to Drem. He was non-effective sick until 20th August, when he rejoined 145 Squadron.

On 12th October Newling probably destroyed a Me109. He wrote off Hurricane V6856 on the 18th when he overshot the runway landing at Tangmere. He hit a stationary aircraft but escaped unhurt. He was made OC ‘A’ Flight on 11th November 1940.

Newling was awarded the DFC (gazetted 4th February 1941).

He shared a Ju88 on 1st March 1941.

He was killed on 6th July 1941, still with 145 Squadron, shot down in Circus 35 over the Lille area in Spitfire Va W3366.

Newling is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, panel 29.



Above image courtesy of Dean Sumner.



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