Flight Sergeant John LYON

Service No: 401706
Born: Glasgow, Scotland, 19 April 1916
Enlisted in the RAAF: 28 March 1941 (at Melbourne VIC)
Unit: No. 22 Squadron
Died: Prisoner of War (Executed) (from the loss of No. 22 Squadron Boston aircraft A28-3 on 18 March 1943), Salamaua, 20 March 1943, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Lae War Cemetery, Papua New Guinea
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Samuel James Lyon and Agnes Lyon; husband of Mae Georgina Lyon, of Footscray, Victoria
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 101, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Flying at low level on 18 March 1943, Boston A29-3 attacked a building one mile south of McDonalds Junction, Salamaua, through a barrage of anti-aircraft fire. Having made a direct hit on the target, the aircraft burst into flames. Flight Lieutenant Newton turned the aircraft away and flew along the shore, landing the aircraft in the water about 500 yards from the shore line at 1005 hours. Other crews saw two survivors swimming towards the shore.

The crew members of A29-3 were:

Sergeant Basil Gilbert Eastwood (13055) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant John Lyon (401706) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Lieutenant William Ellis Newton VC (250748) (Pilot)

The two survivors from the crash were Flight Lieutenant Newton and Flight Sergeant Lyon. They managed to reach the shore, but were captured by a company of the Japanese Navy. Newton was taken from Salamaua to Lae for interrogation, but was returned to Salamaua as a trophy for the Company which captured him. Newton and Lyon were both executed by the Japanese. On 20 March 1943, Flight Sergeant Lyon was bayoneted in the back by the Japanese. On 29 March 1943, Flight Lieutenant Newton was beheaded by Lt Kumai – Kumai was subsequently killed in action in the Philippines. Vice-Admiral Fujita, who authorised the executions, cut his throat at the end of the war in order to avoid punishment by the Allies.


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/25/26; A9845, 216


Balfe, J.D. (John Donellan) (272371) And far From Home: Flying RAAF transports in the Pacific War and after, The MacMillan Company of Australia South Melbourne VIC 3205, 1985 – Chapter 10

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