Sidney Allan Charles Newnham

"Self X & Wireless Operator with me when I caught fire 10,000 feet up over the Irish Channel 20 miles from Holyhead"


1896 Feb 21. Born Gillingham, Kent (Reg as Sidney Allen C Newnham)

1901 census at 205, Balmoral Road, Gillingham

1911 census at Chicago 205 Balmoral Road Gillingham Kent

1915 Sep 24. Lands in Gallipoli. Gallipoli / Egypt / Palestine . Sailing aboard SS Olympic, HMT 2810, REKMR sailed from Liverpool, arriving at Murdos, October 2, but going ashore at Cape Helles on October 7. REKMR left Gallopoli on Dec 31. After time in Mudros, REKMR arrived Sidi Bishr, near Alexandria on Feb 5, 1917. With the 10th Bn of The Buffs. The Bn was formed in Egypt in Feb 1917. A and B companies came from the REKMR, C and D from West Kent Yeomanry. The strength of the Bn was 46 officers and 875 O/R's with.

1917 Mar 1. He is listed as being posted to B Company on 1st March 1917 having previously served in the Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles.

1918 Jan 6. Left the 10Btn (Yeo) The Buffs and joined 3 Cadet Wing in Egypt. He was with 193 TS and 22TS, before joining S of AG (School of Aerial Gunnery?) and AFS (Aerial Fighting School?)

1918 Aug 11. Flight Cadet granted temp commission as 2nd Lt 270077 Sidney Allan Charles Newnham

1918 Nov 23. Posted to Aboukir Base Depot for re-embarkation back to UK  from Port Said

He was flying with100 Squadron, 11 Irish Wing in the Dublin area.

1920 Aug 13. Joined ADRIC with service no 229

1920 Sep 20. His RAF record indicates he obtained a short service commission as Flying Officer (London Gazette 9623 1-10-1920) with the date of effect 20-9-1920. That would indicate his resignation from ADRIC must be very close prior to that date.

Resigned ADRIC, re-commissioned in RAF. No date for his resignation

1921 Feb 12. Not guilty in a cout martial for drunkeness

1923 Jan 24. Flying Officer Sidney Allan Charles Newnham resigned his commission.. His RAF record states "on account of financial embarrassment".

1923 Oct 14. while flying an Avro 504K (registration G-EABE) at Cambridge, Sidney was involved in an accident, crashing the aircraft and injuring his passengers. This was as a civilian. Crashed in unknown circumstances. Ex-RAF Avro 504 E4137: written off (damaged beyond repair) 14/10/1923 when crashed near Cambridge. Sidney was definitely the pilot of G-EABE the family have a copy of the accident report and a photocopy of a newspaper picture.

1924 Jan 11. Makes his first voyage as a Merchant Seaman. He gets a seaman's card as an "assistant storekeeper". It appears to have been on SS Orcades. There is a second card issued a week earlier. Ship 143122 is Ocades and features on both cards. The evidence points to him sailing as Assistant Storekeeper on Orcades on 11 Jan 1924. It may be that he undertook a second voyage on Ormuz after returning from a trip in Orcades

SS Orcades was built in Germany and launched as Prinz Ludwig. Served on routes to Asia until laid up in Germany during the 1914-1918 War. As part of war reparations Prinz Ludwig came under control of the British Shipping Controller in 1919 and was used for troop repatriations to Australia. Prinz Ludwig was purchased by the Orient Steam Navigation Company (Orient Line) in 1921, underwent refit and was renamed Orcades. The vessel then served on the UK-Australia route until 1924.

Ormuz, the former German Zepellin. She commenced her first trip to Australia on Dec 11, 1921. She was sold back to North German Lloyd in 1927 and renamed Dresden. 

Ormuz sailed from UK to Australia in 1924 on 4 Jan , 24 May, and 18 Oct

A record seems to be be missing for Orcades. There are only records for sailing on 11 Jan (arriving back in UK on 3 May, which presumably Newnham was on) and 20 Sep. The is clearly a gap in her sailing from May to Sep 1924.

He moved to Australia and his son Robert later owned a sheep farm approx 75 miles from Perth, West Australia, the farm was called Chicago and was sold in 2004. His sons and daughter are still in the area. Bob was a pilot, divorced and had a daughter and resides in Coolbellup, WA. He flew in Papua New Guinea out of Wewak. The other son Richard may have had the sheep farm possibly near Ballidu.

1926 Jul 14. Married Marion McDougall in Western Australia

1931/1937 On Australian Electoral Rolls in Swan, Western Australia

1932 Mar 2. Dissolves his business partnership

1940 Jan 24. In court for drunk driving

ALLEGED INTOXICATED DRIVER. A charge of having driven a motor car on January 24 on the Causeway, while under the Influence of liquor to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the car, was laid against Sydney Allen  Charles  Newnham (40), aviator, in the Perth Police Court on Saturday.  Newnham was also charged with having driven a motor car to the danger of the public. Newnham pleaded not guilty to both charges and, on the application of Inspector Houston, Mr. H. D. Moseley, P.M., remanded him to January 30. Mr. E. W. Leake appeared for  Newnham.

1940 Aug 15. In court for fraud.

1940. Sidney enlisted in the RAAF as an instructor in 1940. He was released in 1941 as medically unfit..

He took a job as a mine inspector at Youanmi, then moved to Southern Cross where he died.

1942 Feb 21. Died at Mount Palmer (south of Southern Cross) and was buried in Southern Cross on February 23, 1942 ( Grave No 216 C of E section ). It is understood that he died in a shooting accident. His next of kin was listed as Marion Newnham. Her maiden name was Macdougall. It is difficult to be sure what happened here without the coroner's report. I cannot find anything in the press, but it appears to have been suicide.

1947 Nov 26. His widow is living in dreadful housing.

1987 Sidney's wife Marion died

I'm still proud to say that I have Sidney's three medals from the Great War in my possession. Peter Hill (former Bradley Air Services/First Air DHC-6 captain) Smiths Falls, Ontario Canada SAC Newnham was his grandfather's brother.