Newton, Bertram

Bertram Newton was born in the September quarter of 1904 in the Registration District of St. Germans, Cornwall. (Cornwall  Volume:         5c Page: 38)  He is seen on the 1911 census living with his parents Erving and Bessie Newton, who had been married 9 years.

They were living at 3, Essex Terrace, Saltash, Cornwall which had 4 rooms.   Head of the household was Erving Newton, 44 and a Plumber in the Royal Navy – Petty Officer 1st Class, he was born in Plymouth, Devon.   His wife Bessie, 35 tells us that they had 2 children both still living and she had been born in East Stonehouse, Devon.   There were 4 sons, but I believe that Reginald Erving Newton, who was 19, a Plumber and single and who had been born in Looe, Cornwall and Cyril Wilfred*, 17 and single, R.N (Royal Navy?), who had been born in Plymouth, Devon, were the sons of Erving Newton Senior’s first marriage to Edith Kerswill on the 14th January 1888.  Sadly she had died, I believe in the March quarter of 1899, age 36 (E. Stonehouse Vol.  5b Page 220).  The other two sons, by Bessie, George Stanley, 8, and Bertram, 5 were both at School and also both born Saltash, Cornwall.

*Cyril Wilfred Newton was destined to be in WW1 and lost his life on the 1st November 1914, just months after war was declared and 3 years after the 1911 census, on H.M.S. Monmouth, age 21 years.   He is remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.

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Erving Newton then was seen on the 1901 census as a Plumber on the Vessel “Mudaunted,” a 1st Class Cruiser, as a member of the crew, where he is described as a widower.   The ship was “At Sea”, late of “China Station,” Plymouth on the night of the census which was the 31st March 1901.  *

In 1901 his three children from Edith Keswill were living with their Grandparents, William & Eliza Newton at 20 Longfield Terrace, Plymouth while he was away at sea.

In the same year, on the 23rd December 1901 Erving married Bessie Hallett at St. Matthia’s Church in Plymouth.    Bessie was 27 years old and she had been married before, possibly to a Richard Hallett, but I cannot find his death, but Bessie, age 36, and a widow, is seen on the 1901 census living with her sister Jane Shone,33, at 8, Harbour View, Saltash, Cornwall.   Both had been born in East Stonehouse, Devon.    Bessie Newton, formerly Hallet, nee Badcock’s father was Thomas Badcock.

By the 1911 census Erving and Bessie were living at 3, Essex Terrace, Saltash, Cornwall, as I said above, but after that I have no information about Bertram’s teenage years, but suspect that he would have been in the services as soon as he could because of the family tradition.

When he did go into the services, it was to be with the Royal Air Force, as I have some Outward & Incoming documents were he went abroad.

Bertram is seen on the “Bendigo”sailing from P{lymouth on the 29th September 1934 bound for Australia, but Bertram was to get off in Post Said.   He was an Airman, age 30 and his address was 3, Essex Terrace, Saltash.

There is a Manifest for the Ship “Renpura” which was Incoming to London from Yokahama picking up at Port Said which shows Bertram Newton, age 32, Airforce, 3, Essex Terrace, Saltash, Country of Last Permanent Residence – Egypt arriving on the 17th July 1936.   This had a pencil line through it, but, Bertram did marry Kathleen White on the 3rd August 1936, so I presume that he came home to get married.

They married at St. Ethelwold’s Church, Shotton on the 3rd of August 1936.   Bertram NEWTON, 32, Bachelor, R.A.F., 3, Essex Terrace, Saltash, Father Ervin (sic) NEWTON, Retired & Kathleen WHITE, 24, Spinster, S. Elmo, Garden City, Queensferry, Father Stephen WHITE, Grocer.  (After Banns).  Witnesses:- Nora WILKINSON, J.M. COPPACK & Archie WHITE.

They are both seen on another Manifest of the ship “Shropshire,” sailing from Liverpool on the 11th September 1936.  Bertram is 32, Kathleen24 and their address was St. Elmo, Queensferry, Chester,  Bertram was an Engineer.   Destination – Egypt.

So how he met Kathleen and how long they stayed in Egypt I don’t know, but they are seen again on the 1939 National Register living at 2, Sealand Avenue, Garden City, Flintshire.  This register was taken on the 29th September 1939.   They are living with Kathleen’s parents, Stephen and Mary White.   This source tells us the birth dates of each person.   Stephen White was born on the 15th July 1881 and he was a Grocer and Master Baker, his wife Mary’s birth date was the 14th December 1880 and she was a Housewife.   There was an Archibald H. White, born on the 17th October 1906, he was single and a Grocer & Baker Dealer & Manager.   There are 2 closed or redacted records, and then Kathleen Newton (Pitman*), who was born on the 21st November 1912 and again she is described as a Housewife.   Bertram Newton’s birth date was the 17th June 1904, Flight Sgt. R.A.F. Sealand, this was crossed out in pencil and “Returning to R.A.F.” written.   Bertram must have been recalled.  There was another entry a Norah Dodd, who had been born on the 6th April 1915 and Married, she is described as most married women on this register who did not have a job, as doing “Domestic Duties.”   Sometimes they said “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”

*This is a clue to the fact that after Bertram’s death in 1941, Kathleen remarried to Leslie T. Pitman in a civil Marriage in Hawarden. (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/17/42).   This would have to be purchased to confirm or deny.

Bertram was stationed at Sealand and he was a Warrant Officer*which of course meant that he would have been in the R.A.F. for a number of years but I have no information when he enlisted, but it was before WW2, any information on this part of his life would be gratefully received.

However, Bertram was in the Wilmslow Military Hospital, Cheshire when he died, I cannot find out how or why he died, so far from Sealand R.A.F. Camp, so again, any information about this would be gratefully received.

Taken from –

Royal Air Force 

The Royal Air Force originally used the ranks of sergeant-major 1st and 2nd class which it inherited from the Royal Flying Corps. These ranks wore the rank badges of the royal coat of arms (commonly referred to as the ‘Tate and Lyles’ – a reference to the similarity to the logo used by the Tate and Lyle Company) and the crown respectively. In the 1930s, it changed to the Army-style warrant officer class I and II. In 1939, the RAF abolished the rank of WOII and retained only the WOI rank, referred to simply as warrant officer (WO), which it remains to this day. The RAF has no equivalent to WO2 (NATO OR-8), an RAF WO being equivalent to WO1 in the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Marines (NATO OR-9) and wears the same badge of rank, the royal coat of arms. Warrant officers are addressed as “sir” or “ma’am” by other ranks and “Mr or Ms -Name-” or “Warrant Officer -Name-” by officers. RAF warrant officers do not hold appointments as in the Army or Royal Marines. However, the station warrant officer is considered “first amongst equals” by the other warrant officers on an RAF station[citation needed]. Warrant officers are the highest non-commissioned rank and they rank above flight sergeants. 

In 1946, the RAF renamed its aircrew warrant officers master aircrew, a designation that still survives. In 1950, it renamed warrant officers in technical trades master technicians, a designation that only survived until 1964. 

The most senior RAF warrant officer is the Chief of the Air Staff’s Warrant Officer.[28] 

I contacted and  Ralph Snape kindly replied:-

“WO Newton was serving with No 5 School Flying Training School (SFTS) when he died, cause unknown, in the Royal Air Force Hospital Wilmslow, Cheshire. 

No 5 SFTS was based at RAF Ternhill, Shrophshire with RAF Calveley as the relief airfield for No 5 SFTS. 

I cannot find any information detailing what his role may have been. He was in the Royal Air Force and not the Voluntary Reserve so it is safe to assume that he was may have been joined before 1936 when the RAFVR was established. 

There does not appear to be any information immediately available on The National Archives regarding No. 5 SFTS.” 

Many thanks for their very swift reply.  This also confirms what I thought re Bertram’s entry into the Royal Air Force. 

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission states on his citation that Bertram’s parent’s were:-

Irvin and M. Newton; husband of Kathleen Newton, of Queensferry.  (Wrong name for Irvin, should be Erving and wrong Initial for Bessie?)

1941 Unaccounted Airmen Database Reconciliation

Bertram NEWTON (335390) – the National Probate Calendar records that he died at Royal Air Force Hospital Wilmslow, Cheshire.

Bertram Newton in the England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995

NEWTON, Bertram of St. Elmo, Sealand-avenue, Queensferry, (Nr. Chester), Flintshire, died 26th February 1941 at Royal Air Force Hospital, Wilmslow, Cheshire on War Service.    Administration Chester 24th September to Kathleen Newton, Widow.

Liverpool Echo 28th February 1941


NEWTON – Feb 26 Warrant – Officer  BERTRAM NEWTON, R.A.F., dearly-loved husband of Kathleen NEWTON, of St. Elmo, Queen’s Ferry, Near Chester.   Internment at Hawarden Cemetery on Monday next at 2.30pm.

Chester Chronicle 8th March 1941


NEWTON – Feb 26 Warrant – Officer  BERTRAM NEWTON, R.A.F., dearly-loved husband of Kathleen NEWTON, of St. Elmo, Queensferry, Near Chester.

Also Funeral – Chester Chronicle  8th March 1941 Page 11 Col. 5, (See below)

I hope that Bertram will be remembered some day on an additional plaque to Hawarden WW2 War Memorial.





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