Hewson, Second Lieutenant Thomas

No 45 Sqn RFC

Thomas Hewson came from Ararat, Victoria. He was 23, and a Banker, when he joined No 4 Sqn AFC in Melbourne on 23 December 1916, having already reached the rank of Lieutenant in the AMF. A dormant enlistment in the AIF in March 1916 was cancelled when he joined the AFC. He departed from Melbourne on HMAT A5 Omrah on 17 January 1917. After arrival in England, and a period with No 48 Reserve Sqn at Waddington for flying training, he was posted to No 45 Sqn RFC, based at Ste-Marie-Cappel, on 15 June 1917. At the time he joined No 45 Sqn he had less than nine hours’ experience on the 1½ Strutter.

He was killed in action over the Ypres front on 7 July 1917 while flying Sopwith 1½ Strutter A1029, with Lt Frederick Carl Henry Snyder RFC (from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, and formerly Western Ontario Regiment) as observer. A1029 departed from Ste-Marie-Capel aerodrome on an Offensive Patrol with five other aircraft at 15.30 and witnesses from the squadron reported that his aeroplane fell in flames from 10000 feet at about 17.00 during a combat with at least five enemy aeroplanes. The aircraft crashed and overturned behind the German lines. Ltn Hans Klein of Jasta 4 claimed a Sopwith two-seater over Comines at 18.07, the 14th of his eventual 22 victories, and Vfw Josef Lautenschlager of Jasta 11 claimed a similar aircraft west of Comines at 18.10 – it was his only confirmed victory. 2Lt Hewson was posted as Missing in Action until 3 December 1918, when a Court of Enquiry ruled that he had been killed in action.

2Lt T Hewson has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial and the Villers-
Bretonneux Memorial, France.

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