FWW Names – N

Lieutenant Thomas Gordon Newitt, M.C., M.M.

Regimental Number: 790340 / Lieutenant
Enlistment Date / Location / Unit: 8 January 1916 / New Westminster / 131st Battalion
Birth Date / Location: 5 December 1896 / Vancouver, BC
Parents: Walter Gordon Newitt and Emma Ida (nee Tidy) Newitt
Occupation on Enlistment: Farmer
Date of Death / Location: 1 November 1918 / Valenciennes, France
Age at Death: 21 years
Unit on Date of Death, or on Demobilization: 47th Battalion
Circumstances of Death: Killed in action while advancing at Valenciennes, France
Cemetery or Memorial: Aulnoy Communal Cemetery, Aulnoy-lez-Valenciennes, Nord, France, A.2.20
Medals / Awards: Military Medal 13 March 1918; Military Cross 15 February 1919
Where commemorated: Canadian Virtual War Memorial, Veterans Affairs Canada; First World War Book of Remembrance page 477, Memorial Chamber, Parliament Buildings, Ottawa, ON; Maple Ridge Cenotaph, Maple Ridge, BC; Distinguished Service or Gallantry Awards Plaque, Memorial Peace Park, Maple Ridge, BC; Maple Ridge Legion Branch #88 Memorial Plaque; St John the Divine Anglican Church Memorial Plaque, Maple Ridge, BC; Municipality of Maple Ridge Honour Roll, St John the Divine Anglican Church, Maple Ridge, BC; The Gold Stripe Roll of Honour, Maple Ridge, page 89; The Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church Second Tablet of Fame

Thomas Gordon Newitt was born in Vancouver, BC on 5 December 1896 to Walter Gordon Newitt and Emma Ida (nee Tidy) Newitt. His father had emigrated from England in 1880 working his way across Canada before settling with his family as a dairy farmer in Albion Flats, Port Haney, BC.
Thomas and his older brother, Melvin followed the military tradition of their father and enlisted in the 104th Regiment shortly before war was declared. Thomas enlisted in New Westminster on 8 January 1916 and was assigned to the 131st Battalion. He was 1.7 meters (5 feet 7-3/4 inches) tall and weighed 63.5 kilograms (140 pounds), he had grey eyes and dark brown hair. On 1 November 1916 he embarked at Halifax and arrived at Liverpool ten days later.

He was drafted to the 47th Battalion on 27 November 1916 and arrived in France on 28 November 1916. By 5 May 1917 he was appointed Acting Corporal and 13 October 1917 he was confirmed as Sargeant.

On 13 March 1918 Thomas was awarded the Military Medal for his “conspicuous gallantry and good leadership during the operations in front of Cambrai”. Thomas led his company across the Canal du Nord to complete their objective when his company commander became a casualty. He was raised to the rank of Lieutenant on 6 August 1918.

Captain Keith Campbell Macgowan wrote in a letter to his mother in 1918. “Last night I got word of the Battalion. It went through a show a few days after I left and one of my favorite young officers a chap named Newitt who came out with the 131st as a private, was killed. He was with me in quite a few nasty spots and he was really a wonder, didn’t know what fear was.”

On the morning of 1 November 1918 Thomas was the only officer killed in action at Valenciennes, France, though Canadian losses numbered 80 with over 300 wounded. After leading his men through the main attack, Thomas was cleaning some snipers out of a house when he was instantly killed by a machine gun bullet. He was awarded the Military Cross posthumously on 15 February 1919.

Private Walter Melbourne “Melvin” Newitt Regimental No. 76036 was wounded twice before he was assigned to do staff duty in England until the end of the First World War. Thomas’ family owned the farm in Albion until his youngest brother, Charles’ death in 1981. Walter, Emma, and Charles are buried in the Maple Ridge Cemetery.

TG Newitt’s name was name was on the Cenotaph when it was unveiled in 1923.
(Updated 01-Feb-2024)

Lieutenant Thomas Gordon Newitt, M.C., M.M.
London Gazette, 30 July, 1919


The 30 September 1915 Vancouver Daily World stated that W. Nicholls was a member of “F” Company of the 104th Regiment in Maple Ridge. W. Nicholl’s name was name was on the Cenotaph when it was unveiled in 1923.

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