Flying Officer ALAN MAXWELL COVENTRY
459 RAAF Squadron
Service No. 410954
Date of Birth: 6 Sep 1922
Place of Birth: MONT ALBERT, VIC
Date of Enlistment: 24 Apr 1942
Date of Discharge: 12 Dec 1945
Rank: Flying Officer
Date of Death: 09 Dec 2009
Alan Coventry signed up in Melbourne on 24 April 1942. Some of Alan’s war experiences were recalled in “Desert Scorpions” by Prof. Leon Kane Maguire.
“On one occasion in May 1944 he was involved in a mission tasked to cooperate with the royal Navy in an exercise with an ex-Italian submarine, a few miles out to sea from Haifa. Alan was the Navigator in one of the Venturas which carried a Naval Officer observer, plus the crew of, Pilot Keith Titley, WOP/AGs – FSgts. Myer Blake and Robert Kidner.
Alan later recalled that when the Ventura flashed its signal lamp to indicate they were about to attack, that he was located beside an open vent in the port side fuselage armed with a heavy camera and instructions to photograph the submarine as we passed beside it at 50 feet. Thus recording its ability to dive or evade possible depth charges. Naturally, the centrifugal force flattened Coventry who finished up on his back with a heavy camera on his chest, seemingly weighing a ton.
The Ventura would then resume height and station and await the submarine to surface and repeat the operation. For an hour and a half this exercise took place, greatly amusing the RN officer as he witnessed the sorry plight of Coventry. Operation completed, they flew across Lake Galilee submitting the naval *wallah to some very hairy low flying over the lake and then up the Jordon side wadis below ground level.
Before long he asked to return to the base as he had a further appointment, but two hours later he was still on the unit very green about the gills whilst Coventry gingerly nursed his bruised chest.”
(*soldier not normally at the front line)