On Borrowed Time

An unsung hero

The Rant Foundry

When Squadron-Leader and Commanding Officer Geoffrey William Coventry of the 11th Squadron RAAF returned to base along with his crew after a raid on Manokwari Harbour in western New Guinea in early 1943, they had something for their Intelligence Officer’s narrative report. What they had was a frank admission that they were indeed back from their mission, but didn’t know how.

Catalina Rescue by Dennis Hill Adams ‘Catalina Rescue’ by Dennis Hill Adams VX93486, Official War Artist (1944)

Coventry had flown in a Catalina on a bombing and reconnaissance mission over Manokwari Harbour. They came in across the bay at a very low height and were immediately met by a concentration of light and medium anti-aircraft fire. “There was tracer flying past us on every side,” his crew later admitted, ‘it was the hottest show a Catalina had ever come out of.” Coventry told the intelligence officer that he thought he was now living on borrowed…

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