LEST WE FORGET
Flight Sergeant Roy Cameron COVENTRY
Service No: 431166
Born: Melbourne VIC, 14 April 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 4 June 1943
Unit: No. 463 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 463 Squadron Lancaster aircraft PB263), Germany, 28 September 1944, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Rheinberg War Cemetery, Kamp Lintfort, Nordrhein-Westfal, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Roy Harold and Barbara Coventry, of Middle Park, Victoria, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 109, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
On 28 September 1944, 31 RAAF Lancasters struck at Kaiserlautern. The city was covered with two sheets of cloud but crews went down to 5,000 feet or lower, from which altitude streets could be clearly seen in the light of fires which quickly sprang up around the two aiming points—the civic centre and the railway repair shops. An extremely good aiming-point photograph which showed perfect ground detail was obtained by Flight Lieutenant Boyle (1) who had bombed on two southerly red spot fires from an altitude of 5,000 feet. This was even more markedly a fire raid than at Karlsruhe, for only 75 tons of the total load of 810 tons were high-explosive bombs. The optimism of crew reports was fully justified, as over half the fully built-up area of Kaiserlautern was wrecked; industrial plants including the important textile works of Kammgarnspinnerei were heavily damaged as well as the railway targets.
(1) Squadron Leader Alfred Bertram Boyle DFC & Bar (404713) (O11338) was discharged from the RAAF on 10 August 1957.
Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 300
Lancaster PB263 took off from RAF Waddington at 2211 hours on the night of 27 September 1944 to bomb the town and railway yards at Kaiserslautern, Germany. Bomb load 1 x 2000 lb (900 kg) bomb, 12 x 500 ‘J’ clusters. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Fifteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and one of these PB 263 failed to return.
The crew members of PB263 were:
Flight Sergeant Gergo Caveridge (427438) (Bomb Aimer)
Flight Sergeant Roy Cameron Coventry (431166) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Leonard Ernest James Coxhill (431157) (Air Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 18 April 1946
Flight Sergeant Robert Delmage Healy (427830) (Navigator)
Flying Officer Russell Johnstone Miller (13742) (Pilot)
Sergeant Brian Parker (1381898) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant Thomas Alfred Peace Taylor (28072) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
In a later statement the then Warrant Officer Coxhill stated “when we left the target it was only a short time before we crashed into a hill. I was the only one to get out with the rest of the crew either killed instantly or knocked unconscious and burnt to death. The aircraft was a flaming wreck when I came to. When I left the aircraft we were on the ground. The Germans captured me 36 hours later. I had burns on my hands, face and feet and was treated in a German hospital”.
Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A903, 431166