Arthur Coningham

Arthur Coningham was born in Brisbane, Australia, in 1895. Educated at Wellington College, New Zealand, Coningham joined the New Zealand Army on the outbreak of the First World War.

Coningham saw service in the Pacific and the Middle East before joining the Royal Flying Corps in 1916. Assigned to 32 Squadron Coningham scored his first victory on 23rd January 1917. This was followed by nine more successes during that year. Promoted to the rank of major he was given command of 92 Squadron in June, 1918, and was credited with four more victories.

After the war Coningham remained in the Royal Air Force and in 1926 he led a record-breaking 5,268 mile flight from Helwan in Egypt to Kaduna in Nigeria.

On the outbreak of the Second World War Coningham was commander of the long-range bombers based in Yorkshire. In July 1941 he went to Egypt as air vice marshal commanding the Western Desert Air Force. While involved in the Desert War Coningham pioneered the development of tactical air support for Allied ground troops.

Coningham was knighted after the El Alamein and continued to provide tactical air support for the 8th Army until they occupied Tripoli in January 1943. Later that year he was promoted to Air Marshal and directed tactical air force operations in the invasion of Sicily and Italy.

In January 1944 Coningham was recalled to England where he helped plan the air support for the D-Day landings in France. The following year he was given command of Flying Training Command. Coningham retired from the Royal Air Force in 1947.

Arthur Coningham was killed on 29th January, 1948, when as a passenger aboard a British South American Airways flight it disappeared between the Azores and Bermuda.

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