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J. W. (Bill) CoventryPrint Page Print this page

29-May-2017
29-May-2017

Photographs supplied by Sandra Brown

A walking trail commemorates J. W. (Bill) Coventry for his long standing contribution to the Memorial Park.

 

 

Location

Address:Barkly Street, Memorial Park, J. W. (Bill) Coventry Trail, Mornington, 3931
State:VIC
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -38.221662
Long: 145.036343
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Walkway
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Community

Dedication

Approx. Monument Dedication Date:2007
Front Inscription

J. W. (Bill) Coventry Trail
26 December 1918 - 27 August 2010

This trail is named in honour of Mr. J. W. (Bill) Coventry and his long standing contribution to this memorial park.

Bill`s military service began in 1934 when he joined the cadets of the 5th Battalion, Victorian Scottish Regiment (VSR) at the age of 16, with training activities conducted across the Mornington Peninsula.  At the outbreak of WWII in 1939, the VSR took up duty at Point Nepean to guard the entrance to the heads of Port Phillip Bay. Bill resigned from his militia unit in 1940 to enlist in the australian Infantry Force, in response to the escalation of war overseas and major recruiting drives conducted by the army, navy and air force within Australia.  He was assigned to the 2/40th Battalion then training in Bonegilla near Albury, retaining the rank of sergeant.

Bill's battalion was moved to a camp south of Darwin where ready for action they waited for instructions, until the British Command requested the 2/40th be transferred to Timor as part of Sparrow Force.  On 19 February 1942 the Japanese invaded Timor, vastly outnumbering the small number of allied forces on the island.  After a gallant fight members of Sparrow Force were forced to surrender becoming prisoners of war, suffering terribly at the hands of the Japanese for the next three and a half years.  Bill was one of the lucky ones to survive and returned to Australia in 1945.

Bill became an active member of the Ex-Prisoners of War & Relatives Association and whilst on a visit to Tasmania during the 1980s, his wife Dorothy drew his attention to a small rose plot in ANZAC Park in Ulverstone.  The plot had been set aside as a memorial for Ex POWs and Dorothy suggested to Bill that Ex POWs should also be remembered in Mornington.

With the support of the Shire and many other people over the years, Bill`s efforts were tireless in creating the wonderful memorial park we have today.  Bill was named ANZAC of the Year in 2005 and honoured with a Centenary Medal for his service to POWs and in recognition of his determination to create a remarkable memorial park for more than 20 years.  Prior to his death Bill began assisting with the wording on this sign.  He was humbled by the recognition from the community and wanted to say "I hope you enjoy the walk".

 

 

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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