Geoffrey William Plenty was born in Port Pirie, South Australia on the 9th November 1922 to Clarence Garland and Ivy Fanny Plenty (nee Davies) of Warnertown, South Australia.
He was educated at Warnertown Public School and Port Pirie District High School. Geoffrey was a big man of 6 ‘3“in height and he played tennis, football and cricket where he not only opened the bowling and was first-drop batsman, but he was also secretary of the Warnertown Cricket Club.
Geoffrey was an 18 year old Farm Worker when he enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) on the 21st July 1941; Service Number 416612. Two of his brothers also enlisted into the RAAF during World War 2.
Geoffrey’s initial training as Aircrew was completed at Victor Harbour before Elementary Flying School training was conducted at Parafield and Mallala in South Australia.
He embarked overseas from Sydney for the United Kingdom on the 16th June 1942 to be received by the Royal Air Force (RAF) at Bournemouth, England. No 3 Personnel Reception Centre RAF was the arrival point for thousands of Commonwealth aircrew after training in Canada and Australia. They were accommodated in scores of requisitioned hotels and luxury flats, and their presence in the town prompted a heavy raid by the Luftwaffe in 1943 where almost 200 mostly Allied airmen lost their lives; including 7 Australian airmen.
He spent time at RAF Hixon in Staffordshire, England where he trained as a heavy bomber pilot until an accident with a propeller lopped off all of his fingers and most of his thumb on his left hand. Geoffrey was used as an instructor for a short while until he got back into the air flying Ansons and then eventually fighter planes.
He was posted to RAF Station Fayid, Egypt in the Middle East on the 4th May 1944.
Geoffrey was killed as a result of an aircraft accident on the 4th August 1944, 4 miles north-west of Fayid, Egypt. A witness described Geoffrey’s plane catching fire and diving into the ground at a 30 degree angle from about 600 feet soon after take-off.
A Court of Inquiry found that “the primary cause of the accident to Kittyhawk ET 622 was failure of No.1 and No. 2 main bearings causing the con rods to break through the sump severing oil and glycol lines. The hot oil and glycol was ignited causing the fire which resulted in the destruction of the aircraft”.
In a letter written to Geoffrey’s parents by RAF airman and friend Dick Allen he states…
“He was generous, and his nature was as sunny as the land from which he came. Of all the people I have known he stood up to adversity best. He was proud of his strength and virility, and despite loss of his hand he still played cricket with all the fervour he could put into the game. He was proud of his people, his brother, (Squadron Leader Herbert Clarence Plenty ~ Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar) and his country. I have met many Aussies since I have been in the RAF; great people all of them, but to me Geoff Plenty was best of them all. They don’t come any better.”
Geoffrey is interred at the Fayid War Cemetery, North Egypt (formerly Geneifa Military Cemetery) and commemorated at the Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Adelaide WW2 Wall of Remembrance, City of Port Pirie WW2 Memorial Gates, Crystal Brook Warnertown and District WW2 Honour Board, and the Napperby District Honour Roll.
Geoffrey’s story was collected by the Port Pirie RSL to preserve the history of people in their local community.
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