Coningham was an extremely hard-working and efficient air Commander. He first saw action in World War I as a Commander of New Zealand troops, where he gained the nickname ‘Maori.’ He then became a flyer and during the interwar period became an expert on long-range flying. In 1939 he was in command of No 4 Group of long- range bombers, based in Yorkshire. He then spent several years in the Desert Campaign, eventually becoming Commander of the Western Desert Air Force and conducting many joint air-ground operations in conjunction with MONTGOMERY’s 8th Army. He was then given command of the British and US Air Forces in Tunisia and during 1943 his forces took part in raids and operations in Pantelleria and Sicily. He later commanded the 2nd Tactical Air Force (British and Canadian), which took part in the campaign in Normandy July 1944 and other operations in northwest Europe until the end of the war.