keep smiling (and flying)...

Sir Charles Kingsford Smith

Sir Charles Edward Kingsford Smith aka "Smithy"
An Infantryman with Australian Imperial Forces through the Great War , an airforce pilot and flight instructor (RAF and Australian Flying Corps), best known for being a pioneer aviator and in 1928 completing the first trans-Pacific flight from the
Oakland, California, United States of America to Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Smithy was born in Hamilton (inner northern surburb of Brisbane), Queensland, Australia on February 9, 1897.
He was the fifth son and seventh child of William Charles Smith, a banker and Catherine Mary, nee Kingsford.

The family had moved to Canada to work in real estate and this is when "Kingsford" was added to family name. Smithy started his schooling in Canada and moved back to Sydney, Australia when he was about 8 years old. Aged 9 he had his first aviation incident when he strapped onto himself a home made "flying machine" and leaped off his house roof and broke his collarbone.

He died in November 1935 when the aircraft "Lady Southern Cross" a Lockheed Altair, plunged into the Andaman Sea near Rangoon, Burma. He was accomponied by copilot Tommy Pethybridge. They had left England and heading to Australia, the trip had taken them over India, they had left Allahabad heading to Singapore.
The Lady Southern Cross was recorded flying over Rangoon (Myanmar) at 1.30am on November 7, 1935.
The Lady Southern Cross never arrived at Singapore.

The RAF completed a search from Rangoon to Singapore and found no trace of the Lady Southern Cross, Kingsford Smith or Pethybridge. In May 1937, some fisherman had found the starboard undercarriage leg on the shore on an island south east of Rangoon.

He was survived by his second wife, Mary Powell and son Charles. They had married in 1930.
At the aged 13, Smithy started studying Mechanics and Electrical Engineering at Sydney's Technical College. In 1914 he enlisted as an Infantryman with the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) and was an original ANZAC. He was in the 4th Signal Troop within the 2nd Division Signal Company.  He also worked as a despatch rider on a motorbike. Through his military career he served in Turkey (Gallipoli), Egypt and France.

He was selected to join Britian's Royal Flying Corps which was a new unit that was formed to fly aircraft that were being used in battle for the first time. In October 1916 at the rank of Sergeant he transferred to the Australian Flying Corps. After training in England he was discharged for AIF and was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant with Royal Air Corps.

He gainied his "wings" in march 1917 and appointed as a flying officer in May 1917. In July 1917 he joined the No23 Squadron stationed in France. In August 1917 he was shot down and wounded in the foot by the enemy. This resulted in several of his toes being amputed and at 20 years old, his military career was effectively over. During his first month on the front he had brought down 4 machines and awarded the "Miltary Cross". In April 1918 he was promoted to Lieutenant and served as RFC Flying Instructor.

After the war he worked as a stunt pilot in Hollywood and was trying to attract sponsers for his dream of making the trans Pacific flight. At that time, he was unsuccessful.

It was due to his inadequate navigational experience that he was barred from the 1919 England to Australia Air Race. He and a friend, Cyril Maddocks piloted joy flights in England as Kingsford Smith, Maddocks Aero Ltd.

Smithy returned back to Australia in January 1921 and was Sydney based with Diggers' Aviation Co, a joy riding organisation. He then worked as a salaried pilot with Western Australian Airways Ltd. Western Australian Airways delivered mail and supplies over long distances in remote areas, it also did the regular mail service between Geraldton to Derby.

On June 6, 1923 he married for the first time, Thelma Eileen Hope Corboy in Marble Bar in Western Australia.

In 1924 he formed a partnership with fellow pilot, Keith Anderson and ran a trucking company, Gascoyne Transport Co based In Carnarvon, Western Australia. Through the operation of the trucking company they raised capital to buy 2 Bristol Tourers.

In 1926, with pilot Charles Ulm he completed a round Australia Flight in 10 days and 5 hours, which was approximately half the time taken by earlier pilots. They also went together to the USA with the goal of finding a plane capable of returning them on the return trip back to Australia. This feat wasn't achieved before this date. They purchased a Fokker V11b-3M and they named it the "Southern Cross".

In 1927, Smithy was back in Sydney and operating as Interstate Flying Services with Charles Ulm.

This collection  of photos represents some of the aircraft types that Smithy flew.
The gain his Australian Pilot's Licence he listed these types and numerous more.
From top left to right in each row:
Maurice Farman, Martinsyde, Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter, Sopwith Camel, Sopwith Snipe

Sopwith Dolpin (photo to the right)

(L-R & below L) Arvo (Type G pictued), Handley Page, Airco D.H.6, Bristol Fighter

 Royal Aircraft Factory  F.E.2.B

Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8

(L-R & below) Bristol Monoplane,
Blackburn Kangaroo, Curtiss J.N.4