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09 Febuary - Kingsford Smith, Australian Aviator

Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:26 pm
by Max ADU
Australian Birthday Today - Sir Charles Edward Kingsford Smith MC, AFC. born 9 February 1897, Hamilton (a suburb of Brisbane), Queensland – died 8 November 1935, Andaman Sea, was an early Australian aviator.


Charles often called by his nickname Smithy, was the youngest of seven children of William Charles, a bank manager, and Catherine Mary Kingsford

Charles's birth was registered with the surname Smith. However, his parents found having such a common name as Smith too confusing and so adopted the use of "Kingsford Smith" as the family surname.

Charles Kingsford Smith was rescued from certain drowning at Sydney's famous Bondi Beach by bathers on 2 January 1907. Seven weeks later, were responsible for founding the world's first official surf life saving group at Bondi Beach on 21 February 1907

At 16, Kingsford Smith became an engineering apprentice with the Colonial Sugar Refining Company and in 1915, he enlisted for duty in the 1st AIF (Australian Army) and served at Gallipoli. Initially, he performed duty as a motorcycle despatch rider, before transferring to the Royal Flying Corps, earning his pilot's wings in 1917.

In 1928, he earned global fame when he made the first trans-Pacific flight from the United States to Australia.

He also made the first non-stop crossing of the Australian mainland, the first flights between Australia and New Zealand, and the first eastward Pacific crossing from Australia to the United States.

Watch on

He also made a flight from Australia to London, setting a new record of 10.5 days.

Charles Kingsford Smith was knighted in the 1932 King's Birthday Honours List as a Knight Bachelor and later was appointed honorary Air Commodore of the Royal Australian Air Force.

Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and co-pilot John Thompson "Tommy" Pethybridge were flying the Lady Southern Cross overnight from Allahabad, India, to Singapore, as part of their attempt to break the England-Australia speed record.

The pair disappeared over the Andaman Sea in the early hours of 8 November 1935. Their bodies were never recovered.