Sir Ross & Sir Keith Smith
The Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith Fund commemorates the achievements of two distinguished South Australian pioneer aviators - Captain Sir Ross Smith K.B.E., M.C., D.F.C., A.F.C., and his brother Lieutenant Sir Keith Smith K.B.E.
Sir Ross Macpherson Smith
Sir Ross Smith was born in Adelaide in 1892. In World War I he served in the Australian Light Horse at Gallipoli and in 1916 he transferred to the Australian Flying Corps. In a distinguished career he was awarded the M.C., D.F.C. and A.F.C.
In 1922 Sir Ross Smith was killed in a tragic accident while flying a Vickers Viking in preparation for an around-the-world flight. The History Trust of South Australia has more information on the life and legacy of Sir Ross Smith.
Sir Keith Macpherson Smith
Sir Keith Smith was born in Adelaide in 1890 and became a pilot when he joined the Royal Flying Corps in Britain in 1914.
After the war and their historic record-breaking flight Sir Keith became the Vickers manufacturing company's representative in Australia and subsequently a director of several airlines and other public companies. Sir Keith Smith died in 1955. The History Trust of South Australia has more information on the life and legacy of Sir Keith Smith.
In 1919, the Australian Prime Minister Billy Hughes announced the now famous 'AIR RACE'. A prize of £10,000 was to be awarded for the first machine to fly from London to Australia in 30 days or less. Taking up the challenge, Ross Smith applied to the British company Vickers to supply a Vickers Vimy bomber for the race, and the Smith brothers flew their way into Australian folklore.
Landing in Darwin on December 10th, 1919, the Smith brothers and their two mechanics, Sergeant W.H. Shiers A.F.M. and Sergeant J.M. Bennett A.F.M., M.S.M., completed the flight from Hounslow in 27 days and 20 hours. The brothers received a cheque for £10,000 which they insisted on sharing equally with their two mechanics. They also each received a knighthood for the achievement.
In 1986 Lady (Anita) Smith, widow of Sir Keith Smith, bequeathed her entire estate to the establishment of the Sir Ross & Sir Keith Smith Fund and directed that the income of the Fund be applied in perpetuity for "advancement in the State of South Australia of the science of aeronautics and of education therein".