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Celebrating the first England to Australia flight in 1919

Michael is joined by David Byrne, President of the South Australian Aviation Museum, regarding the anniversary of the first England to Australia flight – which took place between 12th November 1919 and 10th December 1919.

Brothers Captain Sir Ross Smith and Lieutenant Sir Keith Smith Kwere aviation pioneers, born in metropolitan Adelaide and served in World War I where they gained their flying experience.

Keith Smith joined the Royal Flying Corps in Britain in 1914 and Ross Smith first served with the Australian Light Horse at Gallipoli. While recovering from injury he learned to fly, and subsequently transferred to the Australian Flying Corps in 1916.

In 1919 the Australian Prime Minister Billy Hughes announced an air race, offering a prize of 10,000 pounds for the first aviator to fly from London to Australia in 30 days or less.

Ross as pilot, Keith as assistant pilot and navigator and their two mechanics James Bennett and Wally Shiers, decided to compete with the flight being made in a Vickers Vimy plane; a former bomber with an open cockpit.

Their route began in Hounslow, England on 12 November 1919 and took them across parts of Europe, the Middle East, India and south east Asia to the finish in Darwin on 10th December 1919.

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