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Sir Charles Kingsford Smith

 

Sir Charles Kingsford Smith

Born

Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, world-wide known Australian aviator, was born on 9 February 1897. His place of birth was in Hamilton, a suburb of Brisbane, in Queensland, Australia. He was the seventh child of William Charles and Catherine Mary Smith.

Education

Smithy, as he was popularly known, was only 13 years old when he enrolled in Sydney Technical College where he studied mechanics and electrical engineering. In 1914, like all other young Australians that time, Smithy joined the AIF (1st Australian Imperial Force) at the tender age of 18.

Career and Recognitions as a Pilot

His career as a pilot started when he joined the AIF on the onset of World War I in 1914. His initial duty was a motorcycle dispatch rider until he was transferred to the Royal Flying Corps. He became a pilot in 1917. In one of his missions, his plane was attacked by the enemies, and he was shot on the feet which resulted to the amputation of his toes. But the incident did not end his career. Due to his dedication, he received a Military Cross recognition.

Later on, he joined West Australian Airways and he was asked to fly long distances at that time. It was during this time when he set a goal to himself: to fly across the world’s largest ocean, the Pacific. It was 1928 when he achieved his goal, resulting to international fame. Apart from the Pacific route, he also made a record in 1933 when he flew from Australia to London in 10 and a half straight hours.

Death

In 1935, braving another England-Australia flight, Smithy, together with co-pilot Tommy Pethybridge, flew an aircraft named Lady Southern Cross, with an India-Singapore-Australia route. However, the plane was lost somewhere off the coast of Burma and was not able to make it to Singapore. The Royal Air Force did an extensive search operation but could not find the aircraft. The Lady Southern Cross flight became Sir Charles Kingsford Smith’s last flight.

Spouse and Son

Smithy was survived with his wife named Mary Kingsford Smith, whom he married on December 10, 1930 at Scots Church in Melbourne. The couple had a son named Charles. Today, the achievements and accomplishments of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith live on through the memorabilia that were spread all throughout Australia.

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