1919
Four flight crew members standing in front of the large bi-plane
November 12, 1919
South Australian brothers, Ross and Keith Macpherson Smith, along with James ‘Jim’ Mallett Bennett and Wally
Image: A cold and misty day in the town of Lyon in France, on the banks of the Saone River.
November 12, 1919
The intense cold and 90 mph winds caused the goggles and helmets to frost over which had to be removed for visibility. A
Image: The famous cylindrical tower, leaning to the right with puddles forming on the ground in front.
November 15, 1919
They ran into headwind and arrived in Pisa in the evening. Rather than attempting to fly onward to Rome in the dark the
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November 17, 1919
After an intense conflict through heavy head-winds and dense clouds the Vimy arrived in Rome two days behind schedule.
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November 17, 1919
They departed Rome at 9 am through the Apennines mountains which created a bumpy experience and the aircraft was tossed
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November 17, 1919
Rather than taking the flight to Cairo through Athens, the route was altered to Crete which cut the crossing to two shor
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November 18, 1919
The Vimy flew non-stop for seven and a half hours across the Mediterranean totaling 680 miles (250 of which was open sea
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November 19, 1919
After noticing a loss in oil pressure the crew made a minor stop at an Italian aerodrome in Venturina before continuing
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November 19, 1919
They made their way over the Nile Delta and the Suez Canal en route to Damascus and flew over the battlefields that all
Image: Black and White photograph showing biplane with clouded sunset. Shadows of men gathered by the right wing
November 20, 1919
Leaving during a heavy storm in Damascus to avoid being bogged and having further delays in schedule, the Vimy made its
Image: Biplane on flat desert landscape. Tent off in the distance with armed guards.
November 21, 1919
Despite having a sand clogged engine and strained or broken aileron control wires from the Sandstorm overnight in Ramadi
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November 23, 1919
There was concern on the approach that the engines may be likely to fail, forcing a landing in the gulf, but the arrival
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November 24, 1919
In the longest sector of the flight, a 730 mile stretch, there was concern about the conditions and expected response fr
Image: men standing around the tail of a biplane.
November 25, 1919
After making the flight from Karachi to Delhi, they learnt that Poulet was only a day ahead of them, after undertaking t
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November 27, 1919
After leaving Delhi, the Smith’s would encounter much less support, without assistance from the R.A.F. Landing too
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November 28, 1919
In Allahabad they encountered a large black bull that challenged them, threatening to charge the aircraft. After a succe
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November 29, 1919
After crossing the swamp lands in the Ganges Delta, they made their way to Burma via the coastline. Fortunately in Calcu
Image: Many excited spectators behind fences and Police officers waiting for the Vickers Vimy to arrive
November 29, 1919
The Smith’s followed the Jumna River through to Benares in this section of the flight, following the railroad to C
Image: Biplane on open field surrounded by onlookers
November 30, 1919
The race was on to reach Rangoon before Poulet, as no aircraft had previously landed their prior. After following the Ir
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December 1, 1919
Graciously, during the flight from Burma to Thailand, Poulet agreed to fly side-by-side with the brothers in case of for
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December 2, 1919
Bad weather conditions were encountered during the next part of their journey, with torrential rain making flying challe
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December 4, 1919
After encountering a ‘thrilling take-off’, they passed over Malacca on their way to Singapore. Restricted sp
Image: Close up of Biplane with rags covering wheels and the engines. One of the crew is looking into the cockpit from the wing.
December 4, 1919
With only 8 days left to reach Darwin, they decided to remain in Singapore longer than planned in order to repair the ai
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December 7, 1919
Across the equator, they found the Southern Hemisphere much calmer, with barely a ripple on the sea. Unable to locate th
Image: Javan locals assisting with a bogged biplane
December 8, 1919
Unfortunately, the first aerodrome they experienced was muddy and caused the Vimy to become bogged. They removed the air
December 9, 1919
Their arrival in Bima provided much more pleasant conditions, with a large cross marking their landing. Due to undrinkab
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December 10, 1919
On landing, they refuelled in Timor and prepared for their morning take off to Darwin. Again the take-off was dangerous
Large biplane surrounded by crowds of people.
December 10, 1919
Their final course was accurately pursued and sighting of the Bathurst Island Lighthouse was made. The landing took plac
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December 13, 1919
They were forced to make a landing at Warlock Ponds in order to adjust the engine.
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December 14, 1919
They were forced to land at Anthony’s Lagoon which was 450 miles from the nearest railway and 150 miles from a tel
Image: A new propeller for the biplane that is twice as tall a man.
December 23, 1919
Upon Landing in Charleville the Vimy was fitted with a new propeller and thoroughly overhauled.
1920
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February 14, 1920
February 25, 1920
Upon arrival in Melbourne they were received by a tumultuous welcome and were presented with their prize cheque by Prime
Image: biplane landing with people watching
March 23, 1920
The Smith brothers finally returned home on 23 March, where they were met by enthusiastic crowds once again.
1922
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April 13, 1922
On the 13th April 1922, Sir Ross Smith and Sir Jim Bennett were killed during a test flight of the Vickers Vimy.
June 15, 1922
The funeral of Sir Ross Smith took place on the 15th June 1922 at Saint Peter’s Cathedral at the North Road Cemete
1924
June 3, 1924
Sir Keith Smith married Lady Anita on 3rd June, 1924 at the District of Kensington Register Office in London.
1927
December 10, 1927
The Sir Ross Smith memorial statue was unveiled on 10th December 1927 in Creswell Park in the Adelaide Parklands next to
1955
December 19, 1955
After a brief battle with cancer, Sir Keith Smith died at the St. Vincent Private Hospital in Sydney, on 19th December 1
1968
June 2, 1968
Walter “Wally” Shiers was born 17th May, 1889 and died on 2nd June, 1968. He was one of the engineers who ac