16 November, 1919
Ross Smith and the Vickers Vimy crew left Rome in poor weather and set a course for Taranto, 260 miles away in southern Italy.
In 14,000 Miles Through The Air, Ross writes that “at times the machine was literally tossed about like a leaf, and for three-quarters of an hour we experienced some of the roughest flying conditions of the whole journey. On one occasion our altimeter did a drop of 1,000 feet…”
At 2.35pm they touched down in Taranto and were met by Royal Air Force officers stationed at the aerodrome, which lay on the crucial air route from London to Cairo. After an “excellent lunch” in the officers’ mess, the crew worked on the engines and prepared for the flight across the Mediterranean to Suda Bay in Crete.
The photographs of the Italian countryside were taken by Keith Smith. SLSA [PRG 18/9/1/11C]. All crews competing in the Great Air Race were gifted cameras by Kodak, which offered a £1000 prize for the best collection of photographs taken between England and Australia. As a result, the race resulted in some of the first aerial photography in some parts of the world.