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Charles Kingsford Smith
Charles Kingsford Smith Full Name: Sir Charles Edward Kingsford Smith Date of Birth: 9th February 1897 Place of Birth: Hamilton, Brisbane Date of Death: 1935
Charles was educated at St Andrew’s Cathedral Choir School and Sydney Technical High School. When he turned 16 he became an apprentice at Colonial Sugar Refining Co. Ltd. He was also in the Senior Cadets for three years which then led him into enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force. In the AIF he was a sapper (someone who builds and repairs roads and bridges) and a dispatch rider (someone who delivers important messages). In 1916 he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps. There he became the second lieutenant. After a couple of years there he left to join Squadron 23 in France where he got wounded and shot down in August. After this ordeal he was awarded the military cross. A couple of years later he changed to being an RFC flying instructor. When his years of being an instructor had come to an end he was going back and forth between some stunt flying and joy riding organisations. Yet again he moved on to working for Western Australian Airways Ltd. On the 6th of June 1923 in Western Australia he married Thelma Eileen Hope Corboy.
Smith was a very famous flier because of all the around the world flights he completed. In 1926 with C T P Ulm he completed a round-Australia flight in 10 days and 5 hours. This was half the time as it took all the other pilots to complete it. After this successful flight he wanted to fly over the Pacific Ocean. Smith and a team of three others started the first part of their journey in California and finished in Hawaii. The next part was from Hawaii to Fiji, this leg was the hardest one as there were severe storms. The final part was from Fiji to Brisbane. When they touched down there were 25,000 people to greet Smith and his team. After that they headed to Sydney where 300,000 people greeted them.
After this amazing feat they went out to try and accomplish the world’s first around the world flight. They flew to England then across the Atlantic to North America then returning back to California. It was not over there though as he went on to fly 10,000 miles by himself. The same year as this flight he married Mary Powell and they had a son called Charles. A couple of years later though in 1935 Smith and a co-pilot Tommy Pethybridge left from England to fly to Australia. This unfortunately was his last flight.
Frederick Howard, ‘Kingsford Smith, Sir Charles Edward (1987 – 1935)’, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/kingsford-smith-sir-charles-edward-6964 ‘Charles Kingsford Smith’, http://australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/charles-kingsford-smith