Captain Ross Macpherson Smith

Service number 217
Ranks Held Captain, Lieutenant, Sergeant
Birth Date 04 December 1892
Birth Place Australia: South Australia, Adelaide
Death Date 13 April 1922
Death Place United Kingdom: England
Final Rank Captain
Service Australian Imperial Force
Units
Places
Conflict/Operation First World War, 1914-1918
Gazettes Published in London Gazette in 1920-04-01
Published in London Gazette in 1919-12-26
Published in London Gazette in 1918-08-24
Published in London Gazette in 1917-05-11
Published in London Gazette in 1918-03-26
Published in London Gazette in 1919-06-03
Published in London Gazette in 1919-02-08
Published in London Gazette in 1919-02-08
Published in London Gazette in 1919-02-08
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1920-04-15
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1919-10-06
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1918-08-07
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1918-12-12
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1919-05-23
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1919-05-23
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1919-05-23
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1917-08-27
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1920-07-08
Description

Ross Smith had served in the cadets and the militia before he left Australia as a sergeant in the 3rd Light Horse Regiment in October 1914; he went to Gallipoli the following year. He was later commissioned and was at the battle of Romani (in the Sinai) in August 1916. The next year he volunteered for the Australian Flying Corps.

Flying with No. 1 Squadron AFC, Smith took part in attacks, aerial photography missions, and bombing raids on Turkish forces. On one occasion he landed in the face of the enemy to rescue a downed comrade. During his extensive war service he was awarded the Air Force Cross, twice awarded the Military Cross, and received the Distinguished Flying Cross three times.

A gifted flyer, Smith became experienced in flying his squadron's twin-engined Handley Page 0/400 bomber. On occasion, Lawrence of Arabia was his passenger. While still with the flying corps, he made pioneering flights from Cairo to Calcutta, and from Calcutta to Timor.

On 12 November 1919, assisted by his brother Keith and two mechanics, Wally Shiers and Jim Bennett, he set out to fly from England to Australia in a large Vickers Vimy bomber. It was an epic 28-day flight, completed at an average speed of 137 kilometres per hour, but not without mishap. On their arrival, the pioneering flyers were welcomed home as national heroes; their £10,000 prize money was shared equally. The two brothers were knighted.

In April 1922, while preparing for a record-breaking around the world flight, Smith and Bennett were killed in a crash. Keith Smith witnessed the death of his brother, who was not yet 30. Their famous Vimy aircraft was displayed at the Australian War Memorial, but is now in the Smiths' home town, Adelaide.

Rolls

  • Honours and Awards:

    Unit
    67 Sqn RFC (3rd LH)
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Lieutenant
    London Gazette
    11 May 1917 on page 4594 at position 4
    Commonwealth Gazette
    27 August 1917 on page 1828 at position 8
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Unit
    No. 1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Captain
  • Honours and Awards:

    Unit
    No. 1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Lieutenant
    London Gazette
    24 August 1918 on page 9905 at position 1
    Commonwealth Gazette
    07 August 1918 on page 1661 at position 5
  • First World War Embarkation Roll:

    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Sergeant
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Unit
    No. 1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Captain
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Unit
    No. 1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Lieutenant
  • Honours and Awards:

    Unit
    Australian Flying Corps
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Captain
    London Gazette
    08 February 1919 on page 2046 at position 2
    Commonwealth Gazette
    23 May 1919 on page 901 at position 2
  • Honours and Awards:

    Unit
    Australian Flying Corps
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Captain
    London Gazette
    26 December 1919 on page 15954 at position 1
    Commonwealth Gazette
    15 April 1920 on page 576 at position 1
  • Honours and Awards:

    Unit
    Australian Flying Corps
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Lieutenant
    London Gazette
    01 April 1920 on page 4022 at position 6
    Commonwealth Gazette
    08 July 1920 on page 945 at position 13
  • First World War Nominal Roll:

    Unit
    Australian Flying Corps
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Captain

Timeline

Date of birth 04 December 1892
Other units 1914 3rd Light Horse Regiment
Date and unit at appointment (Officers) 09 August 1914 3rd Light Horse Regiment.
Date of enlistment 19 August 1914
Date of embarkation 22 October 1914
Other units 1917 1 Squadron AFC
Date of honour or award 11 May 1917 Military Cross.
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918
Date of honour or award 26 March 1918 Bar to Military Cross.
Date of recommendation honour or award 22 October 1918
Date of honour or award 08 February 1919 2nd Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross
Date of honour or award 08 February 1919 Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross.
Date of honour or award 08 February 1919 Distinguished Flying Cross.
Date of honour or award 03 June 1919 Air Force Cross.
Date returned to Australia 12 November 1919
Other 12 November 1919 Set out on the 28 day flight from England to Australia.
Date of honour or award 26 December 1919 Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Date of honour or award 01 April 1920 Hejaz Order of the Nahda - 4th Class.
Date of death 13 April 1922