Adelaide Anglicans

View Original

Commemorating Sir Ross Smith

Archbishop Geoffrey Smith participated in a service on Thursday 15 June commemorating the 95th Anniversary of Sir Ross Macpherson Smith’s burial.

The service was held at the Anglican Cemetery on North Road, Nailsworth, with The Honourable Hieu Van Le AC (right), his wife in attendance, along with Air Commodore Joe Iervasi, AM, Commander Air Warfare Centre (RAAF Base Edinburgh) and Senior Defence Force Representative SA, along with a range of other dignitaries there to pay their regards.

The service was led by Royal Australian Air Force officer, Chaplain (Squadron Leader) Mark Butler.

As true pioneers, Sir Ross and his brother, Sir Keith Macpherson Smith, were knighted for their epic endurance flight in a Vickers Vimy aircraft from Britain to Australia in 1919; one of the most incredible endurance feats achieved in the early history of aviation.

Sir Ross enlisted in 1914 in the 3rd Light Horse Regiment, landing at Gallipoli 13 May 1915. In 1917, he volunteered for the Australian Flying Corps. He was later twice awarded the Military Cross and the Distinguished Flying Cross three times, becoming an air ace with 11 confirmed aerial victories.

Sir Ross was pilot for T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) and fought in aerial combat missions in the Middle East. He is mentioned several times in Lawrence’s book, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Chapter 114.

He concluded his service as one of the most highly decorated airmen of the Australian Flying Corps, earning a Military Cross twice, the Distinguished Flying Cross three times and the Air Force Cross.

On 14 April 1922, Sir Ross Smith, KBE, MC and bar, DFC and 2 bars, AFC, was tragically killed in England in front of his brother while testing an aircraft for a future around the world endurance flight. His body was returned to Adelaide where it lay in state at St Peter’s Cathedral, Adelaide and was later buried at the Nailsworth Cemetery on 15 June 1922 with full military honours.