Legendary flying ace, Sir Charles Edward Kingsford Smith, was famed for being an adventurer of the skies. The Royal
Australian Mint decided to commemorate 100 years since his birth with this
Sir Charles Kingsford Smith was born in Hamilton near Brisbane. His working life started with an engineering apprenticeship but soon enlisted in the Australian Army. He served in World War I with the Royal Flying Corps but was brought down by enemy fire which cost him part of his left foot. Following his service with the newly-formed Royal Air Force, he indulged in a variety of flying positions but was also planning his Pacific crossing. For this epic journey, he would need a special plane so he went to America with his friend Ulm and purchased a Fokker VIIb-3m, which they renamed the Southern Cross. It was decided to have four crew for the crossing and to fly via Hawaii and Suva, Fiji. The journey between Hawaii and Suva was the most arduous with Kingsford Smith being totally exhausted but they managed to arrive safely. Many thousands of people had come to greet them upon their arrival in Brisbane but a massive 300,000 had amassed in Sydney to welcome the national hero.
The legend of Kingsford Smith then continued with his daring and hunger for adventure saw him then fly to England and also the first around the world flight. In November 1935, Kingsford Smith and a co-pilot, Tommy Pethybridge, left England for Australia. This was to be his last flight. His plane was lost south of Rangoon, Myanmar. The Royal Air Force searched extensively along his chosen route but his plane was never found. Approximately four years later, a local fisherman found some remains of the plane.
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