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Eighty years ago, on this day, 8th November 1935, Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, the famous Australian aviator died, when his plane crashed into the sea near Burma.
He earned global fame in 1928, when he made the first trans-Pacific flight from the United States to Australia. He also made the first non-stop crossing of the Australian mainland, the first flights between Australia and New Zealand, and the first eastward Pacific crossing from Australia to the United States. He also made a flight from Australia to London, setting a new record of 10.5 days.
Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and co-pilot John Thompson “Tommy” Pethybridge were flying the Lady Southern Cross overnight from India, to Singapore, as part of their attempt to break the England-Australia speed record, when they disappeared over the Andaman Sea in the early hours of 8th November 1935. Their bodies were never recovered, but parts of the plane were found 18 months later.
Charles Kingsford Smith was knighted in the 1932 King’s Birthday Honours List as a Knight Bachelor.
Sydney’s major airport is named Kingsford Smith International Airport in his honour. It is located in the federal electorate of Kingsford Smith, near the suburb of Kingsford. The Southern Cross is on display at Brisbane airport.
Charles Kingsford-Smith and Charles Ulm, on landing after the Pacific flight, Mascot, 10 June 1928 from the State Library of NSW collections.