Aerial Flight. England to Australia, 1919. Capt. Sir Ross Smith KBE, MC, DFC. Lieut. Sir Keith Smith KBE .. [text at the head of a souvenir fan]. Aviation, Captain Sir Ross SMITH, Lieutenant Sir Keith.
Aerial Flight. England to Australia, 1919. Capt. Sir Ross Smith KBE, MC, DFC. Lieut. Sir Keith Smith KBE .. [text at the head of a souvenir fan]
Aerial Flight. England to Australia, 1919. Capt. Sir Ross Smith KBE, MC, DFC. Lieut. Sir Keith Smith KBE .. [text at the head of a souvenir fan]

Aerial Flight. England to Australia, 1919. Capt. Sir Ross Smith KBE, MC, DFC. Lieut. Sir Keith Smith KBE .. [text at the head of a souvenir fan]

Adelaide, John Martin & Co. Ltd., [1920].

A roughly oval-shaped piece of card (approximately 240 × 205 mm) stapled to a piece of wood as a handle (250 × 12 × 6 mm), designed to be used as a fan; two small inoffensive tidemarks on the recto near the handle; one pinhole near the top edge; overall in excellent condition.

The recto features sepia-toned circular portraits of the two brothers, the text as above, with the addition of the details of the two mechanics, Bennett and Shiers, the itinerary, and a map (all printed in blue), with the route printed in red. The verso features a pictorial advertisement for the Adelaide department store, John Martin's, 'the BIG store, "Where your Money goes Farthest"'. The story is probably too well-known to repeat, but Trove makes easy work of it, so why not: 'In 1919 Australian Prime Minister William Hughes offered a £10,000 prize on behalf of the Australian government for the first Australians to fly an aircraft from England to Australia, in under 30 consecutive days. Of the six teams that entered the race, the winning crew and first to arrive in Australia, flew in the Vickers Vimy G-EAOU bomber, departing London on 12 November 1919, and arriving in Darwin 27 days and 20 hours later, on 10 December 1919. They flew via Lyon, Rome, Cairo, Delhi, Calcutta, Singapore, and Surabaya in Indonesia (where the aircraft became bogged and bamboo mats were placed on the airstrip), finally arriving in Darwin. The crew consisted of South Australian pilots and brothers Captain Ross Macpherson Smith and Lieutenant Keith Macpherson Smith, with mechanics Sergeants Walter Henry Shiers and James Mallett Bennett. The four men shared the prize money, Keith and Ross Smith were knighted, and Shiers and Bennett were awarded bars to their Air Force Medals and honorary commissions. After the flight, the crew flew to Sydney and eventually returned to Adelaide in 1920, making many stops along the way for spectators to welcome home the victors'. The recto of the fan has 'Copyright Reserved' printed in the bottom right area, which suggests to us that one of the entrepreneurial class may have canvassed any number of businesses along the victory route, and sold the advertising space on the verso to more than just John Martin's.

Item #118790

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