Altair was craned off the M.V. Dalhem and barged down the River
Thames to Allhallows on the Isle of Grain from where Smithy flew the
aeroplane to Croydon Aerodrome, placing the aircraft in the care of
Rollason Air Services. (Source: 3)
(The Isle of Grain is the easternmost point of the Hoo Peninsula in
Kent. Its name comes from the Old English Greon, meaning gravel. No
longer an island, the Isle is almost all marshland and the Grain marshes
are a major habitat for diverse wetland birds.)
on the U.K. Register as G-ADUS.
response to a request from Australia, Australia House London sent
the following telegram:
"Ministry advise machine entered on Register of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland. Registration markings G-ADUS. Validation of U.S.A.
Certificate Airworthiness for Export presents certain difficulties
owing to modifications involving extra tankage etc. Introduced for
purpose long distance flight. Negotiations with U.S.A. are still proceeding
this point by cable. Advise further later."
Deputy Director of Civil Aviation (per Allan Attridge) wrote to Smithy
"With reference your application dated the 5th. October, I am directed
to forward herewith Validation in the special category of the U.S.A.
Export Certificate of Airworthiness No. 1595 for Lockheed "Altair"
8D Special aircraft G-ADUS, for the purpose of one flight from England
to Australia, together with Journey Log Book. With reference to the
restriction of the maximum all up weight of the aircraft to 5200 lbs.
and the limiting of the movement of the centre of gravity position
between 10.6" and 16" aft of the front spar centre line, it should
be noted these conditions are complied with when the aircraft is loaded
in the following manner:- One pilot (Sir C. Kingsford Smith), one
passenger, 126 gallons fuel (91 gallons in front tank and 35 gallons
in wing tank), 12 gallons of oil, wireless apparatus weighing 14 lbs.
and 10 lbs. of rations. I am to add that the Air Ministry will be
prepared to issue a Validation in the normal category of the U.S.A.
Export Certificate if and when the special modifications referred
to in the Note on the Export Certificate have been removed and the
aircraft restored to a standard type conforming to approved specifications."
See a detailed report on the British CofA.
and his engineer and co-pilot, Tommy Pethybridge, departed Lympne
in an attempt to break the England to Australia record but they were
forced to divert to Brindisi in Italy after a serious hailstorm over
the Adriatic Sea damaged the leading edges of the Altair's wooden
wing. After temporary repairs, the Altair returned to Croydon late
on the 24th October. At this stage, Smithy, who had been in poor health
in the days leading up to the flight, decided to ship the Altair back
to Australia if sufficient funds could be found. A request to the
Australian Government for a part payment of the £3,000 owed to
Smithy from the sale of the "Southern Cross" failed to provide the
necessary funds and Smithy was left with no option but to fly the
Altair was positioned from Croydon to Lympne from where Smithy and
Tommy Pethybridge would depart on another attempt to break the England
to Australia record.
Lympne for Athens where the Altair was refuelled to the maximum capacity
of its tanks.
Baghdad from Athens.
Allahabad from Baghdad.
Altair was sighted passing overhead Rangoon, Burma. This was the last
sighting of the "Lady Southern Cross".
"Lady Southern Cross" is estimated to have crashed into the Gulf of
Martaban in the vicinity of Aye Island at approximately 0216 local
section of an aircraft undercarriage including a wheel and tyre was
washed ashore at Aye Island. The wreckage was later identified by
Lockheed as having come from the "Lady Southern Cross". The undercarriage
leg and wheel is held in the collection of the Powerhouse Museum in
Sydney, Australia (Photo). No trace of
Smithy or Tommy Pethybridge has ever been found.
Island was visited by an advance party of the Lady Southern Cross
Search Expedition (LSCSE) led by Ted Wixted. The island and surrounding
waters were surveyed in preparation for a future recovery expedition.
team from the Lady Southern Cross Search Expedition (LSCSE) led by
Ted Wixted arrived at Aye Island to conduct a sonar search of the
surrounding waters. After ten days, during which divers worked in
appalling conditions, time had run out and the search was suspended.
Although nothing from the "Lady Southern Cross" had been found, an
unrelated radial engine was located. The team left the island with
the feeling that much remained to be discovered.
Wixted passed away at his Brisbane home. Family and friends intend
to continue the search for Smithy, Tommy
Pethybridge and the "Lady Southern Cross".
Damien Lay travelled to Myanmar (Burma) to search for the "Lady
a press conference in Sydney, Damien Lay announced: "Without
shadow of a doubt, in my mind, we have undoubtedly found the Lady
of Civil Aviation (Captain E.C. Johnston during this period)
Superintendent of Civil Aviation
Commission on Aerial Navigation
Communication (Lockheed memo)
address for Kingsford Smith Air Service Ltd., Mascot
Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (USA)
his full title is Air Commodore Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, Kt, M.C.,
A.F.C., the popular name bestowed upon him by the Australian people
is widely used throughout these pages, not only for brevity, but also
with affection. Note that Kingsford Smith should not be hyphenated,
although this variation does appear in some direct quotations appearing
on these pages.
P.G. Taylor (Angus and Robertson 1935)
Search for the Lady Southern Cross
E.P. (Ted) Wixted (Published privately 1991)
Life and Times of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith
E.P. (Ted) Wixted (Published privately 1996)
Civil Aircraft Registers of Great Britain 1919-1985
John Appleton (TAHS 1986)
Historic Civil Aircraft Register of Australia (Pre War) G-AUAA to
Bert Cookson (AustAirData 1996)
in the Sky
Richard Sanders Allen (The Stephen Greene Press 1967)
Aircraft since 1913
Rene J. Francillon (Putnam 1987)
Lady Southern Cross
Monty Tyrrell (Aviation Historical Society of Australia Journal October
Heritage - The Centenary Air Race Vol 24 No 1 & 2
(Aviation Historical Society of Australia 1985)
Archives accessed by Birch Matthews
Archives of Australia Series: MP 113/1 Item: VH/USB
accessed by Trevor Boughton
Airfield Register. https://oaklandairfield.org/index.php/register
Digital Newspaper Collection - UCR Centre for Biographical Studies