Vickers Vimy and the flight of time

The Sydney Morning Herald has a regular historical feature. Today is In the Herald: February 24, 1920:

Sir Ross Smith’s final flight over Sydney

Sir Ross Smith and Sir Keith Smith departed from Richmond in the great Vickers Vimy, rising “like a gigantic bird into the sky” before making a final pass over the city then turning southwards for Melbourne. At their stop in Cootamundra after a four-and-a-half-hour flight ,Sir Ross said it would make an ideal centre for an interstate aerodrome, and he again urged the importance of aviation to Australia.


Sir Ross Smith’s Vickers Vimy plane at Mascot in Sydney 1920


Sir Keith Macpherson Smith (20 December 1890 – 19 December 1955), Sir Ross Macpherson Smith (4 December 1892 – 13 April 1922), and mechanics Jim Bennett and Wally Shiers

I saw Vickers Vimy G-EAOU (affectionately known as “God ‘Elp All Of Us”) first in 1954 when it was still housed in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra: see my post Canberra sixty years ago. It was the item that most impressed me, I suspect. In 1958 the plane was taken to Adelaide.

And the second thread in this post title (the flight of time) comes as I reflect that the plane I saw had made its epic flight just 34 year before I saw it, and that is 61 years ago now. 2020 of course will be the centenary of that flight.

And just a note on Cootamundra: there was a RAAF base there during World War 2. My father was there at one time.

Another southern training base for the RAAF, Cootamundra housed No 1 Air Observers School and No 2 Recruit Depot during World War II, in addition to Nos 60 and 73 Squadrons which also operated from the base. Like so many training bases, following World War II, the airfield reverted to civilian control.