Vimy Ere – Here!

Today a slightly detailed and slightly-serifed set of letters, almost an abstract design.

Because also today, 100 years ago, four young men lifted off in their aircraft from Hounslow aerodrome near London at 8 am on 12 November 1919, and headed to their homeland, Australia, literally on the other side of the world. They’d just finished fighting in the greatest war to date in history, and they were to set a record that every other person who’s flown to Australia sits in the slipstream of.

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It’s actually a photo of the fuselage (body) of the Vickers Vimy converted bomber, showing its very early registration, G-EAOU, the ‘G’ for Great Britain. Any account of the aircraft will tell you the crew claimed the letters made the phrase ‘God ‘elp all of us’. The ‘Lift Here’ are exactly that, when using human power to turn the aircraft on the ground.

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It was crewed by Captain Ross Macpherson Smith, his brother Lieutenant Keith Macpherson Smith as co-pilot and mechanics Sergeant W.H. ‘Wally’ Shiers and J.M. ‘Jim’ Bennett. Their story should be getting great coverage over the next month, as we shadow their journey a century on.

Here’s the Vimy and sculpture of the crew at Adelaide airport, South Australia – where the Smith brothers were from.

James Kightly, Vintage Aero Writer.

One Comment Add yours

  1. John Usher says:

    Interesting point about registration pattern pre-1928 (and ‘K’ series even earlier) – made me investigate. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_aircraft_registration_prefixes#Pre-1928_allocations Seems G-Exxx was UK, but other Empire nations also used G-??xx (e.g. G-AUxx). The modern VH-xxxx series seems to originate from an early Empire series radio call sigh – that always puzzled me! Any idea why Vx was a common Empire designation?

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