Monday, February 14, 2011

Learning about who Keith Anderson was

We sat next to Keith Anderson's grave and had a picnic while reading Peter Fitzsimons' book and found out so really interesting stuff about Charles Kingsford Smith and of course Keith Anderson. In the 4 hours we were sitting down under the tree what did i learn?

1. Keith Anderson was active in France and England during WW1 and shot down 3 Aircraft and drove several more down to the ground. Not sure on the rules of becoming an "Ace" but sounds like he should be recognised.
2. He met up with Kingsford Smith while flying mail in Westurn Australia.
3. Kingsford Smith was also a WW1 pilot then he returned to Australia after being shot in the foot.
4. Keith Anderson and Kingsford Smith met in WA while flying with various companies where they discussed their vision of flying across the great oceans.
5. Smithy wanted to fly across the Indian Ocean from South Africa to Australia.
6. Keith Anderson wanted to from across the Pacific Ocean to America.
7. Although they were both keen to do the trip nothing really happened until Charles Ulm came along and organised the Pacific Ocean trip.
8. Keith Anderson organised a fair bit of the money to pay for the trip and Ulm arranged for things to happen and for things to come in place.
9. Keith Anderson became good friends with Kingsford Smith's girlfriend Bon Hilliard who in a short itme was Keith Anderson's fience. From this time on there seemed  to be a clash in Keith Anderson and Kingsford Smith's friendship.
10. Anderson, Smithy, and Ulm traveled to America to purchase an aeroplane when Keith Anderson names it The Southern Cross.
11. After several months of getting no where, Keith Anderson returned to Australia to be with Bon Hilliard.
12. Kingsford Smith and Ulm sent a telegram to Keith Anderson informing him that they are ready to go. But Keith Anderson didn't go.
13. Kingsford Smith and Ulm fly across the Pacific but Keith Anderson was given no credit for his part or vision.
14. Kingsford Smith and Ulm needed another record to break and went missing on the coast of WA. This became know as the Coffee Royal incident.
15. Keith Anderson had purchased a second hand widgett monoplane six weeks before the Coffee Royal incident but it wasn't airworthy.
16. Hearing about Smithy being lost while at a pub in Sydney Anderson offered to go fing Smithy but needed funding. The pub owner offered to cover the expences.
17. Anderson and his friend Bobby Hitchcock set off from Richmond and landed in Alice Springs. After making some repairs they set off for WA in the hope of finding Smithy.
18. Normally pilots follow the telegraph lines but Keith Anderson took a shortcut across the Tanimi Desert. Unfortunatly he had engine trouble and had to land in the desert.
19. They had very little water. They couldn't take off because of the thick plants.
20. Anderson and Hitchcock died of dehydration.

Keith Anderson acheived so many great things in his very short life.


  1. Very interesting post but a few comments on the text. If Gabrielle contacts me I am happy to send them to her. Charles

  2. Keith Anderson enlisted in South Africa in World War 1 and subsequently joined the Royal Flying Corps. He served in France as a fighter pilot in No. 73 Squadron where he destroyed three enemy aircraft and drove several others down out of control.
    Several years after the war he joined the West Australian Airways as a civilian pilot and became associated with Bobby Hitchcock.
    (Words of Eric Douglas RAAF)