It is tempting to imagine that when this envelope crossed the Pacific on the wings of the Lady Southern Cross, it might have done so in Smithy's breast pocket.

The envelope is addressed to Smithy's brother, Richard Harold Kingsford Smith. The handwriting is believed to be that of their mother, Catherine Kingsford Smith. Even though the envelope bears a threepenny stamp (bearing the image of the Fokker Southern Cross no less) there is no postmark which suggests that the envelope was given directly to Smithy by his mother and carried on his person during the flight. The envelope has been carefully opened and any contents removed and since separated from the envelope.

The envelope is addressed:

R. H. Kingsford Smith
Oakland California
Via Brisbane, Suva, & Honolulu
Per kind favor Sir Charles Kingsford Smith in the
"Lady Southern Cross"
1st W. E. Crossing of the Pacific
Leaving Sydney N.S.W. Oct 18th 1934

The reverse of the envelope is endorsed:

This envelope was received
by the undersigned addressee
in the presence of Guy
Turner, Supt. Oakland Airport.
C. Buford Fisher, Pres Junior
Chamber of Commerce, Oakland
& Captain W. B. Voortmyer
Avigator, Oakland Airport
Nov 4th 7.30 am 1934
This envelope was
the first document to be delivered, on arrival
of the Lady Southern Cross
& preceded the customary
Customs entries.
RH Kingsford Smith

This painstaking endorsement clearly illustrates that the recipient fully appreciated the historical significance of this item. Captain William B. Voortmeyer (1890-1952) was a Master Navigator who had advised the crew of the Southern Cross in planning the first aerial crossing of the Pacific in 1928. It is believed that Mr Fisher was correctly H. Buford Fisher (1897-1976) and that he was actually Vice-President of the Chamber of Commerce.

Source: Tim Kalina Collection


The Recipient of the Letter

Smithy's brother, Richard Harold Kingsford Smith and his wife Elsie sailed from San Francisco on the Mariposa on 13 October 1937. The caption on the reverse of the photograph reads:

R.H. Kingsford Smith, with Mrs. Kingsford Smith, who sailed from San Francisco on the Mariposa, expressing the belief that his brother, Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, famous flyer, is still alive "someplace in the Malay jungles." He will assist in directing a searching expedition sponsored by the Australian Government for his famous brother. Sir Charles was last seen flying over the Malay jungles on a trip from London to Australia in Nov. 1935.

Picture: Acme Newspictures Inc., San Francisco Bureau, from the Tim Kalina Collection