What are they, why should you apply for one or donate in support of our efforts to help keep Australia resilient?

Over the past 20 years, we have awarded prestigious Fellowships to some of Australia's most distinguished engineers and academics, and have helped support a number of important research programs that are contributing to the future defence of Australia.

During the Second World War Australian Spitfire pilots played a vital role in every theatre of the conflict. Their efforts contributed to the successful outcome in the Battle of Britain in1940 and overall victory in Europe and the Pacific by1945. These Australians who played such an important role in securing peace in 1945 are among a long line of distinguished Defence Force personnel, who remain as capable today as in World War II.

Following the end of hostilities in 1945 and recognising the need to be ever vigilant, the Spitfire Memorial Defence Fellowship was conceived by pilots of 457 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Our founders were the late AVM Lyndon Compton AO OBE, the late FLTLT Edward (Ted) Sly DFC, the late FLTLT Peter Watson DFC and not long after foundation, the late FLTLT Lysle Roberts (Spitfire Association Lifetime Vice President) a key committee member right through until his passing in 2018. Their vision for the Fellowship was as an ongoing living memorial rather than a traditional granite and bronze monument.

Founders of the SMDF and particularly Ted Sly and Lysle Roberts, worked tirelessly for the Fellowship. Officially launched with a formal dinner in the Officer’s Mess at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA), the Fellowship was supported by $150,000 donated from companies, individuals and a top-up from the University of NSW. With many subsequent donations over the last two decades from Spitfire Association Members, the capital now stands at more than $1.2 million and growing.

In the lead up to ANZAC Day 2020 we will showcase four Australians who are among many Spitfire Memorial Defence Fellows:

- Dr Elena Sitnikova PhD, BE (Hons), CSSLP, SFHEA
- LTCOL Keirin Joyce BE (Hons)
- Prof. Frank Marino PHD (Hons) BPhysEd
- Dr Robert Dane CEO Ocius