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Spitfire Memorial
Defence Fellowship

History of the SMDF

A vision for the future

During the Second World War Australian service men and women played a vital role in every theatre of the conflict. Their efforts contributed to successful outcome in the Battle of Britain, 1940, and overall victory in Europe and the Pacific in 1945. These Australians who played such an important role in securing peace in 1945 are among a long line of distinguished Defence Force personnel; as strong today as it was in World War II.

Recognising the need to be ever vigilant, the Spitfire Memorial Defence Fellowship was conceived by pilots of 457 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), including the late AVM Lyndon Compton AO OBE RAAF, the late FLTLT Edward (Ted) Sly DFC, the late FLTLT Peter Watson DFC and the late Lifetime Vice President FLTLT Lysle Roberts, a key committee member right through until his passing in 2019. Their vision for the Fellowship was as an ongoing living memorial rather than a traditional granite and bronze monument.

Ted Sly worked tirelessly for the Fellowship and saw it officially launched with a formal dinner in the Officer’s Mess at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA), within the UNSW Canberra campus on 5 May 1998. At its launch, the Fellowship was supported by $150,000 donated from companies, individuals and the University. With many subsequent donations over the last two decades, the capital now stands at more than $1.2 million and growing. The Fellowship provides encouragement for the development of advanced knowledge and expertise which will aid in the defence of Australia, offering recipients financial support as well as significant public recognition.

Meet The SMDF Patron


Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, AO, DSC
Chief of Air Force (CAF)

Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld was born in Sydney in 1962. He joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as an RAAF Academy Cadet in January 1980, winning the Flying Prize for his year and graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1983.

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The Spitfire Memorial Defence Fellowship is extremely important, making a unique contribution to defence-related research and development in Australia.

- Dr Nigel Greenwood 2005, 2007


SMDF relies on donations

Help us to help Australia and our Defence Force

The Spitfire Memorial Defence Fellowship is proudly administered through UNSW Australia. Since 1998, a total of 17 Fellowships have been awarded. Several of these recipients have been former Australian Defence Force personnel and all are distinguished engineers or researchers who have been recognised for their excellent research. As new security threats emerge around the world, it remains vital that we continue to support Australian researchers who are keeping our military capabilities at the cutting-edge; technologies that can save lives, protecting our soldiers and civilians from harm. To help grow the Fellowship into the future, we need to continue to raise money and public awareness today.

Donations made to the Spitfire Memorial Defence Fellowship are tax deductible. Please contact treasurer@spitfireassociation.com.au to donate.

Biography of Dr Nour Moustafa - SMDF Awardee 2020


The 2020 Spitfire Memorial Defence Fund Fellow is Dr Nour Moustafa. He is a Lecturer in Cyber Security and the Coordinator of the Postgraduate Cyber Program at the School of Engineering and Information Technology (SEIT), University of New South Wales, Canberra.

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Are you the next Spitfire Fellow?


The Fellowship welcomes nominations from Australian citizens who are suitably qualified graduates or who have significant appropriate work experience. The application process, selection criteria and submission deadlines can be found on the UNSW Website.

SMDF Honour Roll


Year Name Field
2020 Dr Nour Moustafa Cyber Security
2019 Dr Elena Sitnikova Cyber Security
2018 Dr Jai Galliott Social Sciences
2016 Prof Frank Marino Physiology
2014 Assoc Prof Matthew Garratt Artificial Intelligence / UAVs
2013 Dr Sean O’Byrne Hypersonic Flight
2012 Dr Yixia (Sarah) Zhang Structural Engineering
2011 Dr Jason Ford Artificial Intelligence / UAVs
2010 Assoc Prof Wenyi Yan Biomechanics
2009 Major Keirin Joyce CSC Defence Technology / UAVs
2008 Assoc Prof Andrew Neely Aircraft/Engine Design
2007 Dr Nigel Greenwood Artificial Intelligence/Missile Defence
2005 Dr Nigel Greenwood Artificial Intelligence/Missile Defence
2003 Dr Francis Miley Business
2002 Dr John Milthorpe Advanced Weapons
2000 Dr Rikard (Rik) Heslehurst Aircraft Design
2000 Dr Boyd Falconer Aviation Safety
For a summary of each awardee's research, please see the UNSW SMDF Site