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.