After serving with the 3rd Light Horse Brigade at Gallipoli, Smith transferred to the Australian Flying Corps in 1917 and was posted to 67 Squadron in Egypt. Flying the B.E.2e, he scored his first victory on the morning of 1 September 1917, shooting down an Albatros D.III near Beersheba. Flying the Bristol Fighter, Smith and his observers were credited with 10 more victories in 1918. His final victory was a two-seater, forced down behind enemy lines on the morning of 19 October 1918. Landing beside the enemy aircraft, Smith quickly set it on fire while his observer trained a machine gun on the stunned crew. Before his death in 1922, Smith and his older brother Keith were knighted for completing the first flight from England to Australia in 1919. He was killed in a crash at Brooklands during a practice flight in preparation for an attempt to fly around the world. Smith was inducted into the Australian Aviation Hall of Fame in 2012.
The North Devon Journal, Devon, England, Thursday, 20 April 1922
Military Cross (MC)
Lt. Ross Macpherson Smith, Aust. Light Horse R., attd. Aust. R.F.C.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when his pilot descended to the rescue of an officer who had been forced to land. On landing he held the enemy at bay with his revolver, thus enabling his pilot to rescue the officer and to safely fly away his machine.
Lt. Ross Macpherson Smith, M.C., Aust. Light Horse R. and Aust. F.C.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He was one of two pilots who carried out a remarkable series of photographs in one flight, completely covering an important area of forty-five square miles. On a later occasion he successfully bombed an important bridge head from a low altitude, and his work throughout, as well as his photography, has been invaluable and characterised by the most consistent gallantry.
Capt. Ross Macpherson Smith, M.C. (Australian
L.H. and Australian F.C.). (EGYPT)
Lt. Walker Alister Kirk (Australian F.C.). (EGYPT)
During the months of June and July these officers [Smith and his observer, Lieut. Walter Kirk] accounted for two enemy machines, and they have been conspicuous for gallantry and initiative in attacking ground targets, frequently at very low altitudes. The keenness and fine example set by these officers cannot be over-estimated.
Capt. Ross Macpherson Smith, M.C., D.F.C. (Australian L.H. and Australian F.C.). (EGYPT)
During the operations prior to October, 1918, he took part in numerous engagements involving flights of 150 to 200 miles, and succeeded in doing extensive damage to the enemy's hangars, railways, etc. Captain Smith displayed most consistent gallantry with marked ability in all his work, whether bombing by night or day or in personal encounters in the air. Whilst operating with the Sheriffian forces he destroyed one enemy machine and brought down two others out of control in the desert.
Capt. Ross Macpherson Smith, M.C.,
D.F.C. (Australian L.H. and Australian F.C.). (EGYPT)
On 19th October this officer, with Lieut. A. V. McCann as observer, engaged and drove down an enemy two-seater. As it appeared to land intact he descended to a low altitude and, with machine-gun fire, forced the occupants to abandon the machine; he then landed alongside it, and while his observer covered the enemy officers he set light to their machine and completely destroyed it. To have effected a landing in an unknown country, many miles in rear of the enemy's advanced troops, demanded courage and skill of a very high order.