Frederick Anthony Owen Gaze
|Born||3 February 1920|
Prahran, Victoria, Australia
|Died||29 July 2013 93) (aged|
Geelong, Victoria, Australia
|Service/||Royal Air Force|
|Years of service||1940–1948|
|Unit|| No. 57 OTU |
No. 616 Squadron RAF
No. 131 Squadron RAF
No. 66 Squadron RAF
No. 41 Squadron RAF
|Commands held|| No. 64 Squadron RAF |
No. 610 Squadron RAF
|Battles/wars||Second World War|
|Awards|| Distinguished Flying Cross & Two Bars |
Medal of the Order of Australia
|Other work||Motor racing driver|
Frederick Anthony Owen "Tony" Gaze,(3 February 1920 – 29 July 2013) was an Australian fighter pilot and racing driver. He flew with the Royal Air Force in the Second World War, was a flying ace credited with 12.5 confirmed victories (11 and 3 shared), and later enjoyed a successful racing career in the UK, Europe and Australia. He was the first ever Australian to take part in a Formula One Grand Prix.
Gaze was born in Melbourne, Victoria, on 20 February 1920, the son of Irvine Gaze, a member of the Ross Sea Party who were preparing for Ernest Shackleton's expedition.He was educated at Geelong Grammar School, and when war was declared in September 1939 he was a student at Queens' College, Cambridge.
Gaze joined the RAF in 1940, and on completion of training and with 122 hours flying time recorded was posted to No. 610 Squadron RAF at RAF Westhampnett in March 1941, flying cross-channel fighter sweeps. Gaze's first 'kill' came on 26 June when he downed a Messerschmitt Bf 109. The next month he claimed two further victories, one half and two probables. For these victories he was awarded the first of three DFCs. His brother, Pilot Officer Scott Gaze had joined No. 610 Squadron RAF with him in early 1941, but was killed in action on 23 March 1941. In November 1941 Gaze was posted to No. 57 OTU as an instructor.
He started his second tour in June 1942, with No. 616 Squadron RAF, flying the high altitude Spitfire Mk.IV. During the ill-fated Dieppe Raid on 19 August 1942, he received his second DFC after destroying an enemy fighter. In late August 1942 he was posted to command No. 64 Squadron RAF flying the new Spitfire IX.
On 26 September 1942 Gaze led a wing of Spitfires in support of a bombing raid at Morlaix. An Eagle Squadron, No. 131 Squadron RAF, became scattered in high winds and lost 11 of 12 fighters. Gaze was made the scapegoat for the mission failure and was transferred back to No. 616 Squadron as a flight commander. It was later determined that the cause of the high losses on that mission were due to pilot inexperience and unexpected adverse weather.
After a rest from operations in early 1943, he was again posted to an operational Squadron in August 1943, No. 66 Squadron RAF at RAF Kenley. On 4 September 1943 over Le Tréport after downing a Focke Wulf 190 Gaze's own Spitfire V was shot down by Heinz-Gerhard Vogt of II./JG 26 (his 14th claim of an eventual 48). Gaze crash landed 20 miles from Dieppe with slight injuries, evaded capture and made his way, with help from the French Resistance, to neutral Spain.[ citation needed ]
In February 1944 Gaze joined the Air Fighting Development Unit (ADFU) at Wittering, rejoining No. 610 Squadron on the continent in July 1944. He claimed a Messerschmitt Me 262 jet shot down near Emmrich on Rhine on 14 February 1945 (a Me 262A-2 of I./KG 51 flown by Rudolf Hoffmann) (the first Australian to achieve this feat) and shared an Arado Ar 234 jet bomber on 12 April 1945.
The Me 262 victory resulted in Gaze being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for the third time; one of only 47 men in the Second World War.
After a month with No. 41 Squadron RAF in April, on 2 May 1945 he was posted as a flight commander to No. 616 squadron, becoming one of the first Australians (after F/O JN McKay, RAAF)to fly the Gloster Meteor in combat during the closing stages of the war.
During the war he had also flown with some of the most famous names including Wing Commander Douglas Bader, top Allied ace Johnnie Johnson (38 victories) as part of the RAF's Tangmere Wing and Paul Tibbets, pilot of the 'Enola Gay', B29 Bomber that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
Gaze ended the war as Australia's tenth ranking highest ace, claiming 12.5 confirmed destroyed (11 and 3 shared (note: below list includes the destruction of a V1)), 4 probables, and 5 damaged in 488 combat missions, all while flying Supermarine Spitfires of various Marks.
|Victory No.||Date||Squadron||Enemy aircraft||Notes|
|1.||26 June 1941||No. 610 Squadron||Messerschmitt Me 109E||Gravelines|
|Probable||26 June 1941||No. 610 Squadron||Messerschmitt Bf 109||Gravelines|
|Damaged||2 July 1941||No. 610 Squadron||Messerschmitt Bf 109||Lille|
|1.5||6 July 1941||No. 610 Squadron||Messerschmitt Bf 109 shared||Lille|
|2.5||10 July 1941||No. 610 Squadron||Messerschmitt Bf 109||Hardelot|
|3.5||10 July 1941||No. 610 Squadron||Messerschmitt Bf 109||Hardelot|
|Probable||17 July 1942||No. 610 Squadron||Messerschmitt Bf 109||Le Touquet|
|4.5||18 July 1942||No. 616 Squadron||Focke-Wullf Fw 190||Le Touquet|
|Probable||18 July 1942||No. 616 Squadron||Focke-Wullf Fw 190||Le Touquet|
|5.5||19 August 1942||No. 616 Squadron||Dornier Do 217||Dieppe|
|Damaged||6 September 1942||No. 616 Squadron||Focke-Wulff Fw 190||St. Omer|
|Damaged||11 October 1942||No. 64 Squadron||Focke-Wulf Fw 190||Dunkirk|
|Damaged||16 August 1943||No. 129 Squadron||Focke-Wulf Fw 190||Eeckloo|
|6.5||17 August 1943||No. 129 Squadron||Focke-Wulf Fw 190||Antwerp|
|Probable||19 August 1943||No. 129 Squadron||Messerschmitt Me 109G|
|7.5||4 September 1943||No. 66 Squadron||Focke-Wulf Fw 190||Beauchamps|
|8.5||5 August 1944||No. 610 Squadron||V-1||Beachy Head, East Sussex, UK|
|9.5||January 1945||No. 610 Squadron||Focke-Wulff Fw 190D||On the ground|
|10.5||14 February 1945||No. 610 Squadron||Messerschmitt Me 262||Emmrich on Rhine|
|11.5||10 April 1945||No. 41 Squadron||Junkers Ju 52/3m||Bremen-Nieuberg|
|12||12 April 1945||No. 41 Squadron||Arado Ar 234 shared||Bremen|
|12.5||28 April 1945||No. 41 Squadron||Focke-Wulff Fw 190D shared||Schwerin airfield|
|13.5||30 April 1945||No. 41 Squadron||Focke-Wulff Fw 190D||Elbe Bridgehead|
|Formula One World Championship career|
|Teams||Privateer Hersham and Walton Motors|
|Entries||4 (3 starts)|
|First entry||1952 Belgian Grand Prix|
|Last entry||1952 Italian Grand Prix|
In 1946, Gaze suggested to the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, better known as "Freddie March", that the roads around RAF Westhampnett would be a good location for a racing track. Acting on this suggestion, March opened the Goodwood Circuit in 1948.
Gaze returned to Australia after the war, and began racing an Alta racing car that he brought with him.
He raced an Alta Formula 2 in Europe for the 1951 season, switching to an HWM-Alta for the following season, planning to racing again in F2.When the sports governing body decided to change the World Championship regulations from Formula One to Formula 2, Gaze’s plans changed as well. He took part in a number of non-championship F1 events, and then in June travelled to the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps for the Grote Prijs van Belgie. After qualifying the HWM-Alta 16th, he raced one place better, attaining 15th place. By racing in Spa, Gaze became the first Australian to contest a World Championship motor race. This was followed by appearances in the RAC British Grand Prix and the Groβer Preis von Deutschland, although he failed to qualify for the Gran Premio d’Italia.
The following year, he was a member of the first Australian crew to attempt the Rallye Monte Carlo in a Holden FX with Lex Davison and Stan Jones.At one point, the trio was in the top ten, but finished the event in 64th. Also that season, he raced an Aston Martin DB3 in sports car events across Europe, and survived an accident in the Grande Prémio de Portugal, when his car struck a tree after a collision with a Ferrari. He was thrown clear as the Aston flipped over and burst into flames. Gaze was carried to safety by spectators, and suffered only cuts and bruises.
In 1954 and 1955, Gaze raced the ex-Ascari Ferrari 500 F2 in non-championship events in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.On his return to England, he set up the Kangaroo Stable, the first Australian international racing team. One team member was a young Jack Brabham. They ran Aston Martin DB3S. However, many races were cancelled after the Le Mans disaster, and the Stable disbanded at the end of the season. Gaze continued to race for another season.
|1954||Lady Wigram Trophy||2nd||HWM-Alta|
|New Zealand Grand Prix||3rd||HWM-Alta|
|1955||Les 12 Heures d’Hyères||2nd||Kangaroo Stable||Aston Martin DB3S|
|New Zealand Grand Prix||3rd||Ferrari 500/625|
|1956||Dunedin Road Race||1st||Ferrari 500/750S|
|Moomba TT||1st||FAO Gaze||HWM-Jaguar|
|New Zealand Grand Prix||2nd||Ferrari 500/750S|
|Lady Wigram Trophy||2nd||Ferrari 500/750S|
|Southland Road Race||2nd||Ferrari 500/750S|
|Ardmore Grand Prix||3rd||HWM-Jaguar|
|1952||Tony Gaze||HWM||Alta Straight-4||SUI||500|| BEL |
|FRA|| GBR |
| GER |
|NED|| ITA |
|1956||Automobiles Frazer Nash Ltd.||Dickie Stoop||Frazer Nash Sebring||S2.0||101||DNF|
|1954||H. W. Motors||Graham Whitehead||HWM-Jaguar||206||7th||7th|
|1953||Graham Whitehead||Aston Martin DB3||DNF|
|1954||H.W. Motors||George Abecassis||HWM-Jaguar||DISQ|
|1955||Kangaroo Stable||David McKay||Aston Martin DB3S||S+2.0||220||2nd||2nd|
|1953||Tom Meyer||Tom Meyer||Aston Martin DB3||S+2.0||?th||3rd|
|1953|| Lex Davison |
After a conversation with Prince Bira, who was an avid glider competitor, Gaze tried his hand at the sport. He became an active member of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Gliding Club, at Nympsfield and went on to represent Australia in the 1960 World Gliding Championships, which was held at the Butzweiler airfield, near Köln.
Tony Gaze was married twice; to Kay Wakefield who died in 1976 and to fellow racing car driver Diana Davison who died in 2012. Davison was the widow of Lex Davison.Gaze was also step-grandfather to the third generation of Davison racing drivers, Alex, Will and James.
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