Tony Gaze

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Frederick Anthony Owen Gaze
Nickname(s) Tony
Born (1920-02-03)3 February 1920
Prahran, Victoria, Australia
Died 29 July 2013(2013-07-29) (aged 93)
Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Air Force
Years of service 1940–1948
Rank Squadron Leader
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
Spouse(s) Diana Davison
Other work Motor racing driver

Frederick Anthony Owen "Tony" Gaze, DFC & Two Bars, OAM (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.[1]

Early life[edit]

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.[2][3] He was educated at Geelong Grammar School, and when war was declared in September 1939 he was a student at Queens' College, Cambridge.

Military service[edit]

First success[edit]

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.

Demotion and escape after being shot down[edit]

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.[4]

Back to Britain[edit]

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.[1]

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)[5] 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.

List of air victories[edit]

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 the Spitfire.[6]

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

Racing driver[edit]

Formula One World Championship career
Active years 1952
Teams Privateer Hersham and Walton Motors
Entries 4 (3 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 0
Career points 0
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First entry 1952 Belgian Grand Prix
Last entry 1952 Italian Grand Prix
24 Hours of Le Mans career
Years 1956
Teams Automobiles Frazer Nash Ltd.
Best finish DNF (1956)
Class wins 0

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.[7][8]

Gaze returned to Australia after the war, and began racing an Alta racing car that he brought with him.[7][9]

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.[7] When the sports governing body decided to change the World Championship regulations from Formula One to Formula 2,[10] 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.[11] By racing in Spa, Gaze became the first Australian to contest a World Championship motor race.[12] This was followed by appearances in the RAC British Grand Prix [13] and the Groβer Preis von Deutschland,[14] although he failed to qualify for the Gran Premio d’Italia.[12][15]

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.[16][17] At one point, the trio was in the top ten, but finished the event in 64th.[9] Also that season, he raced an Aston Martin DB3 in sports car events across Europe,[12] 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.[18]

In 1954 and 1955, Gaze raced the ex-Ascari Ferrari 500 F2 in non-championship events in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.[9][12] 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.[12][18] However, many races were cancelled after the Le Mans disaster, and the Stable disbanded at the end of the season.[9] Gaze continued to race for another season.[19]

Racing record[edit]

Career highlights[edit]

Season Series Position Team Car
1954 Lady Wigram Trophy [20] 2nd HWM-Alta
New Zealand Grand Prix [21] 3rd HWM-Alta
1955 Les 12 Heures d’Hyères [22] 2nd Kangaroo Stable Aston Martin DB3S
New Zealand Grand Prix [23] 3rd Ferrari 500/625
1956 Dunedin Road Race [24] 1st Ferrari 500/750S
Moomba TT [25] 1st FAO Gaze HWM-Jaguar
New Zealand Grand Prix [26] 2nd Ferrari 500/750S
Lady Wigram Trophy [24] 2nd Ferrari 500/750S
Southland Road Race [24] 2nd Ferrari 500/750S
Ardmore Grand Prix [27] 3rd HWM-Jaguar
Argus Cup [28] 3rd HWM-Jaguar

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 WDC Points
1952 Tony Gaze HWM Alta Straight-4 SUI 500 BEL
15
FRA GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
NED ITA
DNQ
NC 0
Source:[29]

Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1956 United Kingdom Automobiles Frazer Nash Ltd. United Kingdom Dickie Stoop Frazer Nash Sebring S2.0 101 DNF
(Accident)

Complete 12 Hours of Reims results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1954 United Kingdom H. W. Motors United Kingdom Graham Whitehead HWM-Jaguar 206 7th 7th

Complete 12 Hours of Hyères results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1953 United Kingdom Graham Whitehead Aston Martin DB3 DNF
1954 United Kingdom H.W. Motors United Kingdom George Abecassis HWM-Jaguar DISQ
(Disqualified)
1955 Australia Kangaroo Stable Australia David McKay Aston Martin DB3S S+2.0 220 2nd 2nd

Complete 12 Hours of Pescara results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1953 United Kingdom Tom Meyer United Kingdom Tom Meyer Aston Martin DB3 S+2.0  ?th 3rd

Complete Rallye de Monte Carlo results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Pos.
1953 Australia Lex Davison
Australia Stan Jones
Holden FX 64th

Gliding[edit]

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.[9]

Personal life[edit]

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.[30] Gaze was also step-grandfather to the third generation of Davison racing drivers, Alex, Will and James.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Squadron Leader Tony Gaze". The Daily Telegraph. 31 July 2002. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "Ross Sea Party". Archived from the original on 6 January 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2016. 
  3. ^ "Award for Son of Last War Flyer". The Argus. 19 January 1943. p. 4.  [1]
  4. ^ "Spitfire pilot, racing driver and the man who came up with Glorious Goodwood dies at 93". The Daily Mail. 30 July 2002. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  5. ^ The Telegraph (Brisbane. QLD), Tuesday 22 May 1945, page 2
  6. ^ "Gaze, Frederick Anthony Owen "Tony"". World War Two Awards. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c "Squadron Leader Tony Gaze OAM DFC** (WWII Ace & Grand Prix driver) —". tonygaze.com. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  8. ^ "Goodwood - Tony Gaze". goodwood.com. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "Squadron Leader Tony Gaze". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  10. ^ "Formula 1 – what’s in a name? – JACK & JONES - Renault Sport Formula One Team Official Partner". jackjonesracing.com. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  11. ^ "Grand Prix Results: Belgian GP, 1952". grandprix.com. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  12. ^ a b c d e O'Leary, Jamie. "Former grand prix driver Tony Gaze dies aged 93". autosport.com. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  13. ^ "Grand Prix Results: British GP, 1952". grandprix.com. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  14. ^ "Grand Prix Results: German GP, 1952". grandprix.com. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  15. ^ "Grand Prix Results: Italian GP, 1952". grandprix.com. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  16. ^ "MONTE-CARLO RALLY - FORD ZEPHYR WINS on SHELL - The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) - 1 Jul 1953". nla.gov.au. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  17. ^ Galpin, Darren. "1953 Miscellaneous Rallies". speedfreaks.org. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  18. ^ a b "Tony Gaze Memorial service". cams.com.au. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  19. ^ "Tony Gaze (AUS) - All Results - Racing Sports Cars". racingsportscars.com. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  20. ^ "1954 Other Races". sergent.com.au. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  21. ^ "1954 NZGP". sergent.com.au. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  22. ^ "Hyères 12 Hours 1955 - Race Results - Racing Sports Cars". racingsportscars.com. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  23. ^ "1955 NZGP". sergent.com.au. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  24. ^ a b c "1956 Other Races". sergent.com.au. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  25. ^ "Moomba TT 1956 - Race Results - Racing Sports Cars". racingsportscars.com. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  26. ^ "1956 NZGP". sergent.com.au. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  27. ^ "GP Ardmore 1956 - Race Results - Racing Sports Cars". racingsportscars.com. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  28. ^ "Albert Park Argus Cup 1956 - Race Results - Racing Sports Cars". racingsportscars.com. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  29. ^ Small, Steve (1994). The Guinness Complete Grand Prix Who's Who. Guinness. p. 150. ISBN 0851127029. 
  30. ^ "Drivers: Tony Gaze". www.grandprix.com. Retrieved 28 March 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Stewart Wilson (2009). Almost Unknown: Squadron Leader Tony Gaze OAM DFC: Fighter Pilot and Racing Driver. Lane Cove NSW: Chevron Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-9805912-1-7. 

External links[edit]