Frederick Anthony Owen “Tony” Gaze, an Australian by birth, was a student at Cambridge when the war broke out. He signed up as a pilot in 1940, completing his training in 1941 and took his first posting at RAF Westhampnett in March of that year. He flew Spitfires with 610 (County of Chester) Squadron at Goodwood, which was part of the Tangmere Wing, led by the famous Wing Commander Douglas Bader.
Tony opened his account of enemy aircraft on the 26 June during a sweep over France. He fought his way through the summer of 1941 with several more victories and a DFC to his name and in 1941 was posted for a rest as an instructor.
What followed reads like a boys own adventure with Tony being posted for a second tour on Spitfires with 616 Squadron on the Dieppe Raid in 1942, then as squadron commander of 64 Squadron on Spitfire Mk IXs before being posted back to 616. Later in 1943, after a rest from a prolonged period of stressful operations, he was posted to 66 Squadron at Kenley but his luck ran out. He was shot down and crash landed near Dieppe. He managed to evade capture with the help of the French resistance.
In 1944 he returned to operations with 610 Squadron claiming a V1 flying bomb in a Spitfire Mk XIV from RAF Friston. On the 14 February 1945 Tony then shot down a Me 262 German twin engine jet fighter, the first Australian to do so. He was then posted to 41 Squadron for a short while before a final posting back to one of his old units 616 (South Yorkshire) Squadron to fly the new Gloster Meteor.
Tony Gaze finished the war with 11 confirmed victories, three shared with a further four probabales, six aircraft damaged and a V1. He won three gallantry medals for his efforts.
Tony’s need for speed continued post war in motor racing, competing in the 1952 Belgian Grand Prix and many other countries. He helped to establish the first all Australian overseas racing team but also had a thing for Gliding, representing Australia in the 1960 World Gliding Championships.
After an action packed life he died on 9 July 2013 aged 93.