Tuesday 3rd February 1920
Born on this day, Frederick Anthony ‘Tony’ Gaze, DFC & Two Bars, OAM, a decorated World War II flying ace credited with 12.5 aerial victories. An awarded Spitfire pilot in Britain he was shot down in combat over France in 1943 but escaped back to England and in June 1944 became the first Allied airman to land back on European soil. After the war he took up racing in Australia and returning to had a go with his own HWM-Alta in the Belgian, British and German Grands Prix, but failed to qualify at Monza. But it would be in sports car racing that he enjoyed greater success, first in Europe and then in Australia were he founded the first all Australian overseas racing team called ‘The Kangaroo Stable’. But his biggest contribution may be that in 1946 as an Australian Air Force pilot with a Westhampnett aerodrome based squadron during World War 2, he suggested to the Duke of Richmond and Gordon – better known in the motor racing world as Freddy March – that the perimeter roads of the airport would make a great racing circuit. March tried a few laps and got enthusiastic about the idea. As it was the Duke’s land, Westhampnett became the Goodwood racing circuit, for some time one of the finest circuits in England and remains a great surrounding for classic car venues.