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From Antarctica To The RFC.

Printed From: Cross & Cockade
Category: General Discussion
Forum Name: General
Forum Discription: General Discussion
Printed Date: 21 May 2022 at 10:08
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 10.03 -

Topic: From Antarctica To The RFC.
Posted By: Morris
Subject: From Antarctica To The RFC.
Date Posted: 04 Aug 2013 at 12:14

In a letter to the Times (August 3rd/ Register/Lives Remembered) Walter Kahn writes in remembrance of Squadron leader Tony Gaze and includes the following:

"The father of Tony Gaze….whilst serving in the RFC in the First World War, was shot down by Germans. His captors demanded to know why he had a white medal ribbon on his tunic. They were so impressed with his answer – that it was the Polar Medal as he had been a member of Shackleton's 1914 expedition to the Antarctic – that before he was taken off to a PoW camp, the Germans held a dinner in his honour in their officers' mess."

Does anyone have more information about his career in the RFC?

The second party of Shackleton's expedition left London in September 1914 to lay depots for the main group as they came across the pole from the Weddell Sea and four men, Richards, Gaze, Stevens and Spencer-Smith were put ashore in January 1915 to occupy Scott's Hut.

Incidentally my source for this, a Readers Digest book on Antarctica (junk shop find), also has a photo of the first aeroplane on the continent, a Vickers REP monoplane intended for use with Mawson's expedition of 1912. This unfortunate machine crashed during demonstrations in Australia, failed in its intended us and was stripped of its wings and fabric and used as a tractor for a short time before being abandoned.


Maurice Taylor

Posted By: NickForder
Date Posted: 04 Aug 2013 at 16:43
The Vickers monoplane (a developed REP built under licence) was used as a motor sled. Parts of it were recovered recently.
Also on the Expedition was (Major) Hans Orde Lees, later associated with the Guardian Angel parachute. Lees was one of those left behind when Shackleton left to get help. Lees was so unpopular that it was agreed that, should the penguin meat run out and cannibalism was the only option, Lees would be eaten first

Posted By: KK
Date Posted: 09 Aug 2013 at 16:56
Orde lees knew what he was doing when he acquired a Guardian Angel.Evil Smile
There was another future airman on that expedition but l cant recall his name.
anyone fancy doing a list of Polar medal airmen?
lll start with Teddy Gran.


Posted By: John-G
Date Posted: 03 Sep 2013 at 06:36
The other man was Francis Howard Bickerton he was the person who looked after and modified the aeroplane, eventually turning it into a powered sled." rel="nofollow -
Bickerton led a remarkable life.
I have read this book about him which I thought was an excellent read Born Adventurer: The Life of Frank Bickerton, Antarctic Pioneer by Stephen Haddelsey (Sutton Publishing, 2005.
John G


Posted By: John-G
Date Posted: 03 Sep 2013 at 06:42
I should also have said that there are a few docs about him on the military side at the TNA.
WO339/39605 which is some 103 pages, his AIR76 is available on line, and there is a Casualty cards at the RAFM, which does not throw much new information up.


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