LEST WE FORGET
Flight Sergeant Wharton Owen GAZE
Service No: 409069
Born: Katanning WA, 5 April 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 21 July 1941
Unit: No. 40 Squadron (RAF), Hani West, Tunisia
Died: Air Operations: (No. 40 Squadron Wellington aircraft HZ570), Sicily, 13 August 1943, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Syracuse War Cemetery, Italy
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William Owen and Beryl Lynne Gaze, of Gnowangerup, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Gnowangerup WA
Remembered: Panel 122, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA
On the night of 12/13th August 1943 Wellington HZ 570 was detailed to attack the beaches in the Messina, Sicily area between 0030/0400 hours. Nothing was heard from the aircraft and it failed to return to base. HZ 570 was seen by other aircraft on the same mission to explode in the air at approximately 9,000 feet over the Straits of Messina after air to air firing, and crash in flames on land near Gannae Zirri at approximately 0039 hours. Tracer fire was observed by the other crews and suggests the aircraft was shot down by a night fighter. No parachutes were observed and all five crew members were killed.
The crew members of HZ570 were:
Flight Sergeant Wharton Owen Gaze (409069) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant John Patrick Hall (415030) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant John Kenneth Kirk (1548321) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant David Hugh Morgan (416598) (Air Bomber)
Warrant Officer William Roland Walters (406744) (Pilot)
In 1949 a search party was informed by locals that the aircraft had crashed in the village of Faro Superiore, province of Messina, Sicily, and that the Germans had buried the crew in an old gun site on the outskirts of the village. A search of the area at the time could not locate any remains. In 1956 it was reported that the bodies had been located, and the crew of five are buried in the Syracuse War Cemetery, Messina, Locality Sicily, Italy.
Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records