Richard was born on the 17th August 1920 at Croydon in New South Wales and he enlisted on the 27th May 1940 at Sydney.
He was a fresh graduate out of training when he joined 452 Squadron at RAF Station Kirton-in-Lindsey in April, 1941. At the time, he was amongst the first pilots to join the Squadron, which was the first fighter squadron of which the flying personnel (with the exception of two Flight Commanders) were entirely Australian.
The Squadron became operational a month later, in May 1941, and rapidly developed a formidable reputation in operations against the Germans. It was involved in many different kinds of operations, including offensive patrols, convoy escort and bomber escort missions.
On the 19th August 1941, Dick was only 21 when he was killed in an air battle over Belgium. Squadron records indicate that a mixed formation of Spitfire II and V took of at 1005 hrs from RAF Kenley led by the CO, Squadron Leader Robert Bungey, to join Circus 81, which was tasked with bombing the Gosnay power station. Bounced by Bf109s, the rest of the formation returned to base by 1150 hrs, but some had to land at Manston or West Malling, with the aircraft of Sergeant Williams slightly damaged and the aircraft of Flight Lieutenant Douglas badly shot up. Sergeant Dick Gazzard was reported missing.
Even though Dick died on that day, he would have been happy to know that there was something special about Circus 81 because it was also known as, the “Leg Operation.” To explain, Circus 81 involved about 15 squadrons of Spitfires and six Blenheim bombers. However, one of the Blenheims had a secondary objective, and that was to drop an artificialleg by parachute over St. Olmer aerodrome. The leg was then to be delivered by the Germans to the British ace, Wing Commander Douglas Bader, who was at the time a prisoner of war. The photo is of Dick (second from the left) and some of the other pilots in 452 Squadron. The other photo is of Dick’s Airmann’s Record Sheet.
(Web Master: A “Circus” was a daytime bombing raid small force of bombers, escorted by a large number of fighters in the daytime. The main intention was to draw the German fighters into combat in circumstances favourable to the RAF.
Wing Commander Bader lost one of his artificial legs while leaping from his aircraft when he was shot down over france. According to reports, once he received his second leg, he promptly tried to escape. He eventually ended up in Colditz Castle.)
Sergeant Richard Gazzard is remembered at the Oostduinkerke Communal Cemetery (Row G Grave 67) in Belgium.
Good on you Dick, God Bless.
With thanks to Wikipedia and forum.12oclockhigh
Paul Carter and Phil Listemann
Update by Vince Conant
The Spitfire Association