When Mosquitos ruled the world…maybe one could again!

One of the most well-known English Aircraft manufacturer De Havilland produced one of the most iconic birds of the second world war which of course was the Mosquito. They may have been less heralded than the Lancaster or Halifax, nor as sexy as the Spitfire or Hurricane but this versatile two-man machine may have actually been the greatest warplane of them all. It was so highly thought of by the Axis that they were allowed to count each Wooden Wonder shot down as two ‘kills’. According to wartime test pilot Eric “Winkle” Brown, “I’m often asked, what type of aircraft saved Britain. My answer is that the Mosquito was particularly important because it wasn’t just a fighter or a bomber. It was a night fighter, a reconnaissance aircraft. A ground-attack aircraft. It was a multi-purpose aircraft.” and historian Sir Max Hastings supports this view, saying “The Mosquito helped transform the fortunes of the bomber offensive. It was obvious that this was a real game changer. In many ways, from the outset it became plain that the Mosquito was a much more remarkable aircraft than the Lancaster. Yes, the Lancaster is the aircraft that everybody identifies with Bomber Command, but in many ways the Mosquito, although it has received much less attention, was a much more remarkable aircraft…You’ve got the range, the height, the speed. It can do anything and in that sense, I think some of us would argue this is a more remarkable design achievement than the Spitfire.”

Over 7000 were produced and when De Havilland realised they had bitten off more than they could chew they arranged to have them out sourced to Canada to be built, well I suppose that made sense considering they were in part produced out of Canadian Spruce. Other woods included birch, balsa and plywood. One of the Mosquitoes greatest attributes was that due to being formed from wood, which would have been crafted by carpenters and joiners and then a fixed later, it could command a greater speed than many made from heavier metal.

This Canadian connection could also explain some of the names given to the aircraft. Many of the wooden wonders were adorned with nose art, not as polished or artistic as some and certainly no sensual half-dressed broads but still some brilliant art. I have collated a few examples below.

Acton

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New Glasgow

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Grim Reaper

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Spook

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Patches

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And last but by no means least, I just had to include this, okay so it is not actually on the nose but how often do you see art on the crew hatch? Below flight lieutenant A Torrence from Stonehouse Lanarkshire in Scotland climbs into his Popeye adorned FB VI at Parashuram India.

wpid-wp-1433449050764.jpeg

Of course after their impressive record of raids including an attack on the Gestapo headquarters in Oslo, its main pro become its main con. Whereas metal birds were preserved (or melted down) often if the Mossie survived the shrapnel and Axis fire they would just rot away in hangars. As such the next generation are not left with much of a Mosquito heritage and as any of you with children will know, it is so much easier to interest a child if they can see (and preferably touch) the subject. Surely we wouldn’t want the appreciation for an aircraft which, in part won us the war, to end with our generation. We have a responsibility to educate the future generations. To this end ‘The Peoples Mosquito’ , whose motto is “To Fly, To Educate, To Remember” , has a vision to return a fully functional and flying Mosquito to our skies. This benevolent and non-profit organisation, who’s patron is Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown, plan to restore a Mosquito with the purpose of education at its center. This would be a pinnacle in UK aviation and would allow for better educating future generations on just how important this wonderful piece of wood really was during World war II.

The only obstacle in their way is their way is the 5.6 million pound cost of restoring the war bird and getting in the air, this is where you, the people, can get involved. As an Incorporated Charity they are asking for donations and also have merchandise you can purchase to help this vision become a reality. Imagine the pride in your little ones eyes when they are fortunate enough to watch this elegant bird fly over Duxford or Shuttleworth and you are ‘let slip’ how you helped get her there.

To learn more about ‘The People’s Mosquito’ and to sponsor or purchase please visit them at

https://peoplesmosquito.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/peoplesmosquito

https://twitter.com/peoplesmosquito

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16 comments

  1. Pierre Lagacé · June 5, 2015

    Reblogged this on RAF 23 Squadron and commented:
    Very interesting

    Liked by 1 person

    • lenahedges · June 5, 2015

      Thanks Pierre. Glad you liked it

      Like

      • Pierre Lagacé · June 5, 2015

        My blog on 23 Squadron pays homage to all who flew the Mosquito. Finding that Eugene Gagnon, a French-Canadian from Bromptonville, Quebec, was one of them, got me interested in looking into this. And look I did.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. jfwknifton · June 5, 2015

    A very interesting post. The Mosquito could carry 4,000lb of bombs and I believe casualty rates were 0.5%. Did nobody ever have the idea of sending Mosquitoes rather than Lancasters or even B-17s?

    Liked by 2 people

    • lenahedges · June 5, 2015

      Thank you, glad you liked it. I do not know, maybe they should have!

      Like

    • peoplesmosquito · June 5, 2015

      In answer to the question about Mossies v Lancs or B.17s – I think it was a political hot potato. But the debate raises some interesting maths around payload and payload efficiency, fuel usage, personnel risks, mission duration etc..

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: When Mosquitos ruled the world…maybe one could again! | Shortfinals's Blog
  4. shortfinals · June 6, 2015

    Reblogged this on Shortfinals's Blog and commented:
    Wise words, indeed – we NEED a Mosquito!

    Ross Sharp
    Director, Engineering & Airframe Compliance
    The People’s Mosquito Ltd

    Liked by 1 person

    • lenahedges · June 6, 2015

      Thanks Ross. It does seem to be the popular concensus. Glad you liked it and thanks for the re blog.

      Like

  5. shortfinals · June 6, 2015

    You are quite correct, Nick, in that it was a political decision regarding the Light Night Striking Force (who regularly operated on nights when the Main Force could not!) Thank you, Lena, for this grand post. As you can see, I am extremely biased (in the nicest possible way) towards the Mosquito…..

    Ross Sharp
    Director, Engineering & Airframe Compliance
    The People’s Mosquito Ltd.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lenahedges · June 6, 2015

      Great info there Ross! Thanks, glad it has been well received by the general public and The People’s Mosquito.

      Like

  6. Wendy · June 8, 2015

    Interesting, I learnt a lot

    Liked by 1 person

    • lenahedges · June 8, 2015

      Thanks Wendy, I am glad you liked it. I am constantly learning during research for the articles and love to impart that knowledge to others. Hope you continue to read and enjoy.

      Like

  7. Nigel · July 16, 2015

    Nice article, I’ve always thought the Mossie to be one of Britain’s best wartime a/c, would love to see one back in British skies.
    Just one thing, please don’t stick an ‘s’ on the end of the word ‘aircraft’, it’s singular and plural already, before you know it everybody will be following you, just like ‘sheep’!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lenahedges · July 17, 2015

      Oh my goodness, such a silly typo. I shall edit it now and be more careful it doesn’t happen again! Thank you for bringing it to my attention. Thanks for reading, glad you enjoyed it! Hope the typo wont put you off returning!
      Lena

      Like

  8. Gary Watson · September 6, 2015

    I heard Glyn Powell has 7 new-build ‘Mossies’ in the order book. Time will tell Paul. Who they are for will remain to be seen but one of them will not be going to ‘Action Stations’ because they have gone bust this week gone. Great aeroplane and loved seeing Jerry Yagens example in May of this year. If the other severn are of this standard of build then we are in for a treat in the coming years whichever part of the planet you live.

    Liked by 1 person

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