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DD666

KJ666

KB666

PF666

RF666

RS666

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VT666

633 Squadron

RS709

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RS715

RS718

TA639

TA719

TA724

TJ118

TV959

TW117


DeHavilland DH98 Mosquito

DeHavilland DH.98 Mosquito Prototype W4050

DeHavilland DH98 Mosquito The De Havilland Mosquito was developed in the course of 1938-39 by a design team headed by R E Bishop in accordance with an original concept for a high-speed two-seat unarmed bomber of wooden construction proposed by Capt Geoffrey de Havilland. Development proceeded during 1940 to Specification B.l/40, written round the DH proposal and covering a bomber/reconnaissance aircraft with pro-vision for development of a fighter variant also, powered by 1,280 hp Merlin RM35M engines. Initial contract placed March 1, 1940, for 50 bomber/reconnaissance aircraft, including one prototype; amended July 1940 to include one fighter prototype and in January 1941 to include a reconnaissance prototype, with many subsequent amendments and additions to contracts which eventually covered production of 6,411 De Havilland Mosquitoes in Britain, 1,134 in Canada and 212 in Australia, production continuing until 1950. In the UK, production shared between de Havilland at Hatfield, Leavesden and (post-war) Chester, Airspeed at Christchurch, Percival at Luton and Standard Motors at Coventry; Canadian and Australian production was by the de Havilland companies at Toronto and Sydney respectively. De Havilland Mosquito prototype (W4050) with span of 52 ft 6 in (16.0 m), first flown at Hatfield November 25, 1940, with 1,460 hp Merlin 21 engines; gross weight, 16,000 Ib (7,264 kg) and speed of 392 mph (631 km/h) recorded in FS gear at full-throttle height of 22,000 ft (6,705 m), establishing De Havilland Mosquito as world's fastest operational aircraft at that time, a distinction retained by subsequent De Havilland Mosquito marks for next 2'/2 years. Merlin 61s fitted in prototype and first flown June 20, 1942, when speed of 414 mph (666 km/h) recorded in MS gear at weight of 17,800 Ib (8,081 kg). Merlin 77s fitted in October 1942 and span increased to 59 ft 2 in (18.03 m); speed of 437 mph (703 km/h) achieved at 29,000 ft (8,839 m) at 18,000 Ib (8,172 kg) - the fastest of any De Havilland Mosquito. Flown with dummy four-gun dorsal turret aft of cabin, July 1941.

De Havilland Mosquito FII: Variant of basic DH.98 design evolved to Specification F.21/40 as two-seat twin-engined day and night long-range fighter and intruder, with Merlin 21 or 23 engines in long nacelles, and four 20-mm cannon in the lower front fuselage plus four 0.303-in (7.7-mm) Browning’s in the nose. Prototype (from initial De Havilland Mosquito production batch) first flown May 15, 1941. Production aircraft carried AI Mk IV or Mk V (with arrow-head aerials), and used primarily as UK-based night fighters, in overall black finish, often referred to as NF Mk Us. Total 589 built (including 199 converted to NF Mk XII & XVII), initial deliveries to No 157 Sqn, March 1942. Twenty-five modified as Special Intruders for No 23 Sqn, without AI and with extra fuel. Two flown with dorsal four-gun turrets, on September 14 and December 5, 1941, respectively, but not further developed. One fitted with Turbinlite airborne searchlight in nose for trials with Nos 151, 532 and 85 Sqdns in 1943. One to RAAF in Australia as pattern for FB Mk 40.


Max speed, 370 mph (595 km/h) at 22,000 ft (6,706 m). Initial climb, 3,000 ft/min (15.2 m/sec). Ceiling, 36,000 ft (10,973 m). Max range, 1,705 miles (2,743 km). Empty weight, 13,431 Ib (6,098 kg). Gross weight, 18,547 Ib (8,420 kg). Span, 54ft 2 in (16.51 m). Length, 40ft 6 in (12.34 m).

De Havilland Mosquito FBVI: Day and night fighter-bomber/intruder, armed with four machine guns and four cannon as F Mk II, plus two 250-lb (113-kg) bombs in rear of bomb-bay and one 250-lb (113-kg) under each wing; (increased to 5.00-lb/227-kg bombs in Srs 2 aircraft); alter-native wing loads included SCI, mine, depth charge, four 60-lb (27-kg) rockets each side or 50- or 100-Imp gal (227- or 455-1) drop tank. Prototype first flew June 1, 1942; total of 2,305 built. Merlin 21, 23 or 25, and some aircraft with AI Mk IV, V or XV radar. First deliveries to No 418 Squadron May 1943. Nine Mk VI aircraft (plus one Mk IV and three Mk III) modified for use by BOAC, in civil markings, on courier service between Scotland and Sweden, making 520 round trips between February 1943 and May 1945. Thirty-eight supplied to RAAF.

De Havilland Mosquito B25: Canadian production version to succeed B Mk XX,
with 1,620 hp Packard Merlin 225 engines. Total 400 built, June 1944 onwards, of which 51 to RCAF and balance to RAF in UK. Few modified to carry 4,000-lb (1,816-kg) bomb in deepened bay. One converted to have two-stage modified Merlin 68s by Marshall’s of Cambridge, January 1945.

De Havilland Mosquito PR34: Very-long-range reconnaissance version with extra fuel in deepened fuselage and two 200-Imp gal (909-1) wing drop tanks. Total fuel capacity 1,269 Imp gal (5,769 1) giving cruising range of 3,600 miles (5,792 km) at 300 mph (483 km/h) at 25,000 ft (7,620 m), on Merlin 113/114 engines and gross weight of 25,500 Ib (11,577 kg). Four F.52 vertical and one F.24 oblique cameras. First flown December 4, 1944, and 231 built. Service principally post-war.

De Havilland Mosquito B35: Final De Havilland Mosquito bomber variant. Similar to B Mk XVI with 1,690 hp Merlin 113/114 engines. First flown March 12, 1945, and 276 built, completed early 1948. Some post-war conversions to TT Mk 35.

De Havilland Mosquito NF38: Post war production model similar to NF36.

DeHavilland DH98 Mosquito FII DD666

Built by DeHavilland at Hatfield under contract number 555/C.23(a). It was part of an order for 150 aircraft placed on 09/02/41. Fitted with Merlin 21/22 engines and built between 25/02/42 and 15/10/42.

Specification: Day and night long-range fighter, and intruder. First flew 15/05/41 from 19:25 to 19:40 hours. Fuel: 547 gals/410 gals with op. load. Four 20mm Hispano cannon and four .303 inch Browning guns. Weights: tare 13,356; usual loaded weight 17,700, full operational loaded weight 18,649 (20,048 with Turbinlite). Tare weight with turret (W4073) 13,812, including turret and guns but no ammunition. All Mk II's had long nacelles. Twenty five (Special) Intruders for 23 Sqn had AI removed and additional tankage. Many were refurbished and re-engined for operations with 100 Group 1943/44. Fitted with AI Mk IV and V. A few converted for PR duties. Length 41 ft 2 ins (42 ft 11 ins with AI IV.) Top

DeHavilland DH98 Mosquito FBVI HJ666

Built by DeHavilland at Hatfield under contract number 555/C.23(a). It was part of an order for 150 aircraft placed on 09/02/41. Fitted with Merlin 23/25 engines and built between 12/03/43 and 20/05/43. Despatched to the Air Fighter Development Unit (AFDU) for trials in 1943. Examples of this type served with 45 squadron and this aircraft is shown in that squadrons markings. Top

Specification: Day and night fighter-bomber/intruder/long range fighter developed from the Mk II prototype. First flew 01/06/42, production aircraft flew Feb 1943. Four 20mm cannon and four .303 Browning guns in the nose, 2x250lb bombs in belly and 2x250lb bombs on wing racks (500lb later on Series ii aircraft), or 4x60lb rocket projectiles beneath each wing, or 1 mine or depth charge beneath each wing, and combinations of drop tanks and offensive weapons.

Fuel loads in Imperial gallons (A&AEE listing):

Outer fuel tanks (2 tanks)

48

Outer fuel tanks (2 tanks)

68

Inboard tanks (2)

131

Inboard tanks (2)

156

Centre section

50

Total Normal Fuel Load

453

Overload fuselage tanks

66.5

A 50 or 100 gallon drop tank could be carried beneath each wing.

Weights (A&AEE listing):

 

INTRUDER

 

LONGRANGE FIGHTER

 

ESCORT FIGHTER

 

 

Normal

Overload

Normal

Overload

Normal

Overload

Tare

13,727

13,792

13,777

13,842

13,797

13,862

Service Load

3,192

3,497

2,170

2,385

2,696

2,911

Fuel

2,962

3,222

3,701

3,701

3,701

3,701

Oil (32.5gal)

293

293

293

293

293

293

Flying Weight.

20,114

20,804

19,941

20,221

20,487

20,767

N.B. Added to these weights must be respective weights of operational loads, in lieu of normal service load, etc. With 2x250lb bombs the prototype HJ622 weighed 20,835 lb in operational state. The LR fighter carried no bombs when weighed, escort fighter had 2x250lb bombs and extra belly tank. With S.C.I. smoke canisters, auw. was 20,950 lb. With drop tanks HJ679 had auw of 21,020 lb (42 gal per tank) and 22,764 lb when with 2x100 gal tanks. AAEE tests with rocket-equipped FB VI (Merlin 23) revealed:-

 

In MS Gear

In FS Gear

 

Altitude

Sea Level

13,900ft

20,700ft

Max Speed (mph)

278

327

329

Max Speed (rails fitted only)

286

336

337

Max Speed (no RP gear)

296

351

358

MS and FS Gear refers to whether the superchargers are in Mod Speed or Fast Speed mode.
Gee, AI Mk IV, V, and XV variously fitted to Mk.VI.

DeHavilland DH98 Mosquito B25 KB666

Built by DeHavilland of Canada and fitted with Packard-Merlin 225 engines the aircraft was delivered between 06/07/44 and 01/07/45.

Specification: The B25 was a Revision of B XX with improved single-stage Merlin’s; 2,000lb bomb load. The BXX was the Canadian version of B IV series ii with similar weights, loads, etc. Fuel 860 max gal, 539 with useful load. Loaded weight 21,980lb. Top

DeHavilland DH98 Mosquito PR34 PF666

Built by Percival under contract number 3047. It was part of a batch of 245 aircraft built and fitted with Merlin 114 engines and delivered between 06/09/45 and 26/07/46. The aircraft featured a bulged lower fuselage bay which held four cameras. This aircraft was flown by No540 squadron at RAF Benson. The squadron operated this type from 01/12/47 to December 1952. Although jet aircraft had been introduced into squadron service towards the end of the 2nd World War, in 1946 the principle RAF long-range reconnaissance aircraft was a dedicated photo-reconnaissance development of the piston engined Mosquito. The Mosquito PR34 first flew on 4 Dec 44 and came into service right at the end of the war in the Far East. In the PR34 the bomb-bay was filled with two huge tanks holding an additional 1192 gallons of fuel and, with the addition of two 200 gallon drop tanks on the wings, the range was extended to 3600 miles whilst flying at 300mph and 25,000ft. The PR34 was equipped with four F52 cameras, two forward and two aft of the belly tanks, together with either one F24 oblique camera or a vertical K17 camera for air survey work. A total of 118 PR34’s were built and they were powered by two 1690 hp Rolls Royce Merlin 114 engines. After the war 35 aircraft were converted to PR34A’s this involved replacing the engines with 1710hp RR Merlin 113A’s. This remarkable aircraft was to soldier on in this role into the early 1950’s until it was replaced by the Canberra.

In Europe, even before the war came to a close, Mosquito PR34 aircraft of 540 Sqn were sent on Aerial Survey work on behalf of Government departments and the Colonial Office. This task, invariably with the approval of the country concerned, involved photographing an entire country, enabling highly accurate updated maps to be drawn up by the Ordnance Survey.

In late 1948, during October, November and December, RAF Mosquito PR34s, assigned to No 13 PR Squadron, were detached to Habbaniya, Iraq for special intelligence operations, including penetration flights up to the Caspian Sea area and over the southern states of Russia. RAF Mosquito PR34s were also photographing the southern shoreline of the Caspian Sea in missions flown from Crete at around the same time. These flights were suspended when the MiG-15 began to be deployed in this area.

Finally, in the late 1940’s it is also understood that Mosquito PR34’s from No 58 Sqn took part in Operation Dimple where, after refuelling in West Germany, long-range reconnaissance sorties were flown over East Germany and the Soviet Block. Although official records on these sorties have never been released, there is no evidence that any Mosquito’s were shot down whilst engaged in these activities.

Specification: Very long-range unarmed photo reconnaissance two-stage Merlin aircraft intended for use in South-East Asia. Fuel: 1,269 gal incl 2x200 gal drop tanks. 1,192 gal in belly tank. Weights: 25,000 auw. carrying 1,226 gal. Speed reduced to 250 IAS when carrying 200 gal tanks. Max permis 25,500lb. All armour and tank bullet proofing removed to give 3,000ft ceiling increase. Swollen belly cut max speed by 6mph TAS. Top

DeHavilland DH98 Mosquito FBVI RF666

Built by Standard Motors under contract number 1680. It was part of a batch of 300 aircraft built and fitted with Merlin 25 engines. Delivered between 16/12/44 and 05/06/45. Top

Specification: See HJ666.

DeHavilland DH98 Mosquito FBVI RS666

Built by Airspeed under contract number 3527. It was part of a batch of 300 aircraft built and fitted with Merlin 25 engines. Delivered between 08/04/45 and 07/06/46. Top

Specification: See HJ666.

DeHavilland DH98 Mosquito B35 TA666

 

Built by DeHavilland at Hatfield under contract number 555/C.23(a). It was part of an order for 500 aircraft built and fitted with Merlin 113/114 engines. Delivered between 29/03/45 and 16/07/45. The example shown served with No139(Jamaica) squadron and carries the typical post war bomber scheme.

Specification: Ultimate Mosquito bomber developed from B MK XVI. Fuel: 597 gal including 2x50 gal drop tanks. Weights: 25,200 auw. with 597 gal and 4,000lb bomb. Almost exclusively served post-war, in BAFO, 2nd TAF and Nos 109 and 139 Sqdns until replaced by the Canberra in 1952-3. Conversion to target tug (TT 35) and special conversions to PR Mk 35 for special reconnaissance. Top

DeHavilland DH98 Mosquito FBVI TE666

Built by Standard Motors under contract number 1680. It was part of a batch of 320 aircraft built and fitted with Merlin 25 engines. Delivered between 27/05/45 and 21/12/45. No5 Ferry Unit, Arafali, Eritrea. Wheels up crash landing carried out after port engine failure. Top

Specification: See HJ666.

DeHavilland DH98 Mosquito NF38 VT666

Built by DeHavilland at Hatfield under contract number 555/C.23(a). It was part of an order for 50 aircraft built and fitted with Merlin 113/114 engines. Delivered between 02/48 and 01/50. 21 of these aircraft were sent to Yugoslavia.

Specification: Mk 36 with later engines, some fitted with AI Mk IX. Not used by front line RAF squadrons, most sold to Yugoslavia. Weights: tare 18,229, loaded 21,400. Wing loading 47 lb/sq ft. Max speed 404mph at 30,000ft. Op ceiling 36,000ft. Four 20mm cannon. Overall length 41 ft 5.5 ins. Final fighter version built in Britain. The NF38 was the last model to be produced at Chester in 1950. Top

633 Squadron

A 1964 film about a fictional RAF Bomber squadron of the second world war. Like the Battle of Britain real aircraft were used during filming and I have detailed these aircraft below.

Extract from Flight International 16th May 1963

“Farewell to the Mosquito

THE LAST D.H. MOSQUITOS IN RAF SERVICE— at No 3 Civilian Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit, Exeter Airport, S. Devon—were making a farewell flypast last Thursday before being retired. Five of the six aircraft (TT.35s) until recently operated by the unit are being preserved—two by the RAF, at Henlow and at the Central Flying School, Little Rissington; and the other two by de Havilland Aircraft and by Mr P. F. M. Thomas of Gwbert, Cardigan, who aims to set up a museum of famous aircraft. Another is being transported to the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, in June as a gift from the Air Council. At No 3 CAACU the Mosquitos are being replaced by Meteor TT.20s. Mosquitos were first used by the unit (which, with Spartan Air Services of Canada, was the last organization to operate these aircraft) in January 1953. Originally Mk 35s, powered by Rolls-Royce Merlin 114As, they were fitted with target-towing gear, including 6,000ft of non-twisting steel cable with four drogues, which could be deployed one after another and therefore all used on the same sortie. Winch mechanism was operated by a second crew member. Duration of the Mosquitos, with ten internal tanks (496 Imp gal), was 4½-5hr. Chief pilot of No 3 CAACU is Mr H. R. Ellis and the chief engineer Mr Ken Foster. All the unit's 12 pilots are ex-RAF; some of the younger ones are former jet pilots who had to convert onto Mosquito T.3s before flying the TT.35s. No 3 CAACU carry out tactical exercises (with Vampire T.lls) for Army units in addition to their target towing duties, which include gunnery practice for ships at sea. Their area of operation extends from Portland to Cardigan Bay, but they may be called upon to co-operate in Army exercises held anywhere in the UK.”

DeHavilland DH98 TT35 VP191

DeHavilland DH98 Mosquito B35 RS709

The aircraft was built in 1946 by Airspeed under contract number 3527 as a B35 fitted with Merlin 113/114 engines serving with Nos 109 and 139(Jamaica) squadrons until struck off charge in November 1952. The aircraft was converted to TT35 and operated by No3 CAACU at Exeter until 1963.The aircraft was taken on charge by Mirisch Films Ltd on 11th July 1963 and registered as G-ASKA, it subsequently flew in the film as HR113 (HT-D/G). On completion of filming the aircraft came under the charge of T.G. Mahaddie at Bovingdon in the August of 1964. The aircraft was moved on to Peter Thomas at the Skyframe Museum at Staverton where it remained from December 1964 until 1969. During this time it flew in the film Mosquito Squadron at Bovingdon in June 1968. It was at this time the aircraft was moved across the Atlantic to Nyack, New York falling under the ownership of Ed Jurist of Vintage Aircraft International where it remained from August 1969 until 1971. Along with many other aircraft it became part of the Confederate Air Force at Harlingen, Texas and was registered as N9797 where it remained until 1975 when yet again it was moved to Chino, California coming under the ownership of David Tallichet of Yesterdays Air Force here it remained until 1979 but was loaned to the Combat Air Museum at Topeka, Kansas from 1976 until 1979.

By this time the aircraft was not airworthy and was purchased by Doug Arnold of Warbirds GB at Blackbushe. It was delivered to Blackbushe from Topeka on 28th November 1979 and registered as G-MOSI on 10th November 1981. The aircraft was rebuilt at Blackbushe with its post restoration flight in September 1983. It was then moved to Van Nuys, California for David Zeuschel in 1984. Finally ending up at the United States Air Force Museum at Dayton Ohio in July 1984 where it remains to the present day. It is on display as USAAF PRXVI, NS519/P.

DeHavilland DH98 Mosquito B35 RS712

The aircraft was built in 1946 by Airspeed at Christchurch under contract number 3527 as a B35 fitted with Merlin 113/114 engines. Following storage with the RAF, it was delivered to Sywell on 30th November 1951 for conversion to a TT.Mk35 by Brooklands Aviation. The conversion was completed in May 1952 and the aircraft was delivered to 27 MU at Shawbury for storage until issued to 1 CAACU at Hornchurch on 31st December 1953. With the closure of this unit, the aircraft was once again put into storage until 28th February 1958, when it was allocated to the 2nd Tactical Airforce and entered service with the TT flight of the Armament Practice Section at Schleswigland, northwest Germany.

The aircraft returned to the UK and was delivered to 3 CAACU at Exeter on 29th April 1958. RS712 was transferred to Flying Training Command at the end of June 1961 and was then retired to 27 MU, from where it was bought by Mirisch Films as G-ASKB on 31st July 1961. Camouflaged, and with dummy machine guns attached to the nose, it became one of the stars of 633 Squadron and flew as RF580/HT-F and the later Mosquito Squadron, both made at Bovingdon.

With its filming career over, RS712 was bought for the Strathallan Museum in September 1972, and flown there on 8th November 1975. The closure of the collection forced the sale of RS712, which was acquired by Kermit Weeks of Florida in June 1981 for the sum of £100,000. Harry Robins took over the task of returning RS712 to airworthiness in 1984, and he and George Aird flew the Mosquito to Booker airfield on 21st December and into the care of Personal Plane Services. Following further work by Harry, in 1986 RS712 was camouflaged and given the code EG-F to represent the 487 Squadron Mosquito flown by Group Captain P.C.Pickard during the attack on Amiens prison in 1944. On 29th September George Aird with George Stewart as co-pilot took off from RAF Benson for the first leg of the trip to Prestwick. Initially joined by RR299 near its Hawarden base for a formation photo session, twenty five and a half hours flying time saw RS712 delivered to Kermit's museum in Florida. The aircraft was re-registered as N35MK and is currently displayed at the EAA Museum, Oshkosh, Wisconsin as RS712/EG-F.

DeHavilland DH98 Mosquito B35 RS715

The aircraft was built in 1946 by Airspeed at Christchurch under contract number 3527 as a B35 fitted with Merlin 113/114 engines. Following storage with the RAF, it was delivered to Sywell on 30th November 1951 for conversion to a TT.Mk35 by Brooklands Aviation. The conversion was completed in May 1952 and the aircraft was delivered to 27 MU at Shawbury for storage until issued to 3 CAACU at Exeter and subsequently 4 CAACU at Llandow (up until 1954 when it combined with 3 CAACU at Exeter) on 31st December 1953. The aircraft was struck off charge on 18th September 1961. Although unable to determine the condition of the aircraft it was purchased by Mirisch Films Ltd at Bovingdon on 3rd August 1962. It was used for cockpit scenes during the making of the film 633 Squadron and post this was transported to MGM Studios at Borehamwood until 1973 when it was purchased by Tony Agar. The rear fuselage has gone into the restoration of composite aircraft HJ711.

DeHavilland DH98 Mosquito B35 RS718

The aircraft was built in 1946 by Airspeed at Christchurch under contract number 3527 as a B35 fitted with Merlin 113/114 engines. In mid 1947  the aircraft was known to be on the complement of 98 squadron. Although I have had difficulty researching this aircraft it is assumed it was converted to TT35 standard in 1951 as it was an extant complete airframe in 1962 when Mirisch purchased Mosquitos for the film 633 Squadron. Unfortunately this aircraft was written off during filming as one of three aircraft (the others being TA724 and TA642) used for crash scenes.

DeHavilland DH98 Mosquito B35 TA639 

The aircraft was constructed in 1945 by DeHavillands at Hatfield as a B35 under contract number 555 and fitted with Merlin 113/114 engines. On the 13th April 1945 it was transferred to 27MU at Shawbury for storage. On the 19th May 1952 it was taken out of storage and sent to Brooklands Aviation Ltd at Sywell, Northants for conversion to TT35, this work was completed on 30th September 1952. On the 17th October 1952 the aircraft moved to RAF Ballykelly in Londonderry, Northern Ireland sharing the airfield with two Shackleton squadrons. A further move took place on 5th December 1952 to RAF Aldergrove Station Flight, Antrim, Northern Ireland again sharing the base with Shackletons and in all probability Vampires of No502 squadron. On the move again the aircraft was transferred to 38MU at Llandow for storage on 16th December 1954. After just two years it was transferred to 27MU, Shawbury on 10th January 1957 for storage.

On the 21st April 1958 the aircraft had its last Major inspection having flown only 105:55 since new. On the 24th September 1959 the aircraft made a 55 minute flight on delivery to No3 CAACU at Exeter, the aircraft carried the code '55' whilst serving with the unit. An example of the duties carried out by this aircraft on 5th November 1959 piloted by Harry Ellis, Chief Pilot of No3 CAACU, with Pete Howland as his winch operator TA639 made a two hour flight to the Army's School of Anti-Aircraft Artillery at Manorbier, Pembrokeshire, flying a low-level drogue towing sortie.

October 1962 was originally intended as the withdrawal date for the Mosquitos  by replacement with Meteor TT2O's but full conversion was postponed. On the 9th May 1963 the aircraft took part in the last official flypast by Mosquitos at Exeter but it suffered a port engine failure at the end of the flight causing a hurried landing after 50 minutes. When the end came the unit had two T3's and seven TT35's still airworthy of which T3, TW117 and TT35's, RS709, RS712, TA634, TA639 and TA719 took part in the final display.

Following repairs to the engine the aircraft undertook a 25 minute test flight at Exeter on 20th May then the following day the target-towing buffer and tail guards were removed and on the 30th May it was formally transferred from the strength of No3 CAACU to the Central Flying School at Little Rissington as a flying display aircraft. Formally struck off charge on 31st May 1963 it had flown 547:35 hours and completed 315 landings since new. On the 6th June 1963 the aircraft made a 45 minute flight to its new base at Little Rissington where it was kept airworthy although nominally allocated the maintenance serial number 7806M. The remaining Target Towing equipment was removed and the aircraft given a grey/green camouflage scheme with silver undersides.

It was then loaned to Mirisch Films Ltd for the film 633 Squadron at RAF Bovingdon, Herts. On the 15th July 1963 the aircraft flew to Bovingdon via Dishforth under the command of CFS Commandant Air Commodore Bird-Wilson, it was given the fictitious serial No HJ682 and coded HT-B on the 20th July and modified to look like a Mosquito FBVI by having the nose perspex painted over and possibly dummy machine guns fitted.

After filming was complete TA639 returned to Little Rissington for personal/display use by the Commandant, Air Commodore Bird-Wilson, and made one display flight over the Mosquito Museum at Salisbury Hall.  By Dec 1964 TA639 had flown 588.05 hours - 391 landings. The aircrafts final flight of 1 hour 20 minutes was on the 3rd October 1965 for the Royal Observer Corps Display at RAF Stradishall and flown by Flt Lt C. Kirkham. On completion the total flying hours were 607:10 and it had achieved 415 landings. On 23rd November 1965 the engines were inhibited although at this stage further flying was not ruled out.

On the 17th March 1966 the aircraft was given a glued joint inspection, the results of which ended its flying career. A loose minute of 4 April 1967 gives fascinating insights into this and the operation of the aircraft at Little Rissington:

`May I first submit to you that the aircraft concerned has not remained in the reported condition or been precluded from becoming fit to fly due to lack of determination on the part of myself or anyone else in engineering wing ..... may I point out that the Mosquito is Category 5 as a historical aircraft for museum use and is not authorised to fly ..... this fact ..... is known to HQ Flying Training Command where concern has been expressed on several occasions ..... Wing Commander Wahaftig ..... expressed the view that it was in some ways dangerous, certainly illegal and quite unfair to any person in engineering wing to be asked to sign documents enabling the Mosquito to be flown under existing arrangements.  Broadly speaking and prior to this, HQ FTC had intimated that if the aircraft were ever flown then they did not want to hear about it ..... I shudder to think of a Board of Inquiry in the case of an accident involving this aircraft .....'

The March 1966 inspection confirmed that the glued joints had deteriorated since the last inspection 4 months previously and that other joints would go if the aircraft was taxied or flown.  Repairs would take 6 months, it was estimated - wing joints were loose, dry and flaky.  `Rectification is beyond unit ability and capacity to repair and is considered completely uneconomical'. 

This recommendation was adhered to and the aircraft grounded permanently.

The 2006 Book ‘RAF Little Rissington; The Central Flying School Years’ records that the glue deterioration was engineered by Ground Engineering Wing staff anxious to avoids the burden of another aircraft to maintain. They placed it in Little Rissington’s only heated hangar, with the tail carefully positioned under a canvas hot air duct, with the desired effect of glue failure and loss of structural integrity.

On the 5th July 1967 the aircraft was transferred to RAF Museum Collection after Maintenance Command refused to carry out repair to flying condition. On the 9th August it was transferred by road by No71 MU from Little Rissington to the RAF Museum store at RAF Henlow.

In October 1967 the two inhibited Merlins that had seemingly been retained at Little Rissington as spares engines for this aircraft, a Merlin 113 and Merlin 114, followed the Mosquito to Henlow as 67/E/731-732; they are both presently on loan to the Derby Branch of the Rolls Royce Heritage Trust.

In September 1969 it was moved to storage at RAF Cosford by this date, possibly after the Horseguards display.  By the 1970s TA639 was part of the regional collection of aircraft at the Cosford Aerospace Museum, still in its mid-late 1960s applied camouflage scheme. In 1988 it was repainted at Cosford in the colours and markings of the Mosquito XX of No.627 Squadron, AZ-E, in which Wing Commander Guy Gibson was killed on a pathfinder sortie 19/20 Sep 1944.  It remains on display at Cosford.

DeHavilland DH98 Mosquito B35 TA642

Built as a B35 at Hatfield under contract number 555/C.23 (a) and fitted with Merlin 113/114 engines. It was delivered some time between 29th March 1945 and 16th July 1945. Although I have had difficulty researching this aircraft it was converted to TT35 standard in 1951 and served with No1 CAACU and No3 CAACU when Mirisch purchased Mosquitos for the film 633 Squadron. Unfortunately this aircraft was written off during filming as one of three aircraft (the others being TA724 and RS718) used for crash scenes. It was struck off charge and scrapped on 31st May 1963.

DeHavilland DH98 Mosquito B35 TA719

Mosquito B.35 TA719 was built at Hatfield in June 1945 and delivered straight into store. It remained in store with various maintenance units with the exception of being flown to Brooklands Aviation Ltd at Sywell for a short period on 9th August 1951 before being returned to store.

The aircraft was again delivered to Sywell on 15th August 1953 for conversion by Brooklands Aviation to a TT.35. On completion it was delivered to 22 MU, saw its first use in its new role at 4 CAACU and from there was issued to 3 CAACU on 30th June 1954, coded 56. TA719 continued in service at Exeter until it was retired on 31st March 1963.

After a year of refurbishment, Mosquito TA719 has been restored to its former service colours of 3 CAACU (Civilian Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit), Royal Air force in which it served as a Target Tug. TA719 was built as a B35, the last bomber variant of the Mosquito, at the de Havilland factory in Hatfield in June 1945 but never saw active service in the war. It was subsequently converted into a TT35 target-towing version that could carry targets towed behind the aircraft at the end of a steel cable (up to 6,000 ft long), giving pilots and gunners a real moving target in the air. TA719 served with 3 CAACU at Exeter from June 1954 until its retirement in November 1962, being one of the last Mosquitos to leave active service. Its next role was to be its most famous - a star performance in the classic war film '633 Squadron' in which TA719 was used for many of the flying sequences, together with four other recently retired examples. Flying under the CAA registration G-ASKC, it was painted with the code letters 'HT-G' and serial 'HJ898' in a typical standard camouflage pattern of the time. Flying from Bovingdon airfield during the early summer of 1963, the five Mosquitos were the stars of the film - some critics say the actors were as wooden as their flying counterparts! TA719 remained airworthy after the film and relocated to Staverton Airport, having been acquired by the fledgling Skyfame museum on 31 July 1963, the plan being to keep it flying for as long as possible. Sadly it was severely damaged in a deadstick landing at Staverton on 27 July 1964, in which the port wing outboard of the engine was destroyed, along with the nacelles and fuselage underside. This effectively ended her flying career. However, you can't keep a good movie star away from the silver screen and it was to re-appear in the 1968 film 'Mosquito Squadron', being used for crash and ground scenes, albeit with a dummy wing. Further damage was caused to the airframe, but not sufficient for it to be scrapped, thankfully. The Imperial War Museum acquired the aircraft in 1978 on the closure of the Skyfame museum and moved it to Duxford, where a lengthy restoration began including the fabrication of a complete new wing to replace the dummy one. Finished in 1989, TA719 was painted in an anonymous night-bomber scheme and placed in the Superhangar for the next fifteen years. A second restoration began in January 2004 to prepare the Mosquito for display in the proposed AirSpace development, where TA719 will be suspended from the ceiling, re-enacting her Target Tug days. Unofficially unveiled to the public on 14 January in hangar 4, it was presented to the press on Wednesday 9 February on a dull and cold morning, with many former Mosquito pilots and navigators present.

DeHavilland DH98 Mosquito B35 TA724

The aircraft was built in 1946 by Airspeed at Christchurch under contract number 3527 as a B35 fitted with Merlin 113/114 engines. The aircraft was delivered straight into storage. Although I have had difficulty researching this aircraft it is assumed it was converted to TT35 standard in 1951 as it was an extant complete airframe in 1962 when Mirisch purchased Mosquitos for the film 633 Squadron. Unfortunately this aircraft was written off during filming as one of three aircraft (the others being RS718 and TA642) used for crash scenes.

DeHavilland DH98 Mosquito B35 TJ118

Ordered from de Havillands at Hatfield on 24th May 1944 as one of a batch of 70 aircraft to contract 555/C23A, from the serial batches TH976-TH999 and TJ113-TJ158. Ordered as a B.XVI but delivered as a B.35. Batch delivered 11 Jul 45 - 9 Nov 45. Merlin 113/114 Engines. A total of 274 Mosquito B.35s were built, 65 by Airspeed, the rest at Hatfield by de Havilland, from a grand total of 7,781 Mosquitoes of all marks.

To No.27 MU Shawbury, Shropshire for storage - many Mosquitoes were stored here in the post-war period.

On the 15th July 1953 it was transferred to Brooklands Aviation Ltd, Sywell, Northants for conversion to TT35 standard. In all, 205 Mosquito B.35s were converted to this standard, 35 of them from TJ118's production batch. Some were given the unsuccessful ML type G wind driven target winch mounted beneath the fuselage, but most conversions carried a winch inside their modified bomb bay.

The fuselage of TJ118 has recently been acquired by the Mosquito Aircraft Museum. The museum also holds the nose of TJ118, which was removed from the fuselage in the early 1960's and sectioned for use in the interior cockpit scenes of 633 Squadron. The sectioned nose was also used in the cockpit scenes of Mosquito Squadron.

Although originally laid down as a B.35, the museum plans to restore the airframe as a PR.XVI.

DeHavilland DH98 Mosquito TIII TV959

TV959 was built at Leavesdon in 1945 and delivered to 13 OTU at Middleton St George on 29th August 1945 coded KQ-G.

The aircraft then had a varied career, going to No. 266 Squadron on 31st October 1946, 54 OTU at Eastmore on 24th April 1947 and 228 OCU at Leeming on 17th May 1947. Here it remained until being delivered to 22 MU at Silloth on 20th september 1950 for maintenance and storage.

TV959 was then issued to 204 Advanced Flying School on 15th July 1951, where it received some damage which was repaired by Brooklands Avaition Ltd at Sywell following which it went into storage again at 27 MU at Shawbury on 6th February 1952 until 15th May 1952 when it was issued to the Home Command Examination Unit (HCEU) at White Waltham.

After periods at 49 MU from 20th August 1953 and 27 MU from 16th November 1964, it returned to HCEU at White Waltham on 16th December 1955. After a short period with the HQ's Fighter Command Communications Squadron, its final service duties were with 3 CAACU at Exeter coded 'Y' from 30th April 1959, until it was struck off charge on 31st May 1963.

Lent to Film Aviation Services, TV959 was used for the cockpit and ground sequences of 633 Squadron at Bovingdon where it was coded HT-P and given the serial MM398. Following completion of filming, TV959 was allocated to the Imperial War Museum for preservation.

In order to fit it into the restricted space at South Lambeth, the starboard wing inboard of the engine was sawn off, but retained and the aircraft was suspended from the ceiling. In recent years the aircraft has been moved to Duxford where it is in storage with The Fighter Collection whose long-term plan is to return it to flying condition.

TV959 is now owned by The Flying Heritage Collection, however the aircraft is believed to still be within the UK. Rumours have recently abounded regarding TV959's future. the current thinking is that she might well be staying in the UK, and may even be in the process of being prepared for restoration!

 

DeHavilland DH98 Mosquito TIII TW117

This aircraft was accepted into service in August 1945 as a T III. It was subsequently stored at No15 MU RAF Wroughton on 30th May 1946. It was assigned on the 22nd July 1947 to No 2 Armament Practice Station (RAF Acklington). It was then transferred to the Station Flight at Linton -on -Ouse on 26th October 1949 to undertake DH Hornet conversion training where it was coded MS-A). Assigned on 31st July 1951 to the Advanced Flying School then to No. 58 Squadron (codes:  OT) (RAF Benson) on the 28th February 1953.

 Stored: 30 April 1954 (RAF Hawarden, Stored: 30 September 1956 (RAF Kembel), Stored: 30 November 1956 (RAF Hawarden), Stored: 31 July 1958 No. 27 MU (RAF Shawbury), Assigned: 31 March 1960 No.3 CAACU (Z), Stored: 30 May 1963-1967 RAF Museum (RAF Henlow), Movie: 633 Squadron (HT M / serial HR155), Stored: 1963 (RAF Henlow), Assigned: 1971 RAF Museum, Loaned: 3 February 1992 Royal Norwegian Air Force Museum currently on display with the National Museum of Aviation, Bodo, Norway (codes KK T).

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