The People’s Mosquito – Rare WW2 colour film and ‘We’re Cutting Wood’!
Tags: Aerowood, Air Ministry, aircraft, Aviation, Canada, De Havilland, De Havilland Mosquito, Elvington, England, fundraising, Geoffrey De Havilland, Great Britain, Mosquito aircraft, museum, New Zealand, RAF, Rolls-Royce, Royal Air Force, Second World War, The People's Mosquito, Tony Agar, warbird, wing ribs, WW2, Yorkshire Air Musuem
The de Havilland Mosquito was one of the most significant WW2 aircraft types, and performed with exceptional success as a night fighter, photo-reconnaissance machine, light bomber, and maritime strike aircraft. The concept of a wooden unarmed bomber, powered by two Rolls-Royce Merlin engines, was difficult to sell to the Air Ministry in London, but Geoffrey de Havilland, backed by the efforts of Air Chief Marshal Sir Wilfrid Rhodes Freeman, the Air Member for Research and Development eventually won the day.
It wasn’t until early 1943 that an attempt was made to combine the attributes of the fast, low-level Mosquito bomber, and the hard-hitting punch of the fighter. An NF.II, serial number ‘HJ662’, was modified as the prototype FB.VI. The fighter’s machine gun and cannon armament was retained, and the underfuselage doors divided into two sections, the first portions covering the 20mm cannon breeches and ammunition feeds, and the rear section (operating independently, of course) covering a bomb bay holding 2 x 250lb bombs. Two further 250lb bombs could be carried under the wings. Powered by the reliable Merlin 21 or 23 engine of 1,460hp, this was designated the FB.VI, Series 1. After 300 similar aircraft had been constructed, the specification was changed. The FB. VI, Series 2 had a stronger wing, and had the Merlin 25 of 1,620hp; this version could carry 500lb bombs instead of the 250lb ones, and it had provision for long-rank drop tanks (50 gallons each side). The definitive FB. VI had a maximum speed of 378 mph (cruise speed, 255 mph) with a maximum range of 1,855 miles.
Production ramped up quickly; 1,218 were built by de Havillands themselves, 1,200 by the Standard Motor Company Ltd. and 300 by Airspeed Ltd (a subsidiary of de Havilland). The ‘new’ FB.VI was quickly in action, with No. 418 Squadron, at RAF Ford, converting from the Boston III to perform night ‘intruder’ sorties and day ‘Ranger’ patrols over Continental Europe by May, 1943.
Here we see a fine example of the Mosquito. Tony Agar’s superbly restored NF.II is shown here at the Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington. The number of Mosquito aircraft which exist in museums is quite small; the number of flying examples is much smaller! The People’s Mosquito Ltd was founded with the intent of restoring a de Havilland Mosquito and bringing it back to Britain, where it will be based, as a permanent memorial to the aircrew and ground crews who worked on this wonderful aircraft, and inspired the final Allied victory in WW2. You can learn more about the project here –
The Peoples’ Mosquito has recently released a long version of their introductory video, a colour film which shows a raid by Mosquitoes on an airfield in Occupied Europe. Here is the link –
The latest news from The People’s Mosquito is ‘We’re Cutting Wood!’ In New Zealand, TPM’s partner, Aerowood Ltd, has started production on a full set of wing ribs for TPM’s Mosquito. This includes Canadian Spruce cut from the same area on the west coast of Canada, as was used to generate lumber for wartime Mosquitoes built by de Havilland Canada. The restoration is in its early stages but you can do your part. The People’s Mosquito Ltd needs donations, both large and small, and you can help this most worthy effort here –
I can only say that Britain needs a Mosquito, it really does. It truly is an aircraft which shows that design genius that contributed so much to the overall Allied victory. Go on, help us ‘Build One For Britain’!