The de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito was a British multi-role combat aircraft with a two-man crew that served during World War II and the postwar era. The Mosquito was one of the few operational front-line aircraft of the World War II era to be constructed almost entirely of wood and, as such, was nicknamed "The Wooden Wonder". To its crews it was simply the "Mossie". Originally conceived as an unarmed fast bomber, the Mosquito was adapted to many other roles during the air war, including low- to medium-altitude daytime tactical bomber, high-altitude night bomber, pathfinder, day or night fighter, fighter-bomber, intruder, maritime strike aircraft, and fast photo-reconnaissance aircraft.
Total Mosquito production was 7,781 of which 6,710 were built during the war. De Havilland Canada built 1,134 Mosquitos at Downsview, of which 444 were on strength with the RCAF in models Bomber Mk VII through Trainer Mk 29 from 1 June 1943 to 28 September 1951. There are approximately 30 non-flying Mosquitos remaining around the world and only three are airworthy.
The Windsor Mosquito Bomber Group
CH2A's Mosquito bomber project began in 1993 as the dream of Tim Gillies to build a "Mossie". The formation of the Windsor Mosquito Bomber Group followed and in 1996, a group headed by Gillies travelled to the Northwest Territories to recover parts from a downed Mosquito. They returned with two Rolls Royce Merlin engines, the bomber's escape hatch, landing gear, propellers and cockpit canopy. Much of it was severely damaged but extremely valuable as reference for the re-building process.
In 1997, Dave Eaddie, who worked on Mosquito bomber wings for the de Havilland Corporation during the Second World War, came on board and removed a wall in his basement to start building the spar, the spine of the wing.
Fast forward to 2002 and Papakura, New Zealand. Glyn Powell had spent 10 years of his life building fuselage moulds for the Mosquito aircraft and the first tryout skins were close to being finished. The Mosquito Bomber Group had committed to accepting this first fuselage in return for payment and machine jigs, to be built in Windsor. They returned from New Zealand with the fuselage and moved their operation to #7 E.F.T.S., becoming part of the CH2A. The decision was also made to dedicate and re-name the aircraft to Mosquito KB161
The original Mosquito KB161, nicknamed "Vancouver British Columbia" was a Mosquito Mk XX manufactured by de Havilland's Canadian subsidiary in Downsview, Ontario. The first five Canadian-built Mosquitoes were named after the cities that donated the most money in the last Victory War Bond drive.
The five aircraft, named “Acton, Ontario”, “New Glasgow, Nova Scotia”, “Moose Jaw” and “Saskatoon, Saskatchewan”, and “Vancouver, B.C.” arrived in Hatfield, England in the middle of August 1943. KB161, "Vancouver", was one of the first to land on English soil.
KB161 took part in its first raid on 2 Dec 1943, an attack on Berlin and was flown by Canadian pilot G.W. Salter. The aircraft was allocated to 139 Squadron flying from RAF Wyton until Feb 44 and then RAF Upwood airfield, Huntingdonshire. On the 11th of May 1944, the squadron was involved in bombing operations at Mannheim and Ludwigshaven, where the target was the I.G. Farben chemical works. It was piloted by F/O G.W. Lewis and Navigator F/O A.J.A. Woollard. KB161 (Sqn code XD-H) was tasked to drop a pattern of Target Indicator flares. On returning from the mission, it was found that one flare had not dropped correctly and was lodged in the bomb-bay. It ignited and caught fire to the belly of the aircraft. F/O Woollard was able to bale out with the help of Pilot Lewis, who was himself not able to escape. The aircraft crashed at 0125 hrs at Field View Farm, Chittering, 8 miles NNE of Cambridge. KB161 had also become the first Canadian-built Mosquito to be destroyed in Bomber Command service.
In 1976, excavations by the Anglian Aeronautical Preservation Society recovered remains of the aircraft, including part of the wooden frame, one engine and an armoured seat.
Below is a promotional photo of KB161 taken by deHaviland Canada before overseas deployment. Note the feathered port propeller.
Work by our dedicated group of volunteers has progressed steadily and we have recently successfully mated the main wing to the fuselage. Also, after an inspection of the wing by a structural engineer specializing in woodwork, the workmanship on the wing was described as "impeccable" and the engineer offered to certify the wing as airworthy. Visit us at No. 7 E.F.T.S. to see the exceptional work being done on this historic project.
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To view a slideshow of photos of our Mosquito project, please click on the "Play" button in the lower right hand corner of the image below.