Mosquito . The Wooden Wonder.

My first job after year twelve was in a large Lawyer’s firm in Collins Street, Melbourne. There were two of the originating partners still alive and the one I knew was Mr Cook. Mr Cook had his right index finger missing and one day he noticed me looking at it and decided to tell me what had happened. Cookie had been a Pathfinder pilot during the War. He flew an unarmed and unarmoured plywood Mosquito over Europe. His job was to fly at great speed into the full horror of war, drop marking flares onto the target and then get the hell out of the way as the bombers flew over to destroy Hitler’s war machine. One night a German Messerschmitt got a bit cross with him and fired his machine-guns. Only one bullet hit the Mosquito passing through the cockpit and blowing the top off the plane’s joystick and Mr Cook’s right index finger. So began my love affair with that most amazing of aircraft, the De Havilland DH 98 – Mosquito.

In 1987 the Royal Australian Air Force – RAAF – acquired a Mosquito – A52-600 possibly the only surviving Mk XVI .

This machine was a photo reconnaissance plane and completed 21 missions over enemy targets on the Indonesian Islands. After the war a further 19 missions were completed in the aerial mapping of Australia. In 1954 it was listed for disposal and was bought by a Mildura orchardist who cut off the wings flush with the fuselage and removed the tail section. His plan was to mount it on a turntable and run the motors at low speed to dispel frost in his orchard. He never got around to it and it was then a children’s playhouse for ten years.

Next stop was to the Mildura Warbirds Aviation Museum where it was kept under covers and then sold 17 years later to a syndicate of three men who had plans for it but decided it would be better in the RAAF and it was transferred it to the RAAF in 1987. Some work was done to restore it fully but a lot was still needed.  Then in 1998 it arrived in Point Cook RAAF Base.

Today the Museum told me they anticipate another ten years before the job is done. The main problem is the difficulty finding suitable ‘chippies’ to work on the plane. They are using modern plywood which is the same thickness as the original 3-ply but is a 5-ply instead.

It is difficult to imagine how much work is needed when you look at it now, but I will show you what I saw.

I am not sure if the last photo is a part of the Mosquito, because they are also building a Bristol Boxkite replica.

The Mosquito had two Rolls Royce Merlin 76/77 V12 engines. And I saw one that was built by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation. (Unfortunately the CAC became a fully owned subsidiary of Hawker de Havilland in 1985, renamed Hawker de Havilland Victoria Limited in 1986 and was then swallowed up by Boeing Australia in 2000.)

Does anyone want to see any more of the RAAF Museum? There are about thirty planes there.

The Mosquito at the top I have taken from Pinterest.

The film below takes about ten minutes if you want to see what some Kiwi enthusiasts have done.


29 thoughts on “Mosquito . The Wooden Wonder.

  1. Reblogged this on John Knifton and commented:
    This post is from Paol Soren in Australia, about his visit to the RAAF museum where they are currently restoring an Australian Mosquito. I know that a lot of the aviation fans who follow my blog will enjoy this, so, thanks a lot, Paol!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I will make sure I go back in a day or so and get better photographs. We have an SE 5a. It doesn’t say 5a Scout but I imagine there is little difference.
        And have you read Neville Shute’s book “Slide Rule” which details his role in the R100?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. We always read about the Spitfires or the Lancs but rarely about other British WWII aircraft, which is a shame, one might say a disgrace.
    Reading this brought to mind, probably a favourite of yours, a bloke name of Keith Miller, played cricket.
    During WWII he was in the RAAF and posted to England where his time was spent mostly playing cricket. He did on one occasion manage to wreck a brand new aircraft whilst showing off apparently.
    He was known for ‘bragging that he was never in fear (something along those lines) and that nobody knew what fear was unless they were flying along in a Mosquito with a Messerschmidt on your tail.
    Trouble was he’d never experienced that either, he never actually had any combat flying,
    I’d often wondered when I was a fan why he didn’t have at least a DFC after his name.
    He got into some strife supposedly by breaking formation and flying his plane over Bonn, he wanted to fly over Beethoven’s birthplace.
    It was believed by many that this happened during the war, but it actually took place after VE Day.

    I read this all in his autobiography which I turfed out in disgust, I remember men like Mickey Martin, fair dinkum heroes.


      1. No! It is at Werribee and I will go down and have a look as soon as I have got my daughter settled back with her mother now that Uni has finished for the year. A little patience there Marken.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Listening to the aircraft’s sound in the air makes you understand why it was called a Mosquito. Our local HARS (historical aircraft restoration society) is a favourite of mine but I don’t think they have a Mosquito. They are working on a plywood project that look similar to your photos but is a replica of the Southern Cross.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s