Monthly Archives: December 2017

Mosquito . The Wooden Wonder.

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!

Paol Soren

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…

View original post 408 more words

Advertisements

7 Comments

by | December 10, 2017 · 9:18 am

The Mosquito at Hendon (2)

Last time, I wrote about the De Havilland Mosquito at the RAF Museum at Hendon. This individual is painted as a Mosquito B.35, TJ138, in 98 Squadron markings, reflecting the squadron’s time spent at Celle in Lower Saxony, flying Mosquitoes during the occupation of West Germany from 1945-1951:

The squadron badge is Cerberus, the 3 Headed guardian of Hell because, quoting the RAF website:

“This squadron claims to have barred the way (front and rear) during the German retreat in 1918 and so considered Cerberus, as the watchdog of Hades, a suitable badge.”

I don’t understand that to be honest, but if the RAF are happy with it, then so am I.

And I’ve never known what that ridge along the fuselage was for:

Such slim, sleek lines:

A bit closer. You can see why Mosquito crews had to be careful of these propellers. They are so close to the fuselage:

Here’s the bomb bay:

And even closer up:

The Mosquito was capable of carrying 4,000 lbs of bombs. Best of all, it had an uninterrupted bomb bay, with no struts or barriers to prevent the aircraft from carrying a 4,000lb Cookie. That meant that two Mosquitoes and the four men in them could carry the same as a B-17 with 10 men. A Lancaster carried 14,000lb with 7 men, the only heavy bomber capable of outdoing the Mosquito in this kind of contest.

Here’s one of the two very powerful Merlin engines. Behind it, something so modern and so boring that nobody would want to fly it:

Did you spot the mystery item behind the Mosquito on the left? My guess is that it is part of the lighting system or perhaps a flying Stealth Lawnmower invisible to radar.

Here’s where the bombardier sat. The next time you watch “633 Squadron”, notice how the inaccurate swines have painted over the Perspex in a vain effort to disguise a bomber pure and simple as a fighter bomber with four cannons:

It’s so shocking and so obvious when you look at it:

One thing you can be sure of though. This particular Mosquito was not in “633 Squadron”, surely the only flying Mosquito in the world that was not used. Perhaps it was an economy measure. The owners of all those different Mosquitoes did charge a whopping £2 a day to rent one.

The last photograph shows two people (not with me) and three other aircraft. One is Japanese and if it’s not a Kawasaki Ki 100 then I don’t know what it is. The World War I aircraft top right, I really don’t know what that is, either. I’ve just forgotten. Perhaps an SE5?

The aircraft on the left has the distinctive tail of the Fokker DVII and guess what? It is one!

 

A note to say that my hand is now capable of a little light typing so I have managed to catch up on my replies to all the kind comments you made on my previous six blog posts. From now on, it should be back to normal, although I am well aware that operations go in pairs, and it will only be a matter of time until the right hand needs a full service.

 

26 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Bomber Command, Canada, History

Have You Heard the News?

Forget the cricket and the DUP, cheer yourself up for Christmas!

Re-blogged, incidentally, from “A trivial mind at work” by Dennis Wagoner.

A Trivial Mind At Work

If you were watching the news this week you may have missed these headlines from the past few days:

  • Waffle House customer cooks own food while worker sleeps (the customer left himself a generous tip for the delicious meal)
  • Squirrel vandalizes New Jersey city’s Christmas lights
  • ‘Drunk’ opossum found in Florida liquor store (policeman reports that opossum was ‘drunk as a skunk’)
  • Grenade found in box of donations at California Goodwill
  • Musician uses car’s windshield wipers to play violin
  • Police recover stuffed zebra head after caught-on-camera burglary (why would one have a zebra head? why would one steal a zebra head?)
  • US Government Shuts Down Flat-Earther’s Rocket Launch (the only thing Flat-Earthers have to fear is sphere itself)


View original post

15 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Victory!

The power of the people! 374,304 signed up in just 4 days!!

Life In The Gym

I’m delighted to tell you that the beautiful military working dogs who were scheduled to be put down this week have been given a reprieve.  They will be “re homed” with people who will care for them the way they deserve after all their hard work!

IMG_9519

Thank you, thank you to all of you who took a minute to sign the petition.  It made all the difference in this case.  The number of signatures topped out at 374,304 (in just 4 days) and was still going strong, before the Defence Secretary responded and ordered that the dogs be saved.

IMG_9520 Love and hugs to all who helped in the quest to save these dogs!

View original post

7 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Puppy Love

These brave animals deserve better than this. Incidentally, I reblogged this from “Life in the Gym” by Dr Lynn.

Life In The Gym

Help save the lives of some military working dogs

Sign the petition at the bottom of this post.  It costs nothing and only requires your name and email address.

kevin Kevin and his handler

Military working dogs are highly trained canines who go to war to help do very dangerous work.  Dogs have fought alongside American forces in every conflict since the Revolutionary War (but only officially since WWII).  The particular dogs in danger of having their lives taken, worked with UK forces on the battlefield.

According to an article in The Sun, two Army dogs who helped save thousands of lives while on duty in Afghanistan will be put down next week, be­cause Top Brass say they can’t be re-homed.  This is despite having trained, military dog handlers who are willing and able to take them in and provide a home for them.

IMG_0784 Kevin worked in Afghanistan (Helmand Province) sniffing…

View original post 61 more words

9 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Look at that fat bloke, Stan (1)

Please don’t look at this forthcoming series of blog posts and just think “I don’t like football” and then go on your merry way. All of these blog posts are about much more than football. In particular they concern the eternal battle between sporting genius and cream cakes. Go on, give it a go….

There is one football match that I wish I had seen. It took place just a few months after I was born. It was England v Hungary, played on a cold, dull, misty afternoon on November 25th 1953 at Wembley Stadium in London. This game would later be called the “Game of the Century”:

Kick off was at 2.15 pm because there were no floodlights. Hungary were the greatest team the world had ever known. They were Olympic champions and were undefeated since 1950. In fact, they would go on to register 42 victories, 7 draws and just one defeat, which came  in the World Cup Final against West Germany in 1954. Between that World Cup Final and February 1956, the “Mighty Magyars” played 19 more games, with 16 victories, 3 draws and no defeats.

A final record then of played 72, won 61, drew 10 and one defeat. The Hungarian Uprising against their Soviet guests and protectors brought the team to an end in 1956.

The Hungarians played the revolutionary 4-2-4 system, and their team that grey misty day was Grosics, Buzansky, Lantos, Lorant, Zakarias, Bozsik, Budai, Czibor, Puskás, Hidegkuti, and Kocsis.

In England they became known as the “Mighty Magyars” and elsewhere as “The Golden Team”. In Hungary they were the Aranycsapat.

Ferenc Puskás, nicknamed by the Hungarians “Öcsi” and by the English ‘the Galloping Major’, was their star player and he would go on to finish with 83 goals in 84 internationals and 514 goals in 529 matches.

Puskás became an Olympic champion in 1952 and he would eventually finish his career with an Olympic Gold Medal from 1952, a runners-up medal in the World Cup in 1954, where he was named the tournament’s best player, three European Cups, (1959, 1960, 1966), 5 Hungarian championships and 5 Spanish championships with Real Madrid, as well as 8 top individual scoring honours.

Puskás, however, was a martyr to Hungarian cream cakes, and always looked a little on the chubby side.

Legend has it that before the two teams kicked off in the “Match of the Century”, one of the England players, none of whom had ever heard of Puskás, said to Stanley Mortenson, “Look at that fat bloke, Stan, he won’t give us any trouble.”

He was wrong. Hungary won 6-3 to inflict England’s first ever defeat on home soil. Puskás scored one of the sport’s legendary goals, avoiding the carthorse tackle of Billy Wright by dragging the ball back with the sole of his boot before tucking it into the roof of the net.

And English coaches realised that as far as the continentals were concerned, it was as if Hungary were from another planet. Indeed, if you watch the match on a DVD you will see that in the first half Puskás scores a goal which the Dutch referee disallows for offside. In actual fact, it is onside by about two yards so the result might have well have been 7-3. That would have spoilt things for Hungarian speakers, because 6-3 in Hungarian is “Hat harom” and the phrase has now passed into the Hungarian language. Just google “Hat harom” and see how many things turn up…unfortunately all in Hungarian:

One of the best journalists to write about the match was Geoffrey Green of The Times . He famously described England as “strangers in a strange world.” His description of one of Puskás’ goals has passed into legend. It is, in fact, the goal that I described above:

“Centre half Billy Wright rushed across to tackle him, but Puskás pulled the ball out of his path as the defender barged past like a fire engine going to the wrong fire”.

The following year, 1954, foolish England went to Budapest to see if they could repeat Hungary’s shock victory. In fact, they lost by 7-1, still now their biggest defeat. Puskás only scored two. “They were such a wonderful side” said Sir Tom Finney who played in the match.

Let’s finish by torturing myself. Here’s the ticket to the game I bought 60 years too late. Alas, the old Wembley has now been demolished and you would struggle to find the South Terrace seating, let alone Row 3 Seat 41. But that doesn’t stop this ticket being the best 10/6 you could have spent in the history of sport:

One final point I would like to make is that I had a minor operation on my hand recently and for that reason I will not be able to reply to any of your comments in the immediate future. If you do want to make a comment, by all means please do so, but I will not be able to write any replies until after December 6th as a minimum. After this date, with luck, I should be back in business.

13 Comments

Filed under Football, History, Humour, Personal