The Mosquito at Cosford

“Knock, knock.”

“Who’s there?”


“Yetta, who?”

“Yetta nother Mosquito.”

An even more terrible joke, but according to my Dad, a genuine RAF joke from World War II. Well, I suppose they had to do something while they waited for Premier League football to be invented.

We went to RAF Cosford in April 2011.  Like Hendon, they too have a Mosquito.

This is TA 639, which is a Mark 35 Target Tug. The website explained that “After the war Mosquitoes continued in use as fighters until 1952 and others, including this example, were converted to tow targets for anti-aircraft gunnery practice.”

How sad. A Mosquito pulling targets. It’s like going into the park and finding your greatest sporting hero as a fat, helpless drunk, semi-conscious on a park bench.

Mosquitoes could do anything.

Mosquitoes could free prisoners from Amiens jail.

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Here is a Pathé news broadcast:

And here is a film, almost an hour long:

In Operation Carthage, Mosquitoes could bomb the Shell House, headquarters of the Danish Gestapo, and destroy the buildings and the German records and release Resistance prisoners. Here’s a short video:

And a stretched version of 20 odd minutes

In a tragic twist, Operation Carthage went wrong and 86 schoolchildren and 18 adults were killed when a nearby school was bombed. I recently read a really good book about the Danish Resistance, “Hitler’s Savage Canary” and I must admit that the Danes of the time viewed events in a much more positive way than we would nowadays. Danes in 1945 seemed to consider the deaths an unfortunate price that had to be paid for a whole nation’s resistance network to survive.

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The greatest of all Mosquito squadrons, although fictional, was 633 Squadron. Originally it was a book:

And you could name your own price for a mint condition film poster:

Here is just one of almost 250 videos taken from the film on Youtube….

Here are my photographs from Cosford. Here’s a general view. It seems to be painted as a bomber but I bet given half a chance it would be back with those targets, dragging them around the sky:

From behind it looks as if the mystery line has been omitted from this aircraft:

The great lumbering brute behind is an Avro Lincoln. I already did a post about this development of the Lancaster. Indeed, it was called the Avro Lancaster Mark IV until somebody pointed out that it didn’t look that much like a Lancaster.

Last look at the Mosquito. If only I could see one doing what it does best, rather than just sitting in a museum:






Filed under Aviation, Bomber Command, Canada, France, History

23 responses to “The Mosquito at Cosford

  1. With a bit of luck there will be one in our skies again very soon!

    • Let’s hope so. Next on my wish list would be a Sunderland, I think, and then a Walrus. I’ve always wanted to see one of those flying because they don’t ever really look as if they can fly.

      • The Sunderland would be good. It’s a bit of a forgotten workhorse and your right, they don’t look like they should be able to fly!

      • I remember the Sunderland stood out to me at Hendon simply because the only thing bigger there was the Vulcan.

        REPLY Absolutely. My Dad always used to go on and on about the fact that the Sunderland had a galley and you could have a hot meal. I suppose that there was quite a contrast with the much more cramped Lancaster. If I remember rightly, back in the 1960s, the Sunderland was the biggest Airfix kit, until they brought out the B-29.

  2. It looks as if your hand is mended, John

  3. I’m afraid I did not have time to watch all the videos, but loved the fact that the bombs created an escape route in “Jailbreak” and the eye witness stories about the difficult task in taking out the Gestapo HQ.
    Glad see you are healing too!

    • Thank you very much. It must have seemed that there was nothing a Mosquito couldn’t do. I will always wonder what would have happened if all the heavy bombing had been carried out by Mosquitoes since they carried 4,000lb with ease. A lot more men might have survived the war.

  4. A splendid aircraft, be nice to see one fly again.

  5. The Mosquito really could do anything. Operation Jericho was testament to that. Of the 717 prisoners, 102 were killed, 74 wounded and 258 escaped, including 79 Resistance and political prisoners, although two-thirds of the escapees were recaptured. Still, an astounding feat of airmanship.

  6. Pierre Lagacé

    Of course there is my blog about RAF 23 Squadron…

  7. Pierre Lagacé

    From 2 June 1944 to 25 September 1945 based at Little Snoring
    23 Squadron became Night-Intruders.

    • I still can’t believe that 20 or 30 years ago, as a keen birdwatcher, I drove past the turn offs to Great Snoring and Little Snoring on my way to the north Norfolk coast. Nowadays, they are just amusing place names that crop up in newspaper articles occasionally.

      • Pierre Lagacé

        Check this typo John… !

        “ass” a keen

        Merci mille fois, Pierre.

      • Pierre Lagacé

        10 years ago I knew nothing about 23 Squadron, Eugène Gagnon, Little Snoring, George Stweart, Paul Beaudet… This had a profound effect on me as an amateur historian.

  8. What I wouldn’t do to see one of them flying on full throttle.
    PS. I don’t know if you have met from Denmark. He has a personal blog but often mentions Allied Airmen shot down over Denmark and how the locals helped them. I am going to give him your details so that he can connect with your post. I trust that is OK. And do have a well deserved peaceful Christmas.

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