Warbirds Online has a great affection for the de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito (known as the Wooden Wonder) in its many variants, not least of all because the type was built under license here in Australia during and after WW11 and served the RAAF with distinction although for a number of reasons it was too late to see widespread service. In Australia, Mosquitos are fairly uncommon with two major restorations in Museums and several other partial restorations under way. A52-600 NS631 PR.XVI is under restoration at the RAAF Museum at Point Cook and is well on the way to completion.
The other complete de Havilland Mosquito, in the Australian War Memorial (AWM) is A52-210/319 an FB.40 converted to PR41 on the production line at Bankstown. The aircraft was delivered on 18/02/48 to 2 Air Depot (AD) and then on 10/03/48 3 AD Archerfield QLD. On 16/03/48 the Mosquito was being flown 130 miles NE of Dubbo NSW when the pilot reported fire in the instrument panel. The aircraft landed safely and was repaired. On 17/08/48 the aircraft again went into storage at 3 AD.
Then on 20/07/53 the Mossie was sold to ex WW1 AFC pilot Capt. James Woods of Perth for 100 pounds and registered as VH-WAD named “The Quokka”. It was intended that Capt. Woods compete in the 1953 England-New Zealand air race but he was unable to get a sponsor so A52-319 was stored and passed through a number of hands. There was even a plan to send the aircraft to the USA to be restored to fly in air racing but due to shipping issues this never occurred. Following various protracted legal processes the aircraft was put up for tender in 1972 and the AWM successfully bid and sent the aircraft to Hawker deHavillands Bankstown plant where it was restored over the next decade and is now on display at the AWM in Canberra.
Warbirds Online has been able to visit A52-210/319 on a number of occasions, including during her restoration in the early 1990s at Bankstown and then during her storage at the Treloar Technology Centre, the Australian War Memorial’s storage and workshop facility and again recently on display in the Aircraft Hall at the AWM. This is a beautifully restored aircraft that is representative of the breed, being Australian built and having been both a FB and PR aircraft. If you visit the AWM be sure to catch up with this great Aussie Warbird.
We have had the opportunity to travel the world and see many of the worlds surviving “Mossies” and it is always amazing to consider that the aircraft which is constructed largely of wood could be such a successful aircraft and possess such high performance. The type operated in many roles including Fighter, Bomber and Reconnaissance aircraft.
In recent years, New Zealand restorer AvSpecs has worked with Glyn Powell to restore several of the type to airworthy status and the first of these, FB Mk26 KA114, flew again at Ardmore airfield on 27 Sept 2012 as reported by Warbirds Online.
*B&W photo’s sourced & courtesy of Geoff Goodall’s Aviation History site
© John Parker 2016