de Havilland Mosquito

Hi,

Trying to find out a bit more about my grandfather in WWII. He was a mechanic by trade and when the war started he was deployed to India by the RAF in charge of maintaining and fixing the de Havilland Mosquito planes.

All the information on Wikipedia goes over my head as I don't know much about History. But I was wondering if anyone on here knows what the Mosquito was used for there and what our interests were in India during the war? My dad told me they were wooden spy planes used for reconnaissance but Wikipedia says they are bombers?

Also is it possible that there was much 'action' (shooting, etc.) in India or would it be more surveillance etc?

Please excuse brevity as I really don't know much, but keen to find out more

Thanks
 
The two variants seen in the Far East were the fighter bomber and photo-recce versions. Both versions were used extensively in the later part of the Burma campaign.

The fighter bombers were also used in action in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) particularly during the Battle of Surabaya in 1945; I don't think that they saw much in the way of combat activity in terms of attacking anyone or anything in India/Burma post-1945, though. They were there as part of the long-standing RAF presence in India alongside the British Indian Army; in the early years of the RAF, the squadrons served in the colonial policing or air control role.
 

Helm

MIA
Moderator
Book Reviewer
Mosquitos were used in many roles, from bomber to night fighter and all points in between, it was an incredibly versatile aircraft.
here's a brief overview
 
The two variants seen in the Far East were the fighter bomber and photo-recce versions. Both versions were used extensively in the later part of the Burma campaign.

The fighter bombers were also used in action in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) particularly during the Battle of Surabaya in 1945; I don't think that they saw much in the way of combat activity in terms of attacking anyone or anything in India/Burma post-1945, though. They were there as part of the long-standing RAF presence in India alongside the British Indian Army; in the early years of the RAF, the squadrons served in the colonial policing or air control role.
Thank you for the reply.

What were our British interests in India in WW2? Why would the British government not want everyone stationed in Europe to defend our shores here?
 
The wooden wonder. They were one of the best aircraft we had at the time. Did Your Grandfather ever mention the RAF mechanic's and technicians munity at the end of the war? Just read about it. Sounded full on. All over SEA command and spread to the middle east. Really put the wind up the establishment.
 
My dad told me they were wooden spy planes used for reconnaissance but Wikipedia says they are bombers?

Missed this.

Originally designed as a high-speed unarmed bomber and recce aircraft. Carried 2,000 lb of bombs internally and two underwing hardpoints could be used for bombs (one per pylon) or fuel tanks.

The Mossie had room under the cockpit floor to accommodate 4 x 20mm cannon. The fighter/night fighter versions began with a 4 x .303in machine gun fit in the nose, plus the 20mm cannon. The cannon breaches protruded into the bomb bay and reduced the load there to two bombs, thus you often see the fighter bombers carrying a bomb under each wing. The NF Mk II had an arrow-head radar antenna and the radar set didn't displace the machine guns in the nose, but the later radars were larger and accommodating the radar set meant that the MGs had to go. The 20mm cannon were quite enough for the job, though.

The aircraft could also accommodate rocket rails under the outer wings and those assigned to Coastal Command from late 1943/early 1944 were often seen in this fit. One other version, built in small numbers, was Coastal Command's Mk XVIII, and that had a 57mm Molins Gun (in effect a 6-pounder anti tank gun modified for aerial use), and usually a reduced fit of 2 x .303 machine guns.

Later on, there was a spectacularly ugly target towing conversion, and a Sea Mosquito used by the RN, albeit only briefly.

Thank you for the reply.

What were our British interests in India in WW2? Why would the British government not want everyone stationed in Europe to defend our shores here?

Still days of Empire - there was a large British presence in India (and Hong Kong, Burma, Malaya and Singapore) throughout the inter-war period (and, indeed, before that). This was one of Churchill's big problems - defending the UK and the Empire. Didn't go too well in the Far East to start with...
 
Last edited:

endure

GCM
One of them rescued Niels Bohr from the Nazis...

 
The wooden wonder. They were one of the best aircraft we had at the time. Did Your Grandfather ever mention the RAF mechanic's and technicians munity at the end of the war? Just read about it. Sounded full on. All over SEA command and spread to the middle east. Really put the wind up the establishment.
No I never spoke about the war with him. I will ask my dad and read up about it, it's actually really interesting stuff never thought I'd enjoy history
 
Missed this.

Originally designed as a high-speed unarmed bomber and recce aircraft. Carried 2,000 lb of bombs internally and two underwing hardpoints could be used for bombs (one per pylon) or fuel tanks.

The Mossie had room under the cockpit floor to accommodate 4 x 20mm cannon. The fighter/night fighter versions began with a 4 x .303in machine gun fit in the nose, plus the 20mm cannon. The cannon breaches protruded into the bomb bay and reduced the load there to two bombs, thus you often see the fighter bombers carrying a bomb under each wing. The NF Mk II had an arrow-head radar antenna and the radar set didn't displace the machine guns in the nose, but the later radars were larger and accommodating the radar set meant that the MGs had to go. The 20mm cannon were quite enough for the job, though.

The aircraft could also accommodate rocket rails under the outer wings and those assigned to Coastal Command from late 1943/early 1944 were often seen in this fit. One other version, built in small numbers, was Coastal Command's Mk XVIII, and that had a 57mm Molins Gun (in effect a 6-pounder anti tank gun modified for aerial use), and usually a reduced fit of 2 x .303 machine guns.

Later on, there was a spectacularly ugly target towing conversion, and a Sea Mosquito used by the RN, albeit only briefly.



Still days of Empire - there was a large British presence in India (and Hong Kong, Burma, Malaya and Singapore) throughout the inter-war period (and, indeed, before that). This was one of Churchill's big problems

Thank you. Really appreciate this
 

longtimeout

War Hero
Fun fact - the payload of the later versions was greater than the all up weight of the earlier versions.

It was a visionary design, that was built pretty much like an airfix model, in two longitudinal halves that were fitted out internally, and then glued together along it's length.

edited to correct autocorrect bollix. If I meant airfoil, I would have typed airfoil. I meant airfix!
 
Fun fact - the payload of the later versions was greater than the all up weight of the earlier versions.

It was a visionary design, that was built pretty much like an airfoil model, in two longitudinal halves that were fitted out internally, and then glued together along it's length.
Must have been scary to be inside, considering they are of wooden construction
 
1614186624105.png

Mossie NF Mk II (credit BAES)

1614186678442.png


Mossie BIV

1614186718432.png

Mossie NFXII or XIII

1614186778189.png

Mossie PR34 - the bulged belly, her with the camera ports sticking out, was the bomb bay area on the later bomber versions; the bulging of the doors allowed the carriage of the 4,000lb bomb.

1614186869309.png

Sea Mosquito TR33 (TR = Torpedo bomber/reconnaissance)

1614186918897.png

Mossie TT39 target tug.
 
Thank you for the reply.

What were our British interests in India in WW2? Why would the British government not want everyone stationed in Europe to defend our shores here?
Japan relied on imports for a majority of it's basic resources oil, coal ,rubber etc. It figured they could grab the mineral rich colonial territories and then negotiate a peace with the USA. India being part of the British empire was already experiencing civil unrest and if they were able to capture it would gain them massive natural resources and cut off Australia shipping and also isolate the relief to China with pilots flying over the hump (Himalaya)

The 14th Army which turned the tide in Burma was always the last to receive usable equipment and the battle of the admin box was where the British and Commonwealth soldiers learnt to beat the Japanese. As to aircraft releasing Dakotas from the China relief and the arrival of Spitfires was key. From what I've read the Mosquitos were mainly used for recon and fast transport.

There's a museum dedicated to this Aircraft by South Mimms on the M25 not far from Hatfield where it was made. Once we're allowed out again it's worth a visit. They let my kids sit in the cockpit and knew everything about them.
 

Joshua Slocum

LE
Book Reviewer
Must have been scary to be inside, considering they are of wooden construction
Strong as an Ox
the hull is a laminate, a sort of early carbon fibre, ply wood with Balsa between it
the only real problems that showed up where in the far east where the glue that bonded it together failed, Aerolite was developed for the job, still used today in boatbuilding
They were also easier to contruct, as the hul was made in two sections, all the services could be installed before it was glued together
in Canada they emplyed Dwarfs to climb inside the tail section of the hull to check for gaps
And Fatso Goering was very upset about it, as Mossies played havoc with his social life and speechmaking
The Wooden Wonder is an understatment
 
Of particular relevance if your grandfather was an engineer is that the Mosquitoes did have maintenance issues in the Far East, as their wooden structure did not like the extreme humidity encountered in some spots. The aircraft's performance was as stellar as it had been in Europe, just that it was more of a headache in the long run, which was one of the reasons why they were deployed to the Far East quite late, and also why the Beaufighter remained important.

The first Mossie squadron in the Far East was 684 Sqn, formed in September 1943, based at Comilla, which operated the PRIV in the long range recce role. By December 1944, 45 Sqn had converted to the Mossie FBVI fighter bomber at Kumbhirgram, and 47, 82, 84 and 110 Sqns were non-operational with the FBVI, so probably in the process of conversion to the type.

By the June 1945, 47 and 110 were flying the FBVI from Kinmagan, 684 had upgraded to the superlative PRXVI recce, and 45, 82, 84 and 211 were all non operational with the FBVI, as they were being rested and prepared for Operation Zipper.

So, the Mosquito only appeared out there in the autumn of 1943, initially in just the recce role, but became an important strike aircraft in the last nine months of the conflict.
 
Mosquitos served briefly on OP FIREDOG (the Malaya Emergency) from 1948, but suffered from structural failure and were soon withdrawn. I will check the OP FIREDOG AHB Official History for more details.
 

Offa

War Hero
Of particular relevance if your grandfather was an engineer is that the Mosquitoes did have maintenance issues in the Far East, as their wooden structure did not like the extreme humidity encountered in some spots. The aircraft's performance was as stellar as it had been in Europe, just that it was more of a headache in the long run, which was one of the reasons why they were deployed to the Far East quite late, and also why the Beaufighter remained important.

The first Mossie squadron in the Far East was 684 Sqn, formed in September 1943, based at Comilla, which operated the PRIV in the long range recce role. By December 1944, 45 Sqn had converted to the Mossie FBVI fighter bomber at Kumbhirgram, and 47, 82, 84 and 110 Sqns were non-operational with the FBVI, so probably in the process of conversion to the type.

By the June 1945, 47 and 110 were flying the FBVI from Kinmagan, 684 had upgraded to the superlative PRXVI recce, and 45, 82, 84 and 211 were all non operational with the FBVI, as they were being rested and prepared for Operation Zipper.

So, the Mosquito only appeared out there in the autumn of 1943, initially in just the recce role, but became an important strike aircraft in the last nine months of the conflict.
Spot on, OllieReader. My father was with 47 Sqdn and converted from Beaufighters to Mossies in Madras (Chennai), moving on to Burma theatre where, as has been mentioned , problems with glue meant that for a while he reverted to Beaufighters until problems solved. 47 Sqdn had both torpedo and ground attack roles.
 
Mosquitos served briefly on OP FIREDOG (the Malaya Emergency) from 1948, but suffered from structural failure and were soon withdrawn. I will check the OP FIREDOG AHB Official History for more details.



 

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