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Less famous Mosquito stories


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While we are waiting for news about our DCS Mosquito, I thought we could build up the hype with some of the less famous, yet still exciting mosquito operations. Sure, everyone heard of the Amien prison raid, or the Gestapo HQ raid, but Mosquitoes did so much more!

I'll start with:


Boxing day raid on Leirvik harbor


Coastal Command's Banff strike wing started operations on September 1944. It was soon split into Mosquito squadrons operating from Banff and Beaufighter squadrons operating from Dallachy. Under the command of Group Captain Max Aitken they were tasked with disrupting enemy shipping between Germany and Norway, which they carried out with great success. Their daring raids of 10-30 Mosquitoes and Beufighters into Norwegian fjords must have been an awesome sight, and some 30 years later inspired George Lucas in the famous Star Wars X-wings run through the death star trenches scene, with the flak towers and enemy Tie-fighters diving on them.


On the morning of 26 December 1944 FB.VI scouts from Norwegian 333 sqd. sighted two vessels: Tenerife and Cygnus that laid in anchor at Leirvik harbor waiting for an escort to continue their journey. The planning of the raid begun before the scouts had landed. Intelligence reported likely opposition in the form of fighters and a large number of AAA positions. Leirvik is located south to Bergen, inside a wide fjord, about 20 km from the western north-sea shores of Norway.


At mid-day, a formation of 10 FB.VIs and 2 FB.XVIIIs ("tse-tse") from squadrons 143, 235 & 248 took off from Banff, Led by sqd. leader Jacko Jackson-Smith. "Outriders" from 333 sqd. and the SAR Warwick joined up. they made landfall at 13.34 hours. The outriders who flew ahead were soon over Leirvik and reported that the targets were indeed in anchor and described the situation. The main force joined with the outriders over Bomlo, west of Leirvik, and the 333 outriders led the main group into position by firing signaling flares. The last green Very cartridge was fired over the target and within 4 minutes the attack begun through heavy flak from both sides of the harbor.


After salvos of 25 lbs solid-head rockets from the FB.VIs and 57mm shells from the tse-tses, Cygnus caught fire and Tenerrife was left smoking. The outriders orbited above watching out for enemy fighters. Just as the strafing was about to end and most of the cannon ammunition expended, enemy fighters were spotted. A Radar station had spotted the incoming mosquitoes, raised the alarm and now fighters had taken off to intercept. 12 FW190s were circling the narrow entrance to Bomlo while another mixed force of about 12 BF109 G-14s and FW190s approached from south.


The Banff strike force was in a loose formation, egressing from the strike and headed out to sea. Individual aircraft engaged enemy fighters as they entered the area. Tse-tse mosquito 'Z1' of 248 sqd. fired one 57mm shell from 200 yards at an enemy formation, but did not hit. Flight Lieutenant Bill Clayton-Graham of 235 sqd. was flying on one engine at 1000 feet, after his mosquito was hit by a flak shell, when a group of 109s peeled off to attack him, dropping their drop tanks. Clayton-Graham hauled his mosquito around, the one engine pushed through the gate, into the midst of the enemy aircrafts firing his 4 machine guns only, as all cannon ammunition were spent. He managed to get good hits on one 109 and possibly light hits on others as they flew by. He dived to the waves, running towards the sea on the one good engine.


In the mean time, aircraft 'G' of 235 sqd. was caught by flak over Leirvik and requested on the radio assistance against enemy fighters, firing a red flare. Before anyone could respond, BF109 G-14 "Blau 8" flown by Feldwebel Heinz Halstrick hit him hard from short range and the mosquito plunged into the water.


The battle continued. Mosquito 'Z' from 143 sqd. attacked a pair of 109s and was in turn attacked by another pair of 109s. The mosquito turned sharply to starboard and fired a long 3 seconds burst of cannons and machine guns at one of the attacking 109s who disengaged. The pilot, Flying Officer Smith headed out to sea being chased by the second BF109G. Thus begun a long 10 minuts duel. Finally, perhaps after the 109 had spent all its ammo, Smith managed to reverse the situation and hit the 109. Flame and smoke burst from the stricken 109 and it was seen to crash into the water.


A mosquito piloted by 'Wally' Webster was taking violent evasive actions as six FW190s were making attack runs on him. The mosquito was hit in the port wing, but absorbed the damage and made it 10 miles out to sea, where the FW190s disengaged. Mosquito 'N' of 248 sqd. was hit by flak and was losing coolant fluid. The pilot seeing enemy fighters around, gave the engines full throttle, got down to the deck and hoped that the damaged engine will last until they are out of danger. It worked, but the engine eventually gave up and they made their way back home on one engine. At Banff, the pilot misjudged his one-engine approach and realized he is about to touch down 100 m short of the runway in a field. The crew was not too worried as they touched down until the low stone wall appeared... The wheels were torn off but the mosquito came to a stop an an even keel and the crew were pulled out safely.


Back to the one-engined mosquito of Clayton-Graham, that was headed out to sea and now chased by a FW190. His navigator flying officer 'Ginger' Webster describes (from "A Separate Little war"):
"A 190 got onto our tail. Bill was taking the most violent evasive action to shake off the fighter, frequently seeing streams of bullets churning up the sea but not hitting the aircraft, when I noticed the port wing was about to dip into the sea. I shrieked into the intercom and he corrected just in time. Heading well out to sea the Focke-Wulf flew off."
Navigator 'Ginger' Webster radioed a distress message, but was unable to give his exact position. Sqd. leader Jackson-Smith told them over the radio to fire a Very flare since they were separated from the main force. Clayton-Graham replied "Not bloody likely, they'll see me too!".


After flying 20 miles to the sea off the coast 'Ginger' Webster managed to contact the SAR Warwick and fired off all the Very cartridges he could find - red, green, yellow... He continues to describe:
"Eventually, the Warwick located us and escorted us back to base. I remember Bill thinking it was a huge joke when he asked the pilot of the Warwick if we were flying too fast for him (on the one engine). I can't recall the reply but I don't think it was particularly polite".
The Warwick mentioned above was flown by Ted Russell and the flight home according to him took four and a half hours. This event is briefly mentioned in the book "Dinghy Drop" that tells the story of the brave SAR Warwicks who took huge risks in attempts to rescue downed Mosquito/Beaufighter crews over the sea, often under threat of enemy fighters. Incredibly, Clayton-Graham's mosquito was photographed from the escorting Warwick and this photo appears in the book (Notice the date and the writing below: "mosquito/235sqdn/with port engine feathered" followed by the coordinates):


Dinghy Drop.png

The strike left Cygnus on fire, which burned for 2 hours, but eventually extinguished. 63 holes were found in its hull. The Tenerife suffered only light damage mainly from strafing and managed to reach Stavanger for repairs, where 99 holes were counted in the hull. It was sea worthy again within 2 days. One Mosquito was lost and one enemy 109 claimed as destroyed. Some civilian houses were damaged near the harbor, but no one was hurt. A Norwegian eye witness recalls (from "a separate little war"):
"I shall never forget this day, as the force came out being attacked by the Germans, one plane chasing another, they were so low that they flew between two houses!".


"A Separate Little War", by Andrew D Bird.
"Dinghy Drop", by Tom Docherty
"Mosquito", by Sharp & Bowyer
https://www.scotshistoryonline.co.uk/sorties.html (Not 100% in sync with the above, but an interesting free source for Banff strike wing raids)


Some extra pics, probably not from the same raid.

Attack run - notice the rockets in the 2-by-2 rack instead of the usual under-wing rails.









Edited by Bozon
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“Mosquitoes fly, but flies don’t Mosquito” :pilotfly:

- Geoffrey de Havilland.


... well, he could have said it!

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Great post Bozon.


Enjoyed reading that. Keep em coming. 

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Great stuff. Love the bit about the Mosquito pilot engaging the approaching fighters with his 57mm... and the dogfight and evasion with the Mosquito on one engine. Incredible photos of the event and aftermath also. 

A historic North Sea map would be good. A modern day version would allow interesting Scandinavian WW3 scenarios also as did the old EF2000 map.

Edited by Mogster
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Thanks Bozon, Enjoyable read. 👍


Nice History Channel Documentary on You Tube 

 WWII Documentary: The Mosquito | The Legendary Aircraft Of WWII - YouTube


The Wooden Planes That Terrorised The Luftwaffe | Battlefield Mysteries | Timeline - YouTube


Here's an excellent read if you can get it:

Mosquito Attack!: A Norwegian RAF Pilot at War. by Finn Eriksrud (Author), Tor Idar Larsen 



Edited by Rockape
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“In 1940 I could at least fly as far as Glasgow in most of my aircraft, but not now! It makes me furious when I see the Mosquito. I turn green and yellow with envy. The British, who can afford aluminium better than we can, knock together a beautiful wooden aircraft that every piano factory over there is building, and they give it a speed which they have now increased yet again. What do you make of that? There is nothing the British do not have. They have the geniuses and we have the nincompoops. After the war is over I'm going to buy a British radio set – then at least I'll own something that has always worked.”

- Commander in Chief Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring -

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, since no news I guess it is time for another "Less famous Mosquito raid".


 A solo day-ranger into Poland

This missions is decribed in the most excellent book "Terror in the Starboard Seat" by Dave McIntosh, and it is the one that won the author (navigator) and his pilot Sid Seid their DFC. Rightly so, as I am sure you will agree. Their tale will be retold here abridged.


Some background: Sid (an American flying for the RCAF) and Dave have been flying mostly solo night Intruder missions into occupied France and Germany. Inspite of 38 trips with many adventures and close calls, they have not yet found any enemy planes. This was very disappointing to Sid, especially since they were flying for RCAF 418 squadron which was an exteremly successful Intruder-dedicated squadron that produced multiple Mosquito aces. Towards the end of their tour, Sid led a wingman on two day-ranger missions into Denmark and Norway, but found only empty airfields - a "Ranger" missions is a surprise attack on a (usually remote) enemy field, strafing planes on the ground and possibly jumping planes in the circuit, in training near the field, transports, and other targets of opportunity.


It didn't take long for Side to come up with a new day raid for them - Kolberg, plus visiting other airfields on the way. After disappointing his fellow pilot on the Oslo raid, Sid decided that this time they will go alone. Except Kolberg was past Germany, on the Baltic coast of Poland - to be able to make it there and back, the plan was to refuel their FB.VI at a recently occupied airstrip, Le Culot in Belgium.


Le Culot turned out to be empty, except for some Americans from an engineering unit. Their officer, a resourceful Captain managed to arrange a bowser with AV gas to arrive and refuel the Mosquito. They slept there and were ready to leave before sunrise. The resourceful Captain parked the bowser at the far end of the runway with the lights on to guide them during takeoff (there were no runway lights). He then put his jeep half way down the runway to mark the half way point for their takeoff run.


Their 1st visit at dawn was Rechlin airfield next to lake Muritz. There was nothing there. Then they passed a big airfield at Prenzlau - again nothing. This was starting to look like another Oslo, but they pushed on farther east into (today's) Poland to Stargard. Dave spotted an Me-110, but before he could say anything Sid lit it up with a 1 second burst. The next thing they saw was a parade - about a hundred people marching in the middle of the field. The parade broke and people were running everywhere falling over each other. About a dozen Me-109s were parked ahead on the far side. They saw the planes too late, so Sid pulled up sharply to 700 feet, did a stall turn, and came at them. One Me-109 exploded immediately and two others were seriously hit. Two more planes were on the south side - one, a Stuka, exploded and the plane beside it was hit too.


This last attack left the mosquito 20 feet above the ground in a turn to starboard. Sid corrected the roll to port and stalled - "The goddam stick flew right out of Sid's hand" as Dave describes it. "There wouldn't even be time for a "dear God" and a scream, let alone a final statement for posterity". In one flick the mossie rightened itself, the stick found Sid's hand and they were flying about 10 feet over an open field... After Dave's fury at Sid subsided, they counted the columns of smoke, recounted the attacks and decided to claim 3 destroyed and 3 damaged. Onward to Kolberg.


They followed a railway line hugging the ground and uppon reaching the airfield at 07:03 AM Sid pulled up to 300 feet and spotted Ju-88s. On the diving attack two were hit of which one started to burn. After the last incident of being a pilot without a stick, instead of a sharp turn Sid did an orbit around the field like they are about to land, and attacked out of the brilliant sun. The Ju-88 next to the burning one was hit and started to burn too. Next was a group near the hangers - one Ju-88 exploded. Sid pulled up sharply, twisted the Mossie to starboard and got a burst into a third group of Ju-88s. As they pulled away, one of the Ju-88s exploded. They must have caught the field completely by surprise because no flak was shooting at them.


This time they didn't get to do any counting because they ran into a flock of birds - blood and feathers covered the windscreen, and Sid couldn't see a thing. It was 4 minutes before the spray and wipers made the windscreen clear enough for Sid to get down to the deck again. "Funny flak they've got here" Sid said.

The route back took them northwest over the sea to Denmark. The tally at Kolberg was 5 destroyed and 2 damaged, totaling 8 destroyed and 5 damaged for the two airfields. As they approached the English coast a Spitfire drew alongside. The pilot pointed towards the wings, but they were not on the same radio channel, and didn't understand his signals. Dave held up 8 fingers and wondered if the Spit pilot could make 8 destroyed out of the signal. Dave writes: "Cut it out" said Sid, "they were all on the ground for Christ's sake". The bastard was never satisfied.


"What the hell happened?" asked their crew chief as soon as the door opened. "Some birds bombed us" said Sid. There were five big holes in the wings and tail, and a big dent in the nose. Sid wrote to the Captain at Le Culot as Yank to Yank, gave him their score and thanked him. They never heard back.


Sid and Dave flew two more missions, totaling 41 trips before finishing their tour. The above is a significantly shortened and retold (by me) version of this mission. The full description of their adventures can be found in the most excellent book "Terror in the Starboard Seat" by Dave McIntosh - a must read for any Mosquito fanboi. Dave was a journalist after the war so he had a talent for writing and telling a story.



Sid Seid (right) and Dave McIntosh (left) posing for an official photograph after they returned from their raid on Kolberg.



(Caption from "Terror in the starboard seat" reads:) Sid sticks his head out of the starboard (my) side of the canopy for his hammy shot of his dog and another pilot. I had to carry the goddam dog on my lap, one of the many extra services provided by navigators for their pilots.




  • Like 1

“Mosquitoes fly, but flies don’t Mosquito” :pilotfly:

- Geoffrey de Havilland.


... well, he could have said it!

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  • 4 weeks later...

This story is not exactly a raid - it is about the arrival of the 1st mosquito to the Israeli Airforce (IAF).
Not many realize this, but after Israel's independence, for a brief period of a few years, the IAF was almost an all Mosquito airforce. Also, as far as I know, the last combat action of mosquitoes anywhere was with the Israeli airforce.
So, without further ado this is the story of:


The first and last Mosquito in the Israeli Air Force

The plane was NS812, a PR.XVI Mosquito meant to be delivered to the US 8th air force on May 1945. However, due to the war's end it was delivered to a storage unit instead, declared "surplus", and put on auction. The buyer was group captain Geoffrey Leonard Cheshire, previously CO of 617 sqd. "The Dam Busters". The plane earned the civilian registration G-AIRT in October 1946, but never flew under this registration.


During Israel's independence war, a man named John Harvey, a British citizen and ex-RAF bomber pilot was asked by Israeli purchase agents to locate and purchase Mosquitoes for the fledgling Israeli air force (then still called "air service"). At that time, war planes were offered for sale only to British companies. Harvey contacted his friend and war-time commander air vice-marshal Bennet who was an owner of a company, to purchase two mosquitoes for him. He purchased two mosquitoes for 4500 pounds a piece - one of them was G-AIRT.


On 7 July 1948 John Harvey took off from Abingdon with G-AIRT that was loaded with Mosquito spare parts, with the intent to fly to Corsica and then to Israel. However due to engine problems that increased fuel consumption he was forced to land in Nice, France. The French authorities arrested Harvey and placed him in house arrest in a hotel. The French were furious for not receiving any message about the plane's arrival, that was still painted in RAF colors and letters. The Israeli purchase agent was able to negotiate Harvey's release and the plane took off again after minor repairs.


When the plane landed in Corsica, the British console was informed of the landing and headed to the airport with local police. However, the police notified the field manager who passed the word on to the an Israeli liaison officer. By the time the Console and police arrived, new letters were painted on the plane, papers were forged, and Harvey took off and circled the island till the police left after finding no trace of the plane. Harvey landed again and on July 13 1948 took off for a direct flight to Israel.


As Harvey was over the Mediterranean nearing the shores of Israel, the fuel tanks were almost empty due to an increased fuel consumption problem again. Harvey could not proceed to Ekron airfield as planned and decided to land in the nearest strip - Haifa, coming in a direct approach. As he was coming with flaps out and gears down, the AAA gunners who were not informed started shooting... Luckily, the gunners plainly sucked, and Harvey managed to land safely on his last drops of fuel - the plane ran out of fuel on the runway and was unable to taxi. The controller on the field who also had no warning about this landing, pulled out his pistol and ran to the plane. He was smart enough to ask questions before shooting...


The next day, the plane was repainted, received the ID "D-160" (actually the Hebrew letter equivalent to "D") and joined 103 squadron (later its ID changed to "2101"). The plane was fitted with a camera and bomb racks. On 13.9.1948 the plane took off on its first mission, photographed Damascus and then Beirut on the way back. The plane went on to perform many long range PR missions all over the middle east, from the Egypt-Sudan border to Iraq.


After the war ended, the first Israeli mosquito was soon joined by many other mosquitoes of various models: FB.VI, NF.XXX, TR.33 (navalized mossies that were de-navalized and converted to fighter-bombers), and more PR.XVIs - about 80 Mossies in total. Most of them purchased from France by the way. Therefore, at its early days after the independence war, most of the IAF was composed of mosquitoes. Sounds like a dream airforce! However, many of the mosquitoes were weary and in a poor state, and the Israeli sun damaged them further. Serviceability was low and accidents frequent. Within a couple of years, most of the IAF mosquitoes went into storage as the IAF entered the jet age. By 1956 only the PR mosquitoes that were too valuable, kept flying.


During the "Suez crisis" in 1956 (operation "Kadesh" for Israel) some mosquitoes were briefly taken out of the mothballs for one last dance - they gave a very good account of themselves in the ground attack role without any losses. This was AFAIK the last combat action of mosquitoes in the world. The PR mosquitoes kept flying into Egypt in spite of the threat now being Mig-15s. PR mossies photographed the Egyptian airfields for a bold plan to destroy the Egyptian air-force on the ground. However, during the Suez crisis France & Britain were responsible for suppressing the Egyptian air-force - the IAF plan of attack went to the drawer, but was eventually executed in 1967 "six days" war. The mosquitoes were retired immediately after the war, but the last of the IAF mosquitoes, our NS812/G-AIRT/Dalet-160/2101, kept flying after the operation into 1957 - until it was severely damaged in a landing accident and written off.


Thus ended the service of the mosquitoes in the Israeli air force - with the same plane that started it.




The last mosquito in the Israeli air force after the accident. The stripes were yellow between two blues - still the colors from the Suez crisis.



A line of Mosquitoes from 109 Sqd. IAF. These are probably the de-navalized Mk TR.33 models, notice the 4 bladed propellers.



Mechanics from 109 Sqd riding what appears to be somewhat worn-out mosquito.




NF.30 in all black. These were meant to be used as night fighters, but the black colors made the Israeli sun deadly to the planes and deformed the wood.

I guess shade was not invented yet in the early 1950's.


“Mosquitoes fly, but flies don’t Mosquito” :pilotfly:

- Geoffrey de Havilland.


... well, he could have said it!

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  • Bozon changed the title to Less famous Mosquito stories

Not necessarily conflict related but there was a short story ... a kind of Christmas story called the shepard about a aviatior in the 50s who gets lost and gets rescued by a mosquito. Pretty well known in certain areas but I came across it as a book on tape years ago and only with the internet was able to locate it again . 


Edited by FlyingTaco21
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I have a book Mosquito Racer about Don McVicar and him racing RCAF Mosquito KB377 (Build No. 1377) in the air races like at Reno. He bought the aircraft in 1948 for $1500CDN later registered as CF-FZG The aircraft broke down on it's way to it's first race and was abandoned at Wichita.

She was eventually restored fitted with two engines out of a P51 then issued a new US registration No. N37878 and she finished 5th in the Bendix Air Race of Sept. 1949

Aerial Visuals - Airframe Dossier - de Havilland-de Havilland Canada Mosquito B.20, s/n KB377 RCAF, c/n 1377, c/r N37878


Mosquito Racer: Amazon.co.uk: McVicar, Don: 9780906393581: Books

Sons of Dogs, Come Eat Flesh

Clan Cameron

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53 minutes ago, Bozon said:


Thanks, I didn’t know about this book.

There is not an awful lot about the Mossie in the book, it's first half is more about the career of Don leading up to getting the Mossie and then leading to the incident at Wichita, but it does go into a good bit of detail about flying the aircraft and how the more experienced war time pilots flew it, with the difficulties of maintaining a high strung aircraft and a shortage of parts for it.

One thing was that they did mention was the fact that the Packard Merlin for the Mosquito was not as strong an engine as the Rolls Royce version and that Packard did not implement the measures that Rolls Royce said they needed to do to strengthen the con rods.

Sons of Dogs, Come Eat Flesh

Clan Cameron

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

The night is not always dark


Some years ago I ran into a story about a WWII veteran's medals being sold in an auction. The veteran was Wing Cmdr. Paul Bingham Elwell, a Mosquito pilot. The article told that the DFC medal was awarded to Elwell for fighting 5 FW-190s. A local paper at the time is cited reporting: 'He raced in and fought the planes until his ammunition was exhausted. He destroyed one FW for certain, and probably another, before returning home safely.'


Recently I ran into this story again and decided to dig a little deeper. To my surprise I was able to find the combat report from that sortie, online. Interestingly, Elwell was flying a NF.XIII night fighter and the incident happened near 23:00 hour. My 1st thought was "how do you fight 5 FW-190s at night?". Then I realized that the date was 24 June 1944, one of the longest days of the year and over the French coast there is still some dusk light even late at night. The sunset at this time would be in a northerly direction, which fits well with the story, but is completely odd to a low latitude dweller like me.


Anyway, this story demonstrates that with an advantageous initial position, mosquito fighters would aggressively attack enemy single-engine fighters. I typed here an abridged version of the report. The full report (together with 2 more, for all Elwell's kills in the war) is also attached.


24/25 June 1944
264 Squadron
Mosquito XIII. Pilot S/LDR P.B.Elwell
                     N/R F/o. F. Ferguson
10 miles N of Le Harve
Clear twilight, slight haze below


"I arrived at Fighter Pool One at 2245 hours on 24th June. My observer and I saw several flares being dropped on a bearing 220 from us and about 25 miles away. We were given permission to investigate and and flew off in that direction as fast as we could. My observer obtained contact at 3 miles distant. I then saw bombs exploding in a line on the water. A few seconds later an aeroplane appeared against the bright sunset, climbing steeply in a northerly direction. This was followed by four more in a line astern. Our range at this time being roughly 1.5 miles, we turned and followed closing in to about 1,000 yards. E/A separated into two formations, two a/c turning hard port and three a/c to starboard at 6,000 feet.

In view of the daylight, my observer said that he would look backwards for the 2 a/c which were turning to port while I followed the other 3 a/c visually. While they were at 1,000 yards and silhouetted against the sunset I had identified 5 FW 190. We again closed in slowly.


I was now firing repeated short bursts at the a/c on the port side of the leader. No strikes were seen until we came in to 300 yards when a bright yellow glow occurred in the center of the a/c. The E/A turned to port and was lost to sight under the nose of the mosquito. It disappeared still burning. I immediately swung the sights to the starboard E/A and continued firing, closing range to about 100 yards. We were now being considerably buffeted by the slipstream of the E/A but strikes were seen. Both E/A turning to port, I allowed 20 deg deflection and on next burst E/A exploded and flick rolled to port, a mass of flame and spun violently down. I immediately swung the sights on to the last remaining a/c but after one short burst ammunition ran out. No strikes were seen. I turned to starboard and saw a mass of flame on the water below. Position about 20 miles N. of Le Harve. My observer shouted "E/A on out tail". We did a violent diving turn to starboard and finally pulled out at about 1,000 feet, flying North East, time now being 2320 hrs.

I claim 1 FW 190 destroyed and 1 FW 190 probably destroyed."


Elwell ended the war with 3 confirmed kills (FW 190, ME 410, Do 217). He tragically died at the age of 52 when he crashed his British passenger airliner de Havilland DH 89 Dragon Rapide after suffering a heart attack while landing the aircraft at Entebbe Airport, Uganda in October 1962.






The combat reports:



Online sources:




  • Thanks 1

“Mosquitoes fly, but flies don’t Mosquito” :pilotfly:

- Geoffrey de Havilland.


... well, he could have said it!

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5 hours ago, rkk01 said:

Most interesting word...




I think we’ve all been overly focused on the Navigator role... 

My first reaction was that this is because it was an NF mosquito and navigation was not a major thing for them (flying high and not very far), unlike the FB.VI squadrons. In the NF squadrons the “observers” were also operating the radar of course. By the way, at the top of the reports I attached, Ferguson is titled as “R/N” for Radio/Navigation.


However, I sampled some FB.VI intruder combat reports from RCAF 418 squadron that I had on my drive thinking they may refer to their 2nd crewman as “navigator” - they too refer to their navigators as “observers”.  In the book “Terror in the starboard seat”, Dave MacIntosh quotes Sid his pilot referring to him as his “navigator”, or when joking at his expense - his “alligator” (they were RCAF 418 as well).


So I guess that the terminology was not very strict.


“Mosquitoes fly, but flies don’t Mosquito” :pilotfly:

- Geoffrey de Havilland.


... well, he could have said it!

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

Still waiting, so here is another story:


The last Hurra!
LW: Close encounters of the turd kind


April 21st 1945. The war in Europe is just 2 weeks towards its end. Though the final date still unknown to the men of KG26, it was clear to them that the end is near.  KG26 has fought through the entire war, on all fronts, mostly flying Ju-88s and specializing in anti-shipping. A truly impressive record. Towards the end of the war, only 2 of the 3 staffels remained: II/KG26 & III/KG26 based near Stavanger Norway. Being an anti-shipping specialists has made them the enemies of RAF Coastal Command which they have faced before over the north sea and the Bay of Biscay. In particular the Banff strike wing that has been operating Beaufighters and Mosquitoes against shipping in Norway since September 1944 has been a threat to them.


With no hope of turning the war around, KG26 has planned a last ambitious raid on the British isle. This was to be their “last Hurra!”, before the inevitable surrender. 9 Ju-88A-17 of 6./KG26-II and 9 Ju-188A-3 of 7./KG26-III, each carrying two torpedoes took off around 18:00 hour and headed west towards Scotland at low altitude over the North Sea. The weather was awful with rain and bad visibility at low altitude. The group was to make landfall at Peterhead, then split, half the force would head northward to the Orkneys (Scapa Flow) and the other 9 would sweep for coastal shipping down the Firth of Forth.


While still far over the north sea, about 150 miles east of the Scottish coast, the crews of KG26 spotted through the rain and mist planes to the north of them. These planes seemed to also be flying westward on a converging coarse. That was odd - who else is flying from Norway to Scotland? And what are the chances of crossing paths so far into the vast empty stretches of the north sea, and with such short visibility range?!


The dots grew bigger. There were 41 of them, slightly higher and clearly faster. The dots turned to silhouettes and now took the appearance of twin-engined aircrafts… the cries “SCHEISSE” simultaneously from 18 crews must have been heard all the way back at Stavanger - these were mosquitoes, Ju-88’s nemesis. 41 of them…


Earlier that day, 42 Mosquitos FB.VI (16 from 143, 11 from 235, 11 from 248 & 4 from 333 squadrons) of the Banff strike wing went out to attack ships in the Kattegat area that were spotted by FB.VI scouts from 333 squadron. The mosquito force was escorted by 24 Mustangs. Due to bad weather - rain and complete overcast, the strike force failed to locate the ships or find other targets of opportunity and unhappily turned to return home. Unlike the usual case where the Mosquitoes would return low on ammo and fuel and escorting damaged planes, this time they were returning with full ammo loads, no stragglers, and in formation - to the coming misfortune of the Ju-88s.


At 19:50 hour, while RTB the leader of the Mustangs sought permission to press ahead as they had a big party planned tonight at Peterhead, their home base. The Mustangs peeled off and disappeared into the mist, not knowing that they were about to miss an even bigger party. At 20:30 hour, flying at 600 feet under the cloud base and poor visibility the Mosquito force suddenly spotted 18 aircrafts flying in six vics of 3 ships each at 200 feet over the water. It took a few seconds for the 82 astonished Mosquito crew members to wink their 164 eyes several times in disbelief before shouts of "JUNKERS!" filled the radio.


What followed can only be described as “feeding frenzy”. Mosquitoes were crossing in front of each other racing to what may be their last opportunity to get an aerial kill in the war. Sq. leader Alec Gunnis recorded that the sea was ablaze with aircraft: "Five times I had a Ju in my sights and each time another Mosquito crew mixed in and shot it down before I could draw a bead". Leader of the strike force, Air Chief Marshal Foxly-Norris recalled: "Mosquitoes were pushing and shoving like housewives in a bread queue to get at their unfortunate targets". Flight Lieutenant Walley Webster: "Hit one in the starboard engine - caught fire and dived into the sea. Lined up a second, but the guns would not fire - fired off the rockets, but missed!"


9 of the Ju-88s were shot down into the north sea. Amazingly, the wild melee, the bad weather, and the fading daylight enabled 9 Ju-88s to escape (some heavily damaged) and make it back to Stavanger. No mosquitoes were seriously damaged. The Search & Rescue Warwick that escorted the strike force and was following 10 miles behind them called up on the radio and reported: "I say boys, an 88 has just passed me at 50 feet with the gates (throttle) wide open, going like hell for home!". This caused quite a laugh.


Only 41 Mosquitoes took part in the melee. The missing one had become separated from the group on their way to Norway, over Denmark. He instead found a staff car with a swastika painted on it and strafed the hell out of it before turning for home - another unlucky German. At Coastal Command HQ Commander-in-Chief Sholto Douglas enjoyed himself by telephoning Fighter Command 13 Group (the escorting Mustangs) and offering fighter escort to their Mustangs when and if required.


This would prove to be the last WWII aerial kills of the Banff strike wing, or any other UK-based fighter. What was supposed to be the "last Hurra!" of KG26 has become a glorious last victory to the Banff strike wing. The wing would continue their daily patrols and anti-shipping raids till the last day of the war, and even slightly after in fear of Kriegsmarine vessels that were not informed of the surrender or that refuse to comply.



"A Separate Little War" by Andrew D Bird

"Mosquito" by Sharp & Bowyer



Since I don't have any picture from this raid, here is how a Ju88 looks like through the eyes of a Mosquito.

This is NF.II over the bay of Biscay. A Ju-88 can really resemble a Mosquito from certain angles... The date 11-6-43 Means that FB.VI model just started entering service a couple of weeks before, and would soon replace NF.II in daylight and Intruder operations. 25 Squadron operated a mix of AI carrying night fighters and FB.VIs.



Edited by Bozon

“Mosquitoes fly, but flies don’t Mosquito” :pilotfly:

- Geoffrey de Havilland.


... well, he could have said it!

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