de Havilland Mosquito
- Crew: 2 Max Speed: 370mph*
- Service Ceiling: 34,000 feet
- Range: 1,600 miles
- Engines: 2 x Rolls Royce Merlin engines
- Length: 41 ft 2 inches*
- Wingspan: 54 ft 2 inches
- Height: 17 ft 5 inches
- Weight: 20,000lbs loaded
- * Later Mosquitos broke 400mph.
The de Havilland Mosquito was the fastest and most versatile light bomber of the Second World War, relying on speed for defence.
With no defensive armament, a light wooden airframe and power supplied by two Rolls Royce Merlin engines, the Mosquito had a top speed of over 400 mph (643 kmh) and was until 1944 the world’s fastest combat aircraft.
The ‘Wooden Wonder’, as the Mosquito was nicknamed, was first used operationally in May 1942 and proved equally effective as a bomber, night fighter, ground attack and photographic reconnaissance aircraft.
Over seven thousand Mosquitos were built in Britain, Australia and Canada. After the war they continued in use as fighters until 1952 and others, including this example , were converted to tow targets for anti aircraft gunnery practice.
The first Mosquito sortie was made on September 20, 1941, when a single aircraft made a reconnaissance flight over France. At home, the Mosquito night fighter, carrying A.I Mk IV airborne radar, began to take over from the Bristol Blenheim.
By late 1942, the Mosquito was becoming operational in ever increasing numbers, and its unique qualities of very high speed and long range were clearly ideal for a particular mission then being planned.