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MarkH206

A missing Mosquito Night Fighter

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RAF 68 Squadron was formed in 1941 as a night fighter squadron. Initially flying Blenheims they had converted to the Beaufighter If within a few months.

 

One feature of squadron life was regular moves to counter different threats. The start of 1944 saw them at Coltishall in Norfolk followed by moves to Coleby Grange, Lincolnshire and then Fairwood Common (now Swansea Airport). Throughout this time the squadron was operating the Beaufighter VIf.

 

By mid 1944 pilot Flt Lt Frederick Kemp and navigator Flying Officer James Farrar were a regular crew and had been flying Beaufighter VIf serial V8620 since October 1943. Fred Kemp was 30 years old, had married in 1938 and qualified as a pilot in 1941. He must have seemed very mature to the 20 year old James Farrar.

 

Their Beaufighter sorties were largely in response to enemy raiders with the occasional defensive patrol. The squadron records reported the results with phrases like 'No joy' or 'No trade'.

 

On 23rd June 1944 everything changed. 68 Squadron moved again, this time to RAF Castle Camps (on the Essex / Cambridgeshire border) to counter the V1 flying bomb offensive; at the same time converting to Mosquito Night Fighters (NFXVIIs and XIXs) and learning the new tactics required to deal with the V1s.

 

On the night of 26th July 1944 Flt Lt Kemp and F.O. Farrar were flying Mosquito NFXIX serial no. MM679. They had been assigned the call sign 'Ferro 19'.

 

The Operations Record Book (ORB) has them being assigned a diver (flying bomb) but telling control that a plane from 219 Squadron was better placed. They then advised that the diver had exploded (presumably as a result of action by the 219 Squadron plane) and so were given a new vector to patrol. This was at 4.12 am over the Thames Estuary.

 

In the words of the ORB:

“since that message Control were unable to contact Ferro 19 who must now be considered as missing”

 

MM679 and her crew were not heard from again and her disappearance just gets that simple comment in the ORB.

 

The body of Flt Lt Frederick Kemp was later washed up - he is buried in Charlton cemetery, Greenwich, London. No sign was ever found of Flying Officer James Farrar or of MM679. James Farrar's name is consequently included on the Runnymede Memorial.

 

James Farrar's elder brother David became a successful aeronautical engineer, having been assigned to the Bristol Aeroplane Company during the war (although he too had expected to join the RAF), and going on to be involved in the Bloodhound missile and the Space Shuttle.

 

Fred Kemp's wife Ellen, mother to three young children, never re-married.

 

 

Here then is my effort at MM679. This is the Tamiya 1/72 Mosquito NF XIII / XVII. The NF XIII with the bull nose is externally the same as the NF XIX so this is a slight cheat.

 

I had always thought the best looking Mossie was the FB VI with the neat nose with those .303s and cannon. But once I got into the build I developed a strong liking for the looks of the bullnose night fighters – somehow they look rather predatory.

 

The extras I used were a Yahu instrument panel, Quickboost Mossie seats with belts, Barracudacals Mossie stencils and Eduard canopy masks - all of which worked perfectly.

 

I replaced the wingtip styrene aerials with brass and the only fit problem I had was the upper wing halves to the rear of the nacelles where there was a noticeable step to deal with - probably me.

 

Some of the decals were from xtradecal and aviaology sets but I found I was missing the right size of dull red code letters. I was tempted to try painting over some grey letters but in the end didn't have the courage for that and bought some. @Hornet133 helpfully pointed me in the direction of a set for 68 squadron from DKdecals which I ordered from the Czech Republic (68 squadron had several Czechoslovak airmen in exile as crews).

 

I wasn't able to find out the individual code letter of MM679 so (like my previous build) that's blank for now.

All the best

Mark

 

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Very nice work, and thanks for the interesting, albeit sad, back story.

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Ohhhh now that's very nice ( see my lips dribbling ) just wondering if the upper wing roundels are a little bit too far inboard ? 

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Cracking build and photography, Mark. The background story was very interesting.

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Supurb presentation and background information.     

How did you find the landing gear? 

Keep pondering that kit myself  

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Lovley 

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Nice job on that & a lovely tribute to men who perished whilst "doing their jobs"  RIP Messers Kemp & Farrar.

Steve.

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A beautiful rendition of this great aircraft and some stunning photography.  For a moment I was fooled by the first picture, it being so realistic.  Doesn't the bowser look archaic next to the sleek lines of the Mossie?

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19 hours ago, Hairtrigger said:

How did you find the landing gear? 

I thought about how best to get those bits together for a while. In the end I used blu-tack on a piece of card to hold the parts steady and ca glue. The end result is sturdier than it looks when the bits are still on the sprue and the assembled gear fits firmly into the slots in the nacelles.

Mark

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Very nice Mozzie, in my preferred scale!

Thanks for the interesting back story too.

:goodjob:

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That's a stunner.  Fascinating but sad story.

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A very nice Mosquito.

 

AW

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An excellent tribute.

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