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618 Sqn - Mosquito help


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13 hours ago, EwenS said:

 

Is this the one?

https://www.maritimequest.com/misc_pages/john_stanley_wood_collection/john_stanley_wood_collection_page_20.htm

 

Ignore the caption it is clearly wrong since in Oct 1945 Implacable was making a POW repatriation trip from Australia to Canada (some of the other captions in the series are also completely wrong by the way). The squadron ORB dates this to 10 Oct 1944. Odd thing is though that this event does not rate a mention in the histories I have for Implacable.

 

Wow!  Some fantastic photos there. No, it's none of those but presumably from the same role.  Interestingly, the shot of the aircraft taking off looks to have a code letter, possibly in sky although more likely dull red.  M or W?

 

The shot of the crew.  I suspect that the guy in the greatcoat is Wing Commander Hutchinson, 618's CO.

 

Thanks for posting those.  Greatly appreciated.

 

There's some photos of Highball Mosquitoes in the relevant thread on the Secret Projects forumm whilst Geoff Goodhall's site turned this shot up:

 

DH98-DZ582-ex-RAF-618-Sqn-on-R.J.-McAnal

 

Not the best quality and I suspect it's a poor quality scan from from the Ian Thirsk book.  Not sure when it was taken.

 

Said page is full of good photos, including one of the Mosquito graveyard at Narromine and one of the two Barracudas that 618 retained.

 

https://www.goodall.com.au/australian-aviation/dh98/civilmosquito.html

Edited by The wooksta V2.0
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Australian Archives Series A705 control 9/52/102 DTS [Directorate Technical Services] - Mosquito aircraft - De Havilland representatives reports

 

Read online a page at a time or download the PDF.  Mostly De Havilland Field Service Engineer's reports.  618 squadron is listed as having 24 mark IV, 9 mark VI and 2 PRU Mosquitoes as of late September or early October 1945, all supposedly in storage.  pages 105, 6

 

Canadian Mosquito list on pages 66 and 67 (with comment)

 

Lots of details so lots of relevant or irrelevant pages depending on what you are after.

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1 hour ago, Geoffrey Sinclair said:

Australian Archives Series A705 control 9/52/102 DTS [Directorate Technical Services] - Mosquito aircraft - De Havilland representatives reports

 

Read online a page at a time or download the PDF.  Mostly De Havilland Field Service Engineer's reports.  618 squadron is listed as having 24 mark IV, 9 mark VI and 2 PRU Mosquitoes as of late September or early October 1945, all supposedly in storage.  pages 105, 6

 

Canadian Mosquito list on pages 66 and 67 (with comment)

 

Lots of details so lots of relevant or irrelevant pages depending on what you are after.

Many thanks for the above.

Seems to confirm 24 MkIV (and not 25 per some sources) shipped to Australia Oct/Dec 1944.

12 Mk.VI issued in Australia and 3 lost to July 1945 leaving the 9 noted

3 MkXVI shipped to Australia Oct/Dec 1944 and one (NS735) lost 19/6/45 leaving the 2 noted

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Having pored over various photos of the Operation Oxtail aircraft, landing on Implacable, aboard Fencer and Striker and then at Narromine, I've come to several conclusions.

 

Firstly, the Highball aircraft remained in the standard Mosquito Day Bomber colours of Ocean Grey and Dark Green over Medium Sea Grey and carrying standard markings for UK based Mosquitoes.

 

Secondly, it is only when they arrive in Australia that they are repainted, certainly with Australian national markings.  It is here that it becomes a tad murkier, certainly for the Highball aircraft - the FB.VI continuation training aircraft remained in their standard delivery scheme of RAF Nightfighter colours (Med Sea Grey overall with Dark Green disruptive on the upper surfaces) and only the national markings were changed.

 

Various references give the colours of the Australian based Highball aircraft as Medium Sea Grey and Dark Green uppers with either Azure Blue or PRU Blue, but the photos of the aircraft at Narromine do not bear this out.  Azure Blue apparently has the same tonal values as Med Sea Grey in a mono photo but pictures show a demarcation line and the lower colour is definitely lighter than the uppers.  If the lower colour was PRU Blue it would be darker than the uppers and that's not the case (I would point to the photo of DZ582 U at the top of the page, but the quality is too poor to give a definite conclusion).  I'm minded towards the repaint of the lower surfaces being in RAAF Sky Blue, as suggested by Troy Smith further upthread.  It makes sense that local paints were used for any repaints.

 

The codes look to be in Night, and the suggestion by Richard Franks in his Valiant Wings tome on the Bomber Mosquitoes that the colours were red with a black outline is spurious at best as no photograph appears to bear this out.

 

One final thing about the Oxtail B.IVs that is rarely mentioned but recently confirmed elsewhere on t'interweb - all aircraft modified had a bulletproof bulkhead or plate installed in the nose forward of the control gear which prohibited access to the nose.  AFAIK, no one has mentioned this until fairly recently.

 

The PR16s. All three remained in their standard overall PRU Blue scheme with only the national markings changing.  One at least was repainted at some point in Australia in Aluminium Dope overall as can be seen in the Narromine graveyard photo.

 

Photos of earlier Operation Servant B.IV Highball aircraft are either very hard to find or of poor quality, but they appear to be in standard Day Bomber colours with Sky code letters and black serials.  As far as I'm aware, there are no photos of the ten FB.VI continuation trainers issued to 618 in July 1944 , but there is a photo of PZ281 which was in the same production batch and that's in the standard Nightfighter scheme, so presumably the other ten are similar. 

 

PZ281 was delivered to Vickers at Wisley in April 1945 for conversion to Highball for further trials postwar with the Maritime Armament Experimental Establishment (the combination of machine guns and Highball was apparently quite potent), along with B.IV DZ579 (modified for Oxtail but not sent) and Sea Mosquito TR.33s TW228 and TW230.  These trials were apparently as the Navy were taking up Highball (later Card), but interest had waned by 1947.

 

DZ579 was destroyed when splashback during a test drop ripped off the tailplanes and the aircraft spun into the sea, both crew being killed.  Two other Highball B.IVs survived the war, one ending up as a maintenance airframe.

 

Hope that's of some use.  Certainly food for thought.

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On 05/06/2021 at 17:26, EwenS said:

Many thanks for the above.

Seems to confirm 24 MkIV (and not 25 per some sources) shipped to Australia Oct/Dec 1944.

12 Mk.VI issued in Australia and 3 lost to July 1945 leaving the 9 noted

3 MkXVI shipped to Australia Oct/Dec 1944 and one (NS735) lost 19/6/45 leaving the 2 noted

 

This conflicts with David Vincent's "Mosquito Monograph", who had researched 618 sqn in Australia, and he stated that it was in error. He lists 25 B.IV serials as being on charge when struck off in 1946 then auctioned off.

 

According to Vincent, there were 30 aircraft (27 B.IV and 3 PR.XVI) when 618 embarked, but two B.IVs were left behind (I don't have the list of Oxtail serials to hand to make an informed guess at their identities). The PR.XVIs were definitely on Fencer and Striker as the fin of one, complete with small PR fin flash, is in one photo of the aircraft aboard the carriers.

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16 hours ago, The wooksta V2.0 said:

 

This conflicts with David Vincent's "Mosquito Monograph", who had researched 618 sqn in Australia, and he stated that it was in error. He lists 25 B.IV serials as being on charge when struck off in 1946 then auctioned off.

 

According to Vincent, there were 30 aircraft (27 B.IV and 3 PR.XVI) when 618 embarked, but two B.IVs were left behind (I don't have the list of Oxtail serials to hand to make an informed guess at their identities). The PR.XVIs were definitely on Fencer and Striker as the fin of one, complete with small PR fin flash, is in one photo of the aircraft aboard the carriers.

 

I have all the serials for the various stages of Highball conversions. My question is where did David Vincent get his data from? That is because I have one source that suggests his story might be right. But everything else I’ve seen over the years suggests that only 24 plus 3 PRXVI went to Australia. That is backed up by the official documents from the Aussie archives noted above.

 

Des Curtis, author of “A Most Secret Squadron. The Story of No.618 Squadron RAF” and aircrew in 618 to at least May 1944, wrote that only 27 Mosquitos were loaded on Fencer & Striker in Glasgow ie 24 Highballs and 3 PR.

 

Also the fleet carriers that they were supposed to operate from could each carry 12 when operating Mosquitos. The issue of FB.VI in Australia suggests they couldn’t afford to lose any.

 

Anyway I’ll look through my data and the squadron ORB over the weekend and post what I find.

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I've been back to my records and the ORB.

 

During Sept 1944 the ORB has all 29 of the Highball aircraft in the final configuration (Oxtail) delivered from Weybridge to Beccles. The production data agrees with Bowyer & Sharp "Mosquito" and Mark Huxstable's data over on www.mossie.org. ( www.mossie.org/donated_files/donated_files.htm )Then in Oct one was lost in a crash (11/10/44) and another lost its undercart (3/10/44) when it swung on take off. Embarkation instructions were given to the squadron on 12/10/44 and various mods required to be made to the aircraft before they were flown to Renfrew from 25/10/44. It was a hectic month for them. So 27 Highball Mk.IV were left to be flown up to Renfrew to be put on the carriers.

 

Then on the 28th Oct 1944 the ORB has this to say:-

"All Mark IV and Mark XVI PR Mosquito had by this time been hoisted on the carriers at Glasgow. An instruction was given from Air Ministry through Headquarters, Coastal Command CC/TS. 15250/Ops G. dated 12/10/44 that three of the Mosquito IV aircraft should remain in England for future trials with the weapon, and therefore 24 Mark IV and 3 Mark XVI (PR) aircraft were finally embarked."

 

Where I think the confusion about the 24/25 aircraft issue comes from is the Mark Huxstable Mosquito data I have, which he took from Air Britain Serials. He has 2 aircraft (DZ541 & DZ579) serving with AAEE and MAEE respectively after service with 618. The data for the remaining 25 airframes from Air Britain Serials shows them all as being SOC off charge on 5/4/46 with their last unit in all cases being 618. But how can there be if 618 only took 24 to Australia?

 

If David Vincent was working from the same data he would come to a figure of 25, being 27 flown north to Renfrew minus the 2 aircraft identified as serving afterwards with trial units. But that doesn't fit with the ORB.

 

So I'm satisfied that only 24 Mk.IV and 3 Mk.XVI went to Australia (at least until someone can come up with some conclusive evidence that it actually is 25 - never say never but it would be at odds with the ORB). The only piece of information I'm now missing is the identity of the third aircraft retained in the UK.

Edited by EwenS
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