DH98 Mosquito


The history of the Mosquito is well enough known to dispense with a summary here. Many New Zealanders flew the type in RAF service. Best known of these are 487 (NZ) squadron.At the conclusion of World War II the NZ Government considered replacement strike aircraft and in-line with a policy for compatibility with the RAF, the Mosquito was chosen.

The RNZAF ordered 80 FB.6 aircraft to equip 3 squadrons in the immediate postwar period. These were 30 new and 50 reconditioned aircraft. The aircraft were prepared at RAF Pershore in Worcestershire and flown out to New Zealand. Crews were a mix of RAF and RNZAF personnel. Aircraft commenced arriving in New Zealand in January 1947, and due to various delays the last arrived on December 1, 1948. Four aircraft were lost during delivery HR375, PZ196, TA597, TE746), with the remainder being serialled NZ2321 to NZ2396. Four T.3 (NZ2301-NZ2304), and four T.43 (NZ2305-NZ2308) dual control ex-RAAF aircraft were purchased in 1946 and 1947 for pilot conversion. A further ex-RAAF aircraft A52-101, an FB.40 (NZ2320) was acquired following a landing accident at Ohakea - after being repaired the aircraft was sold to New Zealand. The order had allowed for a large percentage of attrition airframes (the RAF formula allowed for 37 aircraft over five years) but only 22 of the aircraft were actually used (by 14 and 75 SQNs). The remainder being placed in storage at Ohakea, Woodbourne, and Taieri.

Although three squadrons were planned (two Bomber Reconnaisance, and one Fighter Bomber), this did not come to pass. The main reason for this was a shortage of ground crew in the immediate post-war period. The bulk of the Mosquito's service was with 75 Squadron. The squadron was formed from 2 Squadron on October 11, 1946. The RAF had gifted the squadron number to the RNZAF in recognition of the work of 75 (NZ) Squadron. The squadron began to receive Mosquitos from November 1946. The role of the squadron included operational conversion, reconnaisance, interception, strike, and search and rescue. Training was carried out in all these roles with the Mosquito. Included in the strike training was the successful sinking of two redundant ships in Cooks Strait (one in 1950 and one in 1952). SAR training included dropping Lindholme rescue equipment. The training was successfully put to use on a number of occassions. The aircraft were flown as far afield as the Chatham Islands, and to an exercise in Fiji in 1950. The most unusual role was as film courier during the 1950 Empire Games (the forerunner of the Commonwealth games) which were held in Auckland.

14 Squadron also briefly operated the Mosquito. The squadron had been on occupation duties in Japan equipped with the Corsair. Reformed on January 24, 1949 as a fighter bomber squadron, the initial equipment was the Oxford. Three or four Mosquitos are believed to have been issued to the Squadron from April 1949. However in July the Squadron took over the multi-engine conversion role previously carried out by the the Advanced Flying School at Wigram. The intended re-equipping with Mosquitos was replaced by eight Oxfords.

The retirement of the Mosquito was announced on April 9, 1952. The replacement was the DH Vampire. The final flights were made at the end of the month. Four aircraft were flown to Woodbourne for storage on April 21, with two more the next day. NZ2306 had been undergoing an engine change and mde the final flight on April 24. A summary of the DH98 aircraft operated by the RNZAF can be found here.

During the Mosquito's service operational losses were:

A number of aircraft were converted to instructional airframes. These included INST123 (NZ2350) and INST124 (NZ2351) at Hobsonville in Aug 1947, INST129 (NZ2396) at Ohakea in 1949, INST140 (NZ2394) at Hobsonville in June 1950, INST148 (NZ2326) at Hobsonville in March 1951, INST155 (NZ2323) INST156 (NZ2322), INST157 (NZ2324) and INST158 (NZ2338) at 4TTS Woodbourne in September 1952), and finally INST159 (NZ2368) also at Woodbourne. These aircraft were eventually broken up, or disposed of through the normal channels.

Disposal of the remaining aircraft began in February 1952. As the aircraft were declared surplus by the RNZAF they were put out to tender in batches by the Government Stores Board. Some aircraft were tendered several times. Some aircraft were purchased to melt down the engines and other metal fittings - the fuselage and wings being burnt or abandoned. A large batch were purchased by Aircraft Supplies Ltd of Palmerston North. Their intention was to sell the aircraft to a Californian corporation, ostensibly for aerial surveying. The Government suspected otherwise and cancelled the export after one aircraft (NZ2384/ZK-BCV) had left the country. The company went into liquidation in 1955.The last batch went to the Ansa Orchard Equipment Company of Upper Moutere in June 1956. Like many of the other aircraft, these were broken up for their wheels, hydraulics and other fittings which could be fitted into orchard and farm equipment.

Of the 89 aircraft purchased by the RNZAF 13 were written off or reduced to spares. Of the rest, only three went to new owners with the intention of preservation. Only one of these (NZ2336) was in fact preserved. The remainder of the survivors have been recovered from remains abandoned after useful items were scavenged. The RNZAF Mosquitos which survive are:

Components of a further FB.6 remain (possibly in California) - NZ2384 was built as FB.VI PZ474 at Hatfield and delivered to 19MU (St Athans) on April 19, 1945. Issued to 80 OTU on May 5, the aiorcraft then went to 132 OTU (East Fortune) on June 13. The aircraft was subsequently stored at 15 MU from February 18, 1946 until it was sold to the RNZAF. After arrival in New Zealand on April 3, 1948 the aircraft was returned to storage. Sold to Aircraft Supplies Ltd of Palmerston North through Government Stores Board tender No.4980 in July 1953, and registered as ZK-BCV on September 2. It flew to California in February 1954 where it was intended for sale to Trans World Engineering Corp of Burbank. Registered as N9909F its subsequent operations are not on record, although it was used by the CIA in South America. Sold to the Insurance Finance Corporation of Studio City, it was based at Whiteman Park. There it slowly deteriorated, and the fuselage was eventually cut in half. Deregistered in 1970, some components and structures of the derelict aircraft were kept in storage with Jim Merizan. One report indicates the remains have now gone to Sweden.

Last Update:- 30 December, 2001

Technical Data

Details are for FB.6


fuselage on trolley - MoTaT cockpit interior - MoTaT fuselage from nose - Ferrymead cockpit interior - Ferrymead cockpit interior - Ferrymead RR Merlin - Ashburton

Close Up

Remember to let me know if you have a request for an image of a particular part of the aircraft. (but remember it might take awhile!)

The following images are of NZ2336 which is owned by John Smith of Mapua. Please note this aircraft is NOT on public display. I was fortunate in getting permission from Mr Smith (who is a very private individual) to photograph this aircraft. The aircraft is stored in a large shed (along with the rest of Mr Smith's collection), so access is difficult. A large amount of material is stored in the area adjacent to the Mosquito, which is why there are no pictures of the 'whole' aircraft.

Compare the condition of the cockpit with the un-restored examples above.

nose gun muzzles tail wheel engine nacelle undercarriage cockpit cockpit cockpit
hatch cockpit cockpit undercarriage undercarriage

In response to requests I made another visit to Mr Smith on ? April 2000, and obtained further cockpit photos. These are shown below.

nose nose nose nose nose nose nose nose nose

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