Wings of a Mosquito... Madness star Suggs visits de Havilland Aircraft Museum

PUBLISHED: 16:46 28 August 2018 | UPDATED: 16:55 28 August 2018

Madness star Suggs, right, with de Havilland Aircraft Museum curator Alistair Hodgson. Picture: de Havilland Aircraft Museum / Garry Lakin.

Madness star Suggs, right, with de Havilland Aircraft Museum curator Alistair Hodgson. Picture: de Havilland Aircraft Museum / Garry Lakin.

Garry Lakin

Madness enjoyed a top two hit single in 1983 with Wings of a Dove but it was more wings of a Mosquito when Suggs visited Hertfordshire for a TV programme.

The DH.98 Mosquito B.35 at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum. Picture: Alan Davies.The DH.98 Mosquito B.35 at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum. Picture: Alan Davies.

While Hatfield’s famous aircraft factory did manufacture a short-haul airliner called the DH.104 Dove, Madness frontman Suggs was more interested in the DH.98 Mosquito when he visited the de Havilland Aircraft Museum.

The Our House and Baggy Trousers singer was the star visitor to the London Colney museum when he arrived at Salisbury Hall with a television film crew to record another episode for the WW2 Treasure Hunters series he is hosting for the History Channel.

Suggs, aka Graham McPherson, and the film crew from Emporium Productions came to the Hertfordshire museum specially to film a Mosquito.

The museum has three of the multi-role World War Two ‘Wooden Wonders’ on display at the site where the aircraft was designed during the war.

The DH.98 Mosquito Prototype W4050 at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum. Picture: Alan Davies.The DH.98 Mosquito Prototype W4050 at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum. Picture: Alan Davies.

They were also there to find out about Oboe, the radar-based navigation system used by the Pathfinder Mosquitos in the Second World War to pinpoint their targets where they would drop marker flares for the following bombers.

The filming took place in the main hangar and in the cockpit of the museum’s B.35 bomber version of the Mosquito.

Museum curator Alistair Hodgson explained to Suggs about the development and principles of Oboe, and looked at the practicalities of flying Pathfinder missions.

The Mosquito was the best aircraft for using the Oboe system due to its ability to fly at high altitude.

The DH.98 Mosquito B.Mk.35 at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum. Picture: Alan Davies.The DH.98 Mosquito B.Mk.35 at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum. Picture: Alan Davies.

This meant it could pick up the transmissions from England at long range.

The ‘Mossie’ was also ideal for using Oboe as it was fast, thus avoiding interception by fighters while flying the very precise course needed to locate the target.

Suggs and a metal detectorist have been looking at Little Staughton airfield in Bedfordshire for a future programme, as this was the base for a Mosquito Pathfinder squadron during the war.

To watch the WW2 Treasure Hunters episode, check the History Channel listings or its website at www.history.co.uk/shows/ww2-treasure-hunters

The DH.98 Mosquito B.Mk.35 at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum. Picture: Alan Davies.The DH.98 Mosquito B.Mk.35 at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum. Picture: Alan Davies.

• For more on the de Havilland Aircraft Museum at Salisbury Hall, London Colney, visit www.dehavillandmuseum.co.uk

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