Restored WWII Mosquito unveiled at de Havilland Museum on 75th anniversary of maiden flight
- Credit: Archant
One of Britain’s most iconic aeroplanes, dubbed the ‘Wooden Wonder’, was rolled out of its hangar 75 years to the minute after it made its maiden flight as part of anniversary celebrations last week.
The de Havilland DH98 Mosquito prototype, which was the subject of a five year restoration thanks to a £41,000 Heritage Lottery Fund Grant, was reprised at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum in the grounds of Salisbury Hall, London Colney, on Wednesday (25).
Among those in the audience were many members of the national press, The Countess of Verulam, St Albans Mayor Salih Gaygusuz, and Second World War Mosquito aircrew veterans.
After its first flight, made from the company’s Hatfield airfield, the ‘Wooden Wonder’ Mosquito became Britain’s first true multi-role aircraft and fastest operational frontline aeroplane, taking part in a number of famous operations against enemy targets during the Second World War.
The prototype, registration number W4050, was used for three years as a flying test bed for different versions of the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, which powered thousands of the Royal Air Force fighters and bombers.
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It became the fastest Mosquito of the near 8,000 built, reaching 439mph in level flight.
The plane was returned to de Havilland at Hatfield, and in 1959 became the first aircraft at the museum displayed by the owner of Salisbury Hall, Walter Goldsmith.
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During renovation works Mr Goldsmith discovered a number of drawings on a wall. Knowing of the hall’s connection with de Havilland, which in 1940 set up the Mosquito design office there, he asked the company about his find.
The drawings were of the Mosquito and learning that the prototype still existed, he asked de Havilland if he could have it.
The aircraft then returned to the place where it had been designed and built and has since been at the museum on long-term loan.
As it was rolled out of its hangar on Wednesday (25), Howard Mason, heritage manager at BAE Systems which includes the de Havilland Aircraft Co, presented the museum with the official documents making it the legal owner of the prototype.
Today the museum, run entirely by unpaid volunteers, has three Mosquitos on display, more than any other museum in the world.
The museum has now closed for winter maintenance, reopening on Sunday, March 6, 2016.
For information on the museum visit its website www.dehavillandmuseum.co.uk