These are the main pages on this website about the Path Finder Force Mosquitoes.
Bennett, the Mosquito, and Equipment
in the early days of the Pathfinders, 109 Squadron was equipped with Wellingtons. The squadron and Bennett himself became convinced that the Mosquito, then only available in small numbers, could do the job much better
To refine their accuracy in marking the targets, the Pathfinders used sophisticated navigational aids, one of which was Oboe. 109 Squadron, flying Oboe-fitted Mosquitoes, were often leaders in the bombing raids, and they had a number of star aircrew, including Group Captain H Bufton, one of Oboe’s pioneers.
1409 Met Flight
The Met Flight’s Mosquitoes were unarmed, light, and very fast. The crews’ primary duty was to ascertain the weather conditions over the targets before an operation. They also checked weather conditions over the British Isles, which were critical to the safe take-off and landing of operational aircraft.
PFF MOSQUITO SQUADRONS AND CREWS
Squadrons and Squadron Codes
- 1409 Met Flight
- 105 Squadron – GB
- 109 Squadron – HS
- 128 Squadron – reformed September 1944 – M5
- 139 Squadron – XD
- 142 Squadron – reformed October 1944 – 4H
- 162 Squadron – reformed December 1944 – CR
- 163 Squadron – reformed January 1945 – there is a considerable query over what code this squadron had
- 571 Squadron – 8K
- 608 Squadron – reformed August 1944 – 6T
- 627 Squadron – A2
- 692 Squadron – P3
See also Little Staughton, home to 109 Squadron: Little Staughton, 109 and 582 Squadrons
There was a Mosquito Training Unit at Warboys, the MTU, which appears to have been a sub-division of the NTU. Certainly in this particular navigator’s logbook, the MTU is named rather than the NTU.
Mosquitoes were also amongst the aircraft flown at the PFF NTU, the Navigation Training Unit not without mishap as in the case of this particular aircraft on New Year’s Eve, 1944:
Mosquito IV DZ589, from the Pathfinder Navigational Training Unit, took off from Warboys at 12:57 on a daylight training sortie. It was struck by lightning at around 12,000 ft. The engine caught fire and the aircraft crashed at Benwick.
The beautiful image on this page is of the grave of Ray Hutchings Logan, a Mosquito navigator, who lost his life on 28 May 1943 when the Mosquito he was flying in was hit by a German nightfighter and exploded in mid-air. The pilot, Chrysler, survived by coming down by parachute.
On 4 November 1944, at five o’clock in the morning, there was a horrendous crash at RAF Wyton. The details of what happened can be read in the ORB. The aircraft returned from Berlin on one engine, came in too low, and hit a bulk petrol installation. Both the crew were thrown clear of the aircraft,
In August 1942, 105 Squadron became one of the foundation squadrons of the Pathfinders. Based first at RAF Marham, Norfolk, it was transferred to RAF Bourn in Cambridgeshire when 97 Squadron, flying Lancasters, left. In the post below, Joan Beech a WAAF stationed at RAF Bourn when it was a Pathfinder station, describes the moment that the Mosquitoes arrived.
Joan Beech, had a wonderful gift for small anecdotes. A section of her book One Waaf’s War deals with 105 Squadron, and she amusingly describes one particular Mosquito crew – Jimmy, the pilot, and Henry, the navigator:
Alistair Woods was a Mosquito navigator stationed with 105 Squadron at Bourn. He had already completed a tour on Main Force Halifaxes before he joined the Pathfinders’ 105 Squadron at RAF Bourn.
After a tour overseas, Lionel Wakeford returned to England to fly Wellington bombers and then Mosquitoes with the Pathfinders’ 139 Squadron. By the end of the war he had flown over 2,400 hours, was twice mentioned in Dispatches, and awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
We love this photograph of a 627 Squadron Mosquito because it shows an aircraft which has clearly had its fair share of battering, and because all the details of the machine and its attendant humans are so clear.
Sid Parlato was from Upper Hutt, near Wellington, New Zealand. He flew 54 operations on his Mosquito tour. These were with 139 Squadron (a flight of which went on to become the basis for the formation of 627 squadron) and then with 627 Squadron, between 13 November 1943 and 6 October 1944.
On our page about Sid Parlato, we gave brief details of the training accident in which he was killed. Sid was buried in Cambridge City Cemetery, as were other victims from the same training accident, including the pilot of the Lancaster, Norman Henry Orchard, RAAF.
More on Sid Parlato and Dai Thomas, his navigator, who survived the war:
In an unusual move, on 24 August 1944, only two weeks after completing his Lancaster tour with 97 Squadron, Peter Drane joined 139 Squadron as a Mosquito pilot. His Lancaster navigator, Charles Trotman, did not want to start a new tour, and the navigator with whom Peter flew in 139 Squadron was Kenneth Swale.
Here are some sensational photographs of a Mosquito that made it safely to the ground in what can only be described as a tattered condition. There is a great mystery about this particular incident, and if anyone can shed any light on it we would very much like to hear from you.
MOSQUITO WEEK – September 2018