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de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito HR339

NZ 2328 in service with 75 Squadron RNZAF (RNZAF Official Photo).

The de Havilland DH.98  Mosquito is a multi-role aircraft designed by the de Havilland Aircraft Company in the late 1930's. The Mosquito is remarkable in many ways, not least of which is its all wooden frameless monocoque construction, which resulted in a very light, fast aircraft while sparing strategic materials such as aluminium, a significant advantage for an aircraft produced in wartime Britain. The Mosquito's speed and maneuverability are the stuff of legend, and its success in target marking with the RAF Bomber Command's Pathfinder Force, as well as its use in famous raids such as the low-level attack on Amiens Prison known as Operation Jericho have assured its place in the history books. Over 7700 Mosquito were built with production spread between a number of factories in the UK (including furniture manufacturers - another advantage of the wooden construction), as well as in Australia and Canada. Variants included bombers, fighter-bombers, night-fighters, trainers and photo-reconnaissance aircraft. 

The RNZAF took delivery of 85 Mosquitos (mostly FB VI fighter-bombers) between 1945 and 1948. Only 22 of these aircraft were eventually used (serving with 14 & 75 Squadrons), with the remainder placed in storage. The type had a relatively short service life with the RNZAF, being superceded by the de Havilland Vampire fighter in 1952. 

Ferrymead Aeronautical Society holds the remains of two airframes, which are hoped to be sufficient to complete a single aircraft - one of only about 30 surviving worldwide. 

The fuselage of NZ2328 being loaded for transport from Maheno to Christchurch in 1972 (Denys Jones photo) 

NZ2328 (RAF serial TE758) was built by the Standard Motor Company at Coventry in the UK in 1945. Never allocated to an RAF Squadron, the aircraft was placed in storage until sold to the RNZAF in 1947. It was then flown out to New Zealand  arriving on March 28 1947. NZ2328 saw service with 75 Squadron up until the type's retirement in 1952. She was then sold to Oamaru farmer T.L. Haymen, and later onsold to James Clark of Maheno. The fuselage of NZ2328 (the wings had been sawn off outboard the fuselage) then lay under a hedge on the Clarke property until 1972, when she was acquired by the Ferrymead Aeronautical Society, and moved to Christchurch. In 2006 she was moved from storage in the Society's workshop to a purpose built workshop nearby. The remains on NZ2328 held by the society include the fuselage, fin, rudder, elevators, flaps and undercarriage.

The fuselage of NZ2328 in the newly completed restoration workshop in 2006. (Denys Jones photo)

NZ2382 (RAF serial HR339) was built by the Standard Motor Company at Coventry in the UK and saw service with 487 (NZ) Suqadron RAF and 16 Squadron RAF during the latter stages of the Second World War. Repairs to apparent flak damage on the surviving rear fuselage of the aircraft suggest that she is a combat veteran.  Following the end of the war she was sold to the RNZAF and was flown to New Zealand, arriving on March 24 1948. She was intended to be placed in storage at Taieri near Dunedin, but a taxiing accident at Wigram damaged the aircraft to the extent that it was sold for scrap. The remains were bought by Pigeon Bay farmer Bruce Goodwin. The aircraft was cut into pieces small enough to fit onto his Commer truck, and was transported to Pigeon Bay. The surviving components comprising the aft fuselage, fin, wings (in four pieces and minus the centre section) engine nacelles, undercarriage and many smaller parts were acquired by the Society in 1970, and are now stored pending restoration and inclusion with NZ2382. 

The two Merlin engines being readied for transport. (Denys Jones Photo).

Two Rolls Royce Merlin XXV engines were located behind a garage in Dunedin, and were acquired by the Society, and other smaller components have been donated to the project over the years. The most recent major acquisition was a set of new-built tailplanes from Glynn Powell of Auckland, who is restoring another Mosquito aircraft (Australian-built T. 43 NZ2308) to airworthy condition. These were exchanged for parts of which the society held duplicates. Components have also been donated by or received in exchange with other Mosquito restoration projects being carried out by Avspecs Ltd in Auckland and Tony Agar of Coventry in the UK, as well as other museums and members of the public.

The eventual plan is to create a single aircraft restored to static display standard. The aircraft will bear the identity of HR339 of 487 (NZ) Squadron RNZAF as a tribute to the Kiwi Mosquito crews who served in the Second World War.

An example of repairs required - the rear fuselage of NZ2328, outer skin and balsa core have completely rotted away in places (Dag Guest photo)

The same area under repair - all fittings have been removed for corrosion treatment and painting. The rotten timber has been cut away and a new balsa core and outer skin made and fitted. (Alex Liggett photo)

The first of the two Rolls Royce Merlin XXV engines is nearing completion. (Dag Guest photo)

Current efforts are focused on restoration of the engines and rear fuselage as well as acquisition, conservation and restoration of smaller metal parts. The fin, bomb and cannon bay doors, and one engine are largely complete.

Restoration of HR339 is ongoing. Any donations of money or parts to help complete this project  would be gratefully received. Contact the Society via the contact page if you can help.