The de Havilland Mosquito in the Far East

The Mosquito had a rather chequered career as a bomber in the Far East. It first appeared in that theatre in April 1943, when No. 27 Squadron was given six Mosquitoes to test. In August 1943 they passed those aircraft onto No. 681 (Photo Reconnaissance) Squadron.

No. 47 Squadron was next. They received the FB Mk VI in October 1943, flying their first operation with the type on 25 December. By the end of the month one flight was completely equipped with the Mosquito, but by February 1944 the entire squadron had been moved back to the Beaufighter. No. 47 would eventually begin Mosquito operations in February 1945, after a second failed attempt to convert to the aircraft in October to November 1944.

The first squadron to fully convert to the Mosquito was No. 45 Squadron. It began to receive the FB Mk VI in February 1944, but it would not fly its first Mosquito missions until October 1944. The aircraft suffered from a series of unexpected crashes during 1944, which were officially blamed on problems with the glue used to bind the wood together, caused by the heat and humidity of India. The situation became so bad that in November 1944 all Mosquito operations over Burma were cancelled while the aircraft were checked for air worthiness.

Two more squadrons would go operational with the Mosquito from bases in India, bringing the total up to four. No. 82 Squadron received its Mosquitoes from July 1944, beginning operations in December 1944. No. 110 Squadron received its Mosquitoes in November 1944, and went operational in March 1945.

The four squadrons were used to make attacks on Japanese ground targets in Burma. Amongst them were Japanese air bases, and the communication system, especially the railway and railway bridges. Towards the end of the war some of the units were withdrawn to prepare for the expected invasion of Malaya, but the Japanese surrender meant that this operation never happened. Mosquitoes of No. 110 Squadron dropped the last bombs of the Second World War on 20 August 1945, against a group of Japanese hard liners in Burma. Six years earlier the same squadron had dropped the first bombs of the war.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (15 April 2007), The de Havilland Mosquito in the Far East,

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