Friday, April 18, 2008

The Way We Were ::: 1944 – 1945 ::: CANADA

1944 – 1945 CANADA builds 1,134 De Havilland Mosquito Fighter-Bomber aircraft for the British war effort.

The fuselages were built at the General Motors Plant in Oshawa, Ontario and were shipped to De Havilland of Canada at Downsview, in Toronto. Engine assembly, instruments, radios, radar, fuel systems, engine controls and radio navigation aids were added at Downsview. Test flights of the newly assembled Mosquitos, nicknamed “Mossies” were also conducted there.

All 7, 781 De Havilland MOSQUITO FUSELAGES were built by forming up plywood layers made of 3/8" sheets of Ecuadorean balsawood that were sandwiched between sheets of CANADIAN BIRCH.

Strange BUT True!

MOSQUITOs produced in Toronto had to land, passing over Dufferin Street at car windshield height. A sentry was posted on Dufferin Street to control a manual traffic light that stopped traffic when a “Mossie” came in to land (See my photo of the TAM display above).

The runway was extended in 1944 and Dufferin Street was closed off to accommodate this extension.

A Mosquito IX also holds the record for the most missions flown by an Allied bomber in the Second World War.

Designated LR503, and "F for Freddie", this Mosquito first served with 109 Squadron and later with 105 Squadron. She flew 213 successful operational sorties during the war over occupied Europe.

TWO DAYS after VE DAY she crashed on the 10th of May 1945 at RCAF Station: Calgary (YYC) in Alberta, ironically, during a victory tour.

The Mosquito was doing celebratory high-speed low passes around the airport when it struck a balloon releasing pole that sheared off its port wing and some of the “Mossie” tail.

Both crew were killed, and the accident was attributed to pilot error.

INCIDENTALLY, the USAAF ordered 40 Canadian built Mosquito bombers (B Mk XX version) and all 40 were converted to photo-reconnaissance aircraft and were delivered as F-8s.

Some Downsview De Havilland staff were quite surprised to see these “Mossies” when they rolled out of the factory in American air force (USAAF) markings!

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