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Built under Contract #555/C.23 as a Mosquito B Mk.IV Series II at Hatfield, as part of the first batch of 50 aircraft between 11 April and 13 August 1942. After conversion to PR Mk.IV, the aircraft was delivered to No.1 PRU at RAF Benson, where it received code LY-G.

According to Paul Lucas excellent Combat Colours #5 (Mosquito PR and Bombers), it was decided that the early production B Mk.IV and PR Mk.IV to be painted in the then newly introduced Day Fighter Scheme of the upper surfaces painted in Dark Green and Ocean Grey with the under surfaces being finished in Medium Sea Grey whereby the PR Mk.IV in PRU Blue on the under surfaces.

Despite the agreement to produce PR Mosquitoes with the Day Fighter Scheme on the upper surfaces, this does not appear to have happened as when the first PR IVs began to appear in April 1942, they seem to have done so in a variation on the scheme applied to the PR Is. This scheme is said to have been Sky Grey and Dark Slate Grey on the upper surfaces with PRU Blue on the under surfaces.[N 1]

Why this scheme was applied is unknown, but one theory is that there was some problem with the supply of the correct paint as Ocean Grey was a relatively new colour in April 1942, which might not have yet been available in quantity, and Sky Grey and Dark Slate Grey would have been the closest colours which could be obtained in quantity at the time.

On 24 August 1942, Lt Wool had to shut down the right engine of DK310 on the return leg of a reconnaissance flight to Venice due to overheating. Realizing he could not make it back to the UK, he decided to land at Bern-Belpmoos where the crew failed to destroy the aircraft before the Swiss military took control.

Pictures taken at Bern-Belpmoos show the aircraft with the right side upper engine maintenance panel in a lighter colour than PRU blue. It is widely reported that this panel was painted in Sky Grey as used on the upper camouflage.

Permission was granted in August 1943 to test the aircraft in Switzerland which was the task of the Kriegstechnische Abteilung (KTA) which stands for war technology department. KTA assigned the code E-42 (E for England and 42 for 1942), but it was never painted onto the Mosquito. A KTA test pilot flew the aircraft in September 1943 to Dübendorf near Zurich. Prior to this flight, the Mosquito received Swiss crosses painted over the RAF roundels and the RAF code and serial had been removed.

Soon after the aircraft was flown to Emmen where the Eidgenössische Flugzeugwerk (F+W) was located which produced the C-36 and was an ideal location for testing the Mosquito. The KTA conducted 23 test flights during 1944 and the aircraft was finally purchased from the British Government in July of the same year.

In the meantime, Swissair showed interest in the Mosquito to use it as a fast mail plane. E-42 was flown from Emmen to Dübendorf in October 1944 to adapt the aircraft for this task which included the addition of the red and white stripes. The Mosquito received its HB-IMO registration in January 1945 and crew training flights commenced in March. But the idea of a mail service was dropped due to the development in Europe which made the service redundant.

With just under 18 flying hours since its arrival in Switzerland, HB-IMO was returned to the KTA on 7 August 1945 where it received a new identity as B-4. The Mosquito was more often used and with nearly 40 flying hours by the time B-4 was grounded due to several engine defects in August 1946. The aircraft was finally scrapped in 1951 after the engines had been removed to provide spare parts for a second Mosquito with the registration B-5.[1]

Notes[]

  1. The source of this information is a former DH employee who made a model of a Mosquito at the same time as the PR IVs were being built in 1942, using the same paint which was applied to the real aircraft at that time!

Sources[]

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