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139 Squadron Mosquitos with 'Dad's Army' platoon below

139 Squadron De Havilland Mosquitos with Dad's Army

De Havilland Mosquitos
A Limited Edition of 850
Image Size 12" x 22" (305mm X 560mm)
Price £40 inc Postage and Packing

De Havilland's 'Wooden Wonder' made its operational debut on 17th September 1941. Probably the most versatile aircraft of it's time, there were 7781 built with 50 variations on the original design, allowing it to function superbly as both Fighter and Bomber, and despite it's relatively small size, to carry the same bomb load as the much larger 'Flying Fortress'.

Originally intended as a high altitude bomber, the unarmed Mosquito's potential at low level was soon recognised when a photo reconnaissance sortie over Cologne by Sqn Ldr Channer, flying beneath the smoke cloud from an earlier attack, proved that its speed alone allowed it to penetrate heavily defended areas.

Further low level operations followed - often at roof-top height as evidenced by the chunk of Danish chimney pot brought back from a diversionary raid on Flensburg after it crashed into the cockpit during a particularly low piece of flying.

The role of the Mosquito as a fast, low level bomber was confirmed - but as this print shows, the necessary flying skills needed practice . . .

Traveling at well over 300 mph, two 139 Sqn. Mosquito crews swoop over the English countryside, utilising the last few hours of daylight on a winter's afternoon to rehearse the shallow dives and contour hugging runs that will soon be taking them deep into enemy territory - and back again.

On the ground below, the Home Guard are also practising. Equipped with nothing more than ropes, a few oil drums and some planks, the problem of crossing a river is being tackled with varying degrees of success. The church clock stands at just after three, and smoke curling from the cottage chimneys brings thoughts of home and a warm fireside - a cosy contrast to the damp river bank where it is steadily growing colder with the changing weather. The boatman, already feeling the chill, has decided to finish his work by the warmth of his stove, and the farmer and the Land Army girl prepare to roll the last field before dusk. Soon the men will be left alone - to practise, for they too must be ready!

Despite their portrayal in 'Dad's Army', the Home Guard were undoubtedly a dedicated and ultimately professional force which, if the worst had happened, would have fought a desperate last campaign against battle hardened invaders - and it was my every intention to depict them as such. However, the temptation to inject a little humour into a picture was too much for me, and you may think you recognise some familiar figures from Walmington-on-Sea . . . I couldn't possibly comment.

The aircraft depicted are standard B Mark IV's of 139 Sqn. (code letters XD) who were reformed at Horsham St Faiths on the 8th June 1942. Only the second Squadron to equip with Mosquitos, they spent several months 'borrowing' 105 Sqn. aircraft and it is quite likely that the lead aeroplane is one they 'inherited' - it certainly has seen some use!

The tractor that 'Blondie' is standing astride so assuredly is a standard Fordson. It is fairly new as can be seen by it's colour. Previously painted orange, the manufacturer changed to green after the outbreak of war in an attempt at camouflage. I'm very glad they did because apart from my natural concern for Blondie's welfare, a splodge of orange in the corner of the picture would have looked awful!

For all enquiries regarding these prints please contact:
Bill Perring
D'Arcy Collection
8 Marlpit Lane

Tel: 01737 555727