Review: De Havilland Mosquito 1940 onwards (all marks)

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- Credit: PIL JAN13 BOOKS&GEAR

£21.99, hardback, 177 pages, B & W and colour illustration throughout

How happy it is that the Haynes ‘Owners’ Workshop Manual’ series should reach a new peak in quality, both in terms of illustration and — more importantly — the words, with a volume on one of the most admired warbirds of the all, the DH98 Mosquito. Covering everything from de Havilland’s radical initial conception of an unarmed bomber that would evade fighter interception through speed alone, through its outstanding wartime service in a multiplicity of roles to the use (and abuse) of surviving examples in films like 633 Squadron, this book paints a remarkably full picture of what DH chief stressman Ralph Hare said was ‘probably man’s highest engineering achievement in timber’. An extraordinary amount of information is contained in these 177 pages, not least on the gigantic effort involved in ‘restoring’ a Mosquito to airworthy condition today (because of the unverifiable condition of hidden glued joints, this almost inevitably involves a complete new airframe build). The illustrations are well chosen — especially those showing wartime production, surviving aircraft are listed, there are both appendices covering Mosquito variants and typical performance data, a bibliography and a full index. It’s easy to imagine that even the experts will find something here they didn’t know: this is a very fine book indeed.