Review: Mosquito Down!

Mosquito Down! By Frank Dell with Brett Piper, published by Fighting High www.fightinghigh.com £19.15. Hardback, 208 pages, black and white illustrations throughout

‘Various men passed me on bicycles but only one of them spoke to me. Instead of maintaining a stony silence, like a clot I said “Guten Abend”, which produced some question from my comrade on the road to which I could only make some inarticulate reply. However, after a moment of uncertainty, he pulled off into the darkness.’

On 14 October 1944 Frank Delland his navigator, Ron Naiff, were shot down while flying a Mosquito on a small-scale bombing mission over Germany. Frank parachuted free from his disintegrating machine, but found himself alone in enemy territory. Hiding from soldiers in barns and ditches, the Bomber Command pilot managed to make his way to occupied Holland, where he was discovered by a Dutch family and taken in by a local Resistance Group. Despite the almost certainty of being captured and tortured by the Germans (resistance groups are not covered by the Geneva Convention), Frank decided to become part of the group.

Mosquito Down! is an honest and moving account of the harsh life in Holland under Nazi rule, and the bravery of the families who risked their lives to help Allied airmen. It gives an insight into the day-to-day existence of members of the Dutch Resistance, the experiences of aircrews stranded far from home, and the work done by the Special Operations Executive.

Not only is it an importance piece of modern history, but you will find yourself glued to this account from the moment you decide to pick it up. JR