I have previously put together a post looking at the seven surviving Mosquitos on display in the UK. Since I first put together that post I’ve managed to get around the country and gather plenty of pictures of each example, with that in mind I felt it was a great opportunity to give each example a moment in the spotlight.
What better place to start this series than with the Mosquito Prototype itself, W4050. Back in 2014, when I put the full list together, the airframe was fully dismantled, shortly before being put back together at the end of a major restoration project. I covered the public roll-out of the completed airframe late in 2015 to mark the 75th anniversary of the first flight.
Prior to the recent restoration work the prototype was on display in its own hangar at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum. The airframe was then displayed in a distinctive all over yellow paintscheme, a look which many will associate with the prototype.
The airframe now represents the prototype in the configuration it last flew prior to being grounded in 1944. The most notable change to the previous state is the colour scheme. The top surfaces of W4050 now wear camouflage with bright yellow undersides and the classic “P” for Prototype on the fuselage. The engine cowlings remain in red primer which reflects the finished look of the prototype while undergoing trials for the later model Merlin engine.
Having been grounded in 1944 and used by de Havilland as a training airframe, W4050 was eventually struck off charge in 1947. The airframe was originally lined up to be destroyed at this stage but thankfully was saved from an unfitting fate. After spending a number of years in storage the prototype was placed on display in 1959 where it has remained on display ever since.
Watching the impressive sight of this first example of an iconic aircraft roll out of the hangar at London Colney to the familiar notes of 633 squadron was an incredible experience and the restoration is a testament to all those who worked to develop the Mosquito back in 1940.