Book Review: Mosquito by Rowland White
Review by Linda Parker
The RAF’s Legendary Wooden Wonder and its Most Extraordinary Mission
by Rowland White
Transworld Publishers (imprint if Penguin Random House) ISBN978-1-787-63453-4
536 pp B and illustrations
The De Havilland Mosquito may lay claim to being the most versatile, fast accurate and useful aeroplane deployed in the Second World War. Its nickname “the wooden wonder” is well deserved,
It was deployed as a fighter, bomber, spy plane, night fighter pathfinder, torpedo bomber, its major talent being its pin point accuracy on low level bombing against specific targets.
The multiplicity of its uses meant that it was involved in almost every aspect of the air war against the enemy. By examining the whole spectrum of the Mosquitos achievements the author is also able to also intertwine the stories of the resistance in Europe particularly In Denmark, relating the feats of the fascinating characters involved, some not widely known.
The Mosquito of course was manned by exceptional pilots such as Basil Embry, who was involved in many of the major exploits of the plane, pushing its abilities to locate and destroy individual targets such as the Jericho Raid on Amiens Prison and the Shellhaus Gestapo army Headquarters in Copenhagen, its mission being “to find and hit any targets”. The descriptions of these raids are detailed and moving
The whole of the Second World War is drawn into the fast paced narrative as we read about the role of the Mosquito in dropping supplies and personnel to resistance groups, transporting much needed ball bearings from Scandinavia and undertaking vital photo reconnaissance on V1 and V2 sites. At D -day it played a vital role in preventing German reinforcements reaching Normandy. Later after men of the SAS were murdered during Operation Bull Basket, Mosquitos bombed several SS targets in the region. Also Involved in Operation Market Garden, the Mosquitos finished the war in the Middle East.
The book has a wealth of technical detail about the plane and its operations and is well researched, with an interesting selection of primary and secondary sources. It will have a broad appeal not only to enthusiasts of the Mosquito aeroplane but also, to those interested in the major events of the Second World War, in which it played such a large part.
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