The legendary, much loved and respected 'wooden wonder' Mosquito was perhaps the best twin-engined fighter-bomber of its size to see combat action during WW11. More than 7,700 de Havilland Mosquitoes were produced and served in many versions, from fighters, night fighters, bombers, attack aircraft, trainers, reconnaissance aircraft, torpedo bombers and civil transports.
Signed by the RAF’s top night-fighter pilot Wing Commander Branse Burbridge DSO and Bar, DFC and Bar (85 Sqn. Pilot) gained his wings in 1941. Putting duty before personal feelings as a conscientious objector Branse, together with his navigator, Bill Skelton, became known as “The Night Hawk Partners”.
The two of them went on to shoot down 21 enemy aircraft - 16 during a seven-month period. The total included a Bf110 and three Ju88Gs during the night of 4-5 November 1944. Their officially credited 21 enemy aircraft destroyed made the pair the top night fighting crew in the whole of the RAF. Branse recalls, “I always tried to aim for the wings of enemy aircraft – and not the cockpit. I never wanted to kill anyone.” The citations for their awards paid tribute to both men setting “an unsurpassed example of outstanding keenness and devotion to duty”.
Wing Commander Branse BURBRIDGE - RAF's top night fighter pilot