De Havilland Mosquito ‘LR503’ was one of only 54 B.IX models of the famous “wooden wonder” and holds a unique place in the annals of aviation in that it flew more combat missions than any other allied aircraft during World War II. In total the aircraft flew 213 operations against German forces in Europe.
Mosquito ‘LR503’ was built at the De Havilland plant at Hatfield, England in early 1943 before being delivered to No.109 Squadron at Wyton, Huntingdonshire. No.109 Squadron was one of the original Pathfinder Force which made history flying the first radar blind bombing system known as “Oboe” on the night of the 20th and 21st December 1942. Upon joining the squadron ‘LR503’ received the unit code letters HS-C.
The aircraft began it’s epic combat flying career on 28th May 1943 by marking targets in the city of Krefeld along the Ruhr for a force of heavy bombers. Ten months after delivery to No.109 Squadron the aircraft was transferred to No.105 Squadron at RAF Bourn and on June 3rd 1944 the aircraft flew its 100th mission. Just three days later, on D-Day, the aircraft was especially busy flying two missions in direct support of the landings. It was with No.105 Squadron that the aircraft received it’s ‘F’ identification code and from then on was always known as ‘F-for-Freddie’.
The last year of the war was especially busy for ‘F-for-Freddie’ with the aircraft averaging at least one mission every three days. ‘LR503’ flew its last combat operation on April 10, 1945 with the target being the Wehren marshalling yards in Leipzig. Less than a month later the war in Europe was over. Unfortunately, just two days after VE Day, the aircraft crashed while on a goodwill tour in Canada killing it’s crew; F/Lt. J. Maurice W. Briggs, DFM, DFC, and DSO and F/O John C. Baker, DFC and Bar.
Thanks to Aviation Trails for bringing this story to my attention. Anyone interested in visiting Britain’s historical airfields should take a look at the site.