Mosquito LR503 – A Unique Record

LR503

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.

p_freddie5

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.


SPECIAL THANKS
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. 

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14 responses to “Mosquito LR503 – A Unique Record

  1. A Fabulous write up. I recently visited RAF Warboys and RAF Upwood both forming part of this triangle of Pathfinder airfields with RAF Wyton. Mosquitos flew from both these as well, often in pairs or even on their own. A walk circumnavigates the airfield called ‘The Pathfinder walk’ and uses appropriately, a mosquito as its symbol.

    My next trail features both these airfields; Wyton, for the present, still active although its days too are sadly numbered.

    The mosquito was/is a stunning aircraft and deserve a lot of credit, particularly this one. You do it great justice.

    … And thanks for the mention. I shall repost if that’s ok.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Defence of the Realm – Royal Air Force | Defence of the Realm

  3. An excellent and very interesting blog post. And what a very strange ending to such a gallant aircraft. It’s almost as if it knew where it really belonged….in the fire and storm of war. It just couldn’t cope with peace…even two days of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My Father James Molony DFC flew 73 missions in Mosquitoes . I have his actual logbook and it shows 2 missions piloting LR 503 thanks for the information

    Liked by 1 person

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