View Full Version : NZ Air Race Mossie

1st Feb 2004, 19:48
This photo was taken on the Cocos Islands during the London/New Zealand Air Race in 1953. Pic is from an ex-ground crew rigger who was part of the RAF detachment there to look after the Canberras on their way through.

Showing a Mosquito - VH-KLG, race number 6, Brian Crook (photo taker) reports that this Mossie was taking part in the Speed section of the race but it crashed off the Burma coast.

It is intriguing in that accounts I have read usually give only five entrants for the speed section, all Canberras - 3 RAF + 2 RAAF. Maybe my reading isn't broad enough! :hmm:

Anybody out there able to give some backround to the "civvie", Ampol, Mossie?


Thanks in advance. :ok:

1st Feb 2004, 20:18
My ancient Warbirds Worldwide Directory lists it as a former RAAF PR.41, no i/d given. Registered to A J R Oates/KLG Spark Plugs. Ditched off South Burma Coast 3rd October 53. Two further ex RAAF PR.41s were on the VH- reg then, VH-WAD also for the same event. The other was VH-WWS. Sorry, not much help...

1st Feb 2004, 21:21
Presumably it must have crashed after the race, as Burma is 1500nm North of the Cocos. NW Aus. is only about 1200nm SEof the Cocos, so it would seem a strange route , unless it was on the way home, or............. Who knows the truth???:hmm:

2nd Feb 2004, 00:56
VH-KLG never took part in the race. It crashed en route to London for the start.

2nd Feb 2004, 04:21

I found some more info on http://www.adf-serials.com/

VH-KLG was a PR.41 A52-324 It started life as an FB.40, A52-62 then was converted to PR.41 and re-serialed.


The site also shows some history of VH-WAD and VH-WWS. Searching the site reveals that these were the only 3 Mossies on the VH Register.

2nd Feb 2004, 20:13
The pilots were ex Squadron Leader "Titus" Oates DFC and ex Flight Lieutenant Douglas Swain DFC. Doug Swain acted as navigator. I talked to Doug Swain a few months after the accident and he mentioned that there had been some friction between the two of them over where to prang the aircraft once it was obvious they were lost in bad visibility due weather.

Some years earlier Doug Swain had been flight superintendant of the Sydney Morning Herald Flying Services at Camden NSW, Australia where he flew a DC3 and Hudsons on newspaper delivery services to Northern NSW. At the time I was a general hand age around 17 and flew on the newspaper flights for about 160 flying hours. My job was to help push out the papers, and make some horribly tasting Chicory coffee. In turn, the pilots including Doug would let me pole the aircraft from the RH seat.

Doug Swain was one of nature's gentlemen. Some time after the ill fated Mosquito flight, he talked the management of the Sydney Morning Herald into restarting the SMH Flying Services using a Lockheed Hudson. Previously around 1950, the SMH Flying Services had been disbanded after several fatal accidents. The Manager was a well known Australian pioneer airman Harry Purvis.

Unfortunately, in his keeness to ensure the first proving flight of the revamped Flying Services got through OK, Doug Swain flew too low in trying to fly VMC in low cloud between the hills of the Barrington Tops near Dungog, NSW. He crashed and all three crew members perished. The aircraft was not found until several months later.
Titus Oates died several years ago.

I have a media photo of Oates and Swain with their Mosquito in the background. Will locate it and post it on this thread if I can work out how to do it!

3rd Feb 2004, 02:35
Thanks for the replies chaps, knew you'd come though. :ok:

Have now heard a couple of other things about the subject Mossie. Seems it was dark gloss red overall with white lettering, must have looked good. Also that the crash site was on a beach at Megui, Southern Burma. This last from Brian Cook who flew over the site on his way back to Singapore when the race was over.

Also found out that a number of other "private" <?> entries in the speed section had been withdrawn. These incuded a Royal Danish Air Force F-84 Thunderjet; two Australian PR.41 Mosquitos; a Griffon-engined Mk 24 Spitfire; a Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Mustang and a North American F-82 Twin Mustang.

Again, thanks for the gen troops. :) :ok: