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Mosquiuto DZ467/ GB:P, flown by P Off Massie, of No 105 Squadron on 1 June 1943

(Rus)  Mosquito bombers carried out several successful far-ranging daylight attacks in the year preceding No 2 Group's removal from Bomber Command on 1 June 1943. The unarmed aircraft relied on their speed and surprise to survive the enemy defences, flying at low level and usually attacking at dusk. The last and most daring mission by the two squadrons, Nos 105 and 139, was flown a few days before their transfer to No 8 Pathfinder Group. The optical glass and instrument plants at Jena were the targets, entailing a round trip of over 800 miles. Six aircraft of No 139, led by the CO Wg Cdr Reynolds, were briefed to attack the Schott and Genosseu glass factory and eight from No 105, led by Sqn Ldr Blessing, went for the Zeiss instrument works. Soon after the aircraft had penetrated the Dutch coast, low cloud and poor visibility was encountered and two Mosquitos were lost in a collision while another had to seek a target of opportunity when an engine failed. Despite the atrocious weather, the targets were reached and reported as accurately bombed. The photograph shows No 105 Mosquitos preparing to take off from Marham at 1920hrs. The aircraft in the foreground, DZ467/ GB:P, flown by P Off Massie, was the only No 105 Squadron aircraft failing to return. Two other aircraft, one from each squadron, crashed on return, one while trying to land at Coltishall and the other at home base. Both crews were killed. (IWM CH18012)


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