? de Havilland Mosquito DZ642, Royl Field, Shetland | Air Crash Sites-Scotland

DH Mosquito DZ642

Royl Field, Cunningsburgh, Shetland













Aircraft Photo


BELOW: A de Havilland Mosquito in flight.


de Havilland Mosquito in flight


Photo: [pre-1957] UK Government. Now, public domain.



BELOW: A de Havilland Mosquito B35 Bomber photographed at the Alberta Aviation Museum, Edmonton, Canada.



Photo: 1980 'Bzuk'. Released by the author to the public domain under Wikimedia Commons licensing arrangement.






Aircraft Type and Background


RAF de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito / DZ642 coded AZ-H



(Click here for RAF history of this type.)


Aircraft Type Nickname: "The Wooden Wonder"; "Mossie".



The de Havilland Mosquito was a multi-role combat aircraft which ranged from fighter to bomber to photographic reconnaissance types.

Mosquitoes were equipped with two Rolls-Royce Merlin in-line piston engines. The B IV type could fly at 380mph.

The fuselage and wings of the Mosquito were made largely of wood. This permitted construction of these parts to be sub-contracted to furniture manufacturers and piano builders, thereby relieving the strain on the overstretched conventional aircraft industry.

The first Mosquitoes to enter service with the RAF were the photo reconnaissance types (PR.IX's).







Aircraft Accident Details


de Havilland Mosquito DZ642 took off from RAF Woodhall Spa with two other Mosquitoes. The crew had been briefed to act as target markers at the U-Boat pens at Trondheim in occupied Norway. Lancaster bombers would follow the Mosqitoes to bomb the marked target areas.


The three Mosqitoes were to refuel at RAF Lossiemouth in NE Scotland before proceeding across the North Sea to Norway [map]. However, for some reason, only two of the Mosquitoes left Lossiemouth and flew toward Trondheim.


Shortly afterward, over 170 Lancasters took off to bomb the marked targets. However, fatal to the entire mission, one of the Lancasters had its RT button down (on transmit), so everything that was said in the aircraft was being broadcast far and wide. Needless to say, the Germans picked up these signals from the Lancaster and were well prepared for their arrival. They put up a very effective smokescreen.


In their pre-flight briefing, the Mosquito pilots had been told that their targeting must be very accurate in order to avoid civilian casualties. However, the smokescreen made accurate targetting impossible. For this reason, the raid was aborted.


On the return journey, the pilot of Mosquito DZ642 realised that he was running short of fuel and could not make it back to RAF Lossiemouth. Therefore, he elected to head for RAF Sumburgh in the Shetlands, which was closer. Sadly, however, the Mosquito failed to reach Sumburgh. While flying over the hills north of the airfield, and in poor visibility, the aircraft struck Royl Field (hill). Several days later, three shepherds came across the wrecked Mosquito and reported their find to the authorities.






Aircraft Crew Casualties


Both the pilot and the navigator of this aircraft died in this accident. They were:


  • Flt Lt John Alexander Reid (26), Pilot, RAF.
    (Buried, Row O. 3., Grave 33, Winchester (Magdalen Hill) Cemetery, Hampshire.)



  • Flt Lt Wesley Douglas Irwin (34), Navigator, RCAF.
    (Buried, Square 117, Grave 112083, City of London Cemetery and Crematorium, Manor Park.)



(Please click on the hyperlinked names above for further details at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's website.)






Crash Site Photos


BELOW: Approaching the Mosquito crash site on Royl Field.


approaching mosquito crash site on royl hill.


Photo: © 2014 Jerry Drury



BELOW: Red arrows indicate the location of some of the wreckage parts from Mosquito DZ642.


red arrows indicate wreckage parts.


Photo: © 2014 Jerry Drury



BELOW: Engine casing from one of the two Rolls Royce Merlin engines.


engine casing from one merlin engine.


Photo: © 2014 Jerry Drury



BELOW: Metal plates from the Mosquito.


metal plates.


Photo: © 2014 Jerry Drury



BELOW: Propeller hub with broken wooden blades.


prop hub with broken blades.


Photo: © 2014 Jerry Drury



BELOW: Granite Memorial stone and plaque on Royl Field.


granite memorial stone.


Photo: © 2014 Jerry Drury



BELOW: Closer view of Memorial.


closer view of memorial.


Photo: © 2014 Jerry Drury








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Crash Date / Site



Accident Date: 22 Nov 1944


Accident Site:

Royl Field (hill) (293m)


Nearest main road: A970.


Region: Shetland (Cunningsburgh)


Nearest town or village:



Nearest large towns:

None in this general area.


OS Grid Ref. N/A


GPS Ref: N/A


Present Condition: Various parts of wreckage still remain at the crash site.





Aircraft Details



Registration or Serial: DZ642, coded AZ-H.


Operator: RAF (627 Squadron)


Operating Station: RAF Woodhall Spa. (Satellite to RAF Coningsby)


Station Location: Woodhall Spa, Coningsby, Lincolnshire, England.


Current Station Status:

Military operations ceased. Some station blocks still remain.





Related Links





Royl Field Mosquito Memorial.



de Havilland Mosquito aircraft


General information on de Havilland Mosquito aircraft can be found at:

DH Mosquito.com (History of type)

History in Illustration

uboats.net (Fighting the U-boats)


RAF and Related Links

627 Squadron

627 Squadron in Retirement

RAF Woodhall Spa (Airfield History)

RAF Woodhall Spa at Wikipedia

RAF Lossiemouth

The Dambuster Squadron (617) (Bergen and Trondheim Raids)  


Forums, Organisations, and Societies

The Royl Field Mosqito at Cunningsburgh History Group.

The Mosquito Page (The "Mossie" Organisation)

WW2 People's War (BBC Archives)



De Havilland Museum (Incorporating the Mosquito Aircraft Museum)




Hill Walking Links



(Hillwalking and Mountaineering)

WalkingScotland (The official Walking site of Scotland's national tourism organisation)

Walking Scotland's Mountains



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