Mosquito in the forest

Overnight 26th to 27th July 1944 a Mosquito Light Bomber from the Royal Air Force crashed on a lonely hillside above Ternaud in the Rhone Alpes region. Both Pilot and Navigator were killed.

627 Squadron


The plane was part of the RAF’s 627 Squadron, originally created in 1943 as a light bomber squadron based at Oakington Cambridge. However, in April 1944, it was transferred to Woodall Spa in Lincolnshire attached to No 5 Group of Bomber Command. Its primarily role was to engage in bombing, target marking and photographic reconnaissance. The Squadron whose motto was at first sight had an illustrious history. It contributed to some very impressive and courageous acts during its brief history up until it’s last operational mission in April 1945 over Norway[

627 Squadron was equipped with the de Havilland Mosquito a very fast bomber designed for two crew. A pilot and a navigator / radar operator, there was however some suggestion that a single passenger could be carried in the aircraft’s bomb bay, when temporarily adapted for the purpose. [See information below]

It was made almost entirely of wood and had a maximum speed of 589 km/h and a range of 1400 km

Further information

The Mosquito’s normal payload was bombs or flares to mark the target for heavy bombers, hence the name Pathfinders.

However, with some adaptation, a further passenger could be carried in the bomb bay. This technique is detailed in the following publication. “BOAC Special”. Aeroplane(Stamford: Key Publishing) (April 2015): pp26–49. ISSN 0143-7240.

One example of an incident  involving a Mosquito on such a mission was on 19 August 1944, de Havilland Mosquito G-AGKP crashed into the North Sea off Leuchars, Fife. All three people on board were killed.

F/Lt (71751) Gilbert RAE OBE (pilot) BOAC (RAFO) – killed
2nd Radio Officer Donald Trevor ROBERTS (nav./rad.) BOAC – killed
Capt. Bernard William Basil ORTON (pass.) BOAC – killed

A further search of what exactly Capt. ORTON was doing on this aircraft at this time proved negative, other than the flight was inbound from Stockholm and he was formally a Flight Lieutenant in the RAF .

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