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|Signatures on this item|
Flight Lieutenant Maxwell N. Sparks A.F.C., R.A.F.
|Flight Lieutenant M.N. Sparks A.F.C., R.A.F., gained his pilots wings with the R.N.Z.A.F. in December 1941. Posted to the United Kingdom he joined the newly formed 487(N.Z.) Squadron in September 1942. Equipped with the Lockheed Ventura (a bomber version of the Hudson) the squadron was meant for medium-level daylight “circus” operations, but after losing 10 out of 11 aircraft and crews over Holland in March 1943 it was wisely decided to re-equip the depleted squadron with a different type of aircraft. In September 1943 the Squadron was again operational with the new Mosquito Mk.V1 aircraft, attacking daylight pinpoint targets such as V1 and V2 rocket sites and night intruder sorties against enemy airfields. From D-Day on, 487 sqn. in company with 464 (R.A.A.F.) and 21 (R.A.F.) was part of the 2nd T.A.F., operating behind enemy lines day and night, searching out enemy road convoys, railway troop trains, enemy airfields, etc. – all designed to cause maximum disruption to the enemy forces. Flt. Lt. Max Sparks completed 42 operational sorties with 487 squadron and returned to New Zealand in March 1945.|
|Kev Kavin||Navigator on Mosquitos on the Amiens Raid.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Mosquito||Used as a night fighter, fighter bomber, bomber and Photo-reconnaissance, with a crew of two, Maximum speed was 425 mph, at 30,300 feet, 380mph at 17,000ft. and a ceiling of 36,000feet, maximum range 3,500 miles. the Mosquito was armed with four 20mm Hospano cannon in belly and four .303 inch browning machine guns in nose. Coastal strike aircraft had eight 3-inch Rockets under the wings, and one 57mm shell gun in belly. The Mossie at it was known made its first flight on 25th November 1940, and the mosquito made its first operational flight for the Royal Air Force as a reconnaissance unit based at Benson. In early 1942, a modified version (mark II) operated as a night fighter with 157 and 23 squadron's. In April 1943 the first De Haviland Mosquito saw service in the Far east and in 1944 The Mosquito was used at Coastal Command in its strike wings. Bomber Commands offensive against Germany saw many Mosquitos, used as photo Reconnaissance aircraft, Fighter Escorts, and Path Finders. The Mosquito stayed in service with the Royal Air Force until 1955. and a total of 7781 mosquito's were built.|
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