The most famous Downsview-built Mosquito was undoubtedly The "Spook", USAAF F-8 43-34926, Photo of her before she became the Spook, taken at Wright field when undergoing testing. Note the exhaust shrouds removed prior to deployment overseas.. According to de Havilland Canada records, "Spook" was originally KB 315, an early B Mk VII model, and the third delivered to the USAAF. Its crew, pilot Major James Setchell and navigator Captain Jerome C Alexander, successfully ferried "Spook" over the North Atlantic route and down to North Africa. Along with another F-8, "Faintin' Floozie III", piloted by Lt Col Karl "Pops" Polifca, it was delivered to the 32nd Squadron, 5th Pursuit Group, 12th Air Force, MTO, at Oran, Algeria, joining Lockheed F-4 Lightnings and RAF Mosquitos in the photo reconnaissance role.
The "Spook" was employed in photographing potential targets, troop movements, supply lines, enemy bases, etc., in Tunisia, and then later in Sicily and Italy. Setchell was awarded the DFC for flying through intense flak to complete his mission on Jan. 16 and 17, 1944. Eventually, Lt Col Setchell, while flying an F-4 Lightning was hit by flak and ditched off the Greek coast. Secreted away by partisans he was returned to allied hands in Athens in Oct 45.
The 3rd Photographic Group were stationed only briefly in Britain and flew no missions from either Membury or Steeple Morden. They were reassigned to the Twelfth Air Force and undertook photographic reconnaissance in support of operations in the...
"The Spook" - pilot Major James F Setchell and navigator Captain Jerome C Alexander delivered Mosquito 43-324926 to the MTO via Canada, England, Tunisia, eventually Italy. Nicknamed "the Spook" after Setchell's son, 43-324926 was the only de Havilland...