Mosquito PR41 VH-KLG

By Steve Mackenzie

The Australian-built, ex-RAAF Mosquito VH-KLG (ex A52-324) was a private entry in the 1953 London to Christchurch air race. It crashed on way to Londom for the start of the race, when flown by ex Squadron Leader Titus Oates. On the 2nd of October the plane left Perth, Western Australia for Cocos Island, but was forced to turn back by 120 mile per hour winds, landing at Carnarvon. The following day they took off again and reached Cocos, about 1,800 statute miles from Perth. They departed Cocos for Colombo in Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, a journey of 1,760 statute miles at 5:16pm Sydney time on 02 Oct 1953. More details of their subsequent forced landing can be found on the ASN Database Click here.

Completed as a PR41 and renumbered as Mosquito A52-324. 07/05/48 2 AD. 28/05/48 3 AD Archerfield QLD. Stored. 06/11/52 Sold to A Oates DFC to compete in the England to New Zealand Air Race. It became VH-KLG in recognition of the spark-plug manufacturer who sponsored the flight. (Wilson p.192). The excerpt from the Stewart Wilson 'Beaufort, Beaufighter and Mosquito in Australian Service' book is basically correct, except that the airframe was not SOLD to Titus Oates but a free issue. See the attached page from Geoff Goodall's website Click here for the full story. If you want to see the full page with images go to Geoff Goodall's website ''.

This article is going to look at the colour scheme on the airframe. The usual interpretation is that the airframe is Red overall (a dark Cherry Red) with wing and tail VH-KLG regos in White and the Red 'Ampol' inscriptions Red with White outline. The Race number '6' is Black on a White circle. However when I discovered the three above images on the State Library of NSW website it was clear that all the regos and fuselage 'Ampol' markings were plain Red at the time the photos were taken (the SLNSW website says 30 Sep 1953, only two days before it left Perth on it's journey). Compare them to the photos below of VH-KLG which are the ones that people have been interpreting (At least 2 of these were taken at Cocos Island after their first abortive attempt.

One can see from these 3 additional photos why people have interpreted the scheme as they have. So which is correct ? My initial thought from the SLNSW images was that the airframe was Gloss Black with regos etc in Red (Red markings on a Red airframe did not make a lot of sense to me initially). But from some googling on Trove I found one newspaper report at the time specifically saying that the airframe was Red. So I have to admit that Red it was.

I have to agree from the 3 photos above that the 'Ampol' markings on the fuselage have been outlined in White at the last minute before the attempted flight to Europe (probably as the Red lettering did not stand out on a Red fuselage) but I suspect that despite what it may appear from the photos that the regos are still plain Red, just suffering from a washed out appearence in the photos. VH-KLG would make a spectacular model, decals were made by DK Decals on sheet 72012 (the interpretation with White regos, currently out of print but ask around as a mate may have a partial sheet). Unfortunately the equivalent 48005 sheet did not include this scheme.

Use the index button to return to the main issue 35/4 index.