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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 October, 2004, 14:11 GMT 15:11 UK
Final reunion of Mosquito flyers
George Cash, 83, (left) Joe Patient, 87, and Albert Bernard, 82, (right)
Pilots gathered for the last time
More than 150 airmen who flew Mosquito planes during World War II enjoyed a final reunion on Saturday.

Due to its ageing membership, the Mosquito Aircrew Association gathered for the last time at the Royal Air Force Museum, London.

Members have inspected one of the planes - considered one of the most dangerous during the war as it could outpace any other aircraft.

The association was set up in 1991 for the veterans to reminisce.

Founder member Eric Atkins, who won numerous medals as a flight lieutenant, said the Mosquito was "like a racehorse" compared with the "drey horses of metal aircraft".

THE MOSQUITO
Top speed 400mph
Fastest aircraft in Bomber Command until May 1951
7,781 built
Crew of two instead of six
Designed 1938
Manufactured 1940
Built by de Havillands
Speaking at the reunion, Mr Atkins told BBC News 24 he felt "nostalgic" after inspecting the plane again on Saturday.

"It was the most multi-combat aircraft of World War Two," he said.

"It's such a beautiful design and a beautiful aircraft to fly. I can remember virtually every operation I did in it, which was 50.

The wooden planes had a top speed of 400mph and were used in the bombing of Berlin on 31 January 1943.

Eric Atkins
It's such a beautiful design and a beautiful aircraft to fly
Eric Atkins

A total of 7,781 Mosquito aircraft were built by de Havillands and produced in the UK, Australia and Canada.

After the Berlin raid, Hermann Goering, head of the Luftwaffe said: "In 1940 I could at least fly as far as Glasgow in most of my aircraft, but not now.

"It makes me furious when I see the Mosquito. I turn green and yellow with envy.

"The British, who can afford aluminium better than we can, knock together a beautiful wooden aircraft that every piano factory over there is building, and they give it a speed which they have now increased yet again. "




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Mosquito pilots reminisce at reunion



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