The People’s Mosquito has a simple vision: to see the return of the de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito to the skies of Britain. The restoration project is a non-profit and benevolent one whose main aim is to inform and educate the public and future generations on the Mosquito and its place in history by returning this important aircraft to the sky, in conjunction with building a valuable web-based Mosquito resource.
The project began life on Twitter, in the closing days of 2011, when warbird enthusiast and part-time aircraft restorer John Lilley casually tweeted about his longstanding idea of getting a de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito flying in the UK again. The positive response was overwhelming, with general messages of support coming from all over the world and from all types of people. The idea was quickly taken up by other tweeters and it wasn’t long before a core group had come together that eventually transformed into The People’s Mosquito movement. That group has now grown to a virtual army (or should that be ground crew?) of well over seven thousand, with followers and supporters on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, from all parts of the world.
Funding for the project will reflect the public movement seen during the Second World War when many aircraft were funded by “the people”: companies, towns, villages and organisations. We plan to replicate that model by asking the people of the United Kingdom to help us restore to airworthy condition this magnificent flying memorial that captures the spirit, design brilliance and above all the courage of our nation.
From the outset, one of our primary objectives was to work towards charitable status for The People’s Mosquito. We achieved this on 17th July 2012, when we became an Incorporated Charity
– technically a Company limited by Guarantee, without shareholders and not paying dividends – so we are now officially The People’s Mosquito Ltd. As such we will maintain and operate the restored aircraft, funded by public donation, sponsorship and income from sale of branded merchandise, with the intention of providing many hours of flying displays every year for the people of the United Kingdom.
When we set out on this journey our first task was to gauge your reaction. Would you ‘the People’ be interested in making this happen? Indeed, in these straitened times would there be any public appetite for such a bold endeavour? We asked you to tell us what you thought. Well, over the past two years you have told us. We are very grateful for the great response we have had from so many fearless, lion-hearted and public-spirited people who have shown their support for the project by contacting us via Twitter @peoplesmosquito
or on Facebook
, or by leaving a comment on the site. And support is not only coming from the UK – we now have many organisations and individuals around the world who are doing all they can to spread the word far afield.
We are doing this very differently, with a heavy reliance on online social networking, and this has brought The People’s Mosquito team and its supporters together. And, in a traditionally British way, we will together attempt to achieve something from nothing. Now we have an airframe our plan is firmly set to start turning that into a flying Mosquito. When our goal has been achieved and the project is complete, a UK-based Mosquito will fly again for the first time in nearly twenty years – since the tragic demise of the BAe-owned Mosquito T.III at Barton in 1996.