For Flt Lt Alan Wagner, the night of 5-6 March 1944 involved but the latest in a series of heroic actions. Already, as gazetted exactly a year earlier, he had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the citation praising his “great determination and resource”. Now with No 605 (County of Warwick) Squadron, stationed at Bradwell Bay, Essex, and flying the de Havilland Mosquito FBVI in the night intruder role, he was demonstrating exactly those qualities.
Wagner’s regular mount during his time with 605, NS838, is today depicted by the magnificent Mosquito TIII operated by the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum (FHCAM) from Paine Field in Everett, Washington. As on all the aircraft in its remarkable collection, the details are crucial. On the nose are carried not only the name Wagner gave the original NS838, Wag’s War-Wagon — replicated exactly as it appeared in period — but also five kill symbols: three German and two Japanese. They tell part of his story.
With air-to-air imagery captured for the FHCAM by John Dibbs, that story is recounted in full in the August issue of Aeroplane, out now and available to buy here.