About The Team
So who are we? The individuals behind The People’s Mosquito project all have two things in common – a passion for historic aviation and a commitment to seeing one of the Second World War’s most distinguished aircraft flying over Britain again.
John Lilley: Chairman and Managing Director – @spitfireprxix – John is the project lead
Ross Sharp: Director of Engineering and Airframe Compliance – @GRossSharp – Ross is responsible for the engineering and compliance aspects of the project
Bill Ramsey: Operations Director – @William47389777 – Bill will eventually be responsible for developing the Operations Manual for RL249 and other operational matters
Alan Pickford: Director of Finance – @mossiealan – Alan has responsibility for the project’s budget and holds the purse strings
Steve Manning: Company Secretary and IT Director – @verbomania – Steve is responsible for official company business and IT matters
Stewart Charman: Director of Communications – @Charmboy @peoplesmosquito – Stewart has responsibility for our public & press communications, promoting the project and protecting our public image. Please contact him with any questions via the Contact Us page, or via Twitter or Facebook
About The People’s Mosquito
The People’s Mosquito is a registered charity (No. 1165903) with the sole aim of restoring and returning a UK-based DH.98 Mosquito to British skies. Once RL249 is flying we will maintain and operate the restored aircraft, funded by public donation, sponsorship and income from sale of branded merchandise and other sources, listed elsewhere on this website, with the intention of providing many hours of flying displays every year for the people of the United Kingdom.
The People’s Mosquito project began life on Twitter, in the closing days of 2011, when warbird enthusiast and part-time aircraft restorer John Lilley, who had previously worked on the restoration of the Imperial War Museum’s Mosquito TT.35 TA719 at Duxford, casually tweeted about his longstanding idea of getting a de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito flying in the UK again. The positive response was huge, 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 to eventually become The People’s Mosquito. That group has now grown to a virtual ‘army’ (or should that be ‘ground crew’?) of many thousands, with followers and supporters all over the world. The core group remains, as the management and lead team, as seen above.
Our aims for the funding of the project will reflect the ‘Presentation’ movement seen during the First and Second World Wars, whereby weapons – tanks, aircraft etc. – were funded by ‘the people’ through public and corporate donation. Although we hope to receive part of the funding from corporate sponsorship and the Heritage Lottery Fund, we plan to replicate the ‘Presentation’ model by asking the people of the United Kingdom to ‘do their bit’ in helping us restore this magnificent flying memorial to airworthy condition. We hope that it will be a memorial that captures the spirit, the brilliance of design and above all the tireless courage of our nation.
We began our fundraising campaign proper in April 2014, and to date have raised £120,000, had our wing ribs built by Aerowood in New Zealand and acquired a number of hard to procure original DH.98 Mosquito items. We’re still a long way from our eventual target of around £7m million, but the evidence suggests an exponential trend in our fundraising as public awareness continues to grow. Our next target is to secure the £75,000 needed as a deposit to commence construction of the aircraft’s fuselage.
When we set out on this journey our first task was to gauge public reaction. Would ‘the people’ be interested in helping us make this happen, and would the public have the appetite for such a bold undertaking? We have been overwhelmed by the exceptional response we have had from people showing their support for the project through the social media network, the website and of course at airshows and events around the country. Moreover, support is not only coming from the UK – we now have many organisations and individuals around the world who are playing their part in spreading the word far afield.
Our approach to the challenge of restoring a rare WW2 aircraft to flight is distinctly different, with a heavy reliance on social networking, and online services have played an integral part in the development of the project over the past three and a half years. They have helped bring The People’s Mosquito team and its supporters together, and being spread globally as it is, the TPM Board of Directors have relied on online services to regularly meet up, keep in touch and keep moving the project forward.
We were honoured in the summer of 2014 when the famous test pilot, the late Capt. Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown, RN, agreed to become our patron. Capt. Brown, who sadly passed away in February of this year, was the first man to land a heavy twin-engined aircraft on the deck of a carrier, when in March 1944 landed an adapted Mosquito FB.VI on the deck of HMS Indefatigable. He cited the de Havilland Mosquito as being one of the three most important British aircraft of the Second World War – the other two being the Spitfire and the Lancaster. We mourn his loss and will miss his stoic and enthusiastic support.
In a traditionally British way we will, together with our supporters, attempt to achieve something from nothing. We have an airframe, in RL249, we have reserved the registration marks G-FBVI and 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 British-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.