Moquito Down! – Frank Dell (8.5/10)

Mosquito Down! is Frank Dell’s (written with Brett Piper) memoir of being a Mosquito pilot shot down in late 1944 on a mission over Germany. After being thrown from his disintegrating aircraft and parachuting into Germany he had the drive to head toward the Allied frontier in Holland aiming to connect up with British forces attacking Arnhem.

Along the way he finds the resistance in Holland. And it is here that his war-time adventures truly begin. It is a gritty story of the end of the war in occupied Holland and of the desperate moves of all the players German and Partisan. It is the story of a man who has suppressed these memories for a lifetime. With most of the players gone he has decided to unburden himself of the atrocities done and seen done during his time behind enemy lines. Many by the Nazis, others by the forces under control of Holland’s occupied government.

This is a great read. At 169 pages the only issue was that there was not enough of the book or of the man I was learning about. I got the feeling that the author was less forthcoming than the co-writer would have liked, yet there is no fault in not being able to fully unburden your soul when you had seen so many things, and done so many things yourself.

This was a read that went from a boy’s own adventure story, to a gritty and harrowing tale of endurance and survival. From desperation and a focus to return to fight another day, to working with partisans for all the right reasons and yet learning that they were playing for their lives. It is finally about the relationships forged by the people of Holland with downed airmen whom they helped in every way. Despite the risks to themselves and their families.

A cracking read. Well worth the time to read through it.

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