Three in Thirteen

The Story of a Mosquito Night Fighter Ace

Roger Dunsford

The story of Joe Singleton, a Mosquito night fighter pilot in World War II, who shot down three German Junkers planes over Hull in 1944. Traces his journey from beginner to celebrated expert, and the early days of radar technology with which he learned to excel.
Date Published :
March 2017
Publisher :
Contributor(s) :
Geoff Coughlin
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781612004402
Pages : 192
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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The story of Joe Singleton, a Mosquito night fighter pilot in World War II, who shot down three German Junkers planes over Hull in 1944.

Joe Singleton was an unlikely hero. A junior manager at a paints and varnish company at the outbreak of war, he was surprised to discover he had a hidden talent for flying. Despite RAF Fighter Squadrons crying out for replacements after the carnage of the Battle of Britain, Joe was posted to the rapidly developing world of night fighting. He flew first Defiants then Beaufighters as the technological race to field effective night fighters hotted up leading to the first tentative attempts to put radar inside an aircraft. He found himself in the thick of the very earliest stages of ground controlled interception and airborne radar engagements. But the grind of fruitless searches and patrols only served to highlight the futility of lives lost in training and the inherent dangers of flying at night with relatively primitive equipment.

His skills finally began to bear fruit when piloting a Mosquito and he took place in several successful missions. But the pinnacle came on the night of 19th March 1944: scrambled to intercept a big German raid on Hull he located and shot down a Junkers 188, then went on to shoot down two more, all in the space of thirteen dramatic minutes. He and his navigator survived the crash-landing that ensued, and he went on to be feted as a national hero.

Three in Thirteen is a unique sortie-by-sortie account of his journey from bewildered recruit to celebrated expert, illustrated with extracts from Joe’s RAF logbook, and unpublished photographs and illustrations. Roger Dunsford’s extensive experience as an RAF pilot brings a vivid immediacy to Joe’s experiences combined with astute analysis of the planes, the tactics and the events of that fateful night.

About The Author

Roger Dunsford’s Service career took him from Co-Pilot to Captain to Flight Commander on the last Vulcan Bomber Squadron. He was a Vulcan Display pilot before becoming a Qualified Flying Instructor, CO of Southampton University Air Squadron, an Exchange Officer at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado, and Wing Commander Air Battle Staff at the RAF’s Air Warfare Centre. In this last post and as a Group Captain he was involved in the planning and rehearsals for the second Gulf War.

Geoff Coughlin is the founder and editor of a web-based scale modelling magazine, dedicated to helping scale modellers across the globe develop their skills. He is also author of eight titles on scale modelling and an aviation history enthusiast.


Author’s Note – Roger Dunsford
Author’s Note – Geoff Coughlin

Prologue: Luxury and Luck

1 From Paints to Pay Parades
7th September 1939–9th June 1940

2 Out of the Nest, into the Night
10th June 1940–31st October 1940

3 Creamed Off
3rd January 1941–October 1941

4 Front Line at Last – Where’s the Action?
3rd November 1941–16th May 1942

5 Finally into the Fight
16th May 1942–30th September 1942

6 Enter the Mossie
1st October 1942–8th April 1943

7 From Defence to Attack
9th April 1943–4th June 1943

8 A Cornish Interlude
5th–15th June 1943

9 An Exhausting Rest
16th June 1943–29th December 1943

10 Three in Thirteen
30th December 1943–20th March 1944

11 Aftermath
21st March 1944–23rd June 1944



"The Second World War made instant heroes of large numbers of pilots during the Battle of Britain - the eventual defeat of the Luftwaffe over the skies of Britain is something that will never be forgotten. But there were other heroes in the making during the later years of the war, and this wonderful book reminds us of just one of them: Roger Dunsford's story of unlikely hero Joe Singleton isn't a rag to riches story, but it tells a dramatic tale of a man finding something he was very good at and then proving it in the most arduous and terrifying manner possible. Inspirational and thoroughly engaging - a true hero's story."

- Books Monthly

“An inherently compelling read from cover to cover, it is clear that in Roger Dunsford's account of the life and exploits of Joe Singleton he draws upon his own extensive experience as an RAF pilot to brings a vivid immediacy and accurate accounting to Joe's experiences combined with astute analysis of the planes, the tactics and the events of that fateful night. Impressively informed and informative… "Three in Thirteen: The Story of a Mosquito Night Fighter Ace" is an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to both community and academic library World War II Military History collections.”

- Midwest Book Review

"Incredibly engaging and deeply personal, Three in Thirteen draws the reader into the dangerous world of night fighting over the skies of England. Reading the British point of view, rather than the American, is a fascinating change for the average reader of World War II history."

- Manhattan Book Review

“This is a valuable addition to the bookshelf about a less well-known role and of a little known, but successful, pilot.”

- Britain at War

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