A World War Two aircraft originally scheduled for destruction, has finally been awarded a major accolade nearly 80 years after it was built.

On Easter Sunday, the prototype of the de Havilland Mosquito, all-wood multi-role aircraft received the Institution of Mechanical Engineers prestigious Engineering Heritage Award.

The Mosquito was said to have paved the way for later methods of aircraft construction.

The inscribed plaque was presented to the prototype, W4050, at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum at Salisbury Hall, in London Colney where it was both designed and built in 1940.

Unveiling the plaque, Charles Clarke, the liaison officer for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers said: “It is the unique concept, design, technical aspects, foresight and pioneering techniques that led to the composite method of construction of aircraft in use in the industry today that has merited the award.

Mr Clarke said: “The Mosquito is a truly remarkable aircraft and a very splendid example of inspired engineering that needs to be celebrated.”

Alan Brackley, the Museum chairman, told the audience that it was only due to luck that the prototype Mosquito had not only survived but was now the star exhibit on display at the museum.

He said: “It is very fitting that this award is being presented on the very spot where this prototype was actually designed and built.”

After discovering the aircraft had not been destructed, the new owner of Salisbury Hall, Walter Goldsmith persuaded the de Havilland Aircraft Company to let him have the Mosquito on permanent loan.

Mr Goldsmith had a small hangar built in the hall grounds in which to display it to the public, during the opening of de Havilland Aircraft Museum in 1959, as the first aviation museum in Britain.

Alongside the prototype, the de Havilland Aircraft Museum has two other Mosquitos and is the only museum in the world to have three examples of the type.

For more information about the museum visit www.dehavillandmuseum.co.uk