"With its famed short field landing and take-off performance, the distinctive Westland Lysander was in widespread service at the beginning of the Second World War, performing such duties as Army cooperation, artillery spotting, reconnaissance and light bombing missions. The Battle of France was disastrous for Lysander units, proving the vulnerability of the aircraft and its inability to defend itself against fighter attack, however, despite this, large numbers of Lysanders would have been sent against landing German forces, had their planned invasion of Britain took place the following year. Significantly, the performance of the Lysander made it the ideal aircraft to undertake clandestine nocturnal operations into enemy occupied France and a number of aircraft were specially modified to transport and recover agents and people of interest, working with the Special Operations Executive and the French resistance. Unarmed and using nothing more than maps, compass and the moonlight for navigation, these dangerous missions were flown at low level to avoid detection and landing in fields which were marked by the French resistance. Knowing that the Germans would show them no mercy if they were captured during one of these missions, they helped to provide essential intelligence to Allied military planners in advance of the D-Day landings and required levels of flying skill, bravery and tenacity which were only found in a small number of special airmen."