550 Squadron Photos

BQ-S / DV309

DV309 was shot down on the outskirts of Westerlo, Belguin, one of three 550 Sqdn Lancasters lost on the Duisburg operation on 21/22 May 1944. The crew, all killed on this operation, were:

The entry on the 550 Squadron Roll of Honour is available here.

Other information about the flight and the target from the squadron record available here.

Click image F/Sgt G W Hinde
Click image Sgt E C Beacham
Click image Sgt C C Sharland
Click image Sgt D R M Davies
Click image Sgt D Hughes
Click image Sgt T L J Whittick

No picture of Sgt W A J Young currently available.

Information about the Loss of DV309

DV309 was one of three 550 Squadron Lancasters lost on this operation. See also the squadron records for: LL851 and LM319. DV309 was airborne at 22:35 21 May 1944 from North Killingholme, and shot down by a night-fighter, crashing in the vicinity of Oosterwijk (Antwerpen), 3 km NW of Tongerlo. The aircraft crashed at 01:51 on the outskirts of Westerlo and all the crew members were killed.

German records show they were shot down by the German night fighter ace, Oberstleutnant Heinz Wolfgang Schnauffer who finished the war with 121 kills, all bombers. The bodies of the navigator and wireless operator were never found - an indication that something catastrophic occurred. At more or less the same time, another Lancaster, from 626 Squadron, also crashed very close to Westerlo. The Germans quickly cordoned off both sites and removed wreckage and bodies. It was not firmly established which crash belonged to which aircraft until in 1997 a piece of wreckage was found bearing the number of the 626 Squadron aircraft. This established that the 550 aircraft crashed at Schobbroek and the 626 Squadron aircraft at Herselt.

The five recovered 550 crew-men were buried at Antwerpen-Deure 23 May 1944, later being re-interred in the Schoonselhof Cemetery. The bodies of Sgt Hughes and Sgt Davies were not recovered and thus are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

550 Squadron Commemorations in Westerlo, Belgium

Over the years there have been many visits by the Association to Westerlo following the unveiling of the Memorial Stone in 1998. See the Westerlo Commemorations web-page.