550 Squadron Photos

F/O Allen and Crew

The F/O Allen crew posted to 550 Squadron was as follows:

The picture below shows F/O Allen and crew.

Click image Photo as follows:
Left To Right: F/O Allen, Sgt Dennison, Sgt Maginley, Sgt Smith, Sgt Lundy, Sgt Crump, P/O Murray-Shirreff
Photo kindly made available by Jim Cameron (son of F/O Les Cameron DFC)

F/O Allen and crew were flying when NF932 failed to return on 13 February 1945 from Operation Thunderclap to Dresden; the aircraft was in collison with a Polish Lancaster soon after setting course for the target.
[NB: one change to the regular crew, P/O J R Riley Byrne (W/Op) flying in place of Sgt Lundy who appears in the photo above. P/O Byrne was a regular in the F/Lt J P Morris crew. Ray Lundie survived the war.]

Thus the Allen crew on the occasion of the Operation Thunderclap operation was as follows:

Other information about the flight and the target available here.

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

Brief Crew History

The crew arrived at North Killingholme in September 1944 with their first operation being Duisberg on 14th October flying BQ-V PA995, "The Vulture Strikes!", one of three 550 centurions.

They were killed after colliding with a Lancaster from 300 (Polish) Squadron at approximately 8000 feet near Wragby, Lincolnshire when setting course for Dresden on 13 February 1945 flying BQ-B2, NF932 (named "Macnamara" after the popular song of the era). An eye witness reported that the aircraft landed in a field near Apley but exploded shortly after touching down. It was an all British crew and there are three graves (two unnamed and that of P/O Murray-Shirreff) in Newport Cemetery, Lincoln. The other members of the crew are buried nearer to their home addresses.

There is further information on the crew and the accident, and if any family members wish to contact the holder through the Association website then this can be made available (web-site contact details in the page footer).

Additional Photos

The following photos have been made available from the collections of Jack Allen and Helen Kentish.

Click image Sidwell Crew Outside Billet (from Jack Allen)
Click image Annotation on the rear of the photo

From the caption on the crew photo it seems the F/O Allen and F/O Sidwell crew NCOs shared a billet. Looking at the information on the website the two crews were posted to 550 at roughly the same time around September 1944 and probably shared the accommodation until the Allen crew crashed on 13 February 1945.

Click image BQ-M2 / NG243
See: NG243
Click image Annotation on the rear of the photo
As the annotation records the Sidwell crew carried out a lot of the ops in their tour in this aircraft

The following photos were recently (February 2023) received of a crew labelled as a "550" crew. Many thanks to Dave Wicks for making the photos available and permission to use them on the web-site.

The picture was initially listed as an unidentified crew (see: unknown crew). However, it has now been established that the crew is in fact the E S Allen Crew, and the clear identification of each individual was provided by Don Kentish (a relative of pilot Eric Allen).

Click image F/Lt E S Allen crew
Left-to-right: Back row: Alex "Jock" Dennison (Nav), Eric Allen (P), Jim Murray-Shirreff (R/AG), "Paddy" Maginley (A/B)
Front row: Ray Lundie (W/Op), Ted Smith (F/Eng), Reg "Taffy" Crump (MU/AG)
Click image Annotation on rear of photo
Click image Rear of the same photo (but from the copy of the photo held by Don Kentish)
All of the crew identified by Ray Lundie (W/Op)

P/O John Riley Byrne

The IWM has in its collection a diary belonging to Pilot Officer Byrne (IWM Documents.12886).

The public page at https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1030012739 shows an image of his entry for Thursday 2 November 1944 in which he records that this is his first operation, that the target is Dusseldorf, that the aircraft he flew in was ED905/BQ-F "Fox", "Press on Regardless" as part of the F/Lt J P Morris crew (see F/Lt J P Morris crew) and that the captain was F/Lt "Jock" Shaw.