550 Squadron Photos

F/O H J Handley and Crew

F/O Handley flew with the following crew:

The picture below is of F/O Handley and crew.

Click image F/O Handley and crew:
L-to-R: F/O Handley (P), Sgt Briar, F/Sgt Taylor, F/Sgt Tough, Sgt Aldridge, Sgt Firth, Sgt Hiskins

Station Narrative No. 19

This narrative, included in the Station Operational Record Book (ORB), is the report on a MANNA food drop over northern Holland. What could have been an otherwise uneventful trip was enlived by the sighting of a partially submerged Flying Fortress and the Handley crew played a part in the rescue of the American crew-men from the downed aircraft:

Click image Handley crew, MANNA op, 7 May 1945

However a discrepancy in the records has been noted for this 7th May 1945 sortie.

According to the 550 Sqdn ORB Sgt. Firth was flying as MU/AG and Sgt. Hiskins as R/AG: in other words the standard Handley crew.

But according to the Station Narrative it was Sgt. Evans, and not Sgt. Firth, who was flying in the R/AG position.

On the balance of probabilities, one would have to believe the Station Narrative in preference. The ORB was probably/possibly typed up by someone in admin on "auto-pilot": on the basis of "oh this is the usual Handley crew list", whereas a debrief, one would have thought, should (must?) be more likely to be accurate.

The question arises if Sgt. Evans then which Sgt. Evans? There are two possibilities available in the aircrew list:

The second name in the list, Sgt. E Evans, is unlikely because he does not arrive in 550 Sqdn until June 1945, thus after the sortie in question. The first, Sgt. G Evans, is probable. Gwilym Evans was also at this point a "spare bod", in that he was the only survivor of the P/O S W Nielson crew who were lost when ME503 failed to return from operations to Dessau, 7/8 March 1945. On this operation Sgt Charles A DeLaveleye (a Belgian national) was standing in for Sgt Gwilym Evans and was killed as were four others of the P/O Nielson crew (two became PoWs).