550 Squadron Photos

F/Sgt W R Cooper and crew

F/Sgt W R Cooper and crew were posted to 550 Sqdn from 100 Sqdn w.e.f 25/11/43:

RAF 550 Squadron Lancaster JB604 (BQ-K), flown by the F/Sgt Cooper crew, was lost during the night of 23/24 December 1943 when it was in collision with 550 Lancaster ED730 (BQ-G2) and crashed at Fulstow at 00.30hrs. All of the men in both crews were killed.

The F/Sgt Cooper crew that night, with stand-in mid-upper gunner Sgt J A Jordan in place of Sgt Bowers, was on their fourth operation with 550 Squadron the squadron only having been formed out of 100 Squadron the previous month (and in fact on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission web-site these men are listed as 100 Squadron aircrew). 550 Squadron not yet having moved to North Killingholme was still operating out of Grimsby.

The crew flying that fateful night thus was as follows:

Note that the aircraft recorded in the 550 ORB (JB604) is believed to be an error and that the crew were lost flying ND327. See Patrick Otter's "Five Fifty" (pages 18/19), and also detail on the IBCC site here, where the 550 ORB details are noted, but it is recorded that the lost aircraft was in fact ND327 flying with HW- markings.

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

Other information about the flight and the target available here.

F/Sgt W R W Cooper

F/Sgt William Richard Wright Cooper is buried in the churchyard at St Marys, Harrow on the Hill.

DSC00242b St Marys Harrow on the Hill
Photo courtesy of Russell Bates
DSC00243 Inscription, St Marys Harrow on the Hill
Photo courtesy of Russell Bates

Sgt R W Theobald (W/Op)

Oddly R W (Robert Walter) Theobald was commemorated on a panel of the Malta Memorial there being some confuation with another Sgt R W Theobald (P/O Robert William Theobald 159415) whose name was correctly placed on the Malta Memorial. It was only in 2019 that this error was acknowledged and corrected by the CGCW and R W (Robert Walter) Theobald is now commemorated on a panel at Runnymede. The details can be found on the IBCC link here.

Memorial To The Crew

A memorial to crew can be seen at Fulstow Bridge on the Louth Canal, Lincolnshire.

Approximately fifty people gathered for a short ceremony at noon on Christmas Eve 2023, exactly 80 years to the day since the aircraft was lost and the crew killed. The 550 Squadron Association was represented by Mike Leeman.

Click image

A short narrative and a number of photos from the ceremony are available here.

Many thanks to everyone involved with the raising of this new memorial to a 550 crew. We will remember them.