550 Squadron Photos

F/Lt D E A Luger and Crew

F/Lt Luger flew with the following crew:

The pictures below are of F/Lt Luger and crew.

Click image F/Lt Luger and crew, January 1945
L-to-R: F/Lt Luger (P), Sgt Hancock, F/O Angill, Sgt Gibbs, Sgt Gray, Sgt Jones, Sgt Boyce
Click image F/Lt Luger and crew, Castle Donnington, September 1944

L-to-R: Rodney Grey (W/Op), George (Taffy) Jones (MU/AG), Derek Luger (P), Steve Angill (B/A), Gordon Hancock (Nav), Derek Boyce (R/AG)
[from annotation on the rear of the photo in Gordon Hancock's handwriting the assumption is, therefore, that Sgt Gibbs (F/Eng) is either behind the camera off-base]

Many thanks Alison McHale for making the photo available and providing the identification
Click image F/Lt Luger and crew, Castle Donnington, September 1944

Same photo as above but scanned at higher resolution

From Jack Harris collection

Lancaster NN715 was flown by the F/Lt Luger crew when it FTR 21/22 February 1945 on a raid on Duisburg. Two of the crew were killed, with the remainder becoming PoWs (although one, the pilot F/Lt Luger, was re-patriated and later died of his injuries in hospital in Manchester). Also present on the aircraft for that flight was the Squadron Commanding Officer W/Cmdr Bryan Bell, and so NN715 was flying with a crew of eight that night:

Other information about the flight and the target available here.

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

Information Update

W/Cmdr Bryan Bell

According to W/Cmdr Bell's notes they were attacked by a German night fighter and the plane was on fire, but they carried on to target. However a second attack was more serious and that is when he gave the order 'OUT'. Apparently the tail section came away and the plane crashed.

W/Cmdr Bell was captured after one day on-the-run following the crash, and the web-site contains considerable material from his time as a PoW (see the link above).

Thanks to Gordon Bell, son of Bryan Bell, for this information.

Sgt Gordon Hancock

It appears that Sgt Hancock started out as ground crew but went for training in Canada as the war progressed. Thanks to Alison McHale for the new (Castle Donnington) photo and new information about Sgt Hancock.

A letter from Dennis Boyce's parents to Mr and Mrs Hancock, consoling them on Gordon's loss, described to them details of the loss of the aircraft as told by their son Dennis.

"Taffy" Jones was killed by machine gun fire, presumably by the German night-fighter, which set the aircraft on fire. The fighter then returned and machine gunned them from below. Gordon was at this time still alive fighting the fire at the time Dennis Boyce left the aircraft, because this was the last time Gordon was seen by him.

It seems Gordon must have them parachuted to relative safety, but he was picked up by the SS and executed. The execution was seen by a Polish slave worker. He, the Pole, later returned to recover Gordon's tag and passed this on to The Allies.

Thanks also to Steve Bland, whose mother was a cousin of Gordon Hancock, for updates to the information about the loss of NN715.