550 Squadron

F/Lt R M Newitt DFC* and Crew

The F/Lt Newitt Crew were:

The picture below shows F/Lt Newitt and crew.

Click image F/Lt Newitt and crew
Left To Right: F/Lt Newitt (P), F/O Wright, F/O Williams, W/O Hill, F/O Levene, F/Sgt Piper, F/O Quick
Picture courtesy of Colin Brannigan

F/Lt Roland Macrae ("Roly") Newitt, later Squadron Leader Newitt, became 550 Sqdn Flight Commander "A" Flight (07 Nov 44 - 23 Apr 45).

F/Lt Newitt was awarded Bar to DFC; see Gazette Issue 37277 (published 18 September 1945).

Grimsby Telegraph - Bygones

The Grimsby Telegraph published a three-page article in 2010 about John Piper, who flew in F/Lt Newitt's crew for most of 1943-1945.

The article, written by Colin Brannigan, appeared in the Grimsby Telegraph, Special Publication "Bygones" Edition, in December 2010, No. 228 (pages 10, 11 and 12). After the war John Piper was a reporter on The Star, Sheffield, but this article describes the war years and in particular his time as an air-gunner with 550 Squadron in North Killingholme.

Click image F/Lt Newitt and crew
Left To Right: F/Lt Roland Newitt, F/O Johny Wright, F/O Bill Williams, W/O Billy Hill, F/O Levene, F/Sgt John Piper, F/O Harry Quick
Picture courtesy of Colin Brannigan

You can obtain a copy of the publication from the http://www.thisisgrimsby.co.uk/ web-site (price 75p).

Operational Tour List

Click image Full list of ops flown by F/Lt Newitt and crew (November 1944 - April 1945)
Information courtesy of Jim Cameron

F/O Quick (Air-Gunner)

Click image F/O Harry Quick
Picture courtesy of Jim Cameron
Click image F/L Newitt and crew (550 Sqdn)
Back row L-to-R: S/L M (Roland) Newitt, F/Sgt J E Piper, F/O I Levene, W/O WG (Billy) Hill, F/O G Williams
Seated: F/O J B Wright, F/O F H Quick
Picture courtesy of Jim Cameron
Click image Harry Quick and 101 Sqdn crew (inc. ground crew)
Back row L-to-R: Harry Quick, Ron McCord, 4 unknown, Jack Dicks
Seated: L-to-R: Frank Smith, John Studd, Jack Ingram [Nav. Don Hanslow missing as he was behind the camera]
Picture taken in front of Lanc W4993, autumn 1943.
Full crew list:
Frank Smith (P), Jack Ingram (F/Eng), Don Hanslow (Nav), Jack Dicks (W/Op), John Studd (B/A), Ron McCord (RAAF, MU/AG), Harry Quick (R/AG)
Picture courtesy of Jim Cameron
Harry Quick Harry Quick story
Information courtesy of Jim Cameron
Click image Harry Quick 1st Tour (with 101 Squadron): list of ops
Information courtesy of Jim Cameron
See also Harry Quick's story in "Flying into Hell (chapter 10 "Fogbound")

F/O Leveve (Wireless Operator)

Click image L-to-R: Sgt Quick, F/O Levene, P/O Williams
Picture courtesy of Luke Levene
Click image F/O Levene Log Book
The last page: end of operations.
Picture courtesy of Luke Levene

The following are some notes that F/O Isaiah Levene passed to his family. Thanks to Luke Levene (grandson) for making these available for display on the web-site.

I was sent to instruct wireless operator/gunners of new crews at the 1662 Conversion Unit in Blyton, Lincolnshire. It was an enjoyable experience, where I made some friends, rode a motorbike and was generally happy. However, after six months I wanted to return to action although life was easy here. I missed the comradeship and urgency which I had felt in Waltham. The good friends I made in Blyton were a mixture of pilots, navigators and so on. We soon got together to make a possible crew. At the end of November 1944 we were rewarded by a second tour of operational duties. The crew consisted of Flight Lieutenant Newitt (skipper), who was a Canadian, handsome and a ladies man, Flying Officer Johnny Wright (the navigator), Flying Officer Williams (the bomb aimer), Warrant Officer Hill (flight engineer), myself (now a Flying Officer/signaller), Flight Sergeant Piper (mid upper gunner and a comedian!) and Flying Officer Quick (the rear gunner), a Cornishman. We did a quick revision course, less than ten hours flying time, and were posted to North Killingholme near Grimsby to fly with 550 Squadron. This Squadron was derived from the 100 Squadron I served with before.

Our social life at North Killingholme was great. I had bought a second-hand car, a Humber 12, for 50.00. Although I had never driven a car before, I thought that knowing where the gearbox was would be enough. That same afternoon I invited the crew to be driven to Grimsby for a night out. They agreed, but I suspect they were somewhat worried. The car was parked facing the ablutions block, and on the right of the car a group of bollards were in place. Nevertheless, we all got in. I chose a gear, let the clutch out and pressed the accelerator. The car lurched backwards. I was taken by surprise and quickly double clutched and put it in first gear. The car shot forward. I was in the clear. The road in front of me beckoned. The crew wondered whether I was a genius or couldn't drive. Surprisingly I drove reasonably well until I came across a tractor piled up with hay on a narrow strip of road. I didn't hit the tractor, but had to stop to clear the hay which was all over the car. During the evening the snow came down, and my return journey was somewhat complicated, slipping and sliding, but we got home safely.

Our main haunt was Scunthorpe, where we made our headquarters in the Oswald Pub. It had a dance hall and stage, and sometimes put on second rate acts. The owners of the Oswald became quite good friends of ours. The owners' daughter, a girl in her late teens and quite pretty, had fallen for our skipper. At the end of most evenings when we were there we stayed behind the pub's closed doors and continued to drink. They were very good hosts and supplied us with very good meals. On one occasion, when we stayed the night, we were rudely awakened by hooting from outside. The Station Commander had sent out a jeep to pick us up because there was an early briefing for the next operation. I swear that our bomb aimer was still under the influence when we pushed him into the aircraft. Around this time the skipper was promoted to Squadron Leader.

My total operational hours at 550 Squadron were 395.