550 Squadron Photos

F/Lt R P Stone and Crew

F/Lt "Bob" Stone and crew were posted to 550 Squadron from No. 1 L.F.S on 1.7.44:

On a number of the later flights in their tour the Stone crew flew with various navigators including (with Sgt Ferry carrying out some operations with other crews):

Below are a number of pictures of F/Lt Stone and crew (and others):

550 Squadron F/Lt Stone and crew
L-to-R: Sgt Halliday (RCAF), Sgt Sayers (RCAF), W/O Norgrove, Fl/Lt Stone (P), Sgt Wartnaby, Sgt White, Sgt Wright
550 Squadron F/Lt R P Stone in the cockpit of LL811, BQ-J, "Bad Penny II"
550 Squadron Sgt Frank Wright (R/AG), Sgt Leonard Wartnaby (MU/AG)
The original annotation for this photo included "Note Invasion Stripes on tailplane"

However a query was raised on this annotation on the basis that "... invasion, or AEAF, stripes were not applied to heavy bombers (though they were applied glider tugs, so you do see Stirlings and Halifaxes with the stripes) But not Lancasters."
The suggestion is that most probably these are temporary daylight formation markings, used by RAF Bomber Command when the aircraft were on daylight missions, usually in support of the invasion, when it was found that there was a need to identify aircraft and formation leaders.
But this does appear to be a photo of daylight markings not seen previously, so this is a fascinating image. The markings may be tied to a particular operation or aircraft.

There appears to be either "F" or "P" on the aircraft markings. The F/Lt Stone crew flew an operation in "F" ED905 on one occasion (14th August 1944). So possibly it is ED905 that features here, and that might therefore date the photo to on, or around, 14th August 1944, as they were daylight flying on that date.

This generated some interest and was investigated further.

Follow up (November 2016): Opinion from two authorities on Lancaster markings (one a former editor of a well known aviation magazine) concluded that the stripes related to the aircraft being a daylight formation leader. Further, they commented, they had not seen as good a picture as this (of daylight markings) before.
550 Squadron F/Lt "Jock" Shaw and crew before take-off for 100th trip of "PRESS ON REGARDLESS" Lancaster ED905
On extreme left F/Lt Stone, on right S/Ldr Redmond