Association Newsletters: Summary Listing

An archive comprising the complete set of the 550 Squadron and North Killingholme Association Newsletters is available as listed below.

It is not possible to provide a direct link to all of the newsletters at this time. However summary details from the newsletters has been posted up, and in some cases the details of key articles have been summarised. Where possible direct links to copies of the articles will be provided, and other links from individual items are also included were appropriate.

Newsletters

The newsletters are presented most recent first to allow for quicker update on the latest Association activities.

Issue 71 (October 2018)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
71 October 2018 Remembrance Sunday, report on 2018 Reunions. Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
INTRODUCTION October 2018 Newsletter This newsletter is timed to coincide with preparations for the Remembrance Weekend activities in North Killingholme next month. This year will be particularly poignant as Remembrance Sunday falls on 11th November and therefore coincides with the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. It also marks to within two weeks the 75th anniversary of the formation of 550 Squadron. -
- Further details about Remembrance Weekend appear below and there is also an article by Jack Harris about Luftwaffe intruders and a fascinating newspaper article about 550 Squadron originally published in 1945 that was sent in by Colin Blowers. There is a piece about the recent unearthing of a personal item belonging to Sgt F H Habgood who was killed at the end of July 1944, a list of memorials commemorating 550 personnel, a report on the Annual Reunion, the date for next year's event and news about the grandson of a 550 airman who has embarked on a career in the RAF. -
- We are delighted to announce that Jack Harris and Angela Tompson were married in Tunbridge Wells on 14th August at a ceremony attended by family and close friends. They are a fantastic couple and we offer them our best wishes and warmest congratulations. -
- Jack was in good form at another highly enjoyable Annual Reunion although on this occasion passed over many of his public speaking duties to others. He and Angela took a short break after their wedding but delayed their honeymoon until after the Annual Reunion, holidayed in the Cotswolds earlier in the summer and continue to play bridge regularly. -
REMEMBRANCE WEEKEND Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th November 2018 Our programme in November includes an informal meal in the Fork and Spoon at the Ashbourne Hotel on Saturday evening and there is usually an opportunity to visit the Squadron Museum on Sunday morning. Services at the Squadron Memorial Stone, including a two minutes silence at 11.00am, and then St. Denys' Church will be followed by a three course carvery lunch at the Amethyst Hotel. -
- Rooms are available at the Ashbourne Hotel at the discounted "550" rate but we advise booking early as they have a function on the Saturday evening and availability may be limited.
Settle your food and accommodation bill on departure.
-
- - The Ashbourne contact details are:
Vicarage Lane
North Killingholme
Immingham
DN40 3JL
Telephone: 01469 541010
Email: reception@ashbournehotel.co.uk
http://www.ashbournehotel.co.uk/

- - All arrangements are being made by Don and Val Kentish. Please contact Don and Val by telephone on 0121 778 6614 or 07757 722185. Email: dvparadise@yahoo.co.uk. -
- Saturday Evening 10th November It is usual for a 550 group to come together for a meal in the Ashbourne Hotel on Saturday evening. This will take place at 7.45 pm. in the Fork and Spoon and if you would like to join the group, please let Don and Val know by Friday 2nd November. Menu pre-selection is required for groups of 10 or more and Don or Val will contact you if this is necessary. -
- Sunday 11th November Our provisional timetable is shown below and includes a two minute silence at 11.00 at the Memorial Stone. We are delighted that Reverend Paul Salmon will be conducting our Services and hope he will be accompanied again by Mark Cuerton, the bugler. -
- - 09.30-10.30 - Squadron Museum open in the Village Hall by appointment. Contact Mike Leeman
10.45 - Assemble at the Squadron Memorial Stone in Lancaster Approach.
10.52 - Service starts and will include two minutes silence at 11am. Wreaths and personal tributes are laid.
11.05 - Move to St. Denys' Church.
11.20 - Church Service starts.
12.00 - Service ends.
12.30 - Three course carvery lunch plus tea/coffee/mints at the Amethyst Hotel, East Halton.Pay £21.00 per head on the day.
-
- - Please tell Don and Val if you are coming to lunch at the Amethyst Hotel, East Halton by Friday 2nd November 2018 as the hotel must have accurate numbers. -
ANNUAL REUNION, SEPTEMBER 2018 - The number of people attending the Annual Reunion was extremely encouraging although the weather was marginal with a forecast of showers on Saturday afternoon. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight confirmed the time of our flypast 48 hours before the event but the Lancaster's crew called late on Saturday morning to postpone it by 30 minutes in order to allow for improvements in the weather. /pages/550-sqdn-reunion-2018.php

- There is never a shortage of food at the Annual Reunion and the weekend began with 35 people attending the Friday evening dinner at the Ashbourne Hotel. The 550 Museum was open on Saturday morning and 34 people enjoyed a buffet lunch at the Amethyst Hotel. -
- After following the Immingham Air Training Corps from the Village Hall to Lancaster Approach, the Service of Remembrance conducted by Reverend Paul Salmon included the laying of wreaths, flowers and crosses. The Memorial Stone looked highly impressive with the many tributes laid at its base and flags rippling behind. However, the Lancaster did not appear and the procession departed for St. Denys' Church. -
- Just as the Church Service was about to start, a message was received to say that the Lancaster was in the air. The almost full building emptied rapidly just as the sound of Merlin engines filled the sky above North Killingholme. The sight and sound of the Lancaster circling St. Denys' Church lifted the spirits while reinforcing the message of remembrance that is central to the afternoon's activities. -
- After tea and cakes in a full Village Hall it began to rain heavily and we realised how committed the BBMF crew were to getting airborne and providing us with such a memorable and emotional experience. -
- On Saturday evening 66 people sat down for the Reunion Dinner and added to the toasts that are made at the end of the meal was one to the "newly-weds", Jack and Angela. We were pleased that Patrick and Eva Otter were able to join us and amazed as ever at the level of support we receive from far afield. People travelled from across the UK while John Arnold came from Australia, Jos de Ryck, William Albertyn, Denise Rammeloo, Wilfred Burie and Ben Vorspoels from Belgium and Ole Seberg from Denmark. -
- We extend our thanks to Reverend Paul Salmon for his ongoing support of 550. We were sorry to hear that he may not be taking our services at next year's reunion but he will always be a very welcome visitor to our events. -
LUFTWAFFE INTRUDERS SOME THOUGHTS FROM JACK HARRIS During the winter of 1940/41, Luftwaffe bombers carried out a series of heavy night attacks on London and many of the English cities. By the end of May 41 the nights were getting shorter and the Luftwaffe developed night intruder tactics. He111, Ju88, Do17 and Do217 fitted with front guns and extra fuel tanks were used as long range night fighters flying across the North Sea. They often mingled with RAF bombers returning from raids or sea mining to patrol Suffolk, Norfolk, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire looking for flare paths they could bomb or RAF aircraft from squadrons or training units which they could shoot down. -
- At this early stage of the war not all RAF aircraft were fitted with R/T (radio-telephone). Not only could they not receive warnings about "bandits" but they were still showing navigation lights. The presence of "bandits" forced airfields to shut down flare paths and stop flying operations. If aircraft had to be diverted to other airfields in the Midlands or West Country it was a big upset. The intruders would also force air raid sirens to be sounded over Eastern England and cause wide disruption. -
- When Jack Harris was training on Oxfords at No. 12 Service Flying Training School at Grantham in July 1941 he had first-hand experience of German intruders. -
- The Grantham airfield was not suitable for night flying and so it was carried out from Ingham, about 10 miles north of Lincoln. Ingham had no resident flying units as it was a grass airfield with no buildings, only tents and a telephone. This meant that everything, including petrol bowsers, was brought in night by night. It was an Advanced Landing Ground but a portable flare path could be unrolled on the grass with a generator to provide a take-off and landing strip. -
- On the night of 13 July 41, Jack Harris had done several circuits and landings with an instructor. The instructor got out and said "Do three circuits and landings on your own". On his first take-off, Jack had just lifted the Oxford off the flare path and was retracting the undercarriage with the aircraft about 30 feet off the ground when six bright reflections showed up on the perspex of his cockpit canopy. He knew what it was before he heard the crumps of the explosions and the air blasts of the last two or three bombs dropped by the Luftwaffe intruder. -
KILLINGHOLME SQUADRON'S GREAT RECORD - Colin Blowers' father-in-law was the late Sgt. J S Jenkins, A/B in the F/O G H Packham crew who were shot down on 16/17 June 1944. Sgt Jenkins initially evaded capture but became a POW at the end of July 1944. Among his father-in-law's papers, Colin found a newspaper cutting that probably dates from mid to late 1945 as it seems to have been written before 550 was disbanded on 31 October. It is reproduced in full below: (see link right) /images/KillingholmeNewsClip19450213/Scan-prt1.jpg

- second page (see link right) /images/KillingholmeNewsClip19450213/Scan-prt2.jpg

SGT. F. H. HABGOOD - We learnt recently about the discovery at the former Natzweiler-Stuthoft concentration camp in France of a personal item that belonged to Sgt Frederick Harold Habgood. It looks like a metal bracelet with RAF "wings" on the front along with his service number and name. The chain is still attached and "Jean" is engraved on the rear. The Centre Europ?en du R?sistant D?port? (CERD) has publicised the find in the hope of contacting his relatives. http://www.struthof.fr/fr/actualites/detail/article/decouverte-rare-et-exceptionnelle/

- Sgt. Habgood was the Bomb Aimer with the F/O H Jones crew who failed to return when flying NE164 BQ-O on the night of 28/29 July 1944 on a raid to Stuttgart. The aircraft came down near Ottrot in France and Sgt Habgood along with four other members of the crew bailed out. -
- The pilot and rear gunner were in the aircraft when it crashed. Research indicates that Sgt Habgood initially managed to hide in the Ottrot area but was captured by the Gestapo, interned briefly in Schirmeck camp and then transferred to Natzweiler-Stuthoft where he was hanged on 31st July 1944. He was 21 years old. -
- A memorial stone was erected for F/O H Jones (Pilot), Sgt I Williams (Rear Gunner) and Sgt Habgood (Bomb Aimer) near the crash site in 2008. Sgt Habgood is commemorated on Panel 230 of the Runnymede Memorial. -
- Further information and photographs can be at: /documents/public/Lancasters-Crews/FOHJones/index.php

COMMEMORATING 550 SQUADRON LOSSES - The 550 Squadron Memorial Stone in Lancaster Approach and the Memorial Window and Roll of Honour in St Denys' Church, North Killingholme commemorate those who died flying from North Killingholme and are thus of great significance to many people connected with the squadron.. -
- A little further afield, the highly impressive International Bomber Command Centre in Lincoln lists on its Walls of Names nearly 58,000 men and women who were killed serving or supporting Bomber Command during World War Two. The Association organised two "preview" visits to the site when it was under construction and as well as a "550" wreath, many members of the party left poppies for those with whom they have a connection. https://internationalbcc.co.uk/

- Elsewhere, the Runnymede Memorial near the River Thames in Surrey lists all servicemen and women with no known grave from across the air forces of the Commonwealth who died on operations flying from bases in the United Kingdom and in North and Western Europe. /pages/RAF-Runnymede-Memorial.php

- A notable development over the years has been the creation of memorials in mainland Europe dedicated to 550 Squadron aircrew. This process has almost invariably required considerable research, fundraising and negotiations with private landowners and/or civic authorities. We have built strong relationships with many of those involved and know that relatives from across the world have visited the relevant sites. /pages/550-sqdn-memorials.php

- Within the United Kingdom, a memorial was unveiled near Ellingstring, Yorkshire in June 2017 at the crash site of the F/O Hayter crew (NF963, BQ-A). /pages/550-sqdn-ellingstring-memorial.php

- Further information about memorials known to the Association can be found at: /pages/550-sqdn-memorials.php

OTHER NEWS Annual Reunion 2019 We can confirm the dates of next year's Annual Reunion as Friday 12th and Saturday 13th July 2019. The decision to return to a date in July was taken as the Ashbourne Hotel is available and it appears there are currently no major airshows in the United Kingdom that weekend. In a break with tradition, it has been decided to apply for a Lancaster flypast on Saturday afternoon over St. Denys' Church rather than the 550 Squadron Memorial Stone. The programme for the afternoon will be published closer to the date. The 550 Committee will monitor and review the revised arrangements but has provisionally booked the Ashbourne in mid-July until 2023. -
Personal Stories and Photographs We always welcome suggestions and contributions to the newsletter and would particularly like to receive stories and copies of photographs that throw light on life away from the operational side of 550 Squadron, whether about air and ground crew or those who supported them. This could take the form of short biographies that give a flavour of the person behind the service number, their fears, hopes and aspirations but might also focus on the social activities at North Killingholme such as which pubs and dance halls were visited, sporting activities (did you know that ice-hockey was played on the airfield during the very cold winter of 1944/45?), the relationships established with local people and any other anecdotes that throw light on the daily life of those associated with 550. -
- If we can gather sufficient material in the form of photographs and text it may be that in future the Association will consider collating the material and publishing it. -
- Please send contributions to Don Kentish as soon as possible but no later than 1st March (Newsletter 72) and 3rd May (Newsletter 73) using the details given in the Remembrance Weekend section of this newsletter. If you would like to discuss your idea before putting "pen to paper" please do not hesitate to contact me. -
Five Fifty - The wartime story of a Lancaster squadron If you have not yet ordered your copy of "Five Fifty", written completely free of charge for the Association by acclaimed aviation author Patrick Otter, please contact Mike Leeman using the information at the end of this newsletter. The book is 266 pages in length and contains nearly 100 photos. -
- It costs £10 and can be collected over Remembrance Weekend. Alternatively, postage and packing is £5 within the UK and separate shipping arrangements have been put in place for delivery overseas. -
Can you Help? We want to protect the Association's future by adding to our pool of committee members and volunteers so if you can spare a little time please contact us, we would love to hear from you. -
- There is plenty to do as the Association organises two events a year (the Annual Reunion and Remembrance Weekend), runs a comprehensive and highly respected website while also producing and distributing three newsletters a year. -
- This range of activities affords many opportunities for those who might feel able to contribute and enable the "Spirit of 550" to live on. If you think you can help in any way please contact us for an informal discussion using the details given at the end of this newsletter. -
PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE - Adrian Klos is the grandson of Sgt. M H "Jim" Levy who served as a navigator with the F/Lt F J Mitchell crew on 550 Squadron. While serving with the Squadron Jim met and later married Sheila, from East Halton. Jim became a teacher and they lived with their family in the area for many years. -
- Adrian is the son of their second daughter and worked as a Chaplain at Hull Royal Infirmary before applying to join the RAF. After two years of interviews and various courses he was finally accepted and went to RAF Cranwell for his officer training. He is pictured with Lara, now his wife, after his graduation parade and is now Chaplain at RAF Honington in Suffolk. -
- Jim died when Adrian was thirteen years old and his grandfather would have been very proud of him.
Kathleen Robinson, with kind permission of the family.
-
- A photograph of the F/Lt F J Mitchell crew can be found at: http://www.550squadronassociation.org.uk/documents/public/Lancasters-Crews/FLtMitchell/Images/FLtMitchellCrew.jpg

ANNOUNCEMENTS New Members We are pleased to welcome:
John Logan, Nephew of F/O J J Logan DFC
Jane Bravery Schwartz, Daughter of F/O K Bowen-Bravery CdG DFC
Katy Bowen-Bravery, Daughter of F/O K Bowen-Bravery CdG DFC
Mrs Pamela Watkin, Daughter of F/L A W Browne DFC RCAF
-

Issue 70 (July 2018)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
70 July 2018 Reports on events in Belgium in 2018; information on forthcoming events. Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
INTRODUCTION July 2018 Newsletter This newsletter gives details about the Annual Reunion and includes a Booking Form. It is important that bookings are sent to Andrew Etherington as soon as possible but no later than Friday 24th August. In addition, there is an important "GDPR" Form for all members to complete and return so that the Association can comply with recent legislation concerning the use of personal information. -
- This year marks the 75th anniversary of the formation of 550 Squadron and the Association continues to thrive as the families of air and ground crew become members and attend our events. This success would not have been possible without the warm welcome afforded newcomers by those who served at North Killingholme and the sense of community they created. Similarly, the support of family and friends in enabling former Squadron members to attend the Annual Reunion in recent years has been a pleasure to observe. -
- In this newsletter you will find an article by Jack Harris entitled "The Ages of 550 Aircrew" and a piece by Kathleen Robinson about the Garden Village in North Killingholme, created during World War One. Other than news about the Annual Reunion there is a report about recent ceremonies in Belgium, the unveiling of an Information Board in Holland, news about Remembrance Weekend 2018 and an item about how 550 is contributing to modern-day scientific research. -
ANNUAL REUNION 2018 North Killingholme Annual Reunion Date - Friday 7th and Saturday 8th September 2018.
The weekend starts on Friday evening with an informal meal at the Ashbourne Hotel. The Saturday daytime programme begins with a visit to the 550 Squadron Museum followed by a buffet lunch at the Amethyst Hotel, a Lancaster flypast and short Service at the Squadron Memorial Stone. The Service continues at St. Denys' Church and is followed by tea and cakes in the Village Hall. The formal Reunion Dinner takes place at the Ashbourne on Saturday evening.
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- Booking Please complete and return your Booking Form, enclosed with this newsletter, as soon as possible but no later than Friday 24th August 2018 to Andrew Etherington, "Royston", Thorn Road, Marden, Kent, TN129EJ
Tel: 01622 832995
Email: andreweth@btinternet.com

Electronic versions of the Booking Form can be found on the 550 website
/php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2018

- - Booking Form (PDF format) /documents/public/newsletters/2018/Reunion2018-BookingForm.pdf

- - Booking Form (Word format) /documents/public/newsletters/2018/Reunion2018-BookingForm.docx

- - The sooner you complete and return the Booking Form the easier it is for us to process the information and liaise with the many groups and organisations that support the Annual Reunion. -
- Programme, Fri 7th Sept A meal has been arranged in the restaurant at the Ashbourne Hotel starting at 8.00pm. There is no seating plan and a choice of either two courses for £16.95 or three courses for £20.95 per person. Indicate your menu selections on the Booking Form -
- Programme, Sat 8th Sept A Lancaster flypast has been approved and we have requested 2.00pm but will not receive notification of the actual time from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight until a few weeks before the reunion. As ever, any change to the time of the flypast may mean alterations to the afternoon?s schedule.

Our preferred timetable is: (see right)
/php-library/popup.php?textFile=MEMO2018

- Programme, Sat 8th Sept - Reunion Dinner Dinner at the Ashbourne Hotel starts at 7.30pm and is a three course meal at £27.95 per head. Menu options are given on the Booking Form. There is a seating plan so please indicate if you wish to sit with anyone in particular. If you are not staying at the hotel pay at the end of the meal. -
- Ashbourne Hotel Information If you intend to stay at the Ashbourne please book your room(s) without delay and remember to quote "550" to receive a discounted rate. The "550" rate, across all room types, is £80 Bed and Breakfast per room per night for a twin or double and £70 for single occupancy. -
- - The Ashbourne has a block of "comfort" rooms that has a lift and easily accessible bedrooms on the ground floor. These are the "400" rooms. Please discuss your accessibility requirements with the hotel. -
- - The Ashbourne contact details are:
Vicarage Lane
North Killingholme
Immingham
DN40 3JL
Telephone: 01469 541010
Email: reception@ashbournehotel.co.uk
http://www.ashbournehotel.co.uk/

- Other Accommodation Possible alternatives to the Ashbourne Hotel are:

The Amethyst Hotel, Townside, East Halton, Immingham, Grimsby, Lincolnshire, DN40 3NS. Telephone: 01469 540205

Church Farm Guest House, Immingham Road, Habrough, North East Lincolnshire, DN40 3DB. Telephone: 01469 576190. Website: http://www.churchfarm-guesthouse.com/

The Old Chapel Hotel, 50 Station Road, Habrough, Immingham, DN40 3AY. Telephone 01469 572377

The Yarborough Arms, Killingholme Road, Ulceby, North East Lincolnshire, DN39 6TZ. Telephone 01469 588383 or Mary on 07876 147182. Website: http://www.yarborougharms.co.uk/
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- - Hotels and other types of accommodation can be found easily by using any of the well-known price-comparison websites. Please note that not all establishments are listed.

A Visitor and Accommodation Guide that covers the local area is available from the Tourist Information Centre in Brigg (01652 657053).

They also recommend the following website: http://www.visitnorthlincolnshire.com/

There is also a Tourist Information Centre in Cleethorpes (01472 323111) if you prefer accommodation in the Grimsby and Cleethorpes area. Website: http://www.visitcleethorpes.co.uk
-
- Travel Arrangements North Killingholme is approximately 8 miles from Humberside Airport and a 45 minute drive from Robin Hood Airport.

The nearest station to North Killingholme is Habrough. This is on the Doncaster to Cleethorpes line and is approximately 3 miles from North Killingholme. Please note that not all trains stop at Habrough although the majority do stop at Barnetby, 9 miles from North Killingholme. A taxi from Habrough station to North Killingholme should cost in the region of £10 and from Barnetby £18-20 (prices quoted in June 2018). Local firms include Fred's Cars (01469 577100) and Mick's Cars (01469 571159). Placebook Private Hire (01469 541600) is based in North Killingholme and therefore may be slightly cheaper.

By road, if travelling east on the A180 take the A160 exit towards Killingholme and drive approximately 1 mile to the new roundabout. Take the second exit towards North Killingholme. Follow the road for approximately 1 mile and turn right into Church Lane. St Denys' Church is on the left and immediately opposite is the Ashbourne Hotel. Turn right at the village green and the Hotel car park entrance is fifty yards on your left.

Free parking is available at the Ashbourne but may be restricted. Disabled parking spaces are located outside the entrance to the block on your left as you face Reception from the car park

The Amethyst Hotel is in East Halton, approximately 1.5 miles from North Killingholme. There is ample free parking.

Please do not park on Lancaster Approach other than to drop off and collect passengers at the Memorial Stone. Off-road parking is available at John Somerscales Ltd (approximately 200 yards from the Memorial Stone on the right) but as the site is used by a number of hauliers please do not block in other vehicles.
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CEREMONIES IN BELGIUM - Six members of the Association attended the three ceremonies that took place at the end of May to commemorate 550 crews that crashed in Belgium. We receive wonderful support from the groups in Belgium and thank them all for their warm welcome and unwavering dedication to RAF aircrew. Representatives of many civil and military authorities in Belgium attended the ceremonies and we also wish to place on record our appreciation for their support. -
- Rebecq: Wednesday 23 May At the ceremony in Rebecq for the P/O Purney crew who were shot down in JA712 BQ-H on 27/28 May 1944, local school children placed crosses in memory of both the aircrew and villagers who lost their lives as a consequence of the crash. While staying in the area, members of the 550 group visited a local museum dedicated to the Belgian Resistance. /pages/550-sqdn-rebecq-commemoration-2018.php

- Sint-Niklaas: Saturday 26 May In St. Niklaas, a memorial plaque was unveiled beside the graves of the crew of Lancaster LL851 BQ-V (P/O Dukelow) that crashed on 22 May 1944. Details about the crew and the crash are shown on the plaque in English and Flemish and school children placed flowers in memory of those who died. Members of the Bruty (Sgt D S Bruty) and Jarvis (Sgt, S A Jarvis) families travelled to attend the ceremony. /pages/550-sqdn-sint-niklaas-commemoration-2018.php

- Westerlo: Sunday 27 May This year marked the 20th anniversary of events in Westerlo commemorating F/O Hinde and the other crew members aboard Lancaster DV309 BQ-S that crashed on 21/22 May 1944. Transport from the church to the Memorial Stone is provided by a convoy of military vehicles and as part of the ceremony local children told the story of the crew in Flemish and English. /pages/550-sqdn-westerlo-commemoration-2018.php

- Other While in Belgium, Peter and Sally Coulter took the opportunity to visit the other 550 crash sites at Berinzenne:. /pages/550-sqdn-berinzenne-commemoration-2018.php

- - And Jalhay. /pages/550-sqdn-jalhay-commemoration-2018.php

- Other Photographs of 550 memorials in the UK and Europe can be found at: /pages/550-sqdn-memorials.php

CEREMONIES IN THE NETHERLANDS Information Board, Oude IJsselstreek, Holland Squadron Leader G S Smith DFC and his crew failed to return from a raid to Sterkrade in Germany on 16/17 June 1944. The aircraft, ME840, crashed near Aalten in Holland and the flight engineer, F/O R (Roy) Kay, was the sole survivor (see Newsletter No. 65). An Information Board was unveiled close to the crash site on 8th June which shows the crew's names and the exact location of the crash. The Association would like to thank Jacques Ploeger who has responded to requests from relatives and worked with the local authorities to have the board erected in memory of the crew. /pages/550-sqdn-oude-ijsselstreek-commemoration-2018.php

- - The Association has a considerable amount of information about S/Ldr G S Smith and other members of the crew. It can be found at: /documents/public/Lancasters-Crews/SqdnLeaderGSSmith/index.php

THE AGES OF 550 AIRCREW SOME THOUGHTS BY JACK HARRIS Most people think that the aircrew on 550 Squadron were single and very young, most probably in their early twenties. This was not always the case, particularly with flight engineers who often spent several years in RAF ground trades, especially engine fitters, before they volunteered for, and were accepted, as flight engineers. Consequently, they were well above the usual aircrew entry age. "Senior" flight engineers on 550 were:
Sgt. E T "Ted" Smith, F/E with F/L E S Allen killed on 13 February 1945 after a collision with a 300 Squadron near Wragby, Lincolnshire ? he was aged 42.
Sgt. "Pop" Adley, F/E with P/O R A Tapsell, 8/44 to 5/45, was over 40.
Sgt.Hartley, F/E with F/O M D Hayes, killed on 4/5/April 1945 was aged 36.
-
- Not all older aircrew were flight engineers. Sgt. Alec Bentley, R/G with F/L J Harris did his first op with 550 on 12 September 1944 three days after his 36th birthday. He was married with two children. The conscription age at the beginning of the war was eighteen but it was gradually increased and by 1943/44 men in their thirties were called up. -
- Pilots could be much younger. Recruiting Offices were not fussy about birth certificates and some were accepted age seventeen. After a stiff medical exam and Aircrew Selection Board, the pilot training sequence was:
2 weeks at Aircrew Reception Centre (attestation, service number, uniform, innoculations, drill)
8 weeks at Initial Training Wing (all ground school-meteorology, navigation, principles of flight, morse code, guns)
8 weeks at Elementary Flying School (Tiger Moths)
8 weeks at Service Flying Training School (Oxfords or Battles)
10 weeks at Operational Training Unit (Wellingtons, Whitleys, Hampdens or Blenheims)
-
- Leaves between courses added another 6 or 7 weeks and, at the beginning of the war, the RAF in the UK was restricted to grass airfields and soft ground in winter caused long delays with airfields out of action. -
- Aircrew sent to Canada for flying training had to add a further 6 or 7 weeks to the training period because they had to sail across the Atlantic twice and spend time at Embarkation and then Disembarkation Units in England and Canada. On the other hand the airfields in Canada were all brand new and had runways while many were on the prairies with good flying weather and no enemy interruptions so flying hours could be accumulated in a shorter time. -
- Coming back to the UK, pilots and navigators needed further training to re-adjust from flying conditions in Canada to those in England and north-west Europe. Night flying in Canada was easy as, with no black-out, towns and cities were ablaze with light. In England everything was dark. For day flying there were big differences; in Canada railway lines were scarce, just the main Canadian Pacific east-west line and a few branch lines; in England railways were everywhere. In Canada, rivers and lakes were huge while in England they could be miniscule. Large forests in Canada had distinctive firebreaks where power and telephone lines crossed them and these firebreaks were marked on maps and provided good navigation aids. In England woods and forests were small with no firebreaks. There were no Gee (navigation aid) chains in Canada and navigators had to get used to the Geebox. -
- It meant that pilots and navigators coming back from Canada had to spend 4 or 5 weeks at an Advanced Flying Unit in England to get used to European conditions. At the end of 1942 when the four-engined Halifax and Lancaster bombers started on squadrons, pilots and navigators and all the other aircrew had to spend one month flying the Halifax at a Heavy Conversion Unit followed by two weeks at a Lancaster Finishing School to become operational on the Lancaster. -
- Even with these extra courses, pilots and navigators could join 550 Squadron in 1944 soon after their nineteenth birthdays. -
- Our thanks go to Jack Harris OBE DFC for contributing this item. -
THE GARDEN VILLAGE IN NORTH KILLINGHOLME - 550 Squadron Association members sometimes ask me "why Garden Village?" and "is it a separate village to North Killingholme?"

The answer is that Garden Village lies within the Parish of North Killingholme and came into existence during the First World War, probably around 1916/17, the date is uncertain. The Old Vicarage which stands in the middle of the village was requisitioned by the Admiralty for use as the Officers' Mess for officers and pilots of the Royal Naval Air Service base which is approximately two miles away on the banks of the River Humber.
-
- The entrance to Garden Village from East Halton Road, or Top Road as we still call it here, was in fact the private driveway to the Vicarage. On either side of this, land was requisitioned and building began. There is a small row of old bungalows across the bottom of the site which were built as "Cook Houses". They may have housed the cooks who serviced the Officers' Mess or could have been the kitchens but I think the former is most likely as there would have been quite a substantial kitchen in the Vicarage at that time. -
- A large block of flats was built nearer the roadside to house pilots and officers.
Some of you who have been visiting the village for some time may remember it. It was quite a large, dark looking building. The accommodation at the time it was built was far superior to the houses in the village. It had its own water supply from a water tower and possibly flushing toilets as there was a sewerage bed in the field opposite. Mains sewerage did not come to the village until the 1960s.
This building together with the Vicarage was also used by the Americans in 1918 as the RAF men had been moved out to Habrough House, the large house opposite the church at Habrough.
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- The photograph above was taken in 1917 by Flt Sub Lt Denis Holcombe Carey, a RNAS pilot stationed at Killingholme. It looks as if the flats were under construction at this time as there don?t appear to be any windows.
After the war the whole lot was sold off and came into private hands. The officers' accommodation block was turned into self-contained flats. A shop was included and during World War Two was run by Mrs Witty. Land at each side of the flats was turned into allotments and the centre grassed area was possibly a village green. The flats remained until about 16 years ago when they were finally pulled down and Garden Village as we all know it now was built.
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- An American wrote in the camp magazine "The Fly Paper" that "Killingholme is about the best equipped station as regards the comforts of the men that I have yet come across. Stone houses, paved streets, excellent bathing and scrubbing facilities, electric lights etc - Some Place!" I don't know if this was a bit tongue in cheek or if he really meant it!! -
- I do not know if it was the British or Americans who named the site "Garden Village" but that is its history. -
- Our thanks go to Kathleen Robinson for contributing this fascinating story. -
OTHER NEWS Remembrance Weekend 2018 Please note in your diaries Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th November 2018. Our programme in November includes an informal meal in the "Fork and Spoon" at the Ashbourne Hotel on Saturday evening at 7.45pm and there is likely to be an opportunity to visit the Squadron Museum on Sunday morning. Services at the Squadron Memorial Stone, including a two minutes silence at 11.00am, and then St. Denys' Church will be followed by a three course carvery lunch at the Amethyst Hotel. -
- General Data Protection Regulation There has been considerable publicity in the UK recently about new data protection legislation and you need to complete and return the form included with this newsletter to give us permission to contact you. Members based outside the UK/EU do not have to complete the GDPR Form but may wish to do so in order that we know their preferences in respect of sharing personal information. /documents/public/newsletters/2018/July2018-GDPR-Form.pdf

- International Bomber Command Centre - Lincoln We recommend a trip to the highly impressive International Bomber Command Centre in Lincoln but please note it is closed on Mondays other than Bank Holidays. The formal opening ceremony took place on a very wet day in April and 550 aircrew were in attendance. In addition to the Spire and the highly evocative Walls of Names that list nearly 58,000 casualties, the Chadwick Centre houses state of the art exhibitions about Bomber Command. There is a Peace Garden, a caf? and shop as well as a digital archive of personal accounts from a wide variety of sources. -
- - The site is now open to the public six days a week (closed on Mondays except Bank Holidays) and the address is: International Bomber Command Centre, Canwick Hill, Lincoln, LN4 2RF. The telephone number is 01522 514755 and the website can be found at (see right).
Admission and parking charges apply, with the usual range of concessions.
http://internationalbcc.co.uk

- 550 Contributes to Scientific Research We were pleased and not a little surprised to receive an email recently from Professor Christopher Scott at Reading University. He explained that he is a space physicist specialising in the study of the Earth's ionosphere and has recently been investigating the influence of ground-based explosions on the ionosphere (the electrified regions of the Earth's atmosphere at altitudes above 100 km). He has used some unique ionospheric records taken at the Radio Research Station in Slough (who's Director, Robert Watson-Watt developed radar) to investigate how the ionosphere varied during the intensive bombing of Europe by the RAF during the latter stages of World War Two. Professor Scott wrote "your website has been invaluable in determining the exact time of some of the main bombing raids and I would very much like to acknowledge your contribution to the research". He will send us a copy of his manuscript when completed and we will happily loan it to any member who would like to read it. -
- It's been a while Pilot Edgar Pickles, "B" Flight Commander between January and May 1945, visited the UK in April to attend the opening of the International Bomber Command Centre and took the opportunity to meet up with his navigator, Peter Spindler (seated on the left) for the first time in 72 years. The photograph to the right shows them poring over some of Peter's scrapbooks and notes from their operations together. -
ANNOUNCEMENTS Sad News We regret that the following have died since the last newsletter:

F/Sgt W. A. "Bill" Swan - Flight Engineer 2/45 - 8/45
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New Members A Warm welcome to New Members since the last newsletter Names and contact details -

Issue 69 (April 2018)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
69 April 2018 Information on events in 2018; news about a new Memorial Stone in Belgium. Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
INTRODUCTION April 2018 Newsletter This newsletter contains details about three ceremonies in Belgium arranged for May and preliminary information about the Annual Reunion along with advance notice of the options for next year's reunion dates. There is also an article by Jack Harris about the F/O K Bowen-Bravery crew who were awarded a collective Croix de Guerre for their part in D-Day. -
- This year marks the 100th anniversary of the formation of the RAF and you will find a piece by Kathleen Robinson about RNAS Killingholme which opened in 1914 and became a USNAS base in 1918 after the United States had entered the war the previous year. Also included is an item from Ole Seberg who has updated an article that originally appeared in the Grimsby Telegraph about the W/O W H S Ansell crew who crashed on 29/30 August 1944. Ole regularly attends reunions and tends the grave of F/Sgt. G W Battersby, the only member of the crew whose body was found. In addition, there is a report on Remembrance Weekend 2017, news about developments at the highly impressive International Bomber Command Centre in Lincoln and an appeal for help to any members who may be able to spare a little time to help run the Association. -
- The "News from Tunbridge Wells" is that Jack had a slight stroke at the end of October but is recovering well although taking things a little easier than previously. He and Angela continue to play bridge 3-4 times a week and he has researched and written the Bowen-Bravery article for this newsletter as well as sifting through his archive for future items. With regret, he feels it wise not to travel to Belgium in May but plans to be at North Killingholme in September, a few weeks short of his 98th birthday. -
CEREMONIES IN BELGIUM Three ceremonies in May 2018 There are three ceremonies in May 2018 to commemorate 550 crews who crashed in Belgium. As ever, we are grateful for the fantastic support we receive from the individuals and groups concerned. There is a strong bond of friendship and solidarity between us that spans national borders and a warm welcome is assured for anyone connected with 550 who attends -
Rebecq: Wednesday 23 May Many of those travelling to Rebecq will wish to arrive the day before the ceremony and there is an informal evening meal arranged on Tuesday 22 May. We have used the Hostellerie Au Coeur Du Spinois for a number of years and a discounted 550 room rate may be available. On 23 May the ceremony in memory of the P/O Purney crew who were shot down in JA712 BQ-H on 27/28 May 1944 will take place at 10.00 at the Rebecq Memorial, Chemin du Stoquois 27, 1430 Rebecq. It will be followed by a Reception at 11.30 and then lunch. For those staying longer, Wilfred Burie is hosting dinner on Thursday 24 May. -
Sint-Niklaas: Saturday 26 May A ceremony will take place on 26 May to commemorate the crew of Lancaster LL851 BQ-V (P/O Dukelow) that crashed on 22 May 1944. Those attending will meet at the entrance to Tereken Municipal Cemetery at 10.00 and assemble at the graves at 10.30. The inauguration of the Memorial Stone will take place at 11.00 and the Service ends at 12.00 midday. This will be followed at 12.45 by a cold lunch at Hotel Serwir, Astridlaan, Sint-Niklaas (pay 25 Euros on the day). Places must be booked by no later than 19 May. -
Westerlo: Sunday 27 May This year marks the 20th anniversary of events in Westerlo commemorating F/O Hinde and the other crew members aboard Lancaster DV309 BQ-S that crashed on 21/22 May 1944. There is a tribute to the crew at Schoonselhof Cemetery in Antwerp on the afternoon of 26 May followed by dinner in the evening. On Sunday 27 May there is a Church Service at 10.30 followed by a Service at the Memorial Stone at 12.00 midday. This is followed by a Reception and lunch at 1.00pm in the Polyvalente room. -
Coordinating Arrangments George Turner is liaising with the groups in Belgium and coordinating arrangements on behalf of the Association so please contact him if you would like more information about any of the events or intend travelling to Belgium. If you would like to order a wreath from the British Legion George can do so on your behalf. Alternatively, you are welcome to lay your own flowers or other personal tributes.
George can be contacted on 01469 540228 or 07811454105 or by email him at geowturner@gmail.com
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ANNUAL REUNION 2018 North Killingholme Please note that this year's Annual Reunion will take place on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 September.
As you may recall, the reason for changing the date of the Annual Reunion from July to September each year was to maximise the chances of securing a Lancaster flypast by coinciding our event with the Scampton Airshow. Although the show has unfortunately been cancelled this year we are delighted to announce that our application for a Lancaster flypast on Saturday 8th September has been successful. We have requested 2.00pm but the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will not confirm a time until a few weeks before the reunion. Any flypast is subject to the weather, serviceability and operational requirements although the BBMF has always done its best to fit in with our schedule.
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- - You can book rooms at the Ashbourne Hotel for the nights of 7 and 8 September by contacting them using the details below and quoting "550" to qualify for a discounted rate across all room types, including single occupancy.
The Ashbourne contact details are:
Vicarage Lane
North Killingholme
Immingham
DN40 3JL
Telephone: 01469 541010
Email: reception@ashbournehotel.co.uk
http://www.ashbournehotel.co.uk/

- Newsletter No.70 will contain detailed information about the programme and a Booking Form. -
550 OPENS THE NORMANDY INVASION A CREW RECEIVES A COLLECTIVE CROIX De GUERRE The five beaches selected for the Normandy Invasion landings were called Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah. The British and Canadian troops landed on the first three; Americans the last two. The Germans had set up ten heavy gun batteries whose fields of fire covered these beaches and posed a big threat to the Allied ships mounting the invasion. These guns had to be put out of action. -
- There were other gun batteries along the Channel coast from the Pas de Calais to Cherbourg. In May and early June 1944 Bomber Command attacked these batteries on thirteen nights taking care to spread the attacks as widely as possible to avoid giving the Germans clues on likely invasion areas. -
- The Allied Landings took place at dawn on 6 June 1944 and on the night of 5/6 June Bomber Command was given the task of attacking the ten batteries which posed the biggest threat to the ships approaching the Invasion beaches. Bomber Command sent 1012 aircraft to bomb these batteries, approximately 70-100 aircraft to each battery. Nine of these batteries were attacked an hour or two before dawn. There was a special circumstance with Utah Beach which was at the western end of the Normandy Beaches but situated on the eastern side of the Cherbourg Peninsula where American troops were to land. The land behind Utah Beach was very low-lying and the Germans had flooded large areas. The only exits inland from Utah Beach were a number of raised embankments or causeways constructed and manned by the Germans. The plan was for two American Airborne Divisions to drop paratroops into the Cherbourg Peninsula about midnight on 5 June so that they could take control of the exits from Utah Beach before the dawn landings. -
- Utah Beach was protected by a heavy gun battery at Crisbecq (also known as the St. Marcouf Battery) which was equipped with six powerful 210mm guns with a range of twenty miles plus flak guns for protection. The battery was manned by a mixed force of 300 men, the German Navy looking after the big guns and the Luftwaffe responsible for flak guns. -
- The Bomber Command raid on Crisbecq had to take place just before midnight on 5 June to safeguard the American paratroops. 550 Squadron was part of the Bomber Command attack and sent off 18 Lancasters between 21.10 and 21.31 on 5 June each carrying 11x1000lb and 4x500lb bombs. The bombers crossed the English Channel coast at Bridport (west of Weymouth) outbound and flew over a cloud covered sea to the north and east of Cherbourg. The crews had been told not to jettison bombs over the sea because of the invasion ships which the crews could see through the occasional gap in the clouds. There was 10/10 cloud over the target with cloud tops at 5000ft but flying at 9000-10,000ft crews bombed on the glow of red target indicators visible through the cloud. Flak over the target was negligible but the return route took the bombers close to the Channel Islands (under German occupation) where some flak guns opened up. All 550 aircraft landed between 01.16 and 02.35 at North Killingholme. 598 tons of bombs had been dropped on Crisbecq and post war research revealed that all the flak guns on site had been destroyed and many men killed. The big guns were protected by thick concrete casemates which 1000lb bombs could not penetrate. The guns were silenced by the destruction of their target finding radar and the loss of electrical and control facilities. Soon after bombing, the gun site was attacked by American paratroops. -
- Post raid analysis by Bomber Command showed that the crew of F/O Bowen-Bravery flying LL811 "J-Jig" with the nose art of "Bad Penny" were the first to bomb Crisbecq at 23.34 and had opened up the Normandy Invasion attack.

The crew of "Bad Penny" were:
F/O K Bowen-Bravery Pilot
Sgt. L G Thompson Flight Engineer
P/O G E Thomas Navigator
Sgt. J G Fyffe Bomb Aimer
Sgt. A Cleghorn Wireless Operator
Sgt. R R Thompson Air Gunner
Sgt. A Bodill Air Gunner
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- It is believed that the French Authorities put the crew forward for an award in 1944 or 1945 but this did not materialise until June 1986 (42 years after the event) when the Bowen-Bravery crew were awarded a Collective Croix de Guerre. A wall shield was placed in St. Denys' Church, North Killingholme in September 1990. -
- Soon after the Bowen-Bravery crew finished their first tour in Bomber Command at the end of June 1944, both F/O K Bowen-Bravery and P/O G E Thomas were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Our thanks go to Jack Harris OBE DFC for contributing this article.
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A NIGHT IN AUGUST 1944 In Newsletter No.68 we had an item sent in by Roy Parker titled "What Remembrance Day Means to Me" which referred to Roy's eldest brother, Sgt. Ernest William Parker. This article also relates to Sgt. Ernest William Parker and the last sortie of Lancaster EE193 BQ-C from 550 Squadron. -
- More than 70 years ago, on the night of 29/30 August 1944, a fierce battle was fought over Danish territory between English bombers and German night fighters. Ten English aircraft crashed in Denmark or Kattegat. One met its fate in Store B?lt.

It is 21.19 on Tuesday night 29 August 1944 when the heavily loaded huge four-engined Lancaster EE193 BQ-C is thundering along the runway to take off from North Killingholme airbase, north of Grimsby, heading for Stettin. The bomber is the last of 16 planes from 550 squadron to take off. It is the crew's 14th sortie since joining 550 Squadron on 26 June 1944. The flight to Stettin is long, nine hours, and the aircraft?s deadly load consists of a 4000lb cookie, 60 30lb bombs plus 750 incendiaries. The attack on Stettin is the second in just two weeks.
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- Over the North Sea EE193 and the other aircraft from the squadron join the other 402 Lancaster bombers and the single Mosquito headed for the target. The aircraft are ordered to maintain absolute radio silence and to stay at a height of only 2000ft until reaching the Danish coast, where they are supposed to ascend to operational height. Having crossed Danish territory the Lancasters were supposed to cross into Swedish airspace and turn south towards Stettin. The violation of Swedish territory was chosen to minimise losses on the long outward leg to the target.

The flight across the North Sea is event free. The cloud cover is dense just after take-off but dissolves partly over Denmark. Almost simultaneously with the attack on Stettin 189 Lancasters from 5 Group are on their way to K?nigsberg. These planes took off one hour earlier than the planes headed for Stettin and have succeeded in passing over Denmark into Swedish airspace almost unscathed. However, they alerted the German airdefence, which is now ready to attack the next bomber stream close to midnight as it passes the coast of Jutland. Additionally, the bombers headed for Stettin breached radio-silence when using their navigation radars. Some of the planes have even had their position lights on almost all the way up to the Danish coast to avoid mid-air collision.
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- Two Lancasters are attacked by night-fighters that have taken off from Grove (Karup) airbase to attack the bomber stream even before it reaches Danish territory. One of them goes down in flames near F?rby and is completely destroyed. Over Denmark the sky is ominously illuminated by flares released by German night fighters. On their path across Jutland three more bombers are shot down and several are engaged in combat. The fighting continues over Kattegat where two bombers ditch into the sea near the island of Anholt. A third Lancaster is hit but manages to reach the east coast of Jutland between Ingerslev and Estruplund where it explodes as it hits the ground. Shortly after midnight the first bombers reach Swedish territory chased by German fighters. At the same time Swedish anti-aircraft fire becomes active but the fuses are deliberately set to explode at low altitude. Combat continues in Swedish airspace and the bomber stream is stretched from the east coast of Denmark and deep into Sweden. Five more Lancasters crash on Swedish ground but a large number of the crews manage to escape. A lone Lancaster is even attacked north-west of the island Bornholm by a night fighter and is seriously damaged. -
- Bombing was planned to take place from a height of 18,000-20,000ft but visibility at the target is bad and therefore the Master Bomber, codename Basement 12,000, instructs the bombers to go down below the clouds to drop the bombs. Unfortunately, this radio transmission was jammed or believed to be a German attempt to trick the bombers, including those of 550 squadron, and they remain at the scheduled height and jettison their bomb load using reflections from the markers through the cloud cover as target indicators. As the planes attack Stettin from different heights, bombs and incendiaries from the high flying bombers hit the bombers below. However, the Master Bomber has done a perfect job, and the red and green markers are right on target. As a result the attack is precise and the northern suburbs of Stettin that have hitherto not been hit are damaged. A German attempt to deceive the bombers by setting up phoney markers 10 miles away was in vain. In the pale moonlight the docks are clearly visible and further to the west the residential quarters. The ships in the harbour are anchored as if a new attack was not expected. The AA is horrendous ? it is an incredible sight! The searchlights are moving back and forth in the sky in their constant search for targets, tracers illuminate the sky and bombers are hit and fall to the ground as coloured fireballs. The smoke from the burning city reaches 14,000ft. Thousands lose their lives and 32 factories are laid in ruins. A ship is sunk in the harbour and at least seven damaged. -
- Two bombers crash near the target and en route over southern Sweden two further Lancasters, badly damaged over the target, also crash. Over Danish territory the bombers are attacked again, not only by night fighters from Grove but also from fighters brought in from Schleswig. Nearly all the planes pass over Denmark unharmed, except for one that crashes near Dejberg and another that crashes near Karup, both having been shot down in flames by night fighters. A lone Lancaster is even chased over the North Sea, but escapes.

However, EE193 does not make it home either but is forced down in Store B?lt in all likelihood killing the whole crew except the 24-year-old flight engineer F/Sgt. G W Battersby. He would have been fairly close to the front escape hatch and may have managed to get clear of the falling plane. At least he is the only crew member that was ever found, drifting ashore dead on the west coast of Reers?. The other members of the crew are the pilot, W/O W H S Ansell, navigator C R Cameron (RCAF), bomb aimer F/O H I R Hood, radio operator Sgt. A Anderson, mid-upper gunner Sgt. E W Parker and tail gunner Sgt. O Tabuteau.
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- We will never know the fate of EE193 BQ-C for sure, but it is highly likely the Lancaster was attacked by a night-fighter that had taken off from Grove (Karup) airbase to attack the bomber stream. According to a Danish Newspaper published a day after, the air raid alarm sounded in Kalundborg, North of Reers? at around midnight due to an approaching bomber. EE193 was still heading for Stettin with its full bomb load when it was attacked by a German night fighter and from what is known it is assumed that EE193 exploded mid-air and crashed in Store B?lt. From the Luftwaffe archives the loss of EE193 is listed at 00.31 hours, shot down by a Junkers 88 flown by Herbert Gieseke from Nachtjagdgeschwader 3. A total of 23 Lancasters were lost during the night.

F/Sgt. Battersby's body was found washed ashore on 4 September and the local association of fishermen collected money for a coffin so that he could get a decent burial. He was buried on 6 September at 6 am ? a very unusual time of the day (to avoid attracting attention) and the Germans allowed only the vicar, Glenth?j, and the sexton to be present at the funeral. Despite this a larger group of people from the small fishing community gathered outside the graveyard to give Battersby the final honours.
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- The rest of the crew were never found and neither was the aircraft. The crew is commemorated at Runnymede Memorial near Windsor in England, as are the 20,000 other members of the Royal Air Force who lost their lives during the Second World War and have no known grave.

Our thanks go to Ole Seberg for contributing this article, which has been updated since it was originally published in the Grimsby Telegraph on the 8th June 2008.
/php-library/mysql-utils/reports/rpt_squadron_roll_of_honour.php?value=extended&aircraft=EE193

- The family of Sgt. Ernest William Parker would appreciate any information Association members can give about the 29/30 August 1944 raid on Stettin or about the crew of EE193 BQ-C. Unfortunately we have been unable to track down any images of the EE193 BQ-C crew. -
- Further information about the W/O W.H.S. Ansell crew can be found at: /documents/public/Lancasters-Crews/EE193/index.php

RAF 100 FLYING FROM KILLINGHOLME IN WORLD WAR ONE The RAF marked the 100th anniversary of its formation on 1st April 2018. The Royal Naval Air Service and the Royal Flying Corps were merged in 1918 and all who had signed up for the RNAS became members of the Royal Air Force. -
- What many people may not know is that a Royal Naval Air Service station was opened in North Killingholme in early 1914 just before the outbreak of World War One. It was situated on the Humber Bank at North Killingholme Haven close to the Admiralty Oil Deport and pier. The old vicarage in the village was put into use as the Officers' Mess and a large accommodation block was built in what is now known as Garden Village to house officers and staff. At its height there were around 1,000 men serving at the base at any one time. It became one of the largest bases, if not the largest, in Lincolnshire. Three slipways out into the river meant that not only seaplanes were flown but also land planes from the grass runway on site.

At the outbreak of war RNAS Killingholme was not only placed on an operational war footing but played a very important part in training mechanics and pilots. It was an Air Acceptance base and aircraft were delivered to the base by road and rail where assembly and testing took place prior to distribution to other bases by ferry pilots. Any aircraft that failed a flight test were either repaired or broken down for spare parts. Killingholme was also used as an aircraft storage site for assembled planes awaiting delivery.
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- The Unit Commander Kenneth Whiting sailed into Immingham Dock on the USS Jason on the 1 June 1918, together with cases of aeroplane parts and perhaps more importantly to the men, their baseball equipment. In total around 1300 Americans served at North Killingholme and this is the only time that the Stars and Stripes has flown over the village.

When the Armistice was declared in November 1918, the Americans went home and the base was taken back by the RAF and closed in early 1919.
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- North Killingholme?s "flying" connection with Canada and Australia began in this period:
Flt Sub Lt Arnold Bonnell Massey, born Toronto 1897, served at RNAS Killingholme before being transferred to Catfirth in the Shetlands.
Flt Sub Lt Andrew John Boddy, born 1892 in Toronto, lost his life on 27 April 1916 when the paddle steamer "Killingholme" was torpedoed by a U boat in the North Sea. The Killingholme was used as a seaplane carrier.
Flt Lt Sydney Pickles. born 1894 Sydney, New South Wales. Chief test pilot for Short Bros and the Blackburn Aeroplane Co. who served at Killingholme as a test pilot for newly constructed aircraft.
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- Photo by Kathleen Robinson. This photograph of the slipway out in the River Humber was taken in 2014 and is all that is left of the RNAS site. What tales it could tell!

This article was kindly supplied by Kathleen Robinson, North Killingholme.
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- Further information about RNAS Killingholme, the First Yale Unit and the 2015 US television documentary about them entitled "The Millionaires? Unit" can be found on a number of websites: among them: http://www.forgottenairfields.com/united-kingdom/england/lincolnshire/killingholme-s1029.html

- http://www.warhistoryonline.com/instant-articles/college-students-yale-unit.html

- http://millionairesunit.org/home.php

REMEMBRANCE WEEKEND 2017 Our Remembrance Weekend programme Our Remembrance Weekend programme in 2017 began with an informal meal in the Fork and Spoon at the Ashbourne Hotel on Saturday evening and continued on Sunday morning with an opportunity to visit the 550 Squadron Museum in the Village Hall. -
- Approximately 30 people met at the Memorial Stone for a short Service starting at 10.50 when wreaths were laid. The two minute silence followed at 11.00 before the group moved to St. Denys? Church. The Service concluded at midday and included a message from Jack Harris expressing his regret at being unable to attend. It was followed by a three course lunch at the Amethyst Hotel in East Halton. 100 Squadron could not provide a flypast due to circumstances beyond their control and Don Kentish passed on a message from Wing Commander Nick Badel, Officer Commanding 100 Squadron, expressing his "deepest regrets for not being able to honour our veterans and their families on such an important day." The meal finished at approximately 2.30. -
- We thank Rev. Paul Salmon and Mark Cuerton, the bugler, for their unstinting support of 550. -
- The dates for November 2018 appear later in the newsletter. -
OTHER NEWS Newsletter No.70 - Summer 2018 Please note that due to the change in date of the Annual Reunion the next newsletter will be circulated in mid- July. It will contain information about the reunion and a Booking Form with a closing date towards the end of August. Please return your information as early as possible. -
Remembrance Weekend 2018 Further to the report earlier in this newsletter, please note in your diaries Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 November. A small number of rooms have been reserved at the Ashbourne Hotel at the discounted 550 rate on Saturday night but please book early as they have a function that evening and the hotel is likely to be busy. The programme will follow previous years' and start with an informal meal in the Fork and Spoon on Saturday evening. We anticipate approaching 100 Squadron to request a flypast by one of their fast-fighter aircraft. -
Scampton Airshow Announcement This is the announcement that appeared on the Scampton Airshow website in December 2017 "As the organiser, we have concluded that rather than stage an airshow in 2018, we will use next year to fully consider the many lessons learnt with the ambition of running an event in 2019." The full statement can be found at (see link right): http://scamptonairshow.com/news/2017/dec/14/scampton-airshow-statement

Annual Reunion 2019 At its inception, the Scampton Airshow organisers indicated that they intended the show to take place on the second weekend in September each year. When the Association contacted their office last summer they were unable to provide us with a precise date, possibly because of the review they are undertaking (see above). If the show takes place in 2019, the issue we face is that the 1st September is a Sunday and consequently, the "second weekend" of the month can be interpreted as either 6/7 or the 13/14 September 2019.

With the kind support of the Ashbourne Hotel we have these two weekends provisionally booked and will confirm the date of the Annual Reunion when the airshow situation is resolved. If there is no airshow we will do our best to ascertain the deployment of the Lancaster on both weekends and base our decision on the likelihood of it being within a reasonable flying distance of North Killingholme. The RAF Events Team and the BBMF have always supported 550 and sought to allocate other aircraft if the Lancaster has been unavailable
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International Bomber Command Centre - Lincoln In 2016 and 2017 we were privileged to be afforded the opportunity of "preview" visits to the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincoln as construction work took place. Work is now complete and the site is open to the public six days a week (closed on Mondays except Bank Holidays). In addition to the Spire itself and the highly evocative Walls of Names, the Chadwick Centre houses state of the art exhibitions about Bomber Command. There is a Peace Garden, a cafe and shop as well as a digital archive of personal accounts from a wide variety of sources.

The address is: International Bomber Command Centre, Canwick Hill, Lincoln, LN4 2RF. The telephone number is 01522 514755 and the website can be found at [see link right]. Admission and parking charges apply, with the usual range of concessions.
http://internationalbcc.co.uk

Honorary Member - Patrick Otter It was a long held ambition of the Association to publish the history of 550 Squadron and one which was finally realised with the publication last year of "Five Fifty - The Wartime Story of a Lancaster Squadron" written for us completely free of charge by highly acclaimed aviation author Patrick Otter. We are indebted to Patrick and are extremely pleased he has agreed to become an Honorary Member of the Association. -
Five Fifty ? The Wartime Story of a Lancaster Squadron If you have yet to purchase "Five Fifty" it comprises 266 pages, nearly 100 photos and is available at a cost of £10 plus £5 postage and packing within the UK. Separate shipping arrangements are in place for delivery overseas. Order your copy by contacting Mike Leeman using the details given at the end of the newsletter. -
Rebecq Memorial Association The headquarters of the Rebecq Memorial Association has moved to 14, rue Saint-Marcoult, 7830 Silly, Belgium. Tel: +32 (0)68/286.466. The purpose and remit of the Association remains unchanged -
Can You Help? The Association is run entirely by members who give their time to enable the organisation to function effectively and we want to protect its future by adding to our pool of committee members and volunteers. If you can spare even a little time to help, your input will be greatly appreciated.
There is plenty to do as the Association organises two events a year (the Annual Reunion and Remembrance Weekend), runs a comprehensive and highly respected website, produces and distributes three newsletters annually, administers membership records, responds to requests for information about squadron personnel from family members and carries out the usual administrative functions expected of a voluntary organisation.
In addition, there are partnerships with groups in Europe who have created memorials to 550 crews that crashed and our links with members in other parts of the world. For example, we have co-ordinators in northern America and Australia who stay in touch with members, distribute newsletters and generally spread the word about 550.
This range of activities offers many opportunities for those who might feel able to contribute and enable the "Spirit of 550" to live on. If you think you can help in any way please contact us for an informal discussion using the details given at the end of this newsletter, we would love to hear from you.
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ANNOUNCEMENTS Sad News We regret that the following have died since the last newsletter:

Frank Bastin - Ground Crew - Dates Not Known
Sgt. G. "George" Bulman Navigator 3/45 - 8/45
F/O S. P. "Steve" George DFC, DFM - Flight Engineer 11/44 - 4/45
F/O G. H. "Geoff" Packham - Pilot 5/44 - 6/44
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New Members A Warm welcome to New Members since the last newsletter Names and contact details -
Change of Address Members change of address details Names and contact details. -

Issue 68 (October 2017)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
68 October 2017 Remembrance Weekend, 2017 Reunion report, 2018 diary. Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
INTRODUCTION October 2017 Newsletter This newsletter is timed to coincide with preparations for the Remembrance Sunday activities in North Killingholme next month. -
- - Further details appear below and also in this edition is a personal perspective on the meaning of Remembrance Day by Roy Parker, an article by Jack Harris about Lancaster Operations by 1 Group squadrons between 1942-45 and a heart-warming story about former 550 Wireless Operator Bill Rate. There is also a report on the recent Annual Reunion, the dates for next year's event and a photograph of a member of the Royal Family enjoying a conversation with one of our members! -
- - Jack was in excellent form at another highly successful Annual Reunion and leads the Association with considerable skill and vigour. He continues to play bridge a number of times a week and enjoyed a summer break in the Cotswolds with Angela and members of the family before returning home, sifting through his archive for items to be held at the 550 Museum and preparing his speeches for the reunion weekend. -
REMEMBRANCE WEEKEND North Killingholme
11th/12th November 2017
Our programme in November includes an informal meal in the Fork and Spoon at the Ashbourne Hotel on Saturday evening and an opportunity to visit the Squadron Museum on Sunday morning. Services at the Squadron Memorial Stone, including a two minutes silence at 11.00am, and then St. Denys? Church will be followed by a three course carvery lunch at the Amethyst Hotel. We have approached the Officer Commanding 100 Squadron to enquire about the possibility of a flypast by one of their fast-fighter aircraft during the course of the morning. -
- - Rooms are available at the Ashbourne Hotel at the discounted "550" rate but we advise booking early as they have a function that evening.
The Ashbourne contact details are:
Vicarage Lane
North Killingholme
Immingham
DN40 3JL
Telephone: 01469 541010
Email: reception@ashbournehotel.co.uk
http://www.ashbournehotel.co.uk/

- - Settle your food and accommodation bill on departure.

All arrangements are being made by Don and Val Kentish [...] Mobile 07757 722185
Email: dvparadise@yahoo.co.uk
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- Saturday Evening 11th November It is usual for a 550 group to come together for a meal in the Ashbourne Hotel on Saturday evening. This will take place at 7.45 pm. in the Fork and Spoon and if you would like to join the group, please let Don and Val know by Friday 3rd November. Menu pre-selection is required for groups of 10 or more and Don or Val will contact you if this is necessary. -
- Sunday 12th November Our provisional timetable, subject to the time of any flypast, is shown below. However, the two minutes silence at 11.00 at the Memorial Stone is a fixed point in our programme and will not be altered. We are pleased that Reverend Paul Salmon will be conducting our Services and hope he will be accompanied again by Mark, the bugler. -
- - 09.30-10.30 - Squadron Museum open in the Village Hall
10.40 - Assemble at the Squadron Memorial Stone in Lancaster Approach
10.52 - Service starts, conducted by Reverend Paul Salmon.
11.00 - Two minutes silence. Wreaths and personal tributes are laid.
11.05 - Move to St. Denys' Church.
11.20 - Church Service starts.
12.00 - Service ends.
12.30 - Three course carvery lunch plus tea/coffee/mints at the Amethyst Hotel, East Halton.Pay £21.00 per head on the day.
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- - Please tell Don and Val if you are coming to lunch at the Amethyst Hotel, East Halton by Friday 3rd November 2017 as the hotel must have accurate numbers. -
- Flypast Notes, Sunday 12th November As many members will be aware, 550 was formed from "C" Flight of 100 Squadron in November 1943. 100 Squadron is now a fast-fighter training unit flying Hawks and we have approached them to request a flypast on Remembrance Sunday. As ever, any flypast is subject to the weather and operational requirements and may mean adjustments to our timetable on Sunday morning. If you plan to join us and would like to know about any changes please contact Don and Val Kentish using the details given above. -
REMEMBRANCE WHAT REMEMBRANCE DAY MEANS TO ME This item was sent to us by Roy Parker, brother of Sgt. E.W. Parker. -
- - Remembrance Day means different things to different people, but to me it's a time of very deep sorrow. I remember clearly the day Dad got the telegram saying that my brother Ern (Sgt. Ernest William Parker) had been shot down over Germany. Ern was a mid-upper gunner in a Lancaster Bomber (BQ-C EE193) from 550 Squadron. The year was 1944 and I'd been working as a telegram boy at the Post Office, Whitechapel, London E1 for a couple of years and had delivered many telegrams to mothers and wives saying that their nearest and dearest had been killed fighting for their country. So it was heart-breaking when Dad got the message saying that Ern had lost his life while on a mission over Germany. It must have been devastating for Dad to go to Swaffham and tell Mum, who had been evacuated there along with my brothers Len, Pete, Rex and sister Iris. -
- - On Remembrance Day I always think of those young boys, Ern was 19, climbing into those cold cheerless planes, knowing full well they may not return and that there were anti-aircraft guns and fighter planes waiting for them. But still they went and that was real bravery. -
- - Ern was always my hero. I always remember he came home on leave one time and as night fell the Air-Raid Siren sounded and all the family made their way to the wet, cold shelter. "Aren't you coming?" I asked. "Oh no", Ern said, "If I'm going to die I want to be in my comfortable bed" -
- - I found out via the Internet that Ern was shot down on his way to Stettin, a town in Poland close to the German border, on 30th August 1944. I often wonder what it would have been like in that Lancaster. With anti-aircraft shells bursting all around, the noise must have been deafening and I think of the smell of the smoke from the machine-guns as Ern desperately tried to ward-off the incoming night fighters. Did Ern think "this is not how I planned to die" when the bomber burst into flames, "this is not my nice comfortable bed in Romford". -
- - Ern's body was never found. The badly burned body of the Flight Engineer, F/Sgt. G. W. Battersby, was washed ashore at Reerso Denmark, on the 4th September and he is buried in the village cemetery.

On Remembrance Day I always think of my brother Ernest.
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- - Our thanks go to Roy Parker for sharing his thoughts with us.

Further information about the W/O W.H.S. Ansell crew can be found at:
/documents/public/Lancasters-Crews/EE193/index.php

ANNUAL REUNION, SEPTEMBER 2017 2017 Reunion Report The number of people attending the Annual Reunion for its new spot in September was extremely encouraging and the weather held up on Saturday afternoon after a brief shower shortly after we arrived at the Memorial Stone. There was considerable uncertainty about whether the Lancaster would be airworthy after much-publicised problems with the Merlin engines but to our delight it passed an air test on Saturday morning.

The Annual Reunion timetable often seems to revolve around meals and the weekend began with 38 people attending the Friday evening dinner at the Ashbourne Hotel. The 550 Museum was open on Saturday morning and over 40 people enjoyed a buffet lunch at the Amethyst Hotel.
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- - After following the Immingham Air Training Corps Band from the Village Hall to Lancaster Approach, the sight and sound of the Lancaster provided an emotional mix of excitement, celebration and commemoration when flying at low level over the Memorial Stone just before the Service of Remembrance. Ildiko van Dyck from Westerlo sang superbly for us in St.Denys' Church and 84 people sat down for the Reunion Dinner on Saturday evening. Our Services were conducted by Rev. Paul Salmon and we extend our thanks to him for his ongoing support of 550. -
- - Sales of "Five Fifty", the book written about 550 completely free of charge by renowned aviation author Patrick Otter, were extremely healthy and we thank him for signing copies on Saturday afternoon. We were pleased that he and his wife Eva were also able to join us at the Reunion Dinner. Before the meal, Chris Swan passed on a message from Bill, who was unable to travel this year, and Elizabeth Coulter read her poem "Respect", about her grandfather Jim Cassidy. A singing duo called Magic Moments performed after dinner and Jack rounded off the evening with a highly entertaining series of jokes. For those who have ever attended a Reunion Dinner, "Jack's Jokes" have always been a highlight and he did not disappoint. -
- - On Sunday morning a group of 31 visited the highly impressive Spire and Memorial Walls at the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincoln where building work is continuing apace and the Chadwick Building is close to completion. A 550 wreath was laid by Jack Harris, Wally Fitch and Edward Fleming and a copy of "Five Fifty" was presented by them to Dave Gilbert, representing the Centre. Those who had time stayed for an informal lunch at the Mill Lodge pub/restaurant opposite the entrance to the site.

Find out more about the IBCC at:
http://internationalbcc.co.uk

- - People travelled from across the UK and elsewhere to attend the reunion. From Australia we were delighted to welcome the Fleming family (Edward, Clare and Lloyd) and Chris Swan, while Jos de Ryck, Ildiko van Dyck, William Albertyn, Denise Rammeloo and Wilfred Burie came from Belgium and Ole Seberg from Denmark. -
- - This was the twenty fifth year of Annual Reunions held in North Killingholme and we are indebted to the people, groups and organisations who have contributed to the success of the event over the years. Long term supporters include the 866 (Immingham) Squadron Air Training Corps band and the group of volunteers who provide us with refreshments in North Killingholme Village Hall. We also appreciate greatly the commitment of the generations of clergy who have served us so well and the warm welcome we receive at the Ashbourne and Amethyst hotels. In addition, there have been innumerable individual contributions over the years and we can only thank those people for their goodwill in giving their time so freely in support of 550. -
- - This goodwill has helped foster the sense of belonging we experience not only in the North Killingholme area but across Belgium, Denmark and elsewhere in northern Europe, Australia, Canada and the USA and through our "online" community. This year we celebrated a significant landmark and the "Spirit of 550" lives on. -
- - Photographs of the Annual Reunion can be found on the 550 website at: /pages/550-sqdn-reunions.php

- - The Grimsby Telegraph website includes video footage of the flypast and parts of the Service at the Memorial Stone. See: http://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/news/local-news/watch-world-famous-lancaster-bomber-451013#ICID=sharebar_whatsapp

LANCASTER OPERATIONS BY No.1 GROUP SQUADRONS 1942-45 The Table below gives 1 Group losses for the period 1942-45. It shows 550 as having the second lowest loss rate at 1.6%. The only squadron with a lower loss rate was 170 Squadron at 1.3% but that was formed in October 1944 when conditions for the Bomber Command Main Force were easing. Also, 170 only took part in one third of the raids 550 flew and only 28% of the sorties.
(Full details in newsletter.)
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ACROSS CONTINENTS THE BILL RATE STORY Rod Rate in Australia contacted us about his father, Bill (F/Sgt. W. G. Rate RAAF), who transferred from 100 Squadron to 550 on its formation in November 1943. Bill was Wireless Operator with the F/O J. O. Richard DFC RCAF crew and would have been 100 years old this year. Rod writes: I thought you might be interested in a story about my Dad. It goes like this: -
- - While at Killingholme, Bill met the daughter of the English base commander. When he finished his tour sometime in 1945, he was sent to Italy to do training work of some kind. We don?t know the details and neither did the daughter of the base commander, whom we have since found out, thought that he must have been killed. Neither made contact.
Well, Bill returned home to Fremantle, Western Australia in early 1946 and recommenced building a family (I was born in 1941 before he joined the Air Force). He and my mother Jean had three girls and another boy. Mum died suddenly in 1981 and Bill lived alone at 416 Canning Highway (which he built before he went to war) on his own for the ensuing six years. Then one day, an amazing thing happened.
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- - Two ladies from Bill's lawn bowls club in Hilton near Fremantle were playing a slot machine in a casino in Las Vegas. An American speaking lady who was an employee of the casino and was on her way home, sat down beside them. -
- - Shortly later she said "Where do you ladies come from?"
To which they replied "Australia".
The American said "I can hear that, but where in Australia?"
They said "Western Australia".
To which the American said "Where in particular in Western Australia?"
They replied "Fremantle".
And the American said "Well I'm in fact British born but I married an American serviceman and we brought our four boys up here in Las Vegas. However, during the war, I was the daughter of the North Killingholme base commander and I met an Aussie from Fremantle called Bill Rate."
And they said "He plays bowls at our lawn bowls club in Hilton"!!!!
-
- - Well, they came home and got up in front of the mob at the Hilton Park Bowling Club and given that my mother Jean had been a long term bowler at the same club, as we say in Australia, "did him over". Bill went home and called the American lady who had given her details to the Aussies (her husband had also passed away) and invited her to come to Australia for a holiday. She came for three weeks and then returned to Las Vegas. The next year she returned and stayed for six months and took up lawn bowls with Bill. Then she went back to the US. The next year she returned to Oz and became our stepmother!!! -
- - They had ten years together before Dad died in 1998 and she returned to the States. Unfortunately she passed away about two years later. So how about that for a crewman of 550 Squadron? Some of the detail may not be exactly correct but it is an incredible story don't you think? -
- - Rod and his wife made contact with Archie Day and Tom Boyle from Bill's crew but would appreciate any information Association members can give about the others. They are F/O J. O. Richard DFC RCAF (Pilot), Sgt. R. W. Scott RCAF (A/B), Sgt. W. J. Carthew (MU/AG) and Sgt. T. J. Connaghan (R/AG).

Our thanks go to Rod Rate for sharing this incredible story with us.

Photographs and information about Bill and the crew can be found at:
/documents/public/Lancasters-Crews/FOJORichard/index.php

A PICTURE PAINTS A THOUSAND WORDS BBMF 60th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS The photograph below [see link right], dated 11th July 2017, was posted by the BBMF on its official Twitter account and features Maurice Snowball. The caption reads "HRH The Duke of Cambridge met with WWII Royal Air Force veterans to celebrate 60th Anniversary of the BBMF". /images/Reunion-2017/bbmf-20170711.jpg

OTHER NEWS Five Fifty - The wartime story of a Lancaster squadron If you have not yet ordered your copy of "Five Fifty" and would like to do so then please contact Mike Leeman using the information at the end of this newsletter.

The book is 266 pages in length and contains nearly 100 photos.

It can be collected over Remembrance Weekend and costs £10. Postage and packing is £5 within the UK and separate shipping arrangements have been put in place for delivery overseas.
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- Annual Reunion 2018 We can confirm the dates of next year's Annual Reunion as Friday 7th, Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th September 2018. This is the weekend of the Scampton Airshow and should give us a reasonable chance of securing a Lancaster flypast on Saturday afternoon. -
- Belgian Parade at the Cenotaph In recognition of the strong links between the two countries, the Belgian Parade at the Cenotaph in London has taken place annually since 1934. This year Gilbert Beeckmans from the Rebecq Memorial Association and Wilfred Burie on behalf of 550 Squadron were invited to lay wreaths. The 550 wreath was laid in honour of crews from the squadron who were lost over Belgium.

More information is available at:
http://www.rebecqmemorial.eu/cenotaph.php

- The Belgians Remember Them Partly as a result of attending the ceremony at the Cenotaph, Wilfred Burie has started a major project aimed at recording all the Bomber Command crashes in Belgium during the war. He spoke to several people about it at the Annual Reunion and if you would like him to contact you when the website is up and running please email him at: belgian.remember@gmail.com. http://www.belgians-remember-them.eu/

- Newsletter We welcome suggestions and contributions and always try to include material sent to us. Please send contributions to Don Kentish using the details given in the Remembrance Weekend section of this newsletter. -
ANNOUNCEMENTS Sad News The following person has died since the last newsletter:

P/O H. C. C. "Harry" Bontoft - Wireless Operator 1/45 - 3/45
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New Members A Warm welcome to New Members since the last newsletter Names and contact details -

Issue 67 (July 2017)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
67 July 2017 Event information, reunion booking form, "Five Fifty" order form. Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
INTRODUCTION July 2017 Newsletter This newsletter gives details about the Annual Reunion and includes a Booking Form. It is important that bookings are sent to Andrew Etherington as soon as possible but no later than Friday 25th August. -
- - It is apt that the 25th Annual Reunion in North Killingholme coincides with the publication of a book written by Patrick Otter and published by the Association entitled "Five Fifty - The wartime story of a Lancaster squadron". Both are significant landmarks for an organisation that continues to thrive and it is a tribute to Jack and the members of 550 Squadron that they have created the welcoming environment that attracts and retains the younger generations who today join the Association and attend its events. -
- - Other than information about the reunion and details of how to obtain "Five Fifty", there is a poem entitled "A Toast to 550 Squadron", reports on ceremonies in Belgium and North Yorkshire and news about Remembrance Weekend 2017 and the Annual Reunion in 2018. -
ANNUAL REUNION 2017 - NORTH KILLINGHOLME Annual Reunion 2017 Date - Friday 8th to Sunday 10th September 2017 -
- - The weekend starts on Friday evening with an informal meal at the Ashbourne Hotel. The Saturday daytime programme begins with a visit to the 550 Squadron Museum followed by a buffet lunch at the Amethyst Hotel, a Lancaster flypast and Service at the Squadron Memorial Stone, a Service at St. Denys? Church and tea and cakes in the Village Hall. The formal Reunion Dinner takes place at the Ashbourne on Saturday evening. On Sunday there is a private tour for 550 members of the Memorial Spire and Walls at the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincoln with the option of light refreshments or lunch at the Mill Lodge restaurant following the visit. /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2017

- - Please complete and return your Booking Form, enclosed with this newsletter, as soon as possible but no later than Friday 25th August 2017 to Andrew Etherington, [...] Email: andreweth@btinternet.com,

The sooner you complete and return the Booking Form the easier it is for us to process the information and liaise with the many groups and organisations that support the Annual Reunion.

If enclosing a cheque please ensure it is made payable to 550 Squadron Association.
/php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2017

- Booking Form Electronic versions of the Booking Form can be found on the 550 website. PDF format: /documents/public/newsletters/2017/Reunion2017-BookingForm.pdf

- Booking Form Electronic versions of the Booking Form can be found on the 550 website. MS Word format: /documents/public/newsletters/2017/Reunion2017-BookingForm.docx

- Programme Friday 8th September
A meal has been arranged in the restaurant at the Ashbourne Hotel starting at 8.00pm. There is no seating plan and a choice of either two courses for £16.95 or three courses for £20.95 per person. Indicate your menu selections on the Booking Form.
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- Programme Saturday 9th September
A Lancaster flypast has been approved and we have requested it for 2.00pm but will not receive notification of the actual time from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight until a few weeks before the reunion. As ever, the time may be subject to change. Our preferred timetable is (see link right):
/php-library/popup.php?textFile=MEMO2017

- Programme Saturday 9th September - Reunion Dinner
Dinner at the Ashbourne Hotel starts at 7.30pm and is a three course meal at £27.95 per head. Menu options are given on the Booking Form. There is a seating plan so please indicate if you wish to sit with anyone in particular. If you are not staying at the hotel pay at the end of the meal.
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- Programme Sunday 10th September
Our tour of the Memorial Spire and Walls at the International Bomber Command Centre on the outskirts of Lincoln begins at 11.45am. There is the option of light refreshments or lunch at the Mill Lodge following the visit. Full details appear later in the newsletter.
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- Ashbourne Hotel Information If you intend to stay at the Ashbourne please book your room(s) without delay as any rooms that have not been reserved by Sunday 27th August 2107 will be released for general sale. Please remember to quote ?550? to receive a discounted rate. The ?550? rate, across all room types, is £78 Bed and Breakfast per room per night for a twin or double and £68 for single occupancy.

The Ashbourne has a block of "comfort" rooms that has a lift and easily accessible bedrooms on the ground floor. These are the "400" rooms. Please discuss your accessibility requirements with the hotel.
http://www.ashbournehotel.co.uk/

- - The Ashbourne contact details are:
Vicarage Lane
North Killingholme
Immingham
DN40 3JL
Telephone: 01469 541010
Email: reception@ashbournehotel.co.uk
Website: http://www.ashbournehotel.co.uk/
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- Other Accommodation Possible alternatives to the Ashbourne Hotel are:

The Amethyst Hotel, Townside, East Halton, Immingham, Grimsby, Lincolnshire, DN40 3NS. Telephone: 01469 540205

Church Farm Guest House, Immingham Road, Habrough, North East Lincolnshire, DN40 3DB. Telephone: 01469 576190. Website: http://www.churchfarm-guesthouse.com/

The Old Chapel Hotel, 50 Station Road, Habrough, Immingham, DN40 3AY. Telephone 01469 572377

The Yarborough Arms, Killingholme Road, Ulceby, North East Lincolnshire, DN39 6TZ. Telephone 01469 588383 or Mary on 07876 147182. Website: http://www.yarborougharms.co.uk/
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- Other Accommodation Hotels and other types of accommodation can be found easily by using any of the well-known price-comparison websites. Please note that not all establishments are listed.

A Visitor and Accommodation Guide that covers the local area is available from the Tourist Information Centre in Brigg (01652 657053).

They also recommend the following website: http://www.visitnorthlincolnshire.com/

There is also a Tourist Information Centre in Cleethorpes (01472 323111) if you prefer accommodation in the Grimsby and Cleethorpes area. Website: http://www.visitcleethorpes.co.uk
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- Travel Arrangements North Killingholme is approximately 8 miles from Humberside Airport and a 45 minute drive from Robin Hood Airport.

The nearest station to North Killingholme is Habrough. This is on the Doncaster to Cleethorpes line and is approximately 3 miles from North Killingholme. Please note that not all trains stop at Habrough although the majority do stop at Barnetby, 9 miles from North Killingholme. A taxi from Habrough station to North Killingholme should cost in the region of £8-10 and from Barnetby £18-20 (prices quoted in June 2017). Local firms include Fred?s Cars (01469 577100) and Micks Cars (01469 571159). Placebook Private Hire (01469 541600) is based in North Killingholme and therefore may be slightly cheaper.

By road, if travelling east on the A180 take the A160 exit towards Killingholme and drive approximately 1 mile to the new roundabout. Take the second exit towards North Killingholme. Follow the road for approximately 1 mile and turn right into Church Lane. St Denys' Church is on the left and immediately opposite is the Ashbourne Hotel. Turn right at the village green and the Hotel car park entrance is fifty yards on your left.

Free parking is available at the Ashbourne but may be restricted. Disabled parking spaces are located outside the entrance to the block on your left as you face Reception from the car park

The Amethyst Hotel is in East Halton, approximately 1.5 miles from North Killingholme. There is ample free parking.

Please do not park on Lancaster Approach other than to drop off and collect passengers at the Memorial Stone. Off-road parking is available at John Somerscales Ltd (approximately 200 yards from the Memorial Stone on the right) but as the site is used by a number of hauliers please do not block in other vehicles.
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IBCC International Bomber Command Memorial Spire Visit to the International Bomber Command Memorial Spire and Walls on Sunday 10th September

Our tour of the International Bomber Command Centre Memorial Spire and Walls begins at 11.45am and will last approximately 1.5 hours. The site is not yet open to the public and we are grateful for the opportunity of a second "preview" visit prior to its official opening in 2018. Please remember to leave ample time for your journey in case of delays due to the Scampton Airshow.
http://internationalbcc.co.uk/

- - The address is Canwick Hill, Lincoln, LN4 2RF. Driving up Canwick Hill look out for the Mill Lodge pub/restaurant, fork right and the entrance to The Spire is almost immediately on the right. Drive through the gate and follow the access road until you reach the cream portacabins on your right. Park in the small car park on the side of the road. Our tour guides will be on hand to greet us and take us on the tour but we cannot start until the full group has arrived. -
- - As the site is still under construction:
  • Please wear suitable, stout, waterproof footwear, (the ground is uneven in places) and warm clothing (as it is quite often windy at the Spire)
  • Stay on the designated pathway as there will be large plant machinery in operation
  • There is a toilet available on site but this is the only "facility". The Mill Lodge restaurant opposite the entrance to the site can be used for coffee and tea etc.
  • There is no smoking on site.
  • Stay together at all times due to the construction work.
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- - The Centre encourages the placing of floral tributes and poppies and we plan to lay a 550 Squadron wreath. Poppies are available on site.

There is no formal entrance charge but we suggest an optional donation of £5 per head as a contribution to the Centre's fundraising efforts. If you wish to make a donation please include it in your payment for the Reunion Weekend. The Association will then send a cheque to the Centre.
-
- - Following the visit there is the option of visiting the Mill Lodge restaurant, a Beefeater, for hot and cold drinks or lunch. If eating, there is the option of a Sunday roast along with dishes from the Main Menu. It is also possible to choose starters, sharing platters, "sides" and desserts for those not wishing to eat a full meal. Please indicate your attendance on the Booking Form so that we can inform them about the number in our party. -
FIVE FIFTY THE WARTIME STORY OF A LANCASTER SQUADRON The book "Five Fifty" comprises 266 pages and nearly 100 photos and was written completely free of charge for the Association by renowned aviation author Patrick Otter. It will be available from mid-August 2017 at a cost of £10 plus £5 postage and packing within the UK. Separate shipping arrangements are being put in place for delivery overseas. -
- - Books can also be collected at the Annual Reunion or over Remembrance Weekend. Patrick has kindly offered to sign copies of "Five Fifty" on the Saturday afternoon of the reunion. -
- - There has been considerable interest in the book and we thank everyone who returned the Pre-Purchase Form distributed with Newsletter No. 66 in March 2017. If you did not return the Form and wish to register your interest in buying a copy/copies, please complete the relevant section of the Booking Form. See web-site link right: /documents/public/newsletters/2017/Reunion2017-BookingForm.pdf

- - Mike Leeman will contact potential purchasers closer to the publication date to confirm their requirements and arrange for payment and collection/delivery. -
CEREMONIES IN BELGIUM Rebecq Jack headed the group representing the Association at the memorial ceremony in Rebecq on 24th May. More than 250 people met to pay tribute to the P/O E. C. Purney RCAF crew flying Lancaster JA712/BQ-H that crashed on the outskirts of Rebecq on 28th May 1944. The ceremony also honoured the civilians who were arrested and imprisoned, some deported to Germany, for trying to hide or otherwise help the two survivors.
The ceremony was jointly planned and organised by the Rebecq Memorial Association (AMR) and the Military Command of the Province of the Walloon Brabant. Gilbert Beeckmans, President of the AMR, and Jack Harris gave speeches and during the ceremony primary school students presented Jack with drawings that reflected their feelings about the crash. After this act of sharing between the 96 year old former Lancaster pilot and the 12 year old students, wreaths were laid in memory of the Belgian, British and Canadian victims, military and civilian, of this sad event.

Information about the Purney crew and photographs of the ceremony can be found at:
/pages/550-sqdn-rebecq-commemorations.php

- Lichtervelde On 28th May, seventy three years to the day after Lancaster LL810/BQ-K crashed just outside Lichtervelde, a memorial was unveiled to the P/O D. McCrae RCAF crew who were all killed in the incident. Several descendants of crew members were present at the inauguration; Linda Johnston, Fiona and Stephen Pidgeon for Arthur Hall (W/Op), Paul Sant for Charles Bonner (MU/AG) and Kevin Summers and his family for Ronald Drury (F/Eng).
The British Ambassador to Belgium, Alison Rose attended as did Nicola Hinder who represented Australia and Colonel Alain Pintelon for the Belgian government. Wilfred Burie attended on behalf of 550, Gilbert Beeckmans for the Rebecq Memorial Association and Michel de Norman d'Audenauve represented the RAF Association.
After the speeches, the monument was unveiled by Alison Rose and Ria Pattyn, Mayor of Lichtervelde. This was followed by the laying of wreaths, a one minute silence and national anthems. The memorial has been sponsored by municipality of Lichtervelde, with the support of the local history association ("Heemkundige Kring").
The Association is indebted to all involved for their hard work and perseverance in creating a permanent memorial to the McCrae crew.

More information about the crew and photographs of the ceremony can be found at:
/pages/550-sqdn-lichtervelde-commemorations.php

MEMORIAL AT ELLINGSTRING, NORTH YORKSHIRE Ellingstring A memorial plaque was unveiled on 24th June near Ellingstring, North Yorkshire in memory of six members of the F/O S.H. Hayter crew who were killed on 4th October 1944 when flying BQ-A (NF963). The aircraft crashed on a cross-country training flight with the pilot, Stan Hayter, the sole survivor. There had been confusion about the site of the crash until recent research clarified the location.
Relatives and others connected to five of the crew came from across the UK and as far afield as New Zealand to attend a ceremony that was conducted by the Padre to 100 Squadron, Squadron Leader Richard Clement. Those attending included Ralph, Simon, Rachel and Ruth Hayter (F/O S. H. Hayter (Pilot)), Alun Thomas (F/O T. Y. Thomas (Nav)), Barbara Alexander and Derek Drury (F/O R. R. Bradshaw RNZAF (A/B)), Ian Phillips (Sgt. A. J. Pearce (W/Op)) and Ian (family name not known) for Sgt. J. McVey (R/AG). Don Kentish represented the Association and laid a wreath on its behalf.
The Association thanks all those who contributed to the research, Dave Donaghy for constructing the memorial and arranging the ceremony and Richard Clement for conducting the Service that brought together the families of the young men involved in this ill-fated flight.
/pages/550-sqdn-ellingstring-memorial.php

A TOAST TO 550 SQUADRON - The poem below was sent to Jack Harris by Steve Green (Sgt. I. S. Green, A/G with the F/L J. A. Sweeney RCAF crew) who joined 550 in March 1945 and flew 7 ops before the war ended. His friend Brian Porter spent 15 years in the RAF post-war and was a prolific poet keen to take up any RAF theme. Steve Green was very active with the Doncaster Branch of the Air Gunners' Association and went to Germany on occasion to attend the annual gathering of former Luftwaffe Night Fighter personnel. -
OTHER NEWS Remembrance Weekend 2017 Please note in your diaries Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th November 2017. Our programme in November has expanded over the years and now includes an informal meal in the "Fork and Spoon" at the Ashbourne Hotel on Saturday evening at 7.45pm and an opportunity to visit the Squadron Museum on Sunday morning. Services at the Squadron Memorial Stone, including a two minutes silence at 11.00am, and then St. Denys' Church will be followed by a three course carvery lunch at the Amethyst Hotel. We will be approaching the Officer Commanding 100 Squadron to enquire about the possibility of a flypast by one of their fast-fighter aircraft during the course of the morning.

Rooms are available at the Ashbourne on Saturday 10th November at the discounted "550" rate but we advise booking early as they have a function that evening.

A detailed programme and booking arrangements will appear in the October newsletter.
-
- Annual Reunion 2018 We can confirm the dates of next year's Annual Reunion as Friday 7th, Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th September 2018. This coincides with the Scampton Airshow and should give us a reasonable chance of securing a Lancaster flypast on Saturday afternoon. -
- Buildings on North Killingholme Airfield A company called Dong Energy are to run a pipeline through part of the airfield site. The initial route had an impact on some of the remaining airfield buildings and we would like to thank those people who raised their concerns about the situation as the route has been altered following discussions with the landowner and Dong Energy. -
SAD NEWS - The following have died since the last newsletter: -
- - F/O F. W. "Bill" Bennett - Navigator 11/43-6/44 -
- - F/O H. T. A. "Harry" Evans - Navigator 11/43-7/44 -
- - Sgt A. M. Gardner - Air Gunner 4/45-Date not known -
- - Sgt G. "Gerry" Taylor - Navigator 3/45-8/45 -
- - F/O K. H. "Ken" Vaughan - Bomb Aimer 3/45-10/45 -
NEW MEMBERS - We are pleased to welcome: -
CHANGE OF ADDRESS Members change of address details Names and contact details. -

Issue 66 (April 2017)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
66 April 2017 Nine pages with information on events in 2017, and news about a new book. Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
INTRODUCTION April 2017 Newsletter This newsletter includes important news about the publication of a book dedicated to the history of 550 Squadron and includes the opportunity for members to indicate how many copies they may wish to purchase. This will give the Association an idea about the number of books to have printed. -
- - This year's Annual Reunion is the 25th to be held in North Killingholme and is an important landmark for the Association. This newsletter includes preliminary information about the arrangements for the reunion plus news about commemorative events taking place in Belgium, an article by Jack Harris about the Battle of Berlin and more about Operation Dodge. -
- - Jack reports that he has recently emerged from his winter hibernation and continues to play duplicate bridge with Angela four or five times a week. He is busy writing the Foreword for the book as well as other sections and is contributing his knowledge and expertise to the process. In addition he is busy sorting through his archive for material that can be added to the website or held at the 550 museum. It's a fair amount of work for someone in their 97th year who is trying to cut down on paperwork when also preparing to travel with daughter Sue and son-in-law Andrew to Belgium in May. -
CEREMONIES IN BELGIUM - There are a number of ceremonies taking place in 2017 to commemorate 550 crews who crashed in Belgium. Representatives from Westerlo, St. Niklaas, Lichtervelde, Jalhay and Berinzenne will join our colleagues in Rebecq for the ceremony on 24th May. As ever, we are grateful for the tremendous support we receive from the individuals and groups concerned. The warmth of welcome and the appreciation that the people feel for the efforts of Allied aircrew creates an experience to remember.

Jack Harris will lead a group from 550 attending the ceremony in Rebecq and Wilfred Burie and others connected with the Association will represent us at the other events.
-
- Rebecq: Wednesday 24th May There will be a ceremony in memory of the P/O Purney crew who were shot down in JA712 BQ-H on the outskirts of Rebecq on 27/28 May 1944. The event will be attended by official representatives from Belgium, Canada and the United Kingdom who will be joined by members of the "550" groups in Belgium -
- Lichtervelde: Sunday 28th May The official unveiling of the memorial at the crash site of the P/O McCrae crew (LL810 BQ-K) who were killed on 27/28 May 1944 will take place at 10.30am on 28th May, the 73rd anniversary of their loss. -
- Berinzenne: Summer 2017 A memorial plaque will be laid later in the year in memory of F/O Milburn and crew who crashed flying ME581 BQ-D on 22/23 April 1944. -
- - If you would like to find out more about the crash sites in Belgium, the Rebecq Memorial Association website is a useful resource and can be found at (see link right): http://www.rebecq-memorial.eu/index.php

- - To indicate your attendance at any of the events or for more information about our activities in Belgium please call George Turner on 01469 540228 or 07811454105 or email him at geowturner@gmail.com. -
550 SQUADRON HISTORY - It has been a long held ambition of the Association to publish the history of 550 Squadron. This is now taking shape and we are indebted to Patrick Otter for offering his highly regarded professional skills to us on a completely voluntary basis. To have someone of Patrick's status support us in this way is fantastic and a real boost to the work of the Association. Above all, it is a tribute to all those who contributed to the air war with 550 Squadron and a way for them and subsequent generations to have a lasting record of their endeavours. -
- - Much of the source material for the book is taken from the official daily accounts of operations and crews but the Association also has a number of individual accounts, a library of photographs and a significant archive of other information that we hope will give a flavour of what is was like to be based at, and fly from, North Killingholme. -
- - We would appreciate members registering their interest in purchasing copies of the book and a short "Pre-Purchase Form" is included with this newsletter. Emailed newsletters have the pre-purchase form attached as a separate pdf document. See web-site link right: /documents/public/newsletters/2017/SquadronHistoryPre-PurchaseForm.pdf

- - The plan is to have the books printed during the summer and have them available for sale at the Annual Reunion in September. They can also be purchased by post. -
ANNUAL REUNION 2017 - NORTH KILLINGHOLME - Please note that this year's Annual Reunion, the 25th in North Killingholme, will take place on Friday 8th, Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th September and represents a milestone in the continuing success of the Association. /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2017

- - We are very pleased to announce that our application for a Lancaster flypast on Saturday 9th September has been successful. We have requested 2.00pm but the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will not confirm a time until a few weeks before the reunion. Any flypast is subject to the weather, serviceability and operational requirements although the BBMF has always done its best to fit in with our schedule. /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2017

- - Rooms have been reserved at the Ashbourne Hotel for the nights of 8th and 9th September 2017 and you can book now by contacting the hotel and quoting "550" to qualify for the discounted rate of £78 per room per night across all room types for a double and £68 for single occupancy. /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2017

- - The Ashbourne Hotel
Vicarage Lane
North Killingholme
Immingham
DN40 3JL
Telephone: 01469 541010
Email: reception@ashbournehotel.co.uk
Website: http://www.ashbournehotel.co.uk/
http://www.ashbournehotel.co.uk/

- - Newsletter No. 67 will contain detailed information about the programme and a Booking Form. -
550's CONTRIBUTION TO THE BATTLE OF BERLIN - 550's first raid took place on the night of 26/27 November 1943 when 8 Lancasters were despatched to bomb Berlin. Three points can be made about this raid. 550 Squadron was formed on 25 November and this raid carried out on its second day, emphasised Bomber Command's "Press On" spirit to engage the enemy at every opportunity. Secondly, 550 suffered its first casualty when F/L Prangley and crew failed to return - 5 crew members killed and 2 POW. Thirdly, it marked 550's entry to the "Battle of Berlin" which was Bomber Command's biggest campaign of the War. -
- - Bomber Command had really started to flex its muscles in 1943. Early in the year, a series of "Oboe" guided raids had devastated the big industrial towns of the Ruhr. In July, three very heavy raids on Hamburg almost destroyed the port with negligible casualties thanks to the use of "Window" for the very first time. The bombers dropped packets of Window in huge quantities. The packets contained strips of thin waxed paper with aluminium foil on one side. The length of the strip was cut to half the wavelength of the radars used by German searchlights, flak and night fighters and each strip would show up on radar screens as an aircraft "blip" so that the radars were swamped and useless. -
- - Taking advantage of these successes, Air Marshal Harris, the A.O.C of Bomber Command persuaded Air Ministry and Whitehall that a series of heavy raids on Berlin over the winter period when long nights enabled distant targets to be reached would devastate the city and force Germany to surrender, thereby removing the need for the Normandy Invasion in the summer of 1944. Harris hoped that the American Fortresses and Liberators could attack Berlin by day and Bomber Command would raid at night. Sadly the Americans could not join in as their long range Mustang fighters would not be available until the spring of 1944 to escort their bombers to Berlin. Berlin was outside Oboe range but Harris was relying on a new Mark 3 H2S set with improved performance to be fitted to the Pathfinder Force. H2S was a rotating scanner fitted to the underside of the bombers and gave the navigator a radar picture of the ground below and could show up water features like coastlines, estuaries and ports, large rivers and lakes very clearly and could also identify built up areas like cities and towns ? the Germans floated out rafts fitted with radar reflectors to "hide" their lakes. Harris received approval of his plan and the "Battle of Berlin" started on the night of 18/19 November 1943 and lasted 4½ months until 31 March 1944. Harris was relying on an all 4-engined force of Stirlings, Halifax and Lancaster bombers putting up raids of 400-500 bombers initially then rising to 800 bombers in 1944.
It was hoped that the newly formed 100 Group in Bomber Command could provide effective countermeasures to help protect the bombers. These countermeasures included the jamming of radars used by the early warning chain, the searchlights and flak and the jamming of the radio telephone (R/T) frequencies used by night fighters and their ground control. Also 100 Group could baffle the enemy with diversion raids and spoof attacks dropping huge quantities of Window.
-
- - In the 4½ month period of the Battle of Berlin, Bomber Command carried out 16 heavy raids on Berlin. To stop the Germans concentrating their guns, searchlights and night fighters around Berlin, Bomber Command took care to attack Leipzig, Munich, Stuttgart, Augsburg, Nuremburg and Schweinfurt in the south of Germany as well as Frankfurt, Essen and Mannheim to keep the defences spread. In this period, these cities were attacked 16 times. Sadly for Bomber Command, this period saw the German defences, particularly the night fighters, at their most effective. -
- - The use of Window over Hamburg in July 1943 caused the Germans to abandon their system of "boxes" along the coast from Denmark to France containing the best radars, gun and searchlight teams and night fighter squadrons. They improved their early warning by monitoring all Bomber Command R/T and H2S transmissions. They put outpost radars on ships. They created a network of radio beacons all over Germany over which night fighters could be assembled and directed into the passing Bomber Stream. They used 300 single engine night fighters to pick up bombers over the target area or en route on clear nights. The twin-engined night fighters had 3 new pieces of equipment new to Bomber Command and all extremely effective. Naxos could pick up H2S transmissions and home on to them; a new SN2 air-to-air radar had really good performance with greater immunity to Window jamming; two 20mm upward firing cannon proved to be a very effective weapon with the first burst often bringing down the bomber. Special Ju88 night fighters were equipped to fly above the bomber stream and report on its position, height and course. Berlin was very well defended. The searchlight zone extended for 60 miles and the flak zone for 40 miles. There were plenty of 88mm flak guns, the standard flak weapon, but 3 flak towers had been built in public gardens and each tower accommodated 8 128mm guns on top and these guns could fire bigger and more effective shells up to 25,000 feet. Berlin raids involved long flights of 8 or 9 hours depending on the approach and exit routes chosen. Sometimes a direct in and out route over Holland would give the shortest flight. Longer flights involved flying over the Baltic Sea or over France to stretch defences by varying the approach or return routes. -
- - Casualties were higher than usual. Between mid-November and the end of January Berlin was raided 14 times. Bomber Command put up 7402 sorties and 384 bombers failed to return - a loss rate of 5.2%. Bomber Command could accept loss rates of 3-3.5% but losses higher than this meant that the front line strength would decrease as replacement aircraft and crews were insufficient. Crews found the Berlin raids very stressful. "Early Returns" (when bombers returned to base without attacking the target) were higher than usual because they were reluctant to press on if there was any problem with the engines or key systems. Some crews became jittery and when the Main Force flew over the North Sea to approach via the Baltic there were reports of crews jettisoning the 4000lb. bomb over the North Sea so that they could fly much higher and be less vulnerable to flak. -
- - 550 Squadron's part in the Berlin raids is set out below (large table omitted in online version).

Several 550 bombers suffered nasty attacks by night fighters. On the night of 30/31 January, F/O Morrison was very close to the target when a night fighter attack killed both air gunners, knocked out the starboard outer engine and damaged the controls, compass, air speed indicator and the intercom. The aircraft lost considerable height and the bombs had to be jettisoned, falling in the target area. There was a misunderstanding in the cockpit and F/O Warren, the bomb aimer, put on his parachute and jumped out. F/O Morrison regained control and, without any navigational aids, flew back landing at Woodbridge. Morrison was awarded the D.S.O. 2 weeks later.
-
- - The Battle of Berlin brought early problems. The Stirling bombers could not fly as high as the Halifax and Lancaster bombers and the Stirlings suffered 6.4% casualties and were withdrawn after a few weeks. The Mark 2 and Mark 5 Halifax bombers suffered 9.8% casualties and were withdrawn from the front line in mid-February. These withdrawals cost Bomber Command one third of its front line strength. The weather that winter was very poor both over the target and over England. Continuous cloud over the target prevented any ground recognition and the new mark of H2S fitted to Pathfinder aircraft was a big disappointment. It had been rushed into service too soon resulting in unserviceability rates and an inferior performance when it did work. Risks with bad weather over England had to be taken. On the night of 16/17 December low cloud and poor visibility over eastern England caused 34 bombers to crash. Although much damage was done to Berlin and its numerous industries it was not severe enough to force surrender and the casualties involved were higher than expected. -
- - In April 1944 preparation for the Normandy Invasion became top priority and Bomber Command started attacks on the railway systems in France, western Germany, Holland and Belgium. -
- - Our thanks go to Jack Harris OBE DFC for contributing this item. -
MORE ABOUT OPERATION DODGE Postcards from Italy Glennis Aston contacted us to say that she was interested to read Maurice Snowball's piece in Newsletter 65 about his experiences on Operation Dodge. She sent copies of two postcards that her father, P/O Stanley Walmsley, sent her mother from Naples along with a menu card from the NAAFI. They provide a brief but evocative insight into his feelings about being in Italy. /documents/public/Lancasters-Crews/FOVGRoberts/index.php

- - Like Maurice, her father also made a day trip to Pompeii and Glennis reports that it prompted a lifelong interest in Roman history. -
- - Further information about Stan Walmsley, including extracts from his Log Book, who flew mainly as MUG with the F/O V.G. Roberts RNZAF crew can be found on the 550 website. -
- - Our thanks to Glennis Aston for sharing this information with Association members. -
- Stolen Lancaster Stuart Fletcher emailed to say that his father, F/O Percy Fletcher (B/A) flew as part of F/O F.J. Cox's crew three times on operation Dodge; 13, 23 and 26 August 1945. Percy told him that they must have been the only crew to have had a Lancaster stolen. They "parked up" on Pomigliano airfield and when they returned to the aircraft the next day they found it had been taken by another crew. -
- - Stuart would be interested to know if anybody else recalls this "theft" and can be contacted by email at stuart.fletcher@littlehill.net or by telephone [... in hardcopy ...] -
- - If you would like to find out more about the F.J. Cox crew or Percy Fletcher go to : /documents/public/Lancasters-Crews/FOFJCox/index.php

- - Our thanks to Stuart Fletcher for passing on this story and we wish him well with his request for information. -
REMEMBRANCE WEEKEND 2016 - Our Remembrance Weekend programme began with an informal meal in the Fork and Spoon for 14 people at the Ashbourne Hotel on Saturday evening and continued on Sunday morning with an opportunity to visit the 550 Squadron Museum in the Village Hall. Approximately 30 people met at the Memorial Stone for a short Service starting at 10.50 when wreaths were laid. The two minute silence followed at 11.00 before the group moved to St. Denys? Church. This Service concluded at midday and at 12.02 there was a flypast over St. Denys' Church by an aircraft from 100 Squadron. This was followed by a three course lunch for 16 people at the Amethyst Hotel in East Halton. Jack Harris said a few words after coffee had been served and the meal finished at approximately 2.30 -
- - We thank Rev. Paul Salmon and Mark (the bugler) for their continued support of 550 at a time of year when there are many calls on their time. We are also indebted to the Officer Commanding 100 Squadron, Wing Commander Andy Wright, along with Flight Lieutenant Nicky Moore who piloted the aircraft and liaised with us about the details of the flypast. -
- - The dates for November 2017 appear later in the newsletter. -
VISIT TO ACHIET-LE-PETIT - You may recall that a memorial was unveiled in Achiet-le-Petit in June 2015 for F/Lt R.W. Picton DFC and the crew of LL836, BQ-E which was lost on a trip to Aulnoye on 10/11 April 1944. Relatives of Dickie Picton could not be located in time for them to attend but members of his family visited in September 2016 and met with the organisers. -
- - Cilla Britton got in touch after the visit to say that they were given a very warm welcome by Xavier Duquesne (Mayor of Achiet-le-Petit) and several of his colleagues along with Michel Lespagnol, who has researched many of the aircraft lost over the Somme. -
- - After lunch in Pozieres they visited Pierre Ben in Warloy. He and his team have been excavating aircraft in the Somme area for many years but have not found much of LL836. Nevertheless, they were able to pass on part of a wiring loom to the family. The day ended with a flight over the WW1 battlefields, flown by Xavier. -
- - Cilla tells us it was a fantastic day and that it was very moving to be given part of the aircraft. She goes on to say that Dickie's cousin Helen is immensely grateful to everyone who has been involved in the research about her much loved cousin. It may be over 70 years ago but it has helped to answer many questions and uncertainties surrounding the circumstances of his death. -
- - More information can be found at (see link right:) /pages/550-sqdn-achiet-le-petit-commemorations.php

- - Our thanks go to Cilla Britton for her contribution and the group in Achiet-le-Petit for their support of 550. -
550 MUSEUM NEWS - Many thanks to those who have made donations to the collection. Those members who have visited the Exhibition Rooms at Elsham Wold during Reunion weekend will probably have met Graham Brett, a stalwart of the Elsham Wolds Association. Graham has produced a very clear version of the May 1945 Flying Echelon photograph (the large photo that dominates North Killingholme Village Hall) on a linen style material and of a size that makes it possible to be hung on the wall at eye level. Graham has donated this to celebrate the 25th Reunion to be held at North Killingholme later in the year -
- - Brian Goodwin, who lives in the north of Scotland, has passed on items concerning Francis Swan Renton who was uncle to Brian's wife and his brother-in-law who lives in Australia. F/O Renton was an air gunner in the F/O J.C. Adams crew who were shot down over Hanover on the night of 5/6 January 1945. Items donated include a set of medals, the Bomber Command clasp, copies of the service record, and literature received by the family following F/O Renton's death. Brian's generosity is much appreciated and our thanks must go to his family. -
OTHER NEWS Newsletter No.67 - Summer 2017 Please note that due to the change in date of the Annual Reunion the next newsletter will be circulated in mid-July. It will contain information about the reunion and a Booking Form with a closing date towards the end of August. Please return your information as early as possible. -
- Remembrance Weekend 2017 Further to the report earlier in this newsletter, please note in your diaries Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th November. A small number of rooms have been reserved at the discounted 550 rate on Saturday night but please book early as they have a function that evening and the hotel is likely to be busy. The programme will follow previous years? and we anticipate approaching 100 Squadron to request a flypast by one of their fast-fighter aircraft. -
- Annual Reunion 2018 We have set Friday 7th, Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th September as the provisional dates of the Annual Reunion in 2018 but are awaiting confirmation of arrangements for the Scampton Airshow. We understand this will be available in the next two months and will confirm the reunion date in Newsletter No. 67. -
NEWSLETTER ITEMS - We would welcome any memories, personal accounts or updates about the articles in this newsletter along with other items that could be included in future editions. Please contact Don Kentish by telephone on 0121 778 6614, email dvparadise@yahoo.co.uk or write to [... address in hardcopy ...]. -
SAD NEWS - The following have died since the last newsletter: -
- - F/Sgt. V. B. (Vic) Cassapi - Flight Engineer 11/44 - 5/45 -
- - F/Sgt. R. E. (Bob) Sloan RAAF - Air Gunner 7/44 - 1/45 -
- - Sgt. T. (Tom) Spicer - Wireless Operator 3/44 - 8/45 -
Change of Address Members change of address details Names and contact details. -

Issue 65 (October 2016)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
65 October 2016 Eight pages with forward information on events in 2017 Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
Introduction October 2016 Newsletter This newsletter is timed to coincide with preparations for the Remembrance Sunday activities in North Killingholme next month. Further details appear below and there is also important information about the date of next year's reunion. Also included is an article by Jack Harris entitled "Third time not lucky!" and a piece reproduced from the Grimsby Telegraph that gives a flavour of how a bond initially forged between a 550 airman shot down in 1944 and a community in Holland has continued through succeeding generations. -
- - Jack reports that he recently celebrated his 96th birthday with festivities taking place over four days with members of the family. -
Remembrance Weekend North Killingholme - 12th/13th November 2016 Services will be held on Sunday 13th November at the Memorial Stone and in St. Denys' Church before a carvery lunch at the Amethyst Hotel in East Halton. -
- - Our programme in November has expanded over the years and also includes an informal meal in the "Fork and Spoon" (formerly the Bistro) at the Ashbourne Hotel on Saturday 12th November at 7.45pm and an opportunity to visit the Squadron Museum on Sunday morning. -
- - Rooms are available at the Ashbourne Hotel at the discounted "550" rate but we advise booking early as they have a function that evening. The Ashbourne contact details are:
The Ashbourne Hotel
Vicarage Lane
North Killingholme
Immingham
DN40 3JL
Telephone: 01469 541010
Email: reception@ashbourne hotel.co.uk
Website: www.ashbournehotel.co.uk
For further enquiries please contact the hotel.
-
- - All arrangements are being made by Don and Val Kentish [...address in hardcopy...] email: dvparadise@yahoo.co.uk. -
- - Don and Val must be advised if you are taking lunch at the Amethyst Hotel, East Halton by Friday 4th November 2016 and they would like to know if you are attending the Services. -
- - Settle your food and accommodation bill on departure. -
Remembrance Weekend Possible Flypast - Sunday 13th November 550 was formed from "C" Flight of 100 Squadron in November 1943. 100 Squadron is now a fast-fighter training unit flying Hawks and last year they very kindly agreed to provide a flypast, although it was cancelled on the day due to low cloud cover. We have approached them again and they will try to help us but will not have further information until nearer the date. All arrangements are subject to flying regulations and operational requirements but at present we have changed our meeting time at the Memorial Stone to 10.40am to give us a little more flexibility in our schedule. Members can always stay in their cars until the start of the Service if there is no flypast. -
- - If there are further developments Don and Val Kentish will inform those who have indicated they will be attending. -
Remembrance Weekend Saturday Evening 12th November It is usual for a small group of members to come together for a meal in the Ashbourne Hotel on the Saturday evening. This will take place at 7.45 p.m. in the Fork and Spoon (formerly the Bistro). If you would like to join this group, please let Don and Val know by Friday 4th November. Menu pre-selection is required for groups of 10 or more and Don or Val will contact you if this is necessary. -
Remembrance Weekend Sunday 13th November Our provisional timetable, subject to the time of any flypast, is shown below. However, the two minutes silence at 11.00 at the Memorial Stone is a fixed point in our programme and will not be altered. We are pleased that Reverend Paul Salmon will be conducting our services again and that he will be accompanied by Mark, the bugler who attended in 2015. -
- Sunday 13th November Full schedule:
09.30-10.30 Squadron Museum open in the Village Hall
10.40 Assemble at the Squadron Memorial Stone in Lancaster Approach
10.52 Service starts, conducted by Reverend Paul Salmon.
11.00 Two minutes silence. Wreaths and personal tributes are laid.
11.05 Move to St. Denys' Church.
11.20 Church Service starts.
12.00 Service ends.
12.30 Three course carvery lunch plus tea/coffee/mints at the Amethyst Hotel, East Halton. Pay £20.00 per head on the day.
-
- Sunday 13th November Please tell Don and Val Kentish if you are coming to lunch at the Amethyst as the hotel must have accurate numbers. -
Important News about Annual Reunion Dates Friday 8th and Saturday 9th September 2017 For many years the Waddington Air Show took place in early July and our Annual Reunion was arranged to coincide with it in the belief that this gave us the best chance of securing a Lancaster flypast. After a period without an air show in Lincolnshire, a new event is scheduled at RAF Scampton for the second weekend of September 2017. It seems highly likely the Lancaster will be scheduled to appear at large events in other parts of the UK at the beginning of July each year so we have decided to change the dates of future reunions. The date of next year's reunion is: (as noted left). -
- - An application has been submitted for a flypast by the BBMF Lancaster on Saturday 9th September 2017. We will not hear anything from the RAF Events Team until late February or early March 2017 but will report on the outcome of our application in the April newsletter. -
- - Rooms have been reserved at the Ashbourne Hotel for the nights of 8th and 9th September 2017 and you can book now by contacting the hotel and quoting "550" to qualify for the discounted rate of £78 per room per night across all room types for a double and £68 for single occupancy. -
- - We will continue to monitor the situation with regard to the Scampton Air Show and have set Friday 7th and Saturday 8th September as the provisional dates in 2018. -
Annual Reunion 2016 July, North Killingholme Attendances at our 2016 Annual Reunion were healthy and the weather held up on Saturday afternoon after a rather "mixed" forecast. Approaching 40 people enjoyed a buffet lunch at the Amethyst and 59 sat down for the Reunion Dinner on Saturday evening. There were 10 for the Sunday morning airfield tour and 12 visited the museum at Elsham Wolds and the Marrowbone and Cleaver in Kirmington where there is a display of photographs and memorabilia. On Monday, the highly impressive Spire at the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincoln was enjoyed by 21 people and those who had time stayed for an informal lunch at the Mill Lodge pub/restaurant opposite the entrance to the site. -
- - We had four changes to the time of the Spitfire flypast in the last 24 hours and had to re-schedule our activities and timings on Saturday afternoon. This included two calls to Val Kentish from the pilot of the aircraft while we were in St. Denys' Church. We are indebted to the BBMF for supporting us despite the unserviceability of the Spitfire originally timetabled for our event and to Val for informing the ATC band and people gathering at the Memorial Stone about the rapidly changing programme. -
- - It was a pleasure to see Bill Swan and his family from Australia and also John Arnold. John co-ordinates our activities in Australia and gave a short speech after the Reunion Dinner about his father?s crew (F/O D.W. Summons DFC RAAF). There was a display of items at the Ashbourne Hotel, courtesy of the Coulter family, that belonged to F/L Jim Cassidy, DFC and Bar, RAAF. -
- - We were very pleased that Ole and Susan Seberg from Denmark and Susan Schmidt from Canada attended while William Albertyn and Denise Rammeloo joined us from St. Niklaas in Belgium. -
- - A journalist from the Grimsby Telegraph joined us on Saturday afternoon and their article can be found at: (see link right). http://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/25th-anniversary-honours-those-part-of-the-royal-air-force-550-squadron-at-north-killingholme/story-29468831-detail/story.html

Ceremonies in Belgium 2017 Various locations The unveiling of the memorial in Lichtervelde to P/O D. McCrae RCAF and crew is planned for Saturday 27th May 2017. -
- - A combined ceremony to remember the 550 crews who crashed in St. Niklaas (P/O P.J. Dukelow), Rebecq (F/O E. C. Purney RCAF) and Westerlo (F/O G.W. Hinde) will take place in Rebecq on Wednesday 31st May 2017. Further information will appear in the next newsletter. -
- - We receive tremendous support from the groups in Belgium and try to attend as many of their events as we can. If any member would like to visit they will be assured of a very warm welcome. George Turner goes to many of the ceremonies and is a good source of information. He can be contacted by telephone on 01469 540228 or email geowturner@gmail.com -
THIRD TIME NOT LUCKY! - On the night of 28th August 1944 Bomber Command sent out 150 aircraft (Halifax, Lancaster and Mosquitos) to attack 12 flying bomb launching sites in northern France. This was the last raid on the flying bomb sites which would be captured within days as Allied troops had broken out of the Normandy invasion beachheads and were fanning out all over France ? Paris had been liberated on 25th August. These were day raids and to ensure accuracy of attack the bombers were sent in at 10,000 feet ? over targets in Germany which were hotly defended by flak, searchlights and radar the bombing height would normally be 16,000-20,000 feet. -
- - 550 Squadron sent off 10 Lancasters at 17.50hrs to attack a flying bomb launch site at Wemars-Cappell near Amiens. There was some low cloud over the target but all aircraft got their bombs away. Over all the targets only one aircraft was lost that evening. It was PA991 BQ-E from 550 Squadron flown by F/O S.C. Beeson who was on his 31st and last op. Beeson?s navigator for this trip was Squadron Leader K. MacAleavy who had joined 550 as Squadron Navigation Officer but was later given command of "A" Flight. This was a big breakthrough for navigators as Flight Commanders were normally pilots. MacAleavy was flying the 15th op of his second tour. Normally the pilot would be Captain of the aircraft and make the key decisions. On this sortie, because of his experience and position as Flight Commander, it is likely that MacAleavy was designated Captain of the aircraft. After bombing, Beeson's aircraft received a direct hit from a flak shell near Dunkirk and the Lancaster went down in flames. The pilot, flight engineer, navigator and bomb aimer managed to parachute out and became POWs; the wireless operator and the two air gunners were killed. -
- - At the end of September MacAleavy sent a postcard from his POW camp to Wing Commander "Jimmie" Bennett who was the first C.O. of 550 Squadron and had served with MacAleavy on his first tour bomber squadron. The card was addressed "c/o Air Ministry, London" to avoid giving away MacAleavy's squadron or station. The brief message on the card included "They got me eventually but I am very much alive and kicking. I pressed on in the old style once too often and the third run did it ? don?t say clot!". -
- - Not many pilots would opt for a second run over the target let alone a third bombing run. The bomber would be completely isolated over the target and on the way home, would lose the protection offered by "window" dropped by other bombers and in clear skies in daylight at 10,000 feet would be a sitting target for every AA gun. It was a tough call for Beeson who probably had to give way to his Flight Commander and second tour experience. Full marks to MacAleavy for pressing on but much sympathy to Beeson and the rest of his crew. -
- - Our thanks go to Jack Harris OBE DFC for contributing this item. -
A Crew Remembered Aalten, Holland Squadron Leader G.S. Smith DFC and his crew failed to return from a raid to Sterkrade in Germany on 16/17 June 1944. The aircraft, ME840, crashed near Aalten in Holland and the flight engineer, F/O R (Roy) Kay, was the sole survivor. The following article, reproduced courtesy of the Grimsby Telegraph, gives a flavour of how the crash has been remembered. -
- - REUNION: How the Aalten de Telegraaf reported the reunion of the relatives of a former serviceman, Roy Kay. Maureen Kay, widow of the British airman Roy Kay, fourth from left, meets the granddaughters of "Uncle Jan" Wikkerink who helped hide the airman, Riek,left, and Gesina, second from left, second from right JP (Note: probably Juwelier Ploeger). Also on this picture, Marika Wissink, third from left, from the United States and her son, next to her, Henk Wissink, (nephew to Alex Wissink), Gerda Brethouwer, museum director, and Mrs Baanders, the conservator from RAF North Killingholme. (Note: we assume Mrs Baanders is connected with the museum displaying the items in Holland).

There has been an emotional reunion of relatives nearly 75 years after a Lancaster bomber from North Killingholme was shot down in Holland. Thanks to the Grimsby Telegraph, the widow of the flight engineer, Roy Kay was reunited with the relatives of the Dutch people who helped save his life. For 40 days Roy was able to hide from the Nazis before he could be secretly returned to Britain.
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- - Lancaster ME 840 was shot down by a German fighter on June 16, 1944, killing the six other crew members. They were on a bombing mission to Sterkrade, in Germany. -
- - In July 2012, the Grimsby Telegraph reported how the parachute used by the airman was later transformed into wedding dresses, a crib dress and christening gown. The son of one of the brides, Juwelier Ploeger, wanted to know more about how it came to be in his family. The appeal led to a reunion earlier this month which brought the widow of Mr Kay together with her children and the Dutch rescuers.

Mr Kay died in March 2009. A step grandson prepared a speech at the funeral and searched the internet, without finding anything. Early this year he tried again and found a Grimsby Telegraph article on the website of the 550 Squadron Association in North Killingholme.

Roy Kay, from the 550 Squadron, at North Killingholme, was helped by 19-year-old Jo Wikkerink. Jo later transformed part of Mr Kay's silk parachute into her wedding dress. Here she is with her late husband, Willem Bulsink.
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- - Mr Kay's wife Maureen Kay, 82, made contact with the relatives of his rescuers. At that time a museum in Aalten, in Holland was preparing an exhibition about the resistance in the border region during The Second World War. Maureen offered the museum her husband's medals which they found after his death. They are now on display along with the remains of the parachute used by the fleeing airman, who was also known as Danny in the RAF.

Joe Pinguey, a nephew of Lesley Pulfrey, who was a crew member aboard ME 840 (Note: Bomb Aimer) and Gary Berg the nephew of J.J. Berg, the pilot (Note: Navigator), have also made contact with Mr Ploeger. Gary was also at the reunion, which took place at the museum.
-
- - Mr Ploeger said: "So we have to be very thankful to the Grimsby Telegraph for giving attention to this and being the mediator in bringing so many people together."

From the US, a granddaughter of the Dutch resistance man Alex Wissink, who kept Mr Kay hidden for 40 days, together with the Canadians Wentworth and Druett, took part in the reunion with her son.
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- - Mr Ploeger said the parachute was transformed into several dresses and was the wedding dress of his mother-in-law. He said: "We look back on an emotional day, meeting nice and warm people, with whom we made lasting friendship."
Mrs Kay and her daughter and eldest son and a grandson were shown the site where the plane crashed. The relatives also visited the graves of many of the servicemen and Dutch resistance who died in the Second World War.
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- - The Association has a considerable amount of information about Squadron Leader G.S. Smith and other members of the crew, It can be found at: (see web-site link right). /documents/public/Lancasters-Crews/SqdnLeaderGSSmith/index.php

- - Find details about the uses made of Roy Kay's parachute and the research that has taken place in the UK and Holland at: (see web-site link right). /documents/public/Lancasters-Crews/SqdnLeaderGSSmith/RKay-evader.php

More About Operation Dodge - When we produced articles earlier in the year about Operation Dodge, we asked if any 550 members would be willing to share their memories of it. We were pleased to receive the following from Maurice Snowball. -
- - "I was a spare Flight Engineer who flew to Italy as part of Operation Dodge. One trip was cancelled as we had an engine unserviceable which stranded us for two days at RAF Manston waiting for a new part and then it was straight back to North Killingholme.
On a rest day in Italy we had one day sightseeing in Pompeii. The next time we went to Naples where the first floor of the Royal Palace had been taken over by the NAAFI. I well remember the ornate wide staircase which took us up to the NAAFI. It must have been an embarrassment to the Palace staff to see their building used as a NAAFI club.
Our 20 passengers on these trips were taken to RAF Glatton to disembark, except for one time when we were diverted to RAF Tibenham where there was Customs and Excise whereas there was none at Glatton."
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- - When discussing Operation Dodge at the Annual Reunion in July, Maurice also recalled that on one occasion the crew with whom he was flying stayed overnight in one large room and how during the night he became aware that one of them seemed to be in some discomfort. At the airfield Maurice had been advised to remove his tool box from the aircraft and so had his torch with him. He shone it across the room and the person, still asleep, was covered in bed bugs. When woken, everybody moved their beds into the middle of the room and the next day, after dropping the passengers at Glatton and returning to North Killingholme, the crew and their clothes had to be immediately de-fumigated. -
- - We are indebted to Maurice for providing us with a glimpse of what it was like for him taking part in Operation Dodge. -
- - If other members would like to share their wartime experiences through the newsletter please contact Don Kentish by telephone on 0121 778 6614, dvparadise@yahoo.co.uk or write to [... address in hardcopy ...]. -
Achiet-le-Petit, France Crew of LL836 You may recall that there was a ceremony in Achiet-le-Petit in June 2015 in memory of F/Lt R.W. Picton DFC and the crew of LL836, BQ-E which was lost on a trip to Aulnoye on 10/11 April 1944. Relatives of three of the crew were able to attend, travelling from Australia, Canada and England, but the family of the pilot, R.W. (Dickie) Picton could not be located in time for them to visit. We are pleased to report that members of Dickie Picton?s family visited Achiet-le-Petit in September 2016 and met with the organisers of the ceremony. -
- - Further details about the crew and the fantastic day organised last year by the group in Achiet-le-Petit can be found on the 550 website at: /pages/550-sqdn-achiet-le-petit-commemoration-2015.php

Newsletter "New look" It was good to learn that when renewing subscriptions, several members have commented about how they like the look of the revised newsletter. We welcome suggestions and contributions and will try to include any material sent to us. The next edition (No.66) will be distributed at the end of March and Newsletter 67 in mid-July 2017 which will contain booking forms for the Annual Reunion. Please send contributions to Don Kentish no later than 10th March and 27th June respectively. -
Sad News The following have died since the last newsletter Barry Clark - Partner of Anne Harris (Daughter of W/Cmdr Jack Harris)
Sgt. D. (Don) Hellings - Navigator 8/44 - 3/45
Sgt. D. J. (David) Robinson - Air Gunner 4/45 - Date not known
Sgt. P. W. (Percy) William Wise - Flight Engineer 11/43 - 5/44
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New Members A Warm welcome to New Members since the last newsletter Names and contact details -
Change of Address Members change of address details Names and contact details. -

Issue 64 (May 2016)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
64 May 2016 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
Introduction May 2016 Newsletter This newsletter gives details about the Annual Reunion and includes a Booking Form. It is important that bookings are sent to Andrew Etherington by no later than 14th June. Electronic versions of the Booking Form are available on the 550 website (see below). There is also information about the important events coming up in Belgium at the end of May. They always make us extremely welcome and the ceremonies themselves are poignant reminders of the losses suffered in the skies over occupied Europe. We have also received news about a ceremony in the Netherlands in June. Also in this edition is the second part of the article about Operation Dodge and a short poem found by Jack in his archive entitled "The Armourer". Among the news items is advance information about Remembrance Weekend 2016; please put the date(s) in your diary -
Annual Reunion Dates - 1st to 4th July 2016 The weekend starts on Friday evening with an informal evening meal at the Ashbourne Hotel. The Saturday daytime programme begins with a visit to the 550 Squadron Museum followed by a buffet lunch at the Amethyst Hotel, a Dakota flypast and Service at the Squadron Memorial Stone, a Service at St. Denys' Church and tea and cakes in the Village Hall. The formal Reunion Dinner takes place at the Ashbourne on Saturday evening. An Airfield Tour takes place on Sunday morning and an afternoon visit is scheduled to the Elsham Wolds Museum. On Monday there is a trip to the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincoln /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2016

Booking Form A Booking Form is enclosed with this newsletter and should be completed and returned as soon as possible but no later than Tuesday 14th June to Andrew Etherington, "Royston", Thorn Road, Marden, Kent, TN129EJ Tel: 01622 832995 Email: andreweth@btinternet.com.

The sooner you complete and return the Booking Form the easier it is for us to process the information and liaise with the many groups and organisations that support the Annual Reunion

If enclosing a cheque please ensure it is made payable to 550 Squadron Association.

If you have any queries about the Annual Reunion please contact Don and Val Kentish by telephone on 0121 778 6614 or 07757 722185. Email: dvparadise@yahoo.co.uk
/documents/public/newsletters/2016/Reunion2016-BookingForm.pdf

Friday 1st July A meal has been arranged in the Restaurant at the Ashbourne Hotel starting at 8.00 pm. There is no seating plan and a choice of either two courses for £15.95 or three courses for £20.45 per person. Indicate your menu selections on the Booking Form and return by 14th June /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2016

Saturday 2nd July We have requested a flypast at 2.00 pm but will not receive notification of the actual time until a few weeks before the event. As ever, the time may be subject to change up to and including the day itself. Our preferred timetable is: (see link). /documents/public/newsletters/2016/TimetableOfEvents-2016-Provisional.pdf

Saturday 2nd July Reunion Dinner Dinner at the Ashbourne Hotel starts at 7.30pm is a three course meal at £26.95 per head. Menu options are given on the Booking Form. There is a seating plan so please indicate if you wish to sit with anyone in particular. If you are not staying at the hotel pay at the end of the meal /documents/public/newsletters/2016/TimetableOfEvents-2016-Provisional.pdf

Sunday 3rd July The Airfield Tour is scheduled for Sunday morning. Assemble outside Reception at the Ashbourne at 11.00am.

In the afternoon a visit has been scheduled to the Elsham Wolds Museum with the possibility of a stop-off on the way back at the RAF Memorial in Kirmington and the Marrowbone and Cleaver pub in the village that was a favourite meeting place for aircrew and has many wartime photos on the walls. Meet outside Reception at the Ashbourne at 2.30pm..
/php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2016

The Ashbourne Hotel Hotel Information If you intend to stay at the Ashbourne please book your room(s) without delay as any 550 rooms that have not been reserved by 14th June will be released for general sale. Please remember to quote "Kentish" and "550" to receive a discounted rate. The "550" rate, across all room types, is £76 Bed and Breakfast per room per night for a twin or double and £66 for single occupancy.

The Ashbourne has a block of "comfort" rooms that has a lift and easily accessible bedrooms on the ground floor. These are the "400" rooms. Please discuss your accessibility requirements with the hotel
/documents/public/newsletters/2016/AshbourneHotelInformationJuly2016.pdf

Other Accommodation Possible alternatives to the Ashbourne Hotel are - -
- - The Amethyst Hotel, Townside, East Halton, Immingham, Grimsby, Lincolnshire, DN40 3NS.
Telephone: 01469 540205
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- - Church Farm Guest House, Immingham Road, Habrough, North East Lincolnshire, DN40 3DB.
Telephone: 01469 576190.
Website (see link):
http://www.churchfarm-guesthouse.com

- - The Old Chapel Hotel, 50 Station Road, Habrough, Immingham, DN40 3AY.
Telephone 01469 572377.
Website: (see link)
http://www.oldchapelhotel.com

- - Hotels and other types of accommodation can be found easily by using any of the well-known price-comparison websites.
Please note that not all establishments are listed.
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- - A Visitor and Accommodation Guide that covers the local area is available from the Tourist Information Centre in Brigg (01652 657053).
Website: (see link)
http://www.northlincs.gov.uk/tourism-museums-and-the-arts/tourist-information/tourist-info-centres/brigg-tourist-information-centre/

- - There is also a Tourist Information Centre in Cleethorpes (01472 323111) if you prefer accommodation in the Grimsby and Cleethorpes area.
Website: (see link)
http://www.visitcleethorpes.co.uk

Travel Arrangements Humberside Airport is approximately 8 miles from North Killingholme.
North Killingholme is approximately a 45 minute drive from Robin Hood Airport.

The nearest station to North Killingholme is Habrough. This is on the Doncaster to Cleethorpes line and is approximately 3 miles from North Killingholme. Please note that not all trains stop at Habrough although the majority do stop at Barnetby, 9 miles from North Killingholme. A taxi from Habrough station to North Killingholme should cost in the region of £10 and from Barnetby £18-20 (prices quoted in March 2016). Local firms include Fred?s Cars (01469 577100) and Mick?s Cars (01469 571435). Placebook Private Hire (01469 541600) is based in North Killingholme and therefore may be slightly cheaper.

By road, if travelling east on the A180 take the A160 exit towards Killingholme and drive approximately 1 mile to the roundabout. Take the first exit towards North Killingholme. Follow the road for approximately 1 mile and turn right into Church Lane. St Denys? Church is on the left and immediately opposite is the Ashbourne Hotel. Turn right at the village green and the Hotel car park entrance is fifty yards on your left.
Please note there are roadworks at the A180 Brocklesby Interchange and on the A160 towards Immingham and delays are possible.

If you do not have access to a car to travel to and from the sites visited over the weekend please inform Don or Val Kentish either before the Reunion or as soon as possible after arrival and they will do their best to arrange lifts for you.

Free parking is available at the Ashbourne but may be restricted. Disabled parking spaces are located outside the entrance to the block on your left as you face Reception from the car park.
The Amethyst Hotel is in East Halton, approximately 1.5miles from North Killingholme. There is ample free parking.

Please do not park on Lancaster approach other than to drop off and collect passengers at the Memorial Stone. Off
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Monday 4th July Our tour of the International Bomber Command Centre Memorial Spire and Walls begins at 11.15am and will last approximately 1.5 hours. The address is Canwick Hill, Lincoln, LN4 2RF. Driving up Canwick Hill look out for the Mill Lodge pub/restaurant, fork right and the entrance is almost immediately on the right. Drive through the gate, park along the side of the road near the red portacabin on the right. Our guide, Paul Robinson, will meet us, supply high visibility vests and take us on the tour of the Memorial. We cannot begin the tour until the whole group has arrived.

As the site is still under construction: Wear suitable, stout, waterproof footwear, (the ground is uneven in places) and warm clothing (it is quite often windy at the Spire). There is no smoking on site. We must stay together at all times due to the construction work
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Ceremonies in Belgium Report: Jalhay
Saturday 9th April
The first of this year's ceremonies in Belgium took place in Jalhay on Saturday 9th April to commemorate the crew of Lancaster LM425/BQ-N, F/Sgt Jefferies and crew, who failed to return on 30/31 March 1944.

Approximately 100 people attended the ceremony including representatives of many veterans? groups and Alison Rose, the British Ambassador to Belgium. Wilfred Burie laid a wreath on behalf of the Association and thanked the local and provincial authorities for their support.

This was another fantastic effort in memory of a 550 crew and we would like to thank all involved for their support.

Parts recovered from LM425 will be presented to Jack Harris at the ceremony in Rebecq on 25th May and then returned to North Killingholme. A report and photos can be found at: (see link)
http://www.rebecq-memorial.eu/jalhay2016.php

Other Ceremonies in Belgium Jack Harris will lead a group attending the three ceremonies in Belgium at the end of May. -
Rebecq
Wednesday 25th May
There is an informal evening meal on Tuesday 24 May and a ceremony on Wednesday 25 May at 10.00am in memory of the P/O Purney crew, who were shot down in JA712 BQ-H on the outskirts of Rebecq on 27/28 May 1944. http://www.rebecq-memorial.eu/accueil.php

Sint Niklaas
Saturday 28th May
There will be a ceremony in commemoration of the crew of Lancaster LL851 BQ-V (P/O Dukelow) that crashed on 22 May 1944. Those attending will meet at the entrance to Tereken Municipal Cemetery at 10.00am and assemble at the graves at 10.45am. The Service ends at 12.00 midday followed at 12.45pm by lunch at Kasteel Walburg Municipal Park Sint-Niklaas (arrangements to be confirmed). http://www.rebecq-memorial.eu/accueil.php

Westerlo
Sunday 29th May
Our longstanding partners in Westerlo will be commemorating F/O Hinde and the other crew members aboard Lancaster DV309 BQ-S that crashed on 21/22 May 1944. http://www.rebecq-memorial.eu/accueil.php

Waterloo In addition to the above, Wilfred Burie has organised an informal trip on Thursday 26th May to visit parts of the battlefield at Waterloo. It promises to be a highly interesting day and final arrangements (times, meeting place, etc.) will be made while the 550 group is in Belgium -
Berinzenne
Summer 2016
A further event is planned in Berinzenne during the summer to lay a replacement plaque in memory of F/O Milburn and crew who crashed flying ME581 BQ-D on 22/23 April 1944 http://www.rebecq-memorial.eu/accueil.php

Queries To find out more about these events and our other activities in Belgium or to indicate your attendance please call George Turner on 01469 540228 or 07811454105 or email him at geowturner@gmail.com. -
Ceremony at Rhenen, The Netherlands Ceremony at Rhenen, The Netherlands A memorial to F/O F D Neilson and crew who were killed flying Lancaster LM134/BQ-H on 16/17 June 1944 will be inaugurated on 17th June 2016 at Rhenen in The Netherlands. The details we have at present are that at 1.00pm the Mayor of Rhenen will welcome invited people including representatives from Canada, England, New-Zealand and the Royal Air Force of The Netherlands. The unveiling of the Memorial Stone will be at 2.00pm. This will show the names of eight crew-members as W/O JK Murray (RCAF) was flying as second pilot on his first operation. The ceremony will finish at 2.45pm -
History Operation Dodge
Part 2
You may remember the mention of a 103 Squadron Lancaster based at Elsham Wolds (just along the road from NK) which crashed off Corsica on a Dodge mission on 4th October 1945 with a crew of 6 and 19 passengers, all female, 2 nurses and 17 ATS personnel. No wreckage or bodies were recovered.

The gunner on the flight was Flight Lieutenant John P Whymark, who had done almost 100 operations, some in the Middle East and some on "Airborne Cigar" Lancasters with 101 Squadron at Ludford Magna before moving to 103. He also had a DSO and a DFC, something which probably made him the most decorated air gunner in the RAF.
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For reasons which now seem incomprehensible, both the War Office and the Air Ministry were very reluctant to reveal the facts of the loss of this number of female personnel and simply advised the relatives of the passengers that they were "missing", without reference to the known circumstances. Only about six months later, in March 1946, were the relatives even told that the passengers were "presumed dead". In the face of this information vacuum, some relatives were driven to placing advertisements in newspapers appealing for any information, a truly pathetic state of affairs.

Meanwhile, after the report of his loss, Flight Lieutenant Whymark's wife, Eileen, had contacted his squadron, and from the CO and colleagues on 103, had been given the true situation regarding the aircraft, its crew and its passengers. So when the advertisement was drawn to her attention she wrote to the family of May Mann, a 23 year-old ATS Lance Corporal, one of the "missing", giving them the information she had obtained about the crash.
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Corporal Mann had a fiance, Warrant Officer Basil Henderson, who returned to the UK from overseas in 1946 to be demobbed. He then communicated and subsequently met with Eileen Whymark, and two years later they were married. They had two sons whom they brought up along with Eileen's son, Robert Whymark. -
The story may be a bit "Woman's Own", but I like to see how happiness and life came eventually out of tragedy. -
Our thanks go to Norval Black for contributing this item. -
THE ARMOURER by LAC Laurence Gurr, Armourer, 550 Squadron Hanging around, we've got the hump
Wait for the loads to come out from the dump

Winding the bomb loads up in the kites
No bets when we finish tonight

On the plane they hang in racks
We always hope the crews come back

When they come back we have a "leaky"
We hope and pray they've dropped their Cookie

We changed the load one day last week
A change of target so to speak

We've worked all day and through the night
And when we've finished we're on our bikes

It's down to the NAAFI for tea and wads
And then to bed you tired bods.
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Our thanks go to Jack Harris OBE DFC for contributing this item. -
Other News Flypast and Scampton Update Further to the news items in the last newsletter, at the time of writing we have no further information about charges for flypasts from 2017 or the date of the proposed Air Show at RAF Scampton. -
Sad News The following have died since the last newsletter F/O W.M. "Dave" Davidson, DFC - Pilot 11/44 - 3/45 -
New Members A Warm welcome to New Members since the last newsletter Names and contact details -
Change of Address Members change of address details Names and contact details. -
Remembrance Weekend 2016 - Please note in your diaries Sunday 13th November when Services will be held at the Memorial Stone and in St. Denys' Church before a carvery lunch at the Amethyst Hotel.

Our programme in November has expanded over the years and also includes an informal meal in the "Fork and Spoon" (formerly the Bistro) at the Ashbourne Hotel on Saturday 12th November at 7.45pm and an opportunity to visit the Squadron Museum on Sunday morning. Rooms are available at the Ashbourne at the discounted "550" rate but we advise booking early as they have a function that evening.

550 was formed from "C" Flight of 100 Squadron in November 1943 and is now a fast-fighter training unit flying Hawks. Because of the connection, last year they very kindly agreed to provide a flypast. Unfortunately it was cancelled on the day due to low cloud cover but we anticipate approaching them again this year. More details will appear in the October newsletter.
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Issue 63 (April 2016)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
63 April 2016 Re-vamped Newsletter (desktop publishing) Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
Introduction April 2016 Newsletter The 550 Squadron and RAF North Killingholme Association was formed in October 1991 and the first Annual Reunion was held at the RAF Museum, Hendon in June 1992. So this year's Reunion will be our 25th anniversary reunion. From 1993 onwards, all Annual Reunions have been held at North Killingholme so next year's will be the 25th at NK. -
Introduction Newsletter preparation Changes are being made to the format, editing and printing of our newsletters. The first newsletter was circulated to members in July 1992. The newsletter sent round in October 2015 was No.62. I [Jack Harris] put together all 62 of those newsletters. Now, at the age of 95, I am finding my typing skills and concentration levels are not what they used to be. So, starting with this newsletter, a new team is assuming responsibility for the newsletters. My role will now be confined to producing titbits about raids, crews, aircraft, casualties and wartime stories. The new crew is Don Kentish, Steve Parker and John Hellings with contributions from the 550 Committee and any Association member who thinks an article or piece of news might be of interest. -
Ceremonies in Belgium Jalhay, Saturday 9th April There will be the presentation of a plaque in the council chambers to commemorate the crew of Lancaster LM425 BQ-N, F/Sgt Jefferies and crew, who failed to return on 30/31 March 1944. http://www.rebecq-memorial.eu/jalhay2016.php

Rebecq, Wednesday 25th May There is an informal evening meal on Tuesday 24 May and a ceremony on Wednesday 25 May at 10.00am in memory of the P/O Purney crew, who were shot down in JA712 BQ-H on the outskirts of Rebecq on 27/28 May 1944. This will be followed by a reception at the Little Mill in Rebecq. http://www.rebecq-memorial.eu/accueil.php

Sint Niklaas, Saturday 28th May There will be a ceremony in commemoration of the crew of Lancaster LL851 BQ-V (P/O Dukelow) that crashed on 22 May 1944. Those attending will meet at the entrance to Tereken Municipal Cemetery at 10.00am and assemble at the graves at 10.45am. The Service ends at 12.00 midday followed at 12.45pm by lunch at Kasteel Walburg Municipal Park Sint-Niklaas (arrangements to be confirmed). http://www.rebecq-memorial.eu/accueil.php

Westerlo, Sunday 29th May Our longstanding partners in Westerlo will be commemorating F/O Hinde and the other crew members aboard Lancaster DV309 BQ-S that crashed on 21/22 May 1944. http://www.rebecq-memorial.eu/accueil.php

Berinzenne, Summer 2016 A replacement plaque will be laid in memory of F/O Milburn and crew who crashed flying ME581 BQ-D on 22/23 April 1944. http://www.rebecq-memorial.eu/accueil.php

Advance Notice: Lichtervelde May 2017 We have received advance notice that a memorial to the P/O McCrae crew (LL810 BQ-K) who were lost on 27/28 May 1944 will be unveiled in Lichtervelde, Belgium on 28 May 2017. -
Annual Reunion Annual Reunion Date - 1st to 4th July 2016 The Annual Reunion has grown over the years to include a number of optional activities that have invariably been popular. The weekend starts on Friday evening with an informal evening meal at the Ashbourne Hotel and is followed by a full programme on Saturday. An Airfield Tour will take place on Sunday morning and an afternoon visit is scheduled to the Elsham Wolds Museum. On Monday we have arranged a trip to the new International Bomber Command Centre in Lincoln. /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2016

Queries If you have any queries about the Annual Reunion please contact Don and Val Kentish by telephone on 0121 778 6614 or 07757 722185. Email: dvparadise@yahoo.co.uk.
Further information and a Booking Form will be distributed with the newsletter in mid-May.
/php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2016

Friday 1st July An informal evening meal has been arranged in the Restaurant starting at 8.00pm. There is a choice of either two or three courses. /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2016

Saturday 2nd July We have received notification from the RAF Air Events Team that our bid for a flypast has been successful but that we have been allocated the Dakota because the Lancaster will be elsewhere that weekend. Until 2014 we arranged our reunion to coincide with the Waddington Air Show because we felt we would stand a good chance of securing a flypast. With the demise of the Waddington Air Show this tactic has not been possible but nevertheless we appreciate very much the ongoing support of the RAF Events Team and the BBMF who have always sought to provide an aircraft for our event. /documents/public/newsletters/2016/TimetableOfEvents-2016-Provisional.pdf

Sunday 3rd July The ever popular Airfield Tour is scheduled for Sunday morning. Assemble outside Reception at the Ashbourne at 11.00am.

In the afternoon a visit has been scheduled to the Elsham Wolds Museum with the possibility of a stop-off on the way back at the RAF Memorial in Kirmington and the Marrowbone and Cleaver pub in the village that was a favourite meeting place for aircrew and has many wartime photos on the walls. Elsham was home to 103 and 576 Squadrons while 166 Squadron was based at Kirmington. Meet outside Reception at the Ashbourne at 2.30pm.
/php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2016

Monday 4th July The International Bomber Command Centre in Lincoln is not yet open to the public but they have kindly agreed to host a private visit by 550 members at 11.15am with the tour likely to last approximately 1.5 hours. This is an excellent chance to pre-view the site and hear the inside story of its development. We will be able to view not only the recently constructed "Spire" but the memorial panels that currently show the names of over 26,000 of the Allied aircrew that died during the war. Following the visit there is the option of lunch at the Mill Lodge pub/restaurant directly opposite the entrance to the site.

There is no formal entrance charge but we suggest an optional donation of £5 per head as a contribution to the Centre's fundraising efforts. Please note that as construction work is taking place on site we will have to observe their safety procedures and wear appropriate footwear and clothing.
/php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2016

The Ashbourne Hotel The Ashbourne Hotel is our centre for accommodation and evening meals. The Association does not make bookings and rooms have to be reserved by individuals. Quote "Kentish" and "550" to receive a discounted rate. The discounted "550" rate across all room types is £76 Bed and Breakfast per room per night for a twin or double and £66 for single occupancy. /documents/public/newsletters/2016/AshbourneHotelInformationJuly2016.pdf

History Life in Holland Before Operation Manna Operation Manna saw Bomber Command Lancasters flying day missions to airfields, race courses and sports grounds dropping food sacks and boxes from low level to the starving Dutch. This took place from the 29 April to the 7 May 1945 in which period 550 Squadron flew 181 sorties. F/Sgt. Reg Stockwell was an Air gunner in the crew of P/O Jim Vance, RAAF who flew on most of the 7 days that 550 took part in "Manna". When the 20th Anniversary of Manna was approaching Reg Stockwell wrote to the British Legion in Holland saying how much pleasure the Bomber Command aircrew got from these flights, mentioning how the aircrew dropped their own chocolate rations to supplement the delivery and asking if the Dutch receivers could contact him. His letter was published in a Dutch newspaper and Reg received 30 or 40 letters usually written in good English. One 4 page letter, written in impeccable English, not only thanked Bomber Command crews but gave an interesting account of life in Holland after the German occupation. Here are some of the highlights. -
The Germans invaded Holland on the 10 May 1940. The Panzer divisions swept aside all opposition. The centre of Rotterdam was heavily bombed killing 1000 people and destroying 60,000 houses. The Dutch surrendered on the 14 May. At that time the writer was a 14 year old boy. His house was not damaged but his family (2 parents and 5 children) had to take in another family. Schooling was a problem as the German military commandeered many schools for headquarters, barracks and messes. Coupons were issued for food rationing but food was scarce. Potatoes were never peeled; they were washed and then eaten with their skins. -
His father cycled 150km to Eastern Holland to collect food from a friendly farmer. If butter was available, members of the family watched carefully to make sure you were not overspreading it. Radios were banned but the family kept a clandestine radio hidden away upstairs in order to listen to Radio Orange broadcasts from England. The penalties for being caught with such a radio were dire and the children had to be warned never to mention the radio or the content of the programmes. -
History Operation Dodge
Part 1
At the end of the War in Europe in 1945, Operation Dodge was the exercise to ferry home military personnel, mainly 8th Army, from the Italian theatre, specifically from the airfields of Bari and Pomigliano in the south. The operation?s name was supposedly a reference to a remark by Lady Astor after the Normandy landings, describing the army in Italy as "D-Day Dodgers". -
Lancasters were adapted to carry 20 passengers in the bomb bay, but while the crew had oxygen, passengers did not, so flights could not cross the Alps. The route had to be at lower altitudes as an 'L' shape, south from the UK over France to Marseilles, then east over the Mediterranean, past Corsica to Italy. -
550 started on Dodge operations on 26 July with 2 Flight Commanders making the 15 hour round trip. The Operations Record Book does not identify flights by individual crews but gives aggregate flying hours; for example, Dodge No.4 on 2 August gave 165 hours which probably represents 11 aircraft. In total, the Squadron logged nearly 2000 hours, meaning around 130 trips and some 2600 passengers carried. -
However, this was not done without loss. On 6 October a 550 Lancaster piloted by W/O Graham was leaving Pomigliano with a complement of 26 persons when the port outer engine failed. Attempting to make a 3 engine landing, the aircraft overshot the runway and crashed, killing four passengers. This followed a more serious accident the previous week when the Lancaster of P/O Matthews, returning from Bari with a full complement of 26, was lost without trace, possibly after entering cu-nim cloud. Perhaps the most poignant loss was on 4 October when an aircraft of 103 Squadron disappeared en route to Italy with 19 female passengers, 2 nurses and the rest ATS. It is thought to have crashed in the sea off Corsica as other 103 aircraft reported bad weather in the area, and another Lancaster reported having seen a flash in the sea around the time of the disappearance, but no wreckage or bodies was ever found. -
It seems likely that Dodge losses were weather related and this may have been compounded by the lack of experience newer crews had of severely adverse weather conditions. (The 550 crew which was lost did not join the Squadron until June 1945). In late October pilots were re-categorised by flying hours so that in 103 Squadron for example, only 5 remained qualified for these operations. Dodge continued into 1946, but 550's contribution ended on 20 October 1945, eleven days before the Squadron was disbanded. -
Our thanks go to Norval Black for contributing this item. The second part will appear in Newsletter No. 64. -
550 Museum News Painting Donations The family of Sgt. C. A. Bruce (flight engineer with Jock Shaw) has donated two paintings and a newspaper to the museum. The larger painting was specially commissioned to show ED905 - Press on Regardless attacking a column of German troops on the outskirts of Caen in 1944. The full story can be found on the Association website at (link shown right).
The newspaper reports on the handing over of the painting by the artist Phil Rochester to Charles Bruce & Roy Harris in 2000. The smaller painting - by the same artist - shows ED905 over the Humber while returning to base.
/documents/public/Lancasters-Crews/FlLtDAShaw/index.php

Flight Engineer memoir Rodney Ward, nephew of Alan Kenneth Ward (flight engineer with the Prangley crew) has written a short memoir on his uncle and passed on a copy. /documents/public/Lancasters-Crews/FlLtPJMPrangley/index.php

Aircraft accidents in Lincolnshire Graham Platt and his team have written and published a weighty book about aircraft accidents in Lincolnshire during the Second World War and have presented a copy to the Museum. -
Flight Engineer autobiography Steve George (flight engineer with the S/Ldr Caldow crew) has written his autobiography and his family has given a copy to the Museum. /documents/public/Lancasters-Crews/SqdnLeaderWFCaldow/index.php

Thank you Our thanks go to all the above for their generosity. -
Other News Introduction of Charges for Flypasts from 2017 The RAF Air Events Team has indicated that they will introduce a "small charge" for BBMF flypasts from 2017. They have yet to set a figure but we will monitor the situation over the months ahead. We assume they will have to set a figure relatively soon, as applications for 2017 will begin to arrive once this year's flying season commences. All bids for next year have to be submitted by 30th September. We will provide updated information in future newsletters and on the 550 website. -
Possible Air Show at RAF Scampton from 2017 Items have appeared in the media about the possibility of a major Air Show at Scampton in 2017. The date of any event is important to us because the Lancaster is highly likely to be involved. However, we need to balance the benefit of this with the potential for major disruption to our existing arrangements should we change dates. We will pass on developments through the newsletter and website. -
Sad News The following have died since the last newsletter Sgt. Fred Easton RCAF (WOP with P/O W.P.F. Daniels 9/44 - 11/44)
Helen Kentish, cousin of F/L E.S. Allen, 9/44 - 2/45
/php-library/mysql-utils/reports/rpt_squadron_servicemen.php?lastname=easton

New Members A Warm welcome to New Members since the last newsletter Names and contact details -
Thanks 25th Annual Reunion - Thank You Jack referred in his introduction to the newsletter that this year is the 25th Annual Reunion. This is not only a considerable landmark for the Association at a time when many groups are shutting down but a tribute to Jack's energy and commitment. We thank him for his inspirational leadership over this period and the warm welcome that he and his colleagues have given to new members over the years. -

Issue 62 (October 2015)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
62 October 2015 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
Introduction October 2015 Newsletter Summary of Armistice Events, North Killingholme, November 2015, and in North Killingholme and elsewhere in 2016. -
Newsletter preparation Don Kentish and Mike Leeman and other members of our hard-working committee going to take over responsibility for preparing and circulating the newsletter. -
Armistice Sunday Sunday 8th November 2015 Details of arrangements being made by Don and Val Kentish.

Sunday 8th November 2015 We will be welcoming the Reverend Paul Salmon for the first time as he is conducting our Services in November. He will be accompanied by a bugler.

Possible Flypast The Reverend Salmon has connections with 100 Sqdn, now a fast-fighter training unit flying Hawks and we have asked for a flypast on Armistice Sunday. We will keep you informed of progress/details!

Armistice Weekend Saturday Evening As usual a small group will come together in the Ashbourne Hotel for an informal dinner in the Bistro. Please let Don Kentish know by 31st October if you plan to attend.

Sunday Detailed timetable for Sunday.
0930-1030 Squadron Museum open in the Village Hall.
1040-1100 Assemble at the Memorial Stone, Service.
1100 Two minutes silence. Wreaths are laid.
1105Move to St Denys church.
1120-1200 Service.
1230 Lunch at the Amethyst Hotel


Annual Reunion 2016 1st-2nd July 2016 For many years the Waddington Airshow took place in early July, and the reunion date was set to coincide to maximise the chance of getting a Lancaster flypast. However, it looks likely that the RAF have cancelled Waddington. /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2016

1st-2nd July 2016 We are sticking with the date. Our reunion weekend in 2016 starts with an informal meals at the Ashbourne Hotel on Friday 1st July. /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2016

1st-2nd July 2016 Applications for a flypast have been submitted for 2nd July /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2016

Annual Reunion 2015 Report For the first time in many years we were without a flypast as both the Lancaster and the Dakota were unserviceable. -
Report A large Belgian presence from Rebecq, Sint Niklaas and Westerlo -
Report We were pleased to see Ole Seberg from Denmark. Ole tends the grave of F/Sgt Battersby (F/Eng W H S Ansell crew, 29-30/8/44) and is a frequent visitor to our reunions. -
Report The 550 displays on Saturday afternoon in the chursh and later at the dinner included material about Operation Manna. -
Ceremonies in Belgium 2016 Rebecq 25th May 2016. Details TBA

Lictervelde It is possible that ceremonies will be arranged in Lichtervelde. No further details at present.

Jalhay A memorial is likely to be unveiled in late March or the beginning of April and a plaque in Berinzenne will be inaugurated on the same day.

St Niklaas No details available at present

General If any member would like to visit they will be assured of a warm welcome. Please contact the Association for more details.

Homage to F/L R W Picton DFC crew Achiet-le-Petit cemetery We are grateful to Guy de Braeckeleer and Wilfred Burie from Rebecq for attending and representing the Association at a ceremony held in Achiet-le-Petit cemetery in the Pas de Calais to honour the F/L R.W. Picton, DFC crew shot down by a night fighter on the Aulnoye raid of 10/11 April 1944.

History Formation of 550 Squadron 550 Squadron was formed on 25th November 1943 at Waltham (Grimsby) airfield. This is the background to its formation.

The War Situation In the early years of the War, Bomber Command had been forced to divert aircraft and crews to other users judged to be of a higher priority at the time. The early U-boat successes in the Atlantic lead to bomber squadrons being transferred to Coastal Command. By 1943 the arrival of 4 engined Liberators enabled Coastal Command to cover the "mid-Atlantic Gap" and the Allies got on top of the U-boats. In 41 and 42, bomber aircraft and crews had to be used to train parachutists and glider pilots as Britain developed its own Airborne Forces but the Dakota and other aircraft could fulfil this role by 1943. The early campaigns in the North African Western Desert required bomber aircraft and crews as did ferry operations. The Germans were forced out of Africa by May 43 and out of Sicily by August 43. The invasion of Italy began and the Italians sued for peace in September 43. A long advance northwards up Italy began, helped by the Salerno landings south of Naples in September 43. This advance up a narrow front allowed many RAF squadrons to return to Britain. The Mediterranean Sea was opened for Allied convoys. The Commonwealth Air Training Plan reached its peak and large numbers of aircrew became available in 43 onwards. The American 8th US Army Air Force stationed in England began to flex its muscles with a big day raid on Schweinfurt in October 43 losing 60 bombers. The Russian Armies were advancing westwards on a huge front from the Baltic to the Black Sea and the Luftwaffe was coming under a lot of pressure by late 43.

Bomber Command From mid-43 onwards, Bomber Command began to flex its muscles. It was becoming an all four engined force using Lancaster, Halifax and Stirling bombers although heavier losses would force the Stirling out of the front line by early 44. Adequate supplies of aircraft and crews enabled 500-700 bombers to be launched on a single raid. Hamburg was devastated by 3 heavy raids in late July/early August 43 and the introduction of "Window Dropping" so confused the searchlight and flak defences that losses were acceptable. The Pathfinder Force could use Oboe to mark short range targets accurately and H2S navigation sets could help them to long range targets. 100 Group was formed on November 43 to jam enemy radio and radar, to send long range fighters out with the bomber stream to harass the Luftwaffe nightfighters and to mount diversion and spoof raids.

Bomber Command Bomber Command started the "Battle of Berlin" on the night of 18/19 November 43 when 440 "heavies" attacked the city. This was the start of a campaign which would see 16 attacks on the "big city" by the end of March 44. Air Marshal Harris, the Commander in Chief of Bomber Command, thought that with the American bombers joining in with day attacks, overwhelming raids on Berlin would force Germany out of the war. Unfortunately, at that time the Americans did not have long range fighters able to escort their bombers to Berlin and the USAAF ould not take part.

Bomber Command Bomber Command expanded hugely at the end of 43. In October/November 43 No. 1 Group formed 4 new Lancaster squadrons including 625 Sqn. at Kelstern, 626 Sqn. at Wickenby and 576 Sqn. at Elsham Wolds.

550 Squadron 550 Squadron was the 4th new squadron to join No. 1 Group. The pattern was for existing squadrons to form a 3rd Flight which could be hived off to form a new squadron. This provided the new squadron with a core of experienced aircrew and groundcrew along with tried aircraft. 100 Sqn. had already used a 3rd flight to form 625 Sqn. on 1 October 43. They repeated the process on 25 November 43 when C Flight of 100 Sqn. became 550 Sqn.

550 Squadron Crews inherited from 100 Sqdn.
Crew Details TBA
Crews from other squadrons were also posted into 550 Sqn. on its formation. 550s first raid was to send 8 Lancasters to Berlin on the night of 26/27 November 43 and it suffered its first casualties when the crew of F/L P.J.M. Prangley failed to return. 443 Lanes took part in this raid and 28 failed to return, a loss rate of 6.2%. This was a loss rate which Bomber Command could not afford. If loss rates could be kept to 3% or lower, supplies of new aircraft and new aircrew were adequate to maintain frontline strength. Loss rates above 3% meant that frontline strength would decrease. The loss rate on this raid was mainly due to the Luftwaffe nightfighters who had been fitted with SN2 air-to-air radar which we could not jam at that time and with 2 upward firing 20 mm cannon which caused Bomber Command and 550 Sqn. big problems for many months.


History The Dresden Raid Bomber Command carried out a very heavy raid on Dresden on the night of 13/14 February 1945. 796 Lancasters bombed the city in two waves dropping 1478 tons of high explosive and 1182 tons of incendiary bombs. Next morning 311 American Fortresses and Liberators bombed the railway yards in Dresden. On 15 February 200 American heavies set out for a day raid on an oil refinery near Leipzig, but bad weather prevented them from finding the primary target so they bombed Dresden as an alternative target. Tremendous damage was done to the city with 1600 acres devastated and huge numbers of casualties. First estimates were that 40,000 died but later this figure was reduced to 30,000.

The Dresden Raid Details TBA

The Dresden Raid Details TBA

The Dresden Raid Details TBA

The Dresden Raid Details TBA

The Dresden Raid Details TBA

The Dresden Raid Details TBA

The Dresden Raid Details TBA

The Dresden Raid Details TBA

The Dresden Raid Details TBA

The Dresden Raid Details TBA

The Dresden Raid Details TBA

The Dresden Raid So Bomber Command, who bombed Dresden once, gets all the blame for the Dresden raid while the Americans who bombed Dresden twice in that critical three day period are never criticised.

History Operation Manna Norval Black wrote the article below for the Operation Manna display at the Annual Reunion. We thank him for allowing us to reproduce it here.

Operation Manna Details TBA

Operation Manna Details TBA

Operation Manna Details TBA

Operation Manna Details TBA

Operation Manna Details TBA

Operation Manna Details TBA

550 Museum News Martin Carnell, Berlin Martin Carnell recently visited the grave of his uncle, Sgt KJB Smith, in the War Cemetery in Berlin. Sgt Smith was lost when ME428 (F/0 RD Harris RCAF) was shot down on the Dessau operation on the night of 7/8 March 1945. Three of the crew were killed and the remaining four became prisoners of war. Martin took photographs of all the graves of 550 airmen in the cemetery. He then made up an album and this is now in the Squadron Museum in North Killingholme. Thank you, Martin.

550 Losses in Belgium Previously, Wilfred Burie had sent a dossier of photographs of crash sites, gravestones and other material relevant to 550 losses in Belgium. This has now been put together in a folder that is also in the Squadron Museum.

General If a member visits other crash sites, cemeteries or memorials that are relevant to 550 then Mike Leeman would be delighted to receive copies of any photos or other material that could go into the museum. These could be sent electronically or through the post.

International Bomber Command Centre Lincoln The International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) has been created to record the contribution made by Bomber Command in the Second World War and recognise the vital role it played in protecting freedom. A Memorial Spire was recently opened at a ceremony attended by representatives of 550 and the Association hopes to organise a trip to the centre as part of the Annual Reunion in 2016.

A Motley Crew Poem by Alan Gall, Nav 550 Sqdn "A Motley Crew" is an affectionate and irreverent set of "derogatory ditties" about the seven members of a Lancaster crew that was written by Alan Gall, a Navigator with 550 Squadron. Copies were produced for the reunion weekend and sold out very quickly. If you would like a copy they are available at £3.00 including postage and packing. Please send a cheque to Val Kentish, made payable to "550 Squadron Association", at the address given earlier in the newsletter. If you want more than 1 copy contact Val in advance for P&P prices.

Phantom of The Ruhr Ashbourne Hotel We have based our Annual Reunion at the Ashbourne since 2011 and they have hung a "Phantom of the Ruhr" print signed by 550 air crew immediately on the left as you enter the main entrance.

Appeal for Help Help with producing the newsletter We are altering the arrangements for producing the newsletter and wonder if there is a member with skills in graphic design, layout or sub-editing who could spare the time to help us. The newsletter is distributed three times a year. If you would like to find out more please contact Don Kentish.

Sad News Members who have died since the last newsletter F/Lt Jim Cassidy DFC RAAF, 2nd tour as Nav with S/L Caldow
Sgt W A Langshaw, W/Op with W/O C W Graham
F/O J B Wright DFC, Nav with S/L R Newitt DFC RCAF
-
Change of Address Members change of address details Names and contact details. -
New Members A Warm welcome to New Members since the last newsletter Names and contact details -

Issue 61 (June 2015)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
61 June 2015 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
Introduction June 2015 Newsletter Summary of schedule and events planned in North Killingholme in 2015. -
June 2015 Newsletter This newsletter is issued slightly latter than planned due to visit to Rebecq for the 27/28 May commememorations there -
Annual Reunion 3-5 July 2015 Our reunion weekend starts with an informal meals at the Ashbourne Hotel on Friday 3rd July. /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2015

3-5 July 2015 The weekend events are organsied by Don and Val Kentish, If you have any queries not addressedin this newsletter then please contact Don as soon as possible. The earlier you get the attached "Booking Form" to Don the better but please make sure he gets it by the 16 June deadline. -
Friday 3 July Informal dinner at the Ashbourne Hotel will start at 8PM. /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2015

Saturday 4 July A Lancaster flypast has been requested for 2PM. A firm time will not be notified until closer to the date, but for the moment the day's schedule is fitted around that timing. For the preferred timetable, see the link /php-library/popup.php?textFile=MEMO2015

Sunday 5 July In the morning a tour of the North Killingholme airfield conducted by George Turner. Assemble at the Ashbourne Hotel at 11AM -
Sunday 5 July In the afternoon a visit to Elsham Wolds Museum will be arranged. Nos 103 and 576 Sqdns flew Lancasters from Elsham and the station has put together a very good museum. -
Ashbourne Hotel The Ashbourne Hotel is again our centre for evening meals and overnight stays. The Association does not make bookaings and rooms have to reserved by individuals. Quote "Kentish 550" when booking to receive a discount. See the link for details. /documents/public/newsletters/2015/AshbourneHotelInformationJuly2015.pdf

Alternative accommodation If the Ashbourne Hotel is full there are other accommodation alternatives in the area, including:

Amethyst Hotel, Townside, East Halton, Immingham, Grimsby, Lincs. DN40 3NS
Tel. 01469 540205

Church Farm Guest House, Immingham Road, Habrough, N.E. Lincs. DN40 3DB
Tel. 01469 576190

The Old Chapel Hotel, 50 Station Road, Habrough, Immingham. DN40 3AY
Tel. 01469 572377
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Roadworks Immingham/North Killingholme area Roadworks on the A160 which links Immingham to the A180 will affect those travelling to the reunion in North Killingholme. Please take account of this in your travel plans. -
Armistice Sunday 8 November 2015 A service will be held at the Memorial Stone followed by lunch at the Amethyst Hotel -
Sad News Members who have died since the last newsletter Newsletter No. 60 sent to Fred Rhodes has been returned marked "Return to sender" - which could be an ominous sign. -
Change of Address Members change of address details Names and contact details. -
Form 540 For RAF Station North Killingholme The last newsletter gave extracts up to the end of December 1944. Here are further extracts into 1945. -
New Book Bombing Germany: The Final Phase A new book by Tony Redding about the final few months of Bomber Command's war, concentrating on the Pforzheim raid of 23/24 February 1945 which proved to be one of the most damaging attacks of the war. The book includes contributions from 12 aircrew of 550 Sqdn who either flew on the raid or could provide useful contributions.
The book can be obtained from

Pen & Sword Books Ltd, 47 Church Street, Barnsley, South Yorks. S70 2AS
Tel. 01226 734222

Or the Amazon web-site (see link)
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1473823544/ref=ox_sc_act_image_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE

Issue 60 (May 2015)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
60 May 2015 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
Introduction May 2015 Newsletter Summary of schedule and events planned in North Killingholme and elsewhere in 2015. -
Rebecq Belgium ceremonies 27 and 28 May 2015 Two events this year to commemorate 550 crews; in Rebecq (Purney crew) and Lichtervelde (McCrae crew). -
Annual Reunion 3 - 5 July 2015 The annual reunion is always arranged to coincide with the Saturday of the Waddington Airshow to maximise the chance of the Lancaster flypast. In 2015 there will not be a Waddington Airshow as the runway is being rebuilt. However we have secured a flypast. -
Friday 3 July Informal dinner at the Ashbourne Hotel will start at 8PM. /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2015

Saturday 4 July A Lancaster flypast has been requested for 2PM. A firm time will not be notified until closer to the date, but for the moment the day's schedule is fitted around that timing. /php-library/popup.php?textFile=MEMO2015

Sunday 5 July In the morning a tour of the North Killingholme airfield conducted by George Turner. Assemble at the Ashbourne Hotel at 11AM -
Sunday 5 July In the afternoon a visit to Elsham Wolds Museum will be arranged. Nos 103 and 576 Sqdns flew Lancasters from Elsham and the station has put together a very good museum. -
Other Visit possibilities In recent years ia Guided Tour of The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at Coningsby was arranged on the Monday. Last year's attendance was very low and we are taking a rest this year. -
Other Visit possibilities We had hoped that the new Bomber Command Memorial being built in Lincoln would be open by the time of the reunion, but the opening has been pushed back, so we will monitor the situation for future years. -
Ashbourne Hotel The Ashbourne Hotel is again our centre for evening meals and overnight stays. The Association does not make bookaings and rooms have to reserved by individuals. Quote "Kentish 550" when booking to receive a discount. See the link for details. /documents/public/newsletters/2015/AshbourneHotelInformationJuly2015.pdf

Roadworks Immingham/North Killingholme area Roadworks on the A160 which links Immingham to the A180 will affect those travelling to the reunion in North Killingholme. Please take account of this in your travel plans. -
Armistice Sunday 8 November 2015 A service will be held at the Memorial Stone followed by lunch at the Amethyst Hotel -
New Members New Members since the last newsletter A warm welcome to a number of new members. -
Sad News Members who have died since the last newsletter Since the last newsletter the Association has lost the following members (in alphabetical order):
Paul Binder, F/Sgt (W/Op) with the F/O H.A.T. Clarke and F/O L.O. Williams crews
Ken Brotherhood, Sgt (F/Eng) with the P/O K.J. Markes crew
Bill (Taff) Evans, F/Sgt (W/Op) with the F/O W.M. Davidson crew
Al Geen, F/O (Nav) with the P/O J.A. Beale crew
Ron Germain, F/Sgt (W/Op) with the F/Lt N.A. Burrows crew
Graham Logan, Sgt (A/G) with the P/O C.G.W. Kenyon crew
Bob McLean, F/O (B/A) with the F/Lt R.E.G. Waite crew
Frank Roberts, F/Sgt (W/Op) with the F/O S.D. Thompson crew.
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Form 540 For RAF Station North Killingholme The last newsletter gave extracts up to the end of August 1944. Here are extracts for September, October, November and December 1944. -

Issue 59 (October 2014)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
59 October 2014 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
Introduction Armistice Events Newsletter Summary of schedule and events planned in North Killingholme November. -
550 Talks 2013 and 2014 Jack Harris has over the course of the last year given three talks on "Flying with Bomber Command in World War 2" in support of the Hospice in the Weald where his wife Bobbie spent the last months of her life. A forth talk is in the offing. Meanwhile the talk moves to North Killingholme where there will be a special emphasis on 550 operations from the airfield there. -
550 Talk North Killingholme 7th November 2014 The "550 Squadron Talk" will take place in St Denys Church at 8pm on Friday 7th November. Tea or coffee and biscuits will be provided at a charge of £5 per head. The proceeds will be distributed equally to the Hospice, to the Bomber Command Association, to the 550 Squadron Association and to St Denys Church for hosting the evening. Contact Mike Leeman if you wish to attend. -
Armistice Sunday Service North Killingholme 2014 Arrangements are being made by Don and Val Kentish. See the link for details. /documents/public/newsletters/2014/RemembranceWeekend2014-Provisional.pdf

Saturday Evening 8 November 2014 A small group of members usually gather for a meal at The Ashbourne Hotel on the Saturday evening. This will take place at 7:45 pm. Please let Don and Val know so that menu selections can be notified to the hotel. /documents/public/newsletters/2014/RemembranceWeekend2014-Provisional.pdf

Armistice Sunday 9 November 2014 The detailed timetable is available in the link shown right: /documents/public/newsletters/2014/RemembranceWeekend2014-Provisional.pdf

Next Reunion 3 and 4 July 2015 The annual reunion is always arranged to coincide with the Saturday of the Waddington Airshow to maximise the chance of the Lancaster flypast. In 2015 there will not be a Waddington Airshow as the runway is being rebuilt. However we are sticking to this early July date as the weekend is already reserved in the hotel and other weekends are already booked for other events. -
July 2014 Reunion Attendance Attendances at our 2014 Annual rnions held up well with 41 at the Firday eening meal, 50 at The Amethyst Saturday buffet and 61 sitting down to the Staurday evening dinner. The church was full. For the Sunday monring an extra event was added when the Killingholme Full Bore Club invited 23 members to the Rifle Range for the unveiling of a Memorial Plaque. Another Lancaster flypast was enjoyed by all. Following the Reunion the Association, along with a contribution from the Ashbourne Hotel, was able to make a donation of £500 towards the upkeep of the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park, London. Thanks to all who contributed. -
New Members New Members since the last newsletter A warm welcome to a number of new members. -
Sad News Members who have died since the last newsletter Since the last newsletter the Association has lost the following members (in alphabetical order):
Bill Ansell A/G with S/Ldr P Nicholas 1/44 - 7/44
Bob Bickford W/Op with F/O J Harris 9/44 - 3/45
Ken Down F/Eng with F/O Jim Lord 6/44 - 10/44
Douglas Hicks RCAF A/G with F/O R D Harris 1/45 - 3/45
May Lait WAAF, Waitress 12/43 - 10-45
Jim Vance RAAF Pilot 4/45 - 6-45
-
Association Ties New Stock of Association Ties Costing £10 each plus £1.50 P&P. Contact Mike Leeman -
Form 540 For RAF Station North Killingholme The last newsletter gave extracts for May and June 1944. Here are extracts from July and August 1944. -
Subscriptions Annual Subscription The usual requests to please send your subscription if you have not done so. Thank you. At £5.50 it is not a lot but it helps defray postage costs, etc. Contact Mike Leeman. -

Issue 58 (May 2014)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
58 May 2014 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
Introduction Reunion Newsletter Summary of schedule and events planned in Belguim in 2014 (Rebecq, Sint Niklaas and Westerlo) and North Killingholme in July and November. -
Belgium 2014 Ceremonies in Belgium 27 May - 1 June See also the link: http://www.rebecq-memorial.eu/

Outline Programme - Rebecq, Westerlo and Sint Niklaas Westerlo 30 May - 1 June Day by day schedule of events
See also the link:
http://www.rebecq-memorial.eu/

Annual Reunion North Killingholme 4-7 July Weekend summary.
Contact Don Kentish.
/php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2014

Annual Reunion North Killingholme 4-7 July Full Saturday Timetable /php-library/popup.php?textFile=MEMO2014

Annual Reunion North Killingholme 4-7 July Full Sunday Timetable /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2014

Annual Reunion North Killingholme 4-7 July Full Monday Timetable /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2014

Annual Reunion North Killingholme 4-7 July Ashbourne Hotel details /pages/reunion-weekend-accommodation-july-2014.php

Annual Reunion North Killingholme 4-7 July Menus selecttions /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2014

Annual Reunion North Killingholme 4-7 July Collection for Bomber Command Association
Ashbourne Hotel also donation an amount for each room booked
-
New Members A Warm welcome to New Members since the last newsletter Names and contact details -
Visit to Alsace Visit to Alsace, France 12 & 13 April 2014 Memorial unveilings for Crawford and Craig crews -
Form 540 RAF Station North Killingholme, Form 540 - -
2014 Reunion Booking Form Booking form (inc. menu selections)
Return by 19 June
Word Format /documents/public/newsletters/2014/Reunion2014-BookingForm.doc

2014 Reunion Booking Form Booking form (inc. menu selections)
Return by 19 June
PDF Format /documents/public/newsletters/2014/Reunion2014-BookingForm.pdf

2014 Reunion Booking Form Booking form (inc. menu selections)
Return by 19 June
JPG Format (pg 1 of 2) /documents/public/newsletters/2014/Reunion2014-BookingForm-page1of2.jpg

2014 Reunion Booking Form Booking form (inc. menu selections)
Return by 19 June
JPG Format (pg 2 of 2) /documents/public/newsletters/2014/Reunion2014-BookingForm-page2of2.jpg

Issue 57 (April 2014)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
57 April 2014 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
Introduction Spring Newsletter Summary of schedule and events planned in Belguim in 2014 (Rebecq and Westerlo) and North Killingholme in July and November.
Another newsletter will follow in May with attendance forms, menu choices, etc
-
Belgium 2014 Ceremonies in Belgium 27 May - 1 June See also the link: http://www.rebecq-memorial.eu/programme2014.php

Rebecq Programme Rebecq 27-29 May See also the link: http://www.rebecq-memorial.eu/programme2014.php

Westerlo and Sint Niklaas Westerlo 30 May - 1 June See also the link: http://www.rebecq-memorial.eu/programme2014.php

Annual Reunion North Killingholme 4-7 July Weekend summary.
Contact Don Kentish. More details will be published in the May Newsletter
/php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2014

Annual Reunion North Killingholme 4-7 July Full Saturday Timetable /php-library/popup.php?textFile=MEMO2014

Annual Reunion North Killingholme 4-7 July Ashbourne Hotel details /pages/reunion-weekend-accommodation-july-2014.php

Annual Reunion North Killingholme 4-7 July Sunday Airfield Tour.
Contact George Turner.
/php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2014

Annual Reunion North Killingholme 4-7 July Monday visit to RAF Coningsby.
Contact Don Kentish.
/php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2014

Annual Reunion North Killingholme 4-7 July Friday visit to Elsham Wolds.
Details TBC.
/php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2014

New Members A Warm welcome to New Members since the last newsletter Names and contact details -
Sad News Members who have died since the last newsletter Since the last reunion the Association has lost too many valued members.
In alphabetical order they are:
Stan Brasher (RAAF) A/G with F/Lt A B Craig
Ivan Daly A/G with P/O H A Findlay
Ruth Guthrie widow of Sgt Larry Guthrie W/Op with F/O Purvis
Don Hunter W/OP with P/O H O Jones (until be became a PoW on Stuttgart raid of 28/129 July 44)
Lucy Doris Reed widow of F/Sgt E W Reed F/Eng
Frank Woodley F/Eng with F/O K A Sidwell
-
The Memory Lingers On Goodbye to Sam Lipfriend and Kenyon Bowen Bravery Last summer we had to say goodbye to two of our most valuable and respected members. -
Form 540 Form 540 for RAF Station North Killingholme Extracts for the months of March and Arpil 1994 from the Station Records -

Issue 56 (October 2013)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
56 October 2013 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
Introduction Remembrance Sunday Newsletter Summary of November schedule and events planned in Belguim in 2014 (Rebecq and Westerlo) -
Armistice Sunday Services in North Killingholme, 10 November 2012 Arrangements for those planning to be in NK 9th and 10th November.
Details in the link.
/php-library/popup.php?textFile=REMB2013

Saturday 9th November Informal Meal At the Ashbourne Hotel. No seating plan. Please confirm if you wish to attend by 2 Nov in order that numbers can be confirmed (as menu pre-selection will be required if numbers exceed 10) /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REMB2013

Sunday 10th November Remembrance Sunday schedule Detailed timings and plans; see link. /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REMB2013

2014 Ceremonies in Belgium Rebecq 28 May, Westerlo 1 June Ceremonies are planned in May/June 2014 for two 550 crews lost in 1944 over Belguim. Details will follow in later newsletters. -
Next Annual Reunion, 4 & 5th July 2014 Initial notice of planned events Detailed timings and plans will follow in later newsletters. -
Farewell Farewell to our 2 Vicars We extend fond farewell to Revds. Mike and Sue Page-Chestney who retired in September. They started to conduct our July and November services in 2003 and have given us 10 years of excellent service. We wish them well in retirement. -
New Members A Warm welcome to New Members since the last newsletter Names and contact details -
Change of Address Member details updates Names and contact details -
Sad News Members who have died since the last newsletter Since the last reunion the Association has lost too many valued members. In alphabetical order they are:
P/O Jim Beale DFC RCAF
F/Sgt Dennis Blyth (W/OP with the F/O Rhude crew)
F/O Kenyon Bowen-Bravery DFC, CdeG
Bobbie Harris (wife of Jack Harris)
Sgt. Sam Lipfriend (F/Eng with the F/O Edlund crew)
F/Sgt Daniel O'Neil (W/Op with the F/O Mearns crew)
-
Report on the July 2013 Annual Reunion Our best ever Annual Reunion From all angles this was our best ever Annual Reunion. Numbers broke records (91 at the Saturday evening dinner) and the attendance from overseas was impressive (9 from Australia, 6 from Canada and 12 from Belgium). The weather was gorgeous and the Lancaster arrived dead on time. Extras included a tour of the airfield, and a visit to the BBMF at RAF Coningsby. Local support was fantastic. /pages/550-sqdn-reunion-2013.php

Association Committee Call for two volunteers With the passing of Sam Lipfriend this leaves only one committee member with wartime experience. We would like to add 2 ex-550 aircrew to the committee. Please let Jack Harris know if you would like to volunteer. -
550 Squadron Merchandise - Stocks of 2013 Ceramic Tankard, ties and lapel badges. Contact Mike Leeman for details. -
R/T Callsigns - Radiotelephone conversations between the North Killingholme Control Tower and 550 Sqdn Aircraft used the following callsigns:
NK Tower: LAMBECK
550 Sqdn aircraft: TUSSORE
-
Form 540 for RAF Station, North Killingholme - Each RAF unit and station had to write up daily entries in the Form 540 which provided a Complete History. The F540 for 550 Sqdn concentrated on the "ops" flown and the postings of the aircrew. The Station F540 covered a very wide field and some extracts from the early weeks of the NK airfield are included in the newsletter. -
Subscriptions The Association relies upon regular subscriptions The Assocation relies upon the subscriptions of members to carry out its commitments - be it sending out Newsletters to members, supporting the Immingham Air Cadets, making a payment to the North Killinghome Parish Council to assist with the costs of heating of the Museum, paying for wreaths, poppies and flowers as well as funding an attendance award at the Immingham Oasis Academy.

The Association does not send out reminders about the annual subscription (in the interests of economy), and replies on members to "cough up". Quite a few people pay by standing order - this is easy to set up with your bank & if you have a bank account that can be accessed via the internet it is only a matter of a few minutes to complete. Many members pay "over the odds" - donations which are much appreciated - so please help us to keep the Association funded by paying the tiny subscription and keeping the memory alive.
-

Issue 55 (May 2013)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
55 May 2013 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
Introduction Annual Reunion Newsletter Summary of the period since November -
Railway Closure Railway Line Closure: Doncaster/Scunthorpe Summary details about alternative services -
Annual Reunion 2013 North Killingholme Events 5,6 & 7 July Our reunion weekend starts with an evening meal on 5th July followed by the usual buffet lunch, afternoon activities and dinner on the 6th July and will conclude on Sunday norning 7th July with a tour of the air field. /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2013

Friday 5th July Informal Meal No seating plan, at the Ashbourne Hotel. Cost ?18.95 per head. /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2013

Saturday 6th July Lancaster Flypast Our request for a Lancaster Flypast over the Memorial Stone at 2PM has been approved and we have based our timetable on this preferred time. /php-library/popup.php?textFile=MEMO2013

Sunday 7th July Airfield Tour Assuming favourable weather George Turner will lead a tour of the airfield by car. Starting time 11AM. /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2013

Monday 8th July RAF Coningsby Visit RAF Coningsby is about 40 miles from North Killinghome and the home of the BBMF which flies the Lancaster, 4 Spitfires, 2 Hurricanes and a Dakota on displays. "Red Carpet" tour for 550 people starting at 11AM. /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2013

Ashbourne Hotel Ashbourne Hotel Accommodation and Meals The focal point for the Reunion. Also some alternate hotel addresses in the NK area /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2013

Friday Evening Meal Costs and Menu Cost ?18.95 per head. No seating plan.
Starter: Melon fruit compote & sorbet OR Homemade soup of the day
Main: Beef bourguignon & chips OR Chicken chasseur & mash OR Wild mushroom risotto
Dessert: Apple & rhubarb pie OR Ice Cream Selection
/php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2013

Saturday Dinner Costs and Menu Starts at 7:30 PM. Cost ?28.95 per head. There will be a seating plan.
Starter: Asparagus & soft boiled egg OR Mini duck spring roll
Main: Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding OR Roast salmon fillet OR Goats cheese & broccoli tart
Dessert: Raspberry creme brulee OR Strawberry tart OR Ice cream selection
/php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2013

Church Sales Saturday 6 July At the end of the Saturday afternoon church service several items will be on sale at the back of the church /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2013

New Members A Warm welcome to New Members since the last newsletter Names and contact details -
Sad News Members who have died since the last newsletter George Glover RCAF (F/O B/A with the P/O Jim Beale crew)
Wal Granfield RAAF F/Sgt A/G with the F/O S D Thompson RAAF crew
Vernon Wilkes DFC B/A with the P/O G J Markes DFC crew
-
F/Lt H Storry 550 Gunnery Leader A gap in the Senior Gunnery Leader post after F/Lt Waycott was killed on 10/11 April 1944 and before the appointment of F/Lt Murphy on 9 June, F/Lt Storry appears in the records but is not in the list of Air Gunners and does not appear to fly any ops with a 550 crew. Does anyone remember F/Lt Storry and was he 550s Gunnery Leader? /php-library/mysql-utils/reports/rpt_squadron_servicemen.php?lastname=storry

New Email Address For Mike Leeman ... -

Issue 54 (April 2013)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
54 April 2013 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
Introduction Introduction Summary of the period since November -
Annual Reunion 2013 North Killingholme 5,6&7 July Outline of activities on 5, 6 and 7th July with a detailed schedule for Saturday 6th July
Contact information including for the Ashbourne Hotel
/php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2013

New Book No. 1 Group - Swift to Attack A new book from Patrick Otter. 550 Sqdn and North Killingholme receive a lot of coverage. Patrick will be at the Reunion this year to sign copies. /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2013

RAF Coningsby Visit to RAF Coningsby on 8th July After the reunion if there are folk interested in seeing the BBMF Lancaster up close and personal then this can be arranged. /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2013

Rebecq Memorial Service Rebecq, 29th May 2013 Details about visiting Rebecq for the Memorial service there this year /index.php#Events2013Notice

Book being written Pforzheim Raid 23/24 Feb 1945 A book is being written on the Pforzhein Raid. This is a call for veterans who took part. Contact details: Mr. A C Redding, Mulberry House, Chequer Lane, Ash, Canterbury, Kent -
Bomber Command Clasp Application Details How and where to apply and that details need to be provided
NB: there is a form on this web-site complete with address to which it should be sent.
PLUS: Sam Lipfriend represented 550 Sqdn at a presentation of Bomber Command Clasps to 24 BC veterans by the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street on 19th March.
/documents/public/BomberCommandClaspApplication.pdf

Flypast Magazine May 2013 Article by John Elliott John Elliott of the Jim Lord crew writes and there are 550 Sqdn photos /pages/bomber-command-books.php#Magazines

Little Megs A fish shop run by May Gabriel from a hut in South Killingholme In response to a question in the last newsletter the mystery was solved. Thanks to those who provided the answers. Also mentioned on pg. 301 of Patrick Otter's new book. -
New Members A Warm welcome to New Members since the last newsletter Names and contact details -
Sad News Members who have died since the last newsletter P J Bradley (P/F/Eng)
Josett Demey-Bens (an incredible Belgium lady and supported of Bomber Command and 550 Sqdn., who lived in St Niklass Belgium and looked after the graves of the Dukelow crew shot down in May 44)
Charles (Bill) Peek (550 Bombing Leader July 44 - October 45)
Maureen Pritchard (widow of Frank Pritchard A/G with the Sarll crew and amoung the founding member of the Association)
-
Changes of Address Some new addresses Names and contact details -
Remembrance Weekend 2012 Details of the weekend last year in NK Presentation of PD319 fragments by next of kin of the crew lost on this operation. /pages/remembrance-sunday-2012.php

The Mid-UNDER gunner The 8th member of the crew A page on this unusual crew position. Introduced because of the vulnerability of the Lancaster to attack from below by night-fighters. Often the crew only knew of the presence of the fighter after it was too late and they were already hit. So a gunner in a turret underneath the aircraft approximately below where the mid-upper was located. W5005, N-Nan had such a gun position - there is no report of it ever having fired in anger. Visibility was poor unless the gunner lay prone, it was cold, it added to the weight of the aircraft so affecting fuel consumption and it did not allow H2S (radar aid) to be fitted so Navigators disliked it. It was a not an entirely successful modification. -
Biggest losses in one night 550s biggest losses in one night Revigny raid 12/13 July 44. On that night 550 Sqdn lost 4 Lancasters - two to enemy action with the loss of all 14 crew members and two to crashes from shortage of fuel (although in each of these cases the crews baled out and all survived). -
Subscriptions Annual Subscription It is only ?5.50 , and has been since association formation. It is not a lot but it helps defray postage costs, etc. -
Thanks Thanks to our helpers The Association is heavily reliant on a great band of helpers. -

Issue 53 (October 2012)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
53 October 2012 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
Introduction "Remembrance" newsletter Summer 2012 - what a summer, Diamond Jubilee, BC Memorial unveiling, Olympics, Para Olympics, Ryder Cup - and the 550 Association annual reunion. What a year! -
Armistice Sunday Services in North Killingholme, 11 November 2012 Arrangements for those planing to be in NK 10 and 11th November.
See link for details.
/documents/public/newsletters/2012/RemembranceWeekendProgramme-2012.pdf

Annual Reunion 2013 North Killingholme, 5-6 July 2013 Extra significance: 70 years since the formation of 550 Squadron and will be the 20th reunion in North Killingholme. With a group from Canada already booked in for 2013 and plans for events on the Sunday and the Monday, the reunion will be extra special this year. -
Annual Reunion 2013 North Killingholme Full details of the weekend will be published in the May 2013 Newsletter
See link for more info.
/php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2013

Annual Reunions 2014/2015 North Killingholme Dates for these future reunions are already set (and the hotel booked).
4th and 5th July 2014
3rd and 4th July 2015.
-
BC Memorial unveiling Green Park 28 June 2012 Jack Harris memories of a special day in London. -
Annual Reunion 2012 North Killingholme 29th & 30 June 2012 Visitors from Australia, Canada and Belgium.
Presentation of the rudder from Purney crashed Lancaster to 550 Museum.
Three new 550 items in the village: Sam and Pam Lipfriend bench, 550 Squadron sign and North Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Trail.
/pages/550-sqdn-reunion-2012.php

Rebecq, 29 May 2013 Ceremony to commemorate the Purney crew George Turner will lead a group of visitors (so let him know if you are interested in going).
Further information will be in the April/May 2013 newsletter.
-
New Members A Warm welcome to New Members since the last newsletter Names and contact details -
Sad News Members who have died since the last newsletter F/L Jim Lord DFC (P)
F/O Harry Quick DFC (A/G)
F/L (Stainless) Steele RCAF DFC
Don Charlwood - although not a 550 flyer, was a Nav who in later years provided much help to the Association.
Bill Anderson B/A with F/O Lohrey - mail returned (usually ominous news).
-
Changes of Address Some new addresses Names and contact details -
Little Megs A tea shop of cafe in Cleethorpes or Grimsby? If you know please let us know -
Lincolnshire Bomber Command Memorial Setting up of a new memorial Information -
Lancaster bits Lancaster bits keep turning up Identifable bits of PD319 found near Krefeld -

Issue 52 (April 2012)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
52 April 2012 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
Introduction "Annual Reunion" newsletter Issue with details of the Bomber Command Association Memorial unveiling on 28 June 2012, Westerlo Commemoration in May, Annual Reunion in June/July in NK. Key details about plans for all these and contact details for those interested in taking part. -
Westerlo 2012 Westerlo, Belgium, 18-20 May 2012 Details for the Commemoration weekend for the F/Sgt Hinde crew. Full schedule details.
See link for more info.
/pages/westerlo-may-2012.txt

Bomber Command Association Memorial Dedication and Unveiling Form The form for dedication and unveiling, issued in the last newsletter still available (PDF format). If you wish to attend then print off,and either post or email in on completion to the address as detailed on the form.
See link for more info. Getting confirmations back from the organisers appears to be slow.
/documents/public/BCAMemorial/BCA-Memorial-Unveiling-2012.pdf

Annual Reunion 2012 North Killingholme, 29-30 June 2012 Details of the weekend including initial schedule details.
See link for more info.
/php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2012

Annual Reunion 2012 North Killingholme, 29-30 June 2012 Initial detailed Saturday schedule.
See link for more info.
/php-library/popup.php?textFile=MEMO2012

Annual Reunion 2012 North Killingholme, 30 June 2012 Formal Friday Dinner and informal Saturday evening meal, details and menus.

Annual Reunion 2012 North Killingholme, 29-30 June 2012 Hotel accommdation: booking early is strongly advised (the hotel is filling up, there are a lot of folk visiting this year for the BCA Memorial Unveiling and then also coming up to NK for the Reunion.
See link for more info.
/pages/reunion-weekend-accommodation-july-2012.php

Annual Reunion 2012 North Killingholme, 29-30 June 2012 Ashbourne Hotel Information (1-page summary, PDF format).
See link for more info.
/documents/public/newsletters/2012/AshbourneHotelInformation-2012.pdf

Annual Reunion 2012 North Killingholme, 29-30 June 2012 Other Accommodation in the area (1-page summary, PDF format).
See link for more info.
/documents/public/newsletters/2012/OtherAccommodation-April2012.pdf

Annual Reunion 2012 North Killingholme, 29-30 June 2012 Travel Information (1-page summary, PDF format).
See link for more info.
/documents/public/newsletters/2012/TravelInformation-2012.pdf

Armistice 2012 Sunday 11 November 2012 Please put a note in your diary that the Remembrance Services will be held in NK on Sunday 11 November -
New Members New Members since the last newsletter Names and contact details -
Sad News Members who have died since the last newsletter. F/O G C Glover (B/A)
Sgt Jim Steer (W/Op)
Confirmation that Ron Vietheer (RAAF), contact lost noted in previous newsletter, has died.
-
Change of Address Members change of address details Names and contact details. -
Subscriptions Gentle reminder Due soon for year beginning 1 July 2012. -
Goodies Ties, Badges, pens etc. Details about 550 items for sale. /php-library/mysql-utils/forms/merchandise-enquiry-form.php

Aviation Heritage Trail North Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Trail The NK airfield is now officially part of the North Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Trial along with Waltham, Elsham, Hibaldstow, and Kirton Lindsey. A large notice is now displayed close to the Memorial Stone. The North Lincs Tourist Board will publish an acccompanying booklet (perhaps in May). -
Request for Information Flight Commanders Details about a number of Squadron Leader Pilots requested. If you have information then contact Jack Harris with details. -
Things keep turning up! Sterkade raid 16/17 June 44 New information from a Dutch family involved with aiding the only survivor of the S/L G S Smith crew, Roy Kay, to evade capture and return to the UK. The story of the wedding dress that used to be a parachute. -
550 Squadron Record of Operations A month by month summary of 550 Ops and losses A separate attachment showing the full monthly list from Nov 43 to Apr 45. -
550 Squadron Association Reunion 29/30 June 2012 Friday Dinner and Saturday evening meal Menus for both evenings with selections for completing and returning to Don Kentish. -

Issue 51 (February 2012)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
51 February 2012 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
Introduction Special "extra" newsletter Special issue with details of the Bomber Command Association Memorial unveiling on 28 June 2012. Key details about plans for the unveiling and contact details for those interested in taking part. -
Bomber Command Association Memorial BCA Memorial Unveiling, Green Park. London Thurs 28 June 2012 The date is confirmed and a few essential details are now known. Dedication and unveiling will start at noon and last ca. one hour. Priority for a) members of BCA, b) close relatives of BC personnel who died in WWII c) other members of BCA. Details about the laying of wreaths, etc. Reunion event on evening of Wednesday 27 June.
See link for more info.
/pages/bca-memorial-unveiling-june-2012.php

Bomber Command Association Memorial "BCA Memorial Co-ordination Team" contact details The Memorial Team, Bomber Command Association , RAF Museum, Grahame Park Way, Hendon, London NW9 5LL.
Tel. 020 8358 4841
email: Bomber.Command.Memorial@rafmuseum.org
See link for more info.
/pages/bca-memorial-unveiling-june-2012.php

Bomber Command Association Memorial Dedication and Unveiling Form Form for dedication and unveiling (PDF format). If you wish to attend then print off,and either post or email in on completion to the address as detailed on the form.
See link for more info.
/documents/public/BCAMemorial/BCA-Memorial-Unveiling-2012.pdf

Westerlo 2012 Westerlo, Belgium, 18-20 May 2012 Details for the Commemoration weekend for the Hinde crew. Full schedule details.
Further details to follow in April Newsletter.
See link for more info.
/pages/westerlo-may-2012.txt

Annual Reunion 2012 North Killingholme, 29-30 June 2012 Details of the weekend including initial schedule details.
Further details to follow in April Newsletter.
See link for more info.
/pages/reunion-weekend-accommodation-july-2012.php

Armistice Sunday 2012 Armistice Sunday 11 November 2012 Put the date in your diary. Further details to follow in later Newsletters. -
New Members New Members since the last newsletter Names and contact details -
Sad News Members who have died since the last newsletter. R J (Dicky) Lloyd
R P (Bob) Stone
Lost contact with Ron Vietheer (RAAF)
-
Change of Address Members change of address details Names and contact details. -
Goodies Ties, Badges, pens etc. Details about 550 items for sale. /php-library/mysql-utils/forms/merchandise-enquiry-form.php

Airfield Constructions Airfield Constructions in the UK in WW II Details the massive airfield construction programme between 1939 and 1944. Facts and figures. -
Airfield Constructions Development of the Airfield in NK Details about the airfield construction at NK. The first operation was flown from NK on the night of 14/15 January 1944, but the all facilities at the airfield were not fully operational until May. -
Boot scrapper Can you help identify a boot scrapper? Details about a boot scrapper dug up at one of the domestic sites on the NK airfield. Marked "Phantom 25-1-44" and seven sets of initials. BB, JK,JJ, HC, OHK, EJ, CAR. Can anyone throw any light or consult log books to see if the "Phantom" did a training flight on 25/1/44. -
Jack Allen Memorabilia Jack Allen F/Eng with F/O Sidwell died a year ago and his daughter presented all his RAF memorbilia to the Assocation. A few items identified with 550 went into the Museum. The remainder of general RAF interest were sent to auction and raised ?326. Judy, his daughter, was happy for this amount to pass to 550 Association funds. Thank you, Judy. -
Catherine McIntosh Parachute jump Last autumn Catherine, daughter of Jock Shaw DFC* (pilot), volunteered for a sponsored tandem parachute jump to raise funds for the British Legion. She was successful on all counts and raised ?1222 for the Legion. Well done, Catherine. -
Shortest and Longest Tours Shortest and Longest Tours on 550 Squadron The shortest tour was probably flown by P/O N D Holdsworth and crew who did their first op on 2 June 44 and their last op on 10 August. So they did 30 ops in 2 months and one week. 25 of their ops were to French targets and 5 ops took them over Germany. (13 by day and 17 by night).
The longest tour was probably flown by a navigator W/O D M Stephen RCAF.
-
Bomber Command DVD "Into the Wind" - Capturing the life and wartime experiences of Bomber Command veterans from the WWII Electric Egg Ltd, Sparkshouse Studios, Ropewalk Lincoln, Lincs. LN8 7DQ Tel. 01522 837273
Features interviews with a dozen or more ex-Bomber Command air-crews. Shots of Lancasters flying and interiors showing crew stations, plus briefings probably lifted from older films. Features a 22 minute documentary looking at New Zealanders in Bomber Command.
The DVD costs ?14.99 but quoting 550 Squadron should reduce this to ?12.99.
http://www.electricegg.co.uk/

Issue 50 (October 2011)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
50 October 2011 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
Introduction Milestones reached The Association was founded in 1991, so we are in our 20th year. This is the 50th Newsletter. 2012 will see our 20th Annual Reunion Meeting. -
Waning powers Original Association members Age and illness continue to take their toll with the founding Association members. -
Young Bloods New generation taking increasing role in activities The new younger generation, the families of original Squadron Members, are playing a bigger role in the organisation of events, etc. -
Armistice Services Armistice Services North Killingholme, 13 Nov 2011 The details of arrangements for the Remembrance Sunday Services and contact information are listed. See the web-link in the next cell for details. /documents/public/newsletters/2011/RemembranceWeekendProgramme2011.pdf

Westerlo Memorial Westerlo, Belguim Ceremonies 19/20 May 2012 The details of events taking place in 2012 in Westerlo marking the loss of F/Sgt Hinde and crew. /pages/550-sqdn-westerlo-commemorations.php

Unveiling - Bomber Command Memorial Unveiling provisionally scheduled for 28 June 2012 The provisional date is set - final approval is awaited (Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games are all impacting the possible dates). As details emerge and the date is confirmed a special newsletter will be circulated (and the information updated online). -
Annual Reunion 2012 Reunion, North Killingholme 29/20 June 2012 The provisional information about this event. Arrive Friday 29 June 2012 afternoon/evening for the formal reunion dinner in the Ashbourne Hotel. Dinner at 08:30 PM. Saturday 30 June the main events, including the Lancaster flypast. Some rooms can be booked for the Saturday evening if required. /pages/reunion-weekend-accommodation-july-2012.php

Rebecq, Belguim Unveiling of the Rebecq memorial The Association was represented by George and Ruth Turner and Don and Val Kentish at the unveiling ceremony of the memorial to P/O Purney and crew and Rebecq villagers who died as the result of the loss of the 550 Sqdn Lancaster 27/28 May 1944. /documents/public/Rebecq-Memorial-Project/index.php

Report on the Annual Reunion 2011 North Killingholme 1/2 July 2012 Our best ever reunion for several reasons. It was our first in the Ashbourne Hotel which provided excellent facilities. It was superbly organised by the "Young Bloods" mentioned above. Finally we had a large contingent (22) overseas visitors. A total of 82 people attended the dinner on Saturday night. /pages/550-sqdn-reunion-2011.php

North Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Trail Proposal by North Lincolnshire Council To help promote tourism in North Lincolnshire a number of the wartime airfields, including NK, have been included in the trail. -
New Members A warm welcome to new members Contact details for five new members of the Association. -
Sad News Association members who have died since the last newsletter Three members have died since the issuing of the last newsletter. -
Association Pens 550 Sqdn Association Pens 1 pen - £2.50, 2 pens - £4.50, 3 pens - £6.50. Cheques made payable to "550 Squadron Association". Contact Mike Leeman for details. -
Annual Subscriptions Were due on 1 July 2011 Contact Mike Leeman for details. -
550 Museum New additions RAF memorabilia from the family of F/Eng Jack Allen of F/O Sidwell crew. -
Bomber Command attacks in France In particular on the Marshalling Yards Details about the operations against railway marshalling yards in France and the strategy of directing attention away from the real site of the proposed D-Day landings. -

Issue 49 (May 2011)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
49 May 2011 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
Annual Reunion Arrangements for the reunion on Saturday 2 July Provisional timing for the Lancaster flypast for July 2; remainder of arrangements are built around the timing of the flypast. /php-library/popup.php?textFile=MEMO2011

Ashbourne Hotel Ashbourne Hotel and Reunion Weekend 1-3 July 2011 Arrangements for using the Ashbourne Hotel as centre for activities in North Killingholme. Hotel contact details. /pages/reunion-weekend-accommodation-july-2011.php

Ashbourne Hotel Ashbourne Hotel and travel arrangements Summary hotel details and travel information. /documents/public/newsletters/2011/Ashbourne+TravelArrangements-May2011.pdf

Ashbourne Hotel Hotel rooms Room booking details and rates, etc. /php-library/popup.php?textFile=REUN2011

Ashbourne Hotel Friday evening dinner Arrangements (informal seating), costs and menus. -
Ashbourne Hotel Saturday evening dinner Arrangements (formal seating plan), costs and menus. -
Ashbourne Hotel Car parking and travel Details for parking, and also general travel information including taxi contact information for those attending by train. /documents/public/newsletters/2011/Ashbourne+TravelArrangements-May2011.pdf

BBMF at Coningsby Visit opportunity Information about the opportunity to visit Coningsby on Fri 1st July or Mon 4th July. Contact Arthur Punchard if interested. /pages/BBMF2011-aircrew-special-offer-reunion-weekend-july-2011.php

Armistice Service Sunday 13 November 2011 Put the date in your diary - more details will be issued nearer the time. -
Badges, ties Available to purchase A small supply of ties and lapel badges are available to purchase; details in the newsletter online. /php-library/mysql-utils/forms/merchandise-enquiry-form.php

Membership - No new members or reported deaths since the March newsletter. -
Bomber Command Memorial Latest information Two weeks ago the Foundation Stone was laid in Green Park, London. The unveiling is scheduled for May 2010. -
Rebecq Memorial Memorial unveiled 7 May 2011 The Association was represented at the ceremony by George and Ruth Turner and Don and Val Kentish. Those taking part included British Ambassador, a Canadian representative, the Royal British Legion and Belgium military and civil authorities. /documents/public/Rebecq-Memorial-Project/index.php

The Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune Attack by night-fighter An account of the effect of night fighter attack from below on one 550 Lancaster NE164, BQ-Q flown by F/O H Jones. -
Acknowledgements Thanks to helpers Mike Leemen, George Turner and Don Kentish keeping things ticking over in North Killingholme. -
Booking form Reunion booking form and menus Booking form for Amethyst lunch on Sat 2 July, Annual Subscriptions, Ashbourne Hotel dinner requirements (menu and selection details for Friday and Saturday meals), any dietary requirements, seating preferences. Please return forms by 18 June latest. -

Issue 48 (March 2011)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
48 March 2011 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
Annual Reunion Arrangements for the reunion on Saturday 2 July Initial formal approval for the Lancaster flypast for July 2; remainder of arrangements are built around the timing of the flypast. -
Ashbourne Hotel Ashbourne Hotel and Reunion Weekend 1-3 July 2011 Arrangements including using the Ashbourne Hotel for the first time as centre for activities in North Killingholme. Room rate details, etc. -
Armistice Services Armistice Services Sunday 3 November 2011 Initial arrangements for the services in NK this year. -
Bomber Command Memorial Bomber Command Memorial unveiling, Green Park, May 2012 Special mention of this unveiling now planned for May 2012. -
Canadian Coordinator New incumbent Susan Kahro, who volunteered a year ago to take over this role can no longer do so due to family illness. So Robert Taerum in Calgary takes on the job of co-ordinating Canadian members. -
New members New members since last newsletter Daughters of F/L Jock Shaw, niece of Jack Marshall Cantor. -
Sad news Members who died since last newsletter Sgt Les Allington (P), F/Sgt Harold Barton(A/G). -
Brian Sibree Brian Sibree - 550 Navigator Second World War Experience Centre, Walton, Wetherby. 01937 541 274. Journal No. 22 published autumn/winter 2010 devoted to the Lancaster Bomber. The navigator article was written by F/O Sibree (of F/L Les Wareham crew). Photos of the crew, bombing-up procedures, etc. £5.95 in bookshops. -
Douai Raid Douai Road of 11 Aug 1944 Details about the attack on the Douai Marshalling Yards with 120 Lancasters and 550 Squadron leading the No. 1 Group bombers. -
O.A. Hardy O.A. Hardy - the bravest and luckiest Air Gunner The career of O.A. Hardy pieced together with the help of his son L.O. Hardy. Joined 550 Squadron June 44 as the R/AG in the crew of F/Lt B.J. Redmond after a period with 264 Squadron, and some adventures along the way. See article for details. -
The Grim Reaper The Grim Reaper showed no respect Details of crews lost on their first (Prangley, Collier, Woodger and Craig crews) or second (Cooper, Bryson, Hunter and Siddall crews) live ops. -
A Tribute A Tribute to Air-Gunners The lonely life of the air-gunner, lodged in turrets some distance from the other five crew members and dependent on the intercom for contact. -
550 Squadron merchandise Ties,lapel badges,brooches Details of stocks remaining: contact Sam Lipfriend. -
Rebecq Memorial Memorial unveiling 7 May 2011 Call of assistance: representation at the ceremony to be held in Rebecq, 25km SW of Brussels to the crew and local civilians lost as the result of the crash of 550 Lancaster JA712/BQ-H. /documents/public/Rebecq-Memorial-Project/index.php

Issue 47 (October 2010)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
47 October 2010 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
Annual Reunion July 2010 Report on events Only 6 wartime aircrew were in attendance: Ken Brotherhood, George Bulman, Harry Evans, Roy Harris (travelled from USA with his son Paul) Sam Lipfriend and Jack Harris. A sign of the times. Sadly no ground crew could attend, but we were pleased to see Marjorie Grey a station M/T driver. But the church was full confirming that our Association has become an Extended Family. -
Annual Reunion July 2010 Warm welcomes To: John Arnold from Australia son of W/Op in Dave Summons crew, and who looks after our Australian member (also with Brian Troath, and Prof. Bruce Scates). Prof. Ole Seberg from Denmark who tends F/Sgt Battersby grave (lost Stettin raid Aug 1944). Gordon and Karen Bell (Gordon son of W/C Brian Bell shot down Feb 1945 and POW). Catherine Macintosh, daughter of F/L Jock Shaw DFC*. Peter and Sally Coulter (Sally daughter of F/L James Cassidy DFC*, navigator with S/L Caldow crew). Jim Cameron son of Les Cameron DFC. Judith Appleby grand-daughter of Sgt. Shilcock F/Eng with McCarty crew (all killed Gelsenkirchen raid Nov 1944). Sarah Craddock niece of Bill Swann. -
Annual Reunion July 2010 Saturday dinner At Hull University attended by 44 people. -
Switch from Hull University Switch from Hull University to Ashbourne Hotel The first reunion was held in Hendon RAF museum June 1992, so 2011 with be our 20th. We started in North Killingholme in 1993 and were accommodated at Hull University where the Saturday evening dinner takes place. The University has always looked after us well. Things have changed and we have got older and the journey is no longer easy as it once was. From 2011 onwards we are not going to use Hull University but are concentrating out accommodation and meal arrangements at the Ashbourne hotel in North Killingholme. We will continue to lunch at the Amethyst Hotel, East Halton. -
Armistice Sunday 2010 Armistice Sunday 14 November 2010 Programme and detailed schedule of events. -
Annual Reunion 2011 Annual Reunion North Killingholme 2 July 2011 Notice for first details about the reunions now centered around the Ashbourne Hotel North Killingholme. Don Kentish has voluntered to organise the reunions and a newsletter will be circulated in late May giving the details. -
Tributes Tributes to 550 Squadron Aircrew Details about three tributes to former 550 Squadron aircrew. Sgt V Kirby, F/Sgt John Piper, Sgt R G Johns -
Tributes Sgt V Kirby Sgt V ("Rip") Kirby was the navigator in the P/O Holdsworth crew. His son Roger Kirby made a special trip to Europe to paint 30 paintings of the targets his father visited on ops. -
Tributes F/Sgt John Piper F/Sgt John Piper was the MU/AG in the S/L Roly Newitt crew. -
Tributes Sgt R G Johns Sgt R G Johns was an Air Gunnerwith F/Sgt C G Foster. The crew were lost to a night -fighter on 30/31 March 1944 near Schweinfurt.
His daughter, Eve Dolphin, was born after he was killed. Eve made a journey to Germany to visit the crash-site and returned with items from the aircraft received from two men who, as young boys, found the crash-site in the woods the morning after the crash. These items are now in the 550 Museum in NK.
-

Issue 46 (May 2010)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
46 May 2010 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
New Belguim Memorial to 550 Sqdn Crew Details about the Rebecq Memorial Project RAF 550 Squadron Lancaster JA712/BQ-H was shot down by a German night-fighter during the night of 27/28 May 1944. /documents/public/Rebecq-Memorial-Project/index.php

Issue 45 (Jan/Feb 2010)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
45 Jan/Feb 2010 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 44 (October 2009)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
44 October 2009 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
Armistice Services Programme Detailed programme events through the day. -
Services at Westerlo Programme Provisional details, full details to be circulated in April. -
Annual reunion Provisional details Provisional details of the weekend events. Full details to be circulated later. -
July 2009 Reunion Report Reunion report Full report on all the key points from the reunion weekend. Involvement of Humberside Police with HGV driver. -
Bomber Command Memorial AGM discussion on Bomber Command Memorial Discussion about the contribution the Association should make to help finance the memorial. -
550 Squadron Museum Progress in establishing museum Report on the progress made in setting up a small museum in the village hall. -
Appeal for information Information for History of 550 Squadron Appeal for information to Sandra Mason who is putting together a History of 550 Squadron. Memoirs, of life on the squadron, etc etc. -
Pforzheim Raid Pforzheim Raid and it's consequences Details about the raid and the aftermath. -
RAF Sports Lottery RAF Sports Lottery: Registered charity Details about this charity set up to provide income for RAF Sports Associations. Weekly draws, and prizes. Details of where to buy tickets. -

Issue 43 (May 2009)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
43 May 2009 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 42 (Jan/Feb 2009)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
42 Jan/Feb 2009 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 41 (October 2008)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
41 October 2008 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 40 (May 2008)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
40 May 2008 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 39 (January 2008)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
39 January 2008 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 38 (October 2007)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
38 October 2007 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 37 (May 2007)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
37 May 2007 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 36 (February 2007)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
36 February 2007 Special extra newsletter to give details of events at RAF Coningsby 27 April 200 Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
Phantom of the Ruhr Unveiling Unveiling of the BBMF Lancaster at RAF Coningsby Details of the unveiling events at RAF Coningsby for the Phantom of the Ruhr. Major event covered by the media. 550 Sqdn members invited for this one of their ton-up Lancs. Two Spitfires also being unveiled in new colours. -
2007 Annual reunion Saturday 21 July 2007 BBMF Lancaster on the ground for a group photo. -
Association Website Web-site had gone off-line Call for volunteers to help. -
550 Sqdn last Raid Berchtesgaden 25 April 1945 .... -
BQ-B The Phantom of the Ruhr Two page article detailing the history of EE139/BQ-B. -

Issue 35 (November 2006)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
35 November 2006 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 34 (May 2006)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
34 May 2006 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 33 (October 2005)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
33 October 2005 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 32 (May 2005)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
32 May 2005 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 31 (October 2004)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
31 October 2004 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 30 (June 2004)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
30 June 2004 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 29 (April 2004)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
29 April 2004 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 28 (December 2003)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
28 December 2003 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 27 (October 2003)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
27 October 2003 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 26 (May 2003)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
26 May 2003 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 25 (October 2002)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
25 October 2002 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 24 (May 2002)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
24 May 2002 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 23 (November 2001)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
23 November 2001 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 22 (June 2001)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
22 June 2001 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 21 (November 2000)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
21 November 2000 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 20 (May 2000)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
20 May 2000 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 19 (November 1999)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
19 November 1999 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 18 (May 1999)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
18 May 1999 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 17 (December 1998)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
17 December 1998 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 16 (May 1998)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
16 May 1998 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 15 (December 1997)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
15 December 1997 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 14 (May 1997)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
14 May 1997 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 13 (February 1997)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
13 February 1997 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 12 ( -)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
12 - Due to mis-numbering there was no number 12 (a fact noted in issue 13!) Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 11 (September 1996)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
11 September 1996 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 10 (June 1996)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
10 June 1996 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL


Issue 9 (June 1996)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
9 June 1996 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
Sad News Death of Frank Pritchard Frank Pritchard RAAF was an air-gunner with Peter Sarll's crew and one of the founding members of the Association. -
Church Window Information on progress on a memorial window in the North Killingholme Church Details of the design and the finances presented. -
Crew Photographs Photographic windfall Details of a collection of ca. 100 photos received. -

Issue 8 (January 1996)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
8 January 1996 1996 Reunion arrangements. Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
550 Sqdn Pen 50th Anniversary Pen Pen available from Sam Lipfriend. -
Church Window Progress regarding 550 Sqdn Memorial window Information on progress regarding installation of a memorial window in North Killingholme Church.
Local vicar in support.
Finances discussed, plans moving forward.
-
550 Sqdn Plate Commemoration plate showing BQ-F airborne. BQ-F airborne over and other BQ aircraft on the ground being serviced at dispersal no. 23. -
Squadron History Work still in progress ETA now end 1996. -
Battle under the Moon Mailly-le-Camp raid This raid of 3/4 May 1944 has a special place in Bomber Command history: 42 out of 346 Lancasters were lost, including one 550 lost and one damaged beyond repair. -
Log Books Note about Bomber Command log books Details about a call by the RAF Museum for submission of log books to get them recorded.
The value of these also discussed.
-

Issue 7 (May 1995)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
7 May 1995 1995 Reunion arrangements. Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
NK Church - Possible Permanent Memorial Plans to install a permanent memorial in the NK village church Outline plans described.
Engraved glass vs. stained glass window considerations.
-
Squadron History Plans to record squadron history Squadron history being put together by Jack Harris with the aim of publishing spring/summer 1996. -
Australia Visit Details of visit to Australian by Jack Harris Describes reunions with many 550 Squadron colleagues in various locations throughout Australia. -

Issue 6 (December 1994)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
6 December 1994 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
The Valour and the Horror Film Canadian Film, shown on Channel 4, 7th August Note about the protests and letters generated as a result of the film -
Bomber Command Assocation Film Triggered by report above Association donation of towards making of the Bomber Command Assocation Film. -
Flashback to Christmas 1944 Memories of December 1994 at NK Airfield Memories of a month of thick fogs and hospitality at USAF Base at Wendling. -
NK Church - Possible Permanent Memorial First mention of plans for a permanent memorial Outline plans to be drawn up, investigations and presentation to the membership at next AGM. -
Achievements of Bomber Command Analysis of the Strategic Bomber Offensive Effort and Cost figures.
Figures of aircraft involved etc in the Allied Combined Strategic Air Offensive.
ca. 8 page analysis of the Bomber Command campaign.
-

Issue 5 (May 1994)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
5 May 1994 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
Sad news Report of the death of Wing Cmdr Nicholas Sudden death of Wing Cmdr Peter Nicholas DFC, recently elected President of the Association. -

Issue 4 (December 1993)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
4 December 1993 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
1994 Diary Diary Dates for 1994 Assocation Photograph with Lancaster in April.
Reunion in July.
-
Video Video of 1993 reunion A video, of one hour duration, of the service in the church and at the Memorial Stone. -
Assocation Photograph Association Photograph Coningsby, 5 April 1994 One hour duration, of the service in the church and at the Memorial Stone. -
Mailly-le-Camp Commemoration Commemoration on 3/4 May 1994 Details about the raid and the 550 Sqdn Lancs lost/damaged. -
Memorial Service, Nuremburg Raid Memorial Service on 30 March 1994 Held at Runneymede RAF Memorial. Arrangement details. Roll of Honour. List of Decorations -
Reunion and AGM Reports The 1993 Reunion and AGM reports Including agenda items and finances. Election of Peter Nicholas 'A' Flight Commander as President of the Association. -

Issue 3 (June 1993)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
3 June 1993 - Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
1993 Reunion Detailed arrangements for the reunion Hull University, local pubs, weekend programme, other details, member deaths, new members, special requests (for RAF museum). -

Issue 2 (December 1992)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
2 December 1992 Actual first newsletter!!
1993 reunion details.
Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL
Sad News Report of the death of Wing Cmdr Bennett Wing Cmdr JJ (Jimmy) Bennett was the first 550 Squadron CO.
He was also the first President of the Association.
-
Other deaths reported Association members Various, including Bob Todd (W/Op to Peter Nicholas), perhaps better known as the straight man to Benny Hill on TV. -

Issue 1 (- 1992)

Newsletter
Number Month Year Notes URL
1 - 1992 In fact there was no Issue No. 1 Not available online
Articles, Reports, Anecdotes
Title Description Details URL



TOTAL Newsletters in the database: 71

TOTAL Articles in the database: 748



Minutes Of Meetings

June 1992

new09/08/2011

Notes of proceedings and decisions from the very first 550 Squadron reunions in June 1992 at RAF Museum, London.

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