Squadron Operations: Summary Information

Overview

There follows below a list of the all of the operations flown by 550 Squadron and the aircraft involved on each. The information used to build this page was taken in the first instance from the lists provided on the original Squadron Association web-site, but has been augmented by new information gathered since that time (squadron operations logs, individual aircrew log books, and other sources).

This information is not yet complete: it has been build from the a number of sources (documentary and people) and compilation of complete lists is an ongoing task that is expected to take quite some time to complete. So please don't shout just yet if you spot an omission - work continues to build a more complete, and accurate, list.
Do however shout if you spot an error! Please email any corrections or information to the contact details in the link at the bottom of the page.

Operation Summary: The column headers should be fairly self-explanatory. The term "aborted" as used here covers a number of possibilities:

Aircraft Deployed: When a link to a particular aircraft is given, this indicates aircraft known to have taken part in this raid (in the records currently available to the web-site author). A record of whether the aircraft returned or failed to return (FTR) is also logged.

Servicemen Deployed: Names of the crew in the operation.

Station Summary: This section is the information from the RAF North Killingholme Station Record Book for the operational date (if available).

Definitions of the abbreviations used are available: here.

Manageable Lists

The amount of data in the database is growing and this is resulting in the "all operations/targets" list getting rapidly bigger and thus slower to generate. There are options to display shorter, more quickly generated, reports if you want to home in on something specific. For example, there are options to generate reports on operations to a single target, or by single aircraft (to all targets) or by single aircraft to a single target. There is, on the database-reports summary page, a short user guide (PDF format) on how to do this.


Operation/Target: Berlin (16 Dec 1943 - 17 Dec 1943)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Berlin 16 Dec 1943 17 Dec 1943 N Fifteen crews were offered for operations and with aircraft loaned from No.100 Squadron. They briefed to attack targets in BERLIN. Two of the sorties were abortive but the remaining aircraft bombed the targets and returned safely to BASE.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
JA712 Returned Abandoned. Rear turret unserviceable.
[Ed: 'H' in ORB (unexpected aircraft service number). JA712 is a guess.]
F/O G B Hoddle (P)
Sgt D P Dingle (F/Eng)
F/O J W Bryan (Nav)
Sgt K M Fairbairn (A/B)
Sgt S G Hubbard (W/Op)
F/Sgt J K Boothroyd (MU/AG)
Sgt T F Quine (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Berlin (15 Feb 1944 - 16 Feb 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Berlin 15 Feb 1944 16 Feb 1944 N Fifteen aircraft with crews were offered for operations and accepted. Crews were briefed to attack targets in BERLIN. Two aircraft did not take-off owing to technical trouble. One aircraft failed to return from the operations - no news since take-off. One aircraft successfully bombed the target and returned on three engines, landing at RAF Station LISSETT, YORKSHIRE. The remaining ten aircraft successfully attacked the targets and returned safely to BASE - NORTH KILLINGHOLME. Two of the new aircraft Pilots flew on the operations as second Pilot.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
JA712 Returned Primary 22,000ft at 21.31hrs. Bombed flares. F/Sgt A H Jefferies (P)
P/O E C W Bull (F/Eng)
Sgt H Simpson (Nav)
F/Sgt D S Jeffrey (A/B)
Sgt S A Keirle (W/Op)
Sgt W G Upton (MU/AG)
Sgt J W Whitley (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Leipzig (19 Feb 1944 - 20 Feb 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Leipzig 19 Feb 1944 20 Feb 1944 N Sixteen aircraft with crews were offered for operations and briefed to attack targets in LEIPZIG. Two aircraft did not take-off due to technical failures, two aircraft returned early with engine trouble. One aircraft failed to return - no news since take-off. Eleven aircraft successfully bombed the target nine of whom returned safely and landed at BASE - NORTH KILLINGHOLME. One aircraft landed at RAF Station MANSTON and the second at RAF Station COLTISHALL. One enemy fighter (ME109) was shot down by the gunners in LM392 F/L J. S. G. CRAWFORD, PILOT.
Station Summary
Decision made that Bomb Aimers should attend Main Aircrew Briefing for Operations rather than accompany Navigators to the specialist briefing given by the Station Navigation Officer - it would seem that, at that time, navigators did not attend the main briefing.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
JA712 Returned Primary 22,000ft at 04.03hrs. F/Sgt A H Jefferies (P)
P/O E C W Bull (F/Eng)
Sgt H Simpson (Nav)
F/Sgt D S Jeffrey (A/B)
Sgt S A Keirle (W/Op)
Sgt W G Upton (MU/AG)
Sgt J W Whitley (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Stuttgart (20 Feb 1944 - 21 Feb 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Stuttgart 20 Feb 1944 21 Feb 1944 N Fourteen aircraft with crews were offered for operations and briefed to attack targets in STUTTGART. Two aircraft did not take-off owing to techincal troubles. Twelve aircraft successfully bombed the targets and returned safely, landing at BASE - NORTH KILLINGHOLME.
Station Summary
Lancaster ME582 modified so that camera is operated by the opening and closing of the bomb doors.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
JA712 Returned Primary 22,000ft at 04.09hrs, bombed Sky flares. Green Red.

Operation/Target: Schweinfurt (24 Feb 1944 - 25 Feb 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Schweinfurt 24 Feb 1944 25 Feb 1944 N Fifteen aircraft with crews were offered and briefed to attack targets in SCHWEINFURT. One aircraft did not take-off owing to technical trouble and two aircraft returned early with engine failures. The remaining 12 aircraft successfully bombed the targets and returned safely, landing at BASE - NORTH KILLINGHOLME. One new crew completed night cross country flying.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
JA712 Returned Returned early, generators overcharing

Operation/Target: Augsburg (25 Feb 1944 - 26 Feb 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Augsburg 25 Feb 1944 26 Feb 1944 N Twelve aircraft with crews were offered for operations and briefed to attack targets in AUGSBURG. One aircraft did not take-off owing to technical trouble. Two aircraft did not return from the operations, no news since take-off, but the remaining nine aircraft succcesfully bombed the targets and returned safely, landing at BASE - NORTH KILLINGHOLME.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
JA712 Returned Primary 22,000ft at 23.07hrs, bombed centre of Fire area W/O R A Rember (P)
Sgt L Whybrow (F/Eng)
F/O E E Radcliffe (Nav)
Sgt R W Smalley (A/B)
Sgt K Hibbert (W/Op)
Sgt J Tweedie (MU/AG)
Sgt D H Phillips (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Stuttgart (01 Mar 1944 - 02 Mar 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Stuttgart 01 Mar 1944 02 Mar 1944 N Thirteen aircraft with crews were offered for operations and briefed to attach targets in STUTTGART. One aircraft did not take off owing to insufficient brake pressures. Twelve aircraft successfully bombed their targets and returned safely to base. One aircraft landed at RAF Station, Manston and a second at RAF Station Grimsby. One aircraft and crew completed a night cross country.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
JA712 Returned Primary 22,500ft at 03.12hrs. Bombed fire glow. P/O N S Rogers (P)
Sgt H J Pearce (F/Eng)
F/O H T A Evans (Nav)
Sgt N C Jenkins (A/B)
F/Sgt D Salmon (W/Op)
F/Sgt M E Mills (MU/AG)
Sgt J H Marshall (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Stuttgart (15 Mar 1944 - 16 Mar 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Stuttgart 15 Mar 1944 16 Mar 1944 N Seventeen aircraft with crew were offered for operations and briefed to attach targets in STUTTGART. One aircraft did not take off owing to unserviceability. Two aircraft (Captains F/Lt S G Crawford LM392 "J" and F/Lt J F Craig LL852 "X") failed to return to base (no news since take off) and are with the crews posted as "missing". Fourteen aircraft successfully the target and returned safely to Base.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
JA712 Returned Primary 21,000ft at 23.23hrs. Incendiaries from aircraft flying above fell through starboard wing. One incendiary lodged in wing ignited and burnt itself out. Slight damage to wing. W/O R A Rember (P)
Sgt L Whybrow (F/Eng)
F/O E E Radcliffe (Nav)
Sgt R W Smalley (A/B)
Sgt K Hibbert (W/Op)
Sgt J Tweedie (MU/AG)
Sgt D H Phillips (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Dusseldorf (22 Apr 1944 - 23 Apr 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Dusseldorf 22 Apr 1944 23 Apr 1944 N Eighteen aircraft with crews were offered for operations and briefed to attach targets in DUSSELDORF. The route to the target was quiet. Over the target area high cirrus cloud and many condensation trails hampered the view of some of the higher flying aircraft, but it was clear below. The defences were very active, flak being described as slight at the beginning of the attack but increasing to a moderate to intense loose barrage, with a great deal of searchlight activity. Night fighter activity was moderate, only three sightings being reported. Just after bombimg the target LM460 "R" (Captain F/Lt A B Craig) was coned and some flak damage to the R/T aerial and the M/U turrets was received. This was quickly followed by an attack by a ME 109 which was beaten off after a short exchange fo fire. No further damage was received and there were no casualties. All crews were enthusiastic over the result of the attack. All our aircraft returned safely to base except ME581 "D" (Captain F/O Milburn), no news of which has been received since take-off. In the last four attacks the Squadron has sent 60 aircraft without any early returns - a jolly good show by all the personnel concerned. Training continued with a new crew succeessfully completing a cross country flight, practice bombing and circuits and landings. When taking part in air to air firing LL834 "K" (Captain F/O D F Neilson) was forced to land on the sea near Grimsby owning to engine failure. All the crew were rescued by the A.S.R.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
JA712 Returned Primary 18,000ft at 01.24hrs Sgt A Cleghorn (W/Op)
P/O E F Marles (P)
Sgt G L Grant (F/Eng)
Sgt H W Cooper (Nav)
F/Sgt J H Elliott (A/B)
Sgt J E Roberts (MU/AG)
Sgt E W Kendall (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Essen (26 Apr 1944 - 27 Apr 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Essen 26 Apr 1944 27 Apr 1944 N Eighteen aircraft were offered and accepted for operations. The crews were briefed to attach ESSEN and after the usual excellent Squadron take-off all attacked the target area and returned safely to Base. The general impression was that the ESSEN defences has lost much of their sting, but as for the searchlight belt, F/O Sage "U" said "I have never seen so many searchlights, but they did not worry us and we went straight through them without any trouble." P/O Kenyon in "M" however, had a less pleasant experience, watching a cone building up on his aircraft during his bombing run, he was forced to drop his load short in order to escape from it. As his photos show, he was only 4 miles north of the aiming point when this happened. One "cookie" made the round trip on "S" (P/O Jones) whose Bomber AImer found it had "hung up" over the target and brought it home. Only slight flak damage was reported by two aircraft "H" W/Cdr Bennett DFC and "O" P/O Marles. Weather en-route caused no trouble and although industrial haze over the target was reported by most crews conditions were good for ground marking. The Target Indicators were all "pranged". F/Lt A B Craig and his crew were first home by a short spinner to finish their first tour. In addition to the Squadron Operational effort three new crews carried out night circuits and landings.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
JA712 Returned - Sgt A Cleghorn (W/Op)
P/O E F Marles (P)
Sgt G L Grant (F/Eng)
Sgt H W Cooper (Nav)
F/Sgt J H Elliott (A/B)
Sgt J E Roberts (MU/AG)
Sgt E W Kendall (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Friederichshafen (27 Apr 1944 - 28 Apr 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Friederichshafen 27 Apr 1944 28 Apr 1944 N Eighteen aircraft were offered and accepted for operations. The crews were briefed to attack targets in FRIEDERICHSHAFEN, Seventeen aircraft became airbourne in seventeen minutes, maintaining the high standard of take off met by the Squadron. One aircraft had to be cancelled owing to engine trouble at the last moment much to the disappointment of F/O Sage in "U" and his crew. Two more aircraft developed engine trouble soon after take-off, P/O Jones "S" had trouble with the inner starboard motor, and F/S Shervington "B" experienced trouble with port outer motor, both aircraft jettisoned their bombs into the sea. P/O Jones "S" landing at Kirmington, F/S Shervington returing to base. W/Cdr JJ Bennett DFC "O" bombed the last resort target owing to engine trouble. The remainder successfully bombed primary target. The weather was good and good concentration on target was reported, smoke from fires rising to 6000ft....
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
JA712 Returned Target attacked FREIBURG 13,000ft at 01.32hrs

Operation/Target: Aachen (27 May 1944 - 28 May 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Aachen 27 May 1944 28 May 1944 N Eighteen aircraft with crews offered for operations, fifteen of which were accepted and briefed to attack the Marshalling yards ROTHE-ERDE of AACHEN, east of the city. The fifteen aircraft took off in typical 550 Squadron style. Two aircraft "K" (P/O McCrea and "H" (P/O Purney) failed to return, but the majority of the others claim to have bombed the primary target, which despite a light haze, was clearly marked and in some cases visually identified. Information from crews and photographs taken suggests that the attack was successfully carried out. Poor visibility at Base made it necessary for ten aircraft to land at other airfields on their return, and were accommodated at Binbrook, Kelstern, Ludford-Magna and Waltham. The only three which made Base were "J" (W/Cdr Connolly), "S" (P/O Maxwell) and "P" (F/Lt Richard). With this trip the last named with his crew completed their tour.
Higher authority have officially recognised the destruction of a JU 88 by Sgt Campbell the rear gunner in "F" (Sgt White) on 22/23rd May 1944, as a result of supporting evidence having been recorded by five other bombers in the Command.
S/Ldr Graham (Australian) "B" Flight Commander affectionately know to the boys as "Bluey" completed his second tour of operations, rendered his Swan Song prior to his departure from the Squadron on posting to No. 1 Lancasters Finishing School, RAF Station Hemswell. "Bluey" was always keen and conscientious and extremely popular with the boys and it often needed a firm hand to keep him on the ground. Had he succeeded in getting his own way, he would have simply whistled through his second tour of operations.

Information received from HQ Bomber Command that the King, on the recommendation of the Air Officer Commanding, had approved the Immediate Award of the Distinguished Flying Medals to F/Sgt LLOYD and Sgt. MOORE for their magnificient show on the night of 3/4th May after attacking their target at MAILLY. [As narrrated earlier on page 1.]
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
JA712 FTR Missing P/O E C Purney (P)
Sgt J L Sheahan (F/Eng)
Sgt T E Flanagan (Nav)
Sgt E J Molnar (A/B)
Sgt D Yardley (MU/AG)
Sgt K H F de Lengerke (R/AG)
Sgt P C M King (W/Op)

Summary Statistics

Based on the data in the lists displayed above, and keeping in mind that data is still being updated and thus not yet complete, the following statistics are generated:

Aircraft Deployment Statistics


Aircraft deployments 12
MAX Aircraft deployed
in single operation
1
(Berlin, 16 Dec 1943)

These details were last updated: 01 January 2018


Note

this list is still being built and will take some time to complete
what is currently displayed is believed accurate but much more is still to be added

This note describes the options currently available to produce a smaller, more manageable list and also describes planned future enhancements to the reporting facility.


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