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: Aulnoye (10 Apr 1944 - 11 Apr 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Aulnoye 10 Apr 1944 11 Apr 1944 N Fifteen aircraft and crew were offered for operations and were briefed to attack the marshalling yards at AULNOYE. The weather was clear over the channel and France, and at the target some thin cloud or ground haze did not prevent the PFF markers being clearly seen. The attack was well concentrated and many HE explosions were seen., Retuning to the French coast active searchlights and flak were encountered, while night fighter were also active in the area. LL747 "P" (Captain F/O J.O. Richard) had an inconclusive combat with an ME109, and strikes were seen, although no claim was made. No damage ot casualties were received by aircraft "P". All our aircraft returned safely to Base, except LL836 "E" (Captain F/Lt R.W. Picton) about which no news has been received since take off.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
JA918 Returned -

Operation/Target: Aachen (11 Apr 1944 - 12 Apr 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Aachen 11 Apr 1944 12 Apr 1944 N Fifteen aircraft with crews were offered for operations, eleven being accepted and were briefed to attack targets in AACHEN. Another smart takoff resulted in all eleven aircraft being airborne in 10 3/4 mins. The weather en route was fair and on arrival at the target some patchy thin cloud and haze was apparant. All our aircraft bombed within the space of five minutes and although the haze prevented detailed observation most crews considered that the attack had been successful. Defences throughout were seen and they were not aggressive. All our aircraft returned safely to base.
Station Summary
Station conducts its first District Court Martial. An airman was tried on various counts of thefts from the Officers Mess and found guilty on all charges.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
JA918 Returned Primary 20,000ft at 22.42hrs

Operation/Target: Rouen (18 Apr 1944 - 19 Apr 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Rouen 18 Apr 1944 19 Apr 1944 N Eighteen aircraft with crews were offered for operations and sixteen accepted, the crews being briefed to attack the marshalling yards at ROUEN. Another splendid take-off was achievced, all sizxteen aircraft being airbourne within 15 minutes. Excellent weather prevailed over France and the PFF delivered their markers with punctuality and clarity. The attack was both accurate and concentrated and many HEs were seen exploding on the marshalling yards. Night photographs of ground details were obtained by practically all the crews. Defences over the target were slight to moderate, mainly projected at the higher flying aircraft, and search lights were conspicuous by their absence. All out crews returned safely to Base. Training was continued, two new crews taking part in a night cross-cournty and night circuits and landings.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
JA918 Returned Primary 10,000ft at 00.23hrs. Bombed R/G TIs. P/O R A Jones (P)
Sgt S G Conrath (F/Eng)
F/O A H Crich (Nav)
F/O D J Bremner (A/B)
Sgt E K C Smith (W/Op)
Sgt J C Johnson (MU/AG)
Sgt W C T Freeman (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
JA918 Returned Primary 21,000ft ay 01.25hrs P/O R A Jones (P)
Sgt S G Conrath (F/Eng)
F/O A H Crich (Nav)
F/O D J Bremner (A/B)
Sgt E K C Smith (W/Op)
Sgt J C Johnson (MU/AG)
Sgt W C T Freeman (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Karlsruhe (24 Apr 1944 - 25 Apr 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Karlsruhe 24 Apr 1944 25 Apr 1944 N Eighteen aircraft with crews were offered for operations and briefed to attach targets in KARLSRUHE. The weather was more difficult than usual; thick cloud was encountered soon after the enemy coast was reached and this remained until near the target area with a great deal of static disturbance and icing. The cloud broke suddenly just short of the target, and most crews were able to see quite clearly the PFF markers, which although a few minutes late, were well concentrated. Defences en route did not affect most of our aircraft, although the MANNHEIM area was active. At KARLSRUHE defences were reported as slight to moderate with flak with no searchlight, while the homeward route was uneventable. Night fighter activity was not very apparent, only four sightings and no comabts being reported. All our crews retuned safely to base. Training proceeded, a new crew carrying out air to air firing.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
JA918 Returned Bombed MANNHEIM 21,000ft ay 04.44hrs. Concentrated PFF.

[Ed. the record has errors because it records the flight as return landing at home base at 04.40. So assume target probably hit at 01.44.]
P/O R A Jones (P)
Sgt S G Conrath (F/Eng)
F/O A H Crich (Nav)
F/O D J Bremner (A/B)
Sgt E K C Smith (W/Op)
Sgt J C Johnson (MU/AG)
Sgt W C T Freeman (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
JA918 Returned Primary 23,000ft at 01.33hrs. Coned on run up to Markers, took evasive action and bombed fires.

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
JA918 Returned Primary 21,000ft at 02.07hrs. Bombed red & green TIs.

Operation/Target: Maintenon (30 Apr 1944 - 01 May 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Maintenon 30 Apr 1944 01 May 1944 N Eighteen aircraft with crews were offered for operations, but only twelve were required. The crews were briefed to attack MAINTENON. The twelve aircraft were again airbourne in the short space of fourteen minutes. All the aircraft bombed the primary target successfully, ten photographs being plotted, two of which were on the aiming point. The weather was good and the target was clearly identified , Terrific explosions were seen by the crew when nearing the target and further explosions seen on on the return journey and whilst over the English coast. All the aircraft returned safely to Base without damage or incident. Ground and air crew alike were very enthusiastic to think that the Squadron may be top of the Group "League" for these successful results.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
JA918 Returned Primary 8,000ft at 23.59hrs F/L A D McConnell (A/B)
P/O W J Bibby (P)
Sgt F P McLoughlin (F/Eng)
F/O J P Rennie (Nav)
Sgt A J Jeffries (W/Op)
Sgt R J Kimbrey (R/AG)
Sgt A R Blackburn (MU/AG)

Operation/Target: Mailly (03 May 1944 - 04 May 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Mailly 03 May 1944 04 May 1944 N Eighteen aircraft and crews were offered for operations and were accepted. The crews were briefed to attack the Military Barracks at MAILLY. The accepted number of aircraft and crews took off without incident in the usual Squadron style. The weather was clear throughout the journey to and over the target, good visibility and bright moonlight assisted in locating the target, resulting in the target being effectively dealt with. Fires caused by earlier attacks int he MAILLY area were still burning but the Master of Ceremonies had some difficulties in assessing the markers accuracy, with the result that the main force was held up for some minutes. When the order to bomb was finally given, the rush, to quote W/O Knox "D", was like the starting gate at the Derby! Markers appeared to be accurate and a very good concentration of bombing at once became apparent with one or two healthy fires and smoke clouds rising to a height of 8,000ft. The flak defences in the MAILLY area were only moderate, although the light flak was more intense than had been seen for some time. Numerous enemy night fighters were present and many combats were seen taking place in the bright moonlight - these combats continued until well on the way homewards. "J" F/Sgt Lloyd had a somewhat "dicey" return journey, about half an hour after having bombed the objective he was attacked by an unidentified aircraft and with the trimming tabs shot away his aircraft became temporarily out of control but managed to shake off the enemy fighter. Five minutes later a second attack set fire to the aircraft bomb bay and fuselage. The order to bale out was given and obeyed by the Mid Upper Gunner Sgt Pearce, Read Gunner Sgt Crilley and the Air Bomber F/O Yaternick. The aircraft went into a dive which help to extinguish the flame. Sgt Moore the wireless operator, used all the extinguishers to put out the remaining fire, and when these were exhausted, beat out the flames with his feet and hands. Finding the navigator suffering from severe burns, he rendered first aid and took over the navigational duties, obtained accurate fixes which enabled the pilot to bring back his aircraft safely to England, landing at R.A.F. Station FORD. A very good show put up by the worthy members of 550 Squadron. Many crews found that interference from a broadcasting station made listening to the Master of Ceremonies possessive wireless instructions difficult - as F/Sgt Salmon of "Q" said "One didn't know whether to go in and bomb or stay 'Deep in the Heart of Texas'!" Fourteen good night photographs taken by the Squadron aircraft show that this small precision target received a good "Strafing".
One aircraft "H" (F/L Grain and crew) failed to return. In addition to a very fine crew the aircraft contained the Army Local Defence Adviser, who had gone to see what real modern bombing attacks were like.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
JA918 Returned Primary 9,500ft at 00.29hrs

Operation/Target: Mardyck (09 May 1944 - 10 May 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Mardyck 09 May 1944 10 May 1944 N Eighteen aircraft with crews were offered for operations, eleven of which were accepted and briefed to attack MARDYCK coastal battery approximately 6 miles west of DUNKIRK, situated on the sand dune and, being only a few hundred yards in area, was not an easy target to hit. All aircraft took off as usual - without incident. The weather became increasingly clearer on the outward journey, and over the target visibility was excellent with bright moonlight. The P.F.F marking was good, the markers going down exactly on time, and a good concentration was achieved. Spectacular results from this kind of attack cannot be expected but all crews were unanimous in expressing the view that the H.E. bomb flashes were exploding all around the markers and in some cases on the markers themselves. The defences were moderate, coming mainly from the Dunkirk area, night fighters were conspicuous by their absence. Once again good photographs were obtained and from these there is every reason to suppose that the attack was satisfactory. One aircraft "W" (F/O Sage) and crew failed to return, no news of it being received after take-off.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
JA918 FTR Missing - no news after take off F/O E V Sage (P)
Sgt H P Robinson (F/Eng)
F/O O L Albutt (Nav)
Sgt W C Taylor (A/B)
F/O D A Goulden (W/Op)
Sgt W W Hopper (MU/AG)
Sgt E G R Pepper (R/AG)

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 10
MAX Aircraft deployed
in single operation
1
(Aulnoye, 10 Apr 1944)

These details were last updated: 31 July 2019


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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