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: Frankfurt (22 Mar 1944 - 23 Mar 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Frankfurt 22 Mar 1944 23 Mar 1944 N Seventeen aircraft and crews were offered for operations and briefed to attack targets in FRANKFURT. Another excellent take-off was achieved all seventeen aircraft being airbourne within 21 minutes. There was only one abortive sortie, "N" LM425 (Capt F/S Jefferies) having to return, after reaching the enemy coast, with an unserviceable starboard inner engine. All the rest of the aircraft successfully bombed target and returned safely to base, after one of the best attacks for some time. Enemy defences were moderate and night fighters not much in evidence.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
LL834 Returned Primary 22,000ft at 21.52hrs. Bomber red TIs P/O V J Bouchard (P)
W/O D H Knight (Nav)
Sgt J H Knox (A/B)
F/O P G Milburn (P)
Sgt R Binney (F/Eng)
Sgt C A Rann (MU/AG)
Sgt J J M Calvin (R/AG)
Sgt E J Baker (W/Op)

Operation/Target: Berlin (24 Mar 1944 - 25 Mar 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Berlin 24 Mar 1944 25 Mar 1944 N Seventeen aircraft and crews were offered for operations and were briefed to attack targets in BERLIN. Another snappy take-off was achieved, sixteen aircraft being airbourne within 17 minutes, the seventeenth aircraft being delayed for five minutes while a navigation aid indicator was changed. The route was "hot" but 15 aircraft bombed Berlin. The remaining two were forced to bomb last resort targets - "T" LM455 S/Ldr Graham Captain bombing an aerodrome 50 miles SW of Berlin after overshooting and "G" ND403, Captain P/O Bowen-Bravery who, after having his rear turret rendered u/s, bombed a flak emplacement on the West coast of Denmark. Soon afterwards "G" encountered a single engineed aircraft and the mid-upper gunnner gave it a short burst. A short while later a burning aircraft was seen by three members of the crew to be descending, and burning on the ground. It is claimed as destroyed. Defences over Berlin were moderate, but there were a large number of enemy night-fighters around Berlin. Soon after leaving Berlin "D" ME581 Captain F/L R. W. Picton had a combat with a FW. Condor and both the MU gunner (Can.R.110509 Sgt. Keen, W.M.), and rear gunner (Sgt. Porteous, J.W.) received serious injuries from cannon fire. Fortunately, however, both are recovering. The wireless operator (Sgt. Williams, K.T.C.) who was in the astrodome after warning the pilot continued to give advice and evasive instructions to the pilot. After the action Sgt Williams went to the rear gunner whose oxygen was severed, gave him his own mask and assisted him out of the turret. Subsequently Sgt. Williams sent a W/T message giving details of the casualty so that medical aid was waiting when the aircraft landed. Sgt. Williams prompt action combined with the pilots skilled handling of his aircraft undoubtedly prevented the E/A from making a more effective attack. All the aircraft landed safely at Base, except "F" LL747 (Captin F/O Richard, Can.J.23518) which without brake pressure landed safely at Woodbridge.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
LL834 Returned - P/O V J Bouchard (P)
W/O D H Knight (Nav)
Sgt J H Knox (A/B)
Sgt A T Paget (W/Op)
Sgt R Binney (F/Eng)
Sgt C A Rann (MU/AG)
Sgt J J M Calvin (R/AG)

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

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Essen 26 Mar 1944 27 Mar 1944 N Seventeen aircraft and crews were offered for operations and were briefed to attack targets in ESSEN. Sixteen aircraft took off in 25 minutes, the seventeenth "C" MD425 (Capt F/S Foster being cancelled due to the rear turret being u/s. Much layer cloud wasencounted at the enemy coast going out, over the target and to the enemy coast on return. Opposition from the ground was light in the early stages of the attack, with a tendency to increase as the attack developed, while fighter activity was on a somewhat reduced scale as compared with recent raids. LL831 "M" (Captin F/O E V Sage) and DV309 "S" (Cpatin F/S Hinde) both had inconclusive combats, in which no damage or casualities were sustained. All our aircraft returned safely to base.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
LL834 Returned Primary 21,500ft at 22.05hrs P/O V J Bouchard (P)
W/O D H Knight (Nav)
Sgt J H Knox (A/B)
Sgt R Binney (F/Eng)
Sgt E J Baker (W/Op)
Sgt C A Rann (MU/AG)
Sgt J J M Calvin (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Nuremberg (30 Mar 1944 - 31 Mar 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Nuremberg 30 Mar 1944 31 Mar 1944 N Seventeen aircraft and crews were offered for operations and were briefed to attack targets in NUREMBURG. Twelve successfully attacked the main target, three the last resort target and two (F/S Jefferies in LM425 "N" and F/S Foster in ND425 "C") failed to return. The remaining aircraft landed at base with the exception of F/O Sage in "U" who landed at Kelstern owing to fuel shortage. One new crew also carried out night circuits and landings. P/O McCrae in ME556 "F" received injuries to his left arm and the rear gunner Sgt Brown injuries to his left eye in combat with an enemy night fighter. The aircraft also suffered extensive damage.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
LL834 Returned Primary ... P/O V J Bouchard (P)
W/O D H Knight (Nav)
Sgt J H Knox (A/B)
Sgt R Binney (F/Eng)
Sgt E J Baker (W/Op)
Sgt C A Rann (MU/AG)
Sgt J J M Calvin (R/AG)

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
LL834 Returned - P/O V J Bouchard (P)
W/O D H Knight (Nav)
Sgt J H Knox (A/B)
Sgt R Binney (F/Eng)
Sgt E J Baker (W/Op)
Sgt C A Rann (MU/AG)
Sgt J J M Calvin (R/AG)

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
LL834 Returned Primary 18,500ft at 22.43hrs P/O V J Bouchard (P)
W/O D H Knight (Nav)
Sgt J H Knox (A/B)
Sgt R Binney (F/Eng)
Sgt E J Baker (W/Op)
Sgt C A Rann (MU/AG)
Sgt J J M Calvin (R/AG)

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
LL834 Returned Primary 9,000ft at 00.20hrs. Bombed R/G TIs. F/O K Bowen-Bravery (P)
P/O G E Thomas (Nav)
F/Sgt J P Fyffe (A/B)
W/O P E E F Keeley (W/Op)
Sgt R R Thompson (MU/AG)
F/Sgt A Bodill (R/AG)
Sgt L G Thompson (F/Eng)

Operation/Target: Cologne (20 Apr 1944 - 21 Apr 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Cologne 20 Apr 1944 21 Apr 1944 N Eighteen aircraft with crews were offered for operations and briefed to attach targets in COLOGNE. All our aircraft were airbourne within 24 minutes despite the fact that enemy intruders were in the neighbourhood. The route was quiet and on arrival at Cologne 10/10ths cloud with tops approximately 1-50000ft were encountered. PFF were late and when they arrived were somewhat scattered. Although the could mitigated against observation, two explosions penetrated through, and the glow reflected in the sky was visible until our aircrafrt were past the Dutch Coast on return. Defences over Cologne were reported as a moderate flak barrage with search lights ineffective due to the cloud blanket. LL 747 "P" (Captain F/Lt J.O Richard) was shadowed by an unidentifed twin engined aircraft over the North Sea on the outward journey which made three approaches, but a short burst from the rear gunner (Sgt. Conaghan) discouraged any further attentions. The homeward route was quiet and all our aircraft returned safely to base. Only four sightings of enemy aircraft were reported throughout the trip. Train continued, one new crew successfully completing a night cross country flight, bombing and circuits and landings and another crew day circuits and landings.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
LL834 Returned - P/O V J Bouchard (P)
W/O D H Knight (Nav)
Sgt J H Knox (A/B)
Sgt R Binney (F/Eng)
Sgt E J Baker (W/Op)
Sgt C A Rann (MU/AG)
Sgt J J M Calvin (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Rennes (07 May 1944 - 08 May 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Rennes 07 May 1944 08 May 1944 N Seventeen and crews were offered for operations but only eleven were accepted. The crews were briefed to attack RENNES AIRFIELD, and an AMMUNITION DUMP situated some three miles south of the airfield. The eleven aircraft took off in the Squadron style, ten having been detailed to attack the hangers, flying control and oil fuel stores between the runways and "K" P/O Bouchard with fourteen aircraft of other Squadrons, to attack the Station Headquarters buildings and barracks and also the main runway. All seems to have gone according to plan and to quote "D" (F/O Bowen-Bravery) "a cookie dropped between hanger and runway and I saw part of the hanger blow up". Several members of aircrews reports having see thick black smoke clouds from oil fires up to 10,000ft. The weather was clear and the airfield clearly seen. The defences were not at all pronounced and the searchlights were immediately doused after the first bomb went down, another case of "discretion being the better part of valour". Ten good night photographs were taken. All our aircraft returned to Base. Two new crews (P/O Purney and Sgt White) completed night cross country training flights.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
LL834 Returned - P/O V J Bouchard (P)
W/O D H Knight (Nav)
Sgt J H Knox (A/B)
Sgt R Binney (F/Eng)
Sgt E J Baker (W/Op)
Sgt C A Rann (MU/AG)
Sgt J J M Calvin (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 9
MAX Aircraft deployed
in single operation
1
(Frankfurt, 22 Mar 1944)

These details were last updated: 11 October 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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