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: Aachen (24 May 1944 - 25 May 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Aachen 24 May 1944 25 May 1944 N Seventeen aircraft and crews offered and accepted for operations. The crews were briefed to attack the Marshalling yards at AACHEN. With their mission successfully completed all aircraft and crews returned safely and unscathed. The take-off was good, as is usual, and the weather good. Two of the Squadrons aircraft were engaged in combat F/Sgt Barton ("T") and P/O Newman (C") both proved inconclusive, the enemy breaking off the engeagement in both cases. Bombing photographs taken were of exceptional interest to the Intelligence, and confirm that the Squadon has assisted in adding some aches to AIX-LA-CHAPELLE.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
LL838 Returned Primary 20,000ft at 02.26hrs P/O P Maxwell (P)
Sgt R W Willey (F/Eng)
F/Sgt F Fowkes (Nav)
F/Sgt S J Oslund (A/B)
Sgt P R Greenhalf (W/Op)
Sgt C Whitters (MU/AG)
Sgt R Greathead (R/AG)

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 narrated earlier on page 1.]
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
LL838 Returned Primary 12,000ft at 02.26hrs. P/O P Maxwell (P)
Sgt R W Willey (F/Eng)
F/Sgt F Fowkes (Nav)
F/Sgt S J Oslund (A/B)
Sgt P R Greenhalf (W/Op)
Sgt C Whitters (MU/AG)
Sgt R Greathead (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Calais (02 Jun 1944 - 03 Jun 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Calais 02 Jun 1944 03 Jun 1944 N 16 aricraft offered for operations, but only 14 accepted, to attack defended areas on a coastal battery at CALAIS.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
LL838 Returned Primary 5,500ft at 00.33 1/2hrs S/L G S Smith (P)
F/Sgt R Townsend (W/Op)
F/O R Kay (F/Eng)
F/O J J Berg (Nav)
F/O L Pulfrey (A/B)
F/L St. J Tizard (MU/AG)
F/O J Heath (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Wimereaux (03 Jun 1944 - 04 Jun 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Wimereaux 03 Jun 1944 04 Jun 1944 N 16 aircraft offered for operations and 14 accepted. Crews briefed to attack railborne coastal battery in the vicinity of the peace-time resort of Wimereaux near Boulogne. All the Squadron aircraft successfully took off in the usual style and claimed to have bombed their objective. The Squadron's striking force had to contend with thick cloud over most of the route, but found the target practicially clear at their bombing heights. P.F.F markers were prompt, and, as far as can be ascertained from the bombing photographs were accurate to within a hundred yards of the bombing point. P/O Holdsworth "B" sighted a twin engined aircraft while bombing, and shortly afterwards the mid upper gunner had a crack at a F.W. 190 which appeared to be acting as a decoy for a M.E. 110 which was attended to by the Rear Gunner. Neither of the enemy aircraft returned the Lancaster's fire, and the Pilot observed stikes on the F.W. 190, which is claimed as probably damaged.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
LL838 Returned Primary 9,000ft at 01.15hrs P/O P Maxwell (P)
Sgt R W Willey (F/Eng)
F/Sgt F Fowkes (Nav)
F/Sgt S J Oslund (A/B)
Sgt P R Greenhalf (W/Op)
Sgt C Whitters (MU/AG)
Sgt R Greathead (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Crisbecq (05 Jun 1944 - 06 Jun 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Crisbecq 05 Jun 1944 06 Jun 1944 N The crews of the 18 aircraft which had been accepted for operations were briefed to attack a coastal battery commanding a strategic position on the Cherburg peninsula at CRISBECQ. All aircraft took off promptly and without incident. Although some cloud was encountered across England on the outward journey enough was seen to realise that the whole of southern England was on the move. Whilst flying across the Channel a vast armada, of ships was seen making their way towards France. At the target 10/10th cloud was encountered but the glow from the markers was seen quite distinctly beneath. All crews agreed that the bomb flashes, as far as could be judged were well centred around the marker. The Flak around the target was negligable and very few incidents were reported by our crews who all returned safely after participating in the opening phase of the invasion of Europe.
The A.O.C No. 1 Group has received a message from the A.O.C in C in which he states that a recent return showed 100% servicability of all first line aircraft throughout Bomber Command. This extraordinary degree of serviceability not only reflects the utmost credit upon the devoted efforts of all maintainance personnel during the intensive operations but is, and will be a major contribution towards winning the War. The Squadron personnel can justly, and with pride claim that they have and will continue to contribute towards the destruction of the Hun.
Since recording the above S.H.A.E.F. have issued a communique to the effect that surprisingly little resistance was offered by coastal defences which is very gratifying to the boys of the Squadron. The Squadron striking force of eigtheen aircraft who beat the spearhead by a matter of hours know now, like all the world that the spear was driven straight and true, leaving 550 Squadron to create more chaos behind the Hun's lines.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
LL838 Returned Primary 9,000ft at 23.35 1/2hrs. P/O P Maxwell (P)
F/Lt R Thomas (P)
Sgt R W Willey (F/Eng)
F/Sgt F Fowkes (Nav)
F/Sgt S J Oslund (A/B)
Sgt P R Greenhalf (W/Op)
Sgt C Whitters (MU/AG)
Sgt R Greathead (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Achères (06 Jun 1944 - 07 Jun 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Achères 06 Jun 1944 07 Jun 1944 N Nineteen aircraft and crews offered for operations and briefed to attack the rail junction at ACHÈRES, near Paris. The weather was cloudy and quite a few of the aircraft brought their bombs back on orders from the Master Bomber. The evidence of those who saw and bombed the markers together with the tale told by their photographs, gave every indication that this particular junction no longer exists. Two of our newer crews returned with very fine bombing prints. From this operation "F" (P/O Shervington and crew) failed to return.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
LL838 Returned 16 X 500 GPTD bombs brought back, MC ordered return to base. P/O P Maxwell (P)
Sgt R W Willey (F/Eng)
F/Sgt F Fowkes (Nav)
F/Sgt S J Oslund (A/B)
Sgt P R Greenhalf (W/Op)
Sgt C Whitters (MU/AG)
Sgt R Greathead (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Flers (09 Jun 1944 - 10 Apr 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Flers 09 Jun 1944 10 Apr 1944 N 18 aircraft offered and briefed for operations. The attack was made against the enemy airfield at FLERS and all the aircraft took off to time and without incident. The weather difficulties less than expected and all crew claim a successful attack. Owing to low cloud over the target, bombing took place at heights from 1500ft to 6000ft and several reports of visual identification indicate that the airfield believed to be used by day fighters, was both accurately marked and bombed, several explosions were seen. The whole force on this target returned without loss.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
LL838 Returned Primary 2,000ft at 03.21hrs P/O P Maxwell (P)
Sgt R W Willey (F/Eng)
F/Sgt F Fowkes (Nav)
F/Sgt S J Oslund (A/B)
Sgt P R Greenhalf (W/Op)
Sgt C Whitters (MU/AG)
Sgt R Greathead (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Achères (10 Jun 1944 - 11 Apr 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Achères 10 Jun 1944 11 Apr 1944 N Eighteen aircraft were offered for operations, sixteen of which were accepted and briefed to attack the railway station at ACHÈRES, on the main Paris-Rouen line. The aircraft took off in the usual Squadron style and successfully completed their missions, claiming to have bombed the target from 4000ft to 10,000ft. The haze over the target was insufficient to prevent visual identificiation and the bombing photographs bear out the general opinion that the attached was successful. The rear gunner of "K" (F/O Dubois) reported having fired at a J.U. 88 which did not return fire. The rear gunner of "E" (P/O Purvis) saw a JU 88 attacking a Lancaster which it apparantly shot down. He gave it a short burst at 650 yards range as the fighter turned in to attack, both gunners beaded the Hun, who after some ineffectual return fire dived steeply and exploded on the ground. All the Squadron striking force returned safely to base.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
LL838 Returned Primary 8,000ft at 01.10hrs. Bomber red T.I. P/O P Maxwell (P)
Sgt R W Willey (F/Eng)
F/Sgt F Fowkes (Nav)
F/Sgt S J Oslund (A/B)
Sgt P R Greenhalf (W/Op)
Sgt C Whitters (MU/AG)
Sgt R Greathead (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Gelsenkirchen (12 Jun 1944 - 13 Jun 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Gelsenkirchen 12 Jun 1944 13 Jun 1944 N 19 aircraft offered for operations and briefed to attack synthetic oil plant at GELSENKIRCHEN four miles north of Essen. All aircraft carried nearly six tons of HE including "cookie" and claimed to have bombed the markers. The weather offered no unusual difficulties the target, however, was a more than usually elusive one even for the Ruhr, consisting as it did of a compact and highly vulnerable plant in a sparsely built up area.

MORE DETAILS TBA

F/L Waite and P/O Rogers and their crews completed the first operational tour on this sortie.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
LL838 Returned Primary 19,000ft at 01.05hrs. Five explosions at 01.08hrs P/O P Maxwell (P)
Sgt R W Willey (F/Eng)
F/Sgt F Fowkes (Nav)
F/Sgt S J Oslund (A/B)
Sgt P R Greenhalf (W/Op)
Sgt C Whitters (MU/AG)
Sgt R Greathead (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Le Havre (14 Jun 1944 - 15 Jun 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Le Havre 14 Jun 1944 15 Jun 1944 N 16 aircraft were called for to attack the dock area of the French port of Le Havre one hour after sunset, which necessitated a daylight take-off, much to the delight of all the crews. Weather conditions at the target were ideal for the operation. All the aircraft and crews returned safely and are looking forward eagerly to some more daylight raids - referred to as the bomb aimers paradise. One aircraft failed to take off owing to a tyre bursting on the perimeter track and only 15 aircraft participated.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
LL838 Returned Primary 19,000ft at 22.34hrs P/O P Maxwell (P)
Sgt R W Willey (F/Eng)
F/Sgt F Fowkes (Nav)
F/Sgt S J Oslund (A/B)
Sgt P R Greenhalf (W/Op)
Sgt C Whitters (MU/AG)
Sgt R Greathead (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Sterkrade (16 Jun 1944 - 16 Jun 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Sterkrade 16 Jun 1944 16 Jun 1944 N Nineteen aircraft and crews were offered, accepted and briefed to attack the syntheic oil plant at STERKADE on the north western edge of the Ruhr. All the aircraft took off without incident, but one aircraft "B" (P/O Beeson) was forced to abandon shortly afterwards due to the Port Inner Engine becoming unserviceable. The remainder found cloudy conditiions over most of the route, and some icing troubles were encountered. Over the target conditions of 10/10th cloud, tops above 10,000ft and from two to three thousand feet thick prevailed. However the glow of the PFF markers could be clearly seen through the cloud and the concentration was not so good as had been the case recently. Crews opinions were mixed and it is possible that bombing was somewhat scattered. Flak at the target was reported as moderate to intense, it being heavier than on previous sorties to the Ruhr, and night fighters were active. F/O Thygessen "N" had an indecisive combat, being fired at by an unidentified aircraft and returned fire, no damage or casualties were sustained. A member of "O" (F/O Wareham) thought he was seeing things when he spotted 15 enemy aircaft flying in formation, as they was on a reciprical course to "O", took no notice, he decided that Brer Rabbits advice was good so "laid low and said nothing". After a long period of sixty-nine successful sorties, it is regretted that three of our aircraft failed to return, no news being received since take off. "V" (S/Ldr Smith DFC - "B" Flight Commander), "H" (F/O Neilsen) and "P" (P/O Packham). Among the crew of F/O Neilson was the Squadron Bombing Leader F/Lt McConnell. They will be sadly missed, for they were all jolly good fellows.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
LL838 Returned Primary 21,000ft at 01.23hrs. Bombed Glow RTI P/O P Maxwell (P)
Sgt R W Willey (F/Eng)
F/Sgt F Fowkes (Nav)
F/Sgt S J Oslund (A/B)
Sgt P R Greenhalf (W/Op)
Sgt C Whitters (MU/AG)
Sgt R Greathead (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Pas de Calais (22 Jun 1944 - 23 Jun 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Pas de Calais 22 Jun 1944 23 Jun 1944 N The seventeen aircraft and crews were again offered and accepted were briefed to attack a "Doodle Bug" (Flying Bomb) lair in the Pas de Calais soon after lunch, the Squadron's first real day-light excursion after almost a week of stand-ups and stand-downs without any operations taking place. Great excitment prevailed at having the opportunity of taking part in a Mind-Sumers day's dream, not to mention the satisfaction given to the Station personnel and the local inhabitants of seeing the boys take off and return between lunch and tea time. The weather conditions were almost ideal, the Lancasters raced the clounds and get to the target first, where visibility was excellent. In the concentrated queue of aircraft making for the target, most or our crews were, at one time or another, able to recognise our own Lancasters. An inconspicious, but effective fighter cover completed the picture. The general impression was that is a very quiet trip, the Luftwaffe was either too busy elsewhere or too "browned off" to interfere. One aircraft "G" (P/O Lord) had to return early due to engine trouble. The remaining aircraft successfully bombed the target including "S" (F/Lt Redmond) which after having been badly damaged by enemy flak crashed near Tunbridge Wells, after all the members of the crew had baled out without injury. Two others were damaged by flak and one member of "M" - F/O Strecke - sustained a slight shrapnel wound in his feet. The cameras recorded a good concentration of bombs in the target area.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
LL838 Returned Primary 16,000ft at 15.45hrs. Hit by flak over target after bombing. Aircraft badly damaged and abandoned over Sussex. All crew baled out without injury, aircraft burned out on the ground.

[Ed: Listed as LL837 "S" in the ORB - but cannot be as LL837 already earlier in the battle-order - "Q" with Wareham crew. LL838 "S" is thus assumed.]
S/L B J Redmond (P)
F/L O A Hardy (MU/AG)
Sgt J R Penton (F/Eng)
Sgt J D Naunton (Nav)
F/O N Nunns (A/B)
Sgt J T Kermack (W/Op)
Sgt C J Watson (MU/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 12
MAX Aircraft deployed
in single operation
1
(Aachen, 24 May 1944)

These details were last updated: 12 July 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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