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 (18 Mar 1944 - 19 Mar 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Frankfurt 18 Mar 1944 19 Mar 1944 N Seventeen aircraft with crew were offered for operations and briefed to attack targets in FRANKFURT. All returning safely after a very successfuly attack. The speedy take-off was a very fine show indeed the seventeen aircraft all being airbourne in 16 mins. Three aircraft ("J" NB733, Captain Sgt Lloyd, "K" LL834 Captain P/O Bouchard and "X" ME687, W/O Romber) were subseuqently abortive, due to electrical failure, Gee u/a and rear and mid-upper turrets u/s respectively. Few fighters were seend and only the French coastal batteries gave any trouble. The only combat reported was a short burst from the mid-upper gunner of "F" ME556 (Captain W/O McCrae). No hits are claimed and the E/A did not return the fire.
A special message of congratulations to all concerned for aircrew and ground staff was received from the Base Commander. Good show 550!
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
ME687 Returned Abandoned at 20.14hrs (17,000ft) due to rear and MU turrets being unhserviceable. 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: 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
ME687 Returned Primary 23,000ft at 21.59hrs. Bombed red and green TIs. Sgt A H Bowers (MU/AG)
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 D H Phillips (R/AG)

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
ME687 Returned Primary 23500ft at 22.40hrs Sgt A H Bowers (MU/AG)
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 D H Phillips (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
ME687 Returned Primary 22,500ft at 22.07hrs 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: 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
ME687 Returned Primary 22,000ft at 01.24. Bombed R/Y flares. 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: 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
ME687 Returned Primary 20,000ft at 22.47hrs

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
ME687 Returned Primary 22,500ft at 02.12hrs

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
ME687 Returned Primary 22,000ft at 01.23 1/2hrs 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: 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
ME687 Returned Primary 21,000ft at 00.46hrs. Bombed red TIs on ground. P/O W J Bibby (P)
Sgt F P McLoughlin (F/Eng)
F/O J P Rennie (Nav)
F/O A N Shedock (A/B)
Sgt A J Jeffries (W/Op)
Sgt R J Kimbrey (R/AG)
Sgt A R Blackburn (MU/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
ME687 Returned Primary 22,000ft at 01.36 1/2hrs. P/O W J Bibby (P)
Sgt F P McLoughlin (F/Eng)
F/O J P Rennie (Nav)
F/O A N Shedock (A/B)
Sgt A J Jeffries (W/Op)
Sgt R J Kimbrey (R/AG)
Sgt A R Blackburn (MU/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
ME687 Returned Primary 20,000ft at 02.12hrs. Bombed red & green TIs. P/O D McCrae (P)
Sgt R A Drury (F/Eng)
F/O M Shapiro (Nav)
F/Sgt F G Lebano (A/B)
Sgt A G Hall (W/Op)
Sgt C A Bonner (MU/AG)
Sgt A H Brown (R/AG)

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
ME687 Returned Primary 8,000ft at 00.02hrs

Operation/Target: Lyons (01 May 1944 - 02 May 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Lyons 01 May 1944 02 May 1944 N Eighteen aircraft and crews were offered for operations but only seven were accepted. The crews were briefed to attack the SOCIETE BERLIET MOTOR VEHICLE WORKS at LYONS. Weather conditions were good, bright moonlight, cloudless sky with good visibility marred only by slight ground haze over the target. Bombs were seen to burst on buildings and large clouds of black smoke soon began o obscure the target. Excellent photographs secured by six of the seven Squadron aircraft indicate that the attack was successful. The journey to and from the target was entirely uneventful. Several crews reported having seen fires still burning in the distance from last nights attach on Ammunition Dump at MAINTENON. All our aircraft returned safely to Base, the 550 Squadron representatives were lead by W/Cdr J.J. Bennett DFC the Squadron Commander who had taken with him a "sprog" crew to give them condfidence.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
ME687 Returned Primary 10,000ft at 01.06hrs P/O D McCrae (P)
Sgt R A Drury (F/Eng)
F/O M Shapiro (Nav)
F/Sgt F G Lebano (A/B)
Sgt A G Hall (W/Op)
Sgt C A Bonner (MU/AG)
Sgt A H Brown (R/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
ME687 Returned Primary 9000ft at 00.30hrs 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)

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 14
MAX Aircraft deployed
in single operation
1
(Frankfurt, 18 Mar 1944)

These details were last updated: 06 May 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.


Return to the top of the page.