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: Brunswick (14 Jan 1944 - 15 Jan 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Brunswick 14 Jan 1944 15 Jan 1944 Y Twelve aircraft with crews were offered for operations and were briefed to attack targets in BRUNSWICK. One aircraft did not take off owing to unserviceability, two aircraft returned early (abortives) and one aircraft did not return (no news since take-off) and is, with the crew posted as "missing". Eight aircraft successfully bombed the targets and returned safely to base.
Station Summary
11 aircraft of 550 Squadron were detailed to take part in a heavy attack on BRUNSWICK, Preparations for this first operation went, on the whole, smoothly, although the early take-off called for maximum speed and an all-out effort from still under-established ground-staffs. Bombing-up was duly completed and 11 aircraft took off in 37 minutes. 2 sorties were abortive; 1 aircraft was missing and 1 landed at WOODBRIDGE due to engine failure. The remaining 7 aircraft, which claim to have attacked the primary target, were landed at base all within 18 mins by portable lighting, the Drem lighting system being unfinished.
A timely demonstration of bomb-handling by a special party from 1 Group Headquarters proved of value to the Station Bomb Stores personnel.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
ND425 Returned Inter-communication unserviceable. Returned early. F/Sgt C G Foster (P)
Sgt J McGhie (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J C Garratt (Nav)
Sgt R Johnson (A/B)
Sgt E W Wash (W/Op)
Sgt W Barratt (MU/AG)
Sgt R G Johns (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Berlin (20 Jan 1944 - 21 Jan 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Berlin 20 Jan 1944 21 Jan 1944 N Eleven aircraft with crews were offered for operations and briefed to attack targets in BERLIN. One aircraft did not take off owing to unserviceability and one aircraft returned early with engine trouble. Nine aircraft successfully bombed their targets and returned safely to BASE.
Station Summary
11 aircraft of 550 Squadron detailed for major attack on Berlin. 1 was cancelled because of u/s rear turret. Of the remaining ten sorties, 9 claim to have attacked Berlin, while 1 was abortive. In spite of even shorter notice of this operation than the last, preparations were adequate for the eary take-off called for, and bombing-up was completed.
The A.O.C. 1 Group, air Vice Marshal Rice, accompanied by the acting Base Commander, 13 Base Group Captain Dickens, arrived after briefing and remained to watch take-off. The S.I.O. of 1 Group, S/Ldr Foster, accompanied by the S.I.O 13 Base, S/Ldr Dale, also by F/Lt Gould (Intelligence 1 Group Headquarters) also visited us. F/Lt Gibson, S.I.O. ELSHAM WOLDS, paid a short visit to the Station during interrogation.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
ND425 Returned Primary 22,000ft at 19.45hrs

[Ed. ORB says aircraft ED425, but ND425 is assumed as ED425 is not a recognised service number, and ND425 was the frequent aircraft for this crew.]
F/Sgt C G Foster (P)
Sgt J McGhie (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J C Garratt (Nav)
Sgt R Johnson (A/B)
Sgt E W Wash (W/Op)
Sgt W Barratt (MU/AG)
Sgt R G Johns (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Magdeburg (21 Jan 1944 - 22 Jan 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Magdeburg 21 Jan 1944 22 Jan 1944 N Ten aircraft with crews were offered for operations and briefed to attack targets in MADGEBURG. One aircraft did not take off owing to unserviceability, two aircraft returned early. Six aircraft successfully attacked the targets and returned safely to BASE. One aircraft did not return to BASE - no news since take off.
Station Summary
Command "Bullseye" flown by new crews.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
ND425 Returned Primary 21,000ft at 23.11hrs F/Sgt C G Foster (P)
Sgt J McGhie (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J C Garratt (Nav)
Sgt R Johnson (A/B)
Sgt E W Wash (W/Op)
Sgt W Barratt (MU/AG)
Sgt R G Johns (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Berlin (27 Jan 1944 - 28 Jan 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Berlin 27 Jan 1944 28 Jan 1944 N Fourteen aircraft with crews were offered and briefed to attack targets in BERLIN. Four aircraft returned early, but the remaining ten successfully bombed the target and returned safely to BASE.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
ND425 Returned Primary 20,500ft at 20.35 hrs

Operation/Target: Berlin (28 Jan 1944 - 29 Jan 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Berlin 28 Jan 1944 29 Jan 1944 N Thirteen aircraft with crews were offered and briefed to attack targets in BERLIN. Two aircraft returned early, but the remaining eleven dropped their bombs on the target returned safely to BASE.
Station Summary
A Station Post Office was opened on a Class A basis.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
ND425 Returned Primary 21,000ft at 03.21hrs

Operation/Target: Berlin (30 Jan 1944 - 31 Jan 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Berlin 30 Jan 1944 31 Jan 1944 N Thirteen aircraft with crews were offered for operations and briefed to attack targets in BERLIN. One aircraft did not take off due to unserviceability, one aircraft returned early, and one aircraft did not return - no news since take off. Ten aircraft successfully bombed the target. F/O G.A. Morrison in DV305 was attacked by enemy fighter over BERLIN and the two gunners killed instantaneously. The B/A (F/O Warren) through a misunderstood order, baled out. In spite of severe damage to the aircraft and with no navigational aids, apart from the Moon and Stars, returned safely, landed WOODBRIDGE.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
ND425 Returned Primary 21,000ft at 20.25hrs

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
ND425 Returned Primary 21,000ft at 21.36hrs. Bombed R/P flares had been shot by flak. No trouble. F/Sgt C G Foster (P)
Sgt J McGhie (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J C Garratt (Nav)
Sgt R Johnson (A/B)
Sgt E W Wash (W/Op)
Sgt W Barratt (MU/AG)
Sgt R G Johns (R/AG)
Sgt R H Field (P)

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
ND425 Returned Primary 22,000ft at 04.08hrs. F/Sgt C G Foster (P)
Sgt J McGhie (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J C Garratt (Nav)
Sgt R Johnson (A/B)
Sgt E W Wash (W/Op)
Sgt W Barratt (MU/AG)
Sgt R G Johns (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
ND425 Returned Primary 20,000ft at 04.03hrs, bombed green TIs. F/Sgt C G Foster (P)
Sgt J McGhie (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J C Garratt (Nav)
Sgt R Johnson (A/B)
Sgt E W Wash (W/Op)
Sgt W Barratt (MU/AG)
Sgt R G Johns (R/AG)

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
ND425 Returned Primary 21,000ft at 0115hrs. Bombed Red T.Is F/Sgt C G Foster (P)
F/Sgt J C Garratt (Nav)
Sgt R Johnson (A/B)
Sgt E W Wash (W/Op)
Sgt W Barratt (MU/AG)
Sgt R G Johns (R/AG)
Sgt R H Paxton (F/Eng)

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
ND425 Returned Primary 21,000ft at 22.50hrs, bombed red TIs F/Sgt C G Foster (P)
F/Sgt J C Garratt (Nav)
Sgt R Johnson (A/B)
Sgt E W Wash (W/Op)
Sgt W Barratt (MU/AG)
Sgt R G Johns (R/AG)
Sgt J Stanley (F/Eng)

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
ND425 Returned Primary 21,500ft at 03.15hrs. Bombed green and red flares. F/Sgt C G Foster (P)
Sgt J McGhie (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J C Garratt (Nav)
Sgt R Johnson (A/B)
Sgt E W Wash (W/Op)
Sgt W Barratt (MU/AG)
Sgt R G Johns (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
ND425 Returned Primary 21,000ft at 23.20hrs. Vivid red explosion seen at 1 1/2miles NW of A/P at 23.18hrs. Identified river and built-up area. F/Sgt C G Foster (P)
Sgt J McGhie (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J C Garratt (Nav)
Sgt R Johnson (A/B)
Sgt E W Wash (W/Op)
Sgt W Barratt (MU/AG)
Sgt R G Johns (R/AG)

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
ND425 Returned Primary 22,000ft at 22.03hrs. Large explosion seen at 22.02.hrs F/Sgt C G Foster (P)
Sgt J McGhie (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J C Garratt (Nav)
Sgt R Johnson (A/B)
Sgt E W Wash (W/Op)
Sgt W Barratt (MU/AG)
Sgt R G Johns (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
ND425 Returned Primary 22,000ft at 21.57hrs. Bombed red TIs. F/Sgt C G Foster (P)
Sgt J McGhie (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J C Garratt (Nav)
Sgt R Johnson (A/B)
Sgt E W Wash (W/Op)
Sgt W Barratt (MU/AG)
Sgt D W Magan (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
ND425 Returned Primary 21,500ft at 22.23hrs. F/Sgt C G Foster (P)
Sgt J McGhie (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J C Garratt (Nav)
Sgt R Johnson (A/B)
Sgt E W Wash (W/Op)
Sgt W Barratt (MU/AG)
F/O D F Neilson (P)
Sgt D W Magan (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
ND425 FTR Up 21.55. Missing - news not received after take-off. F/Sgt C G Foster (P)
Sgt J McGhie (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J C Garratt (Nav)
Sgt R Johnson (A/B)
Sgt E W Wash (W/Op)
Sgt W Barratt (MU/AG)
Sgt R G Johns (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
ND425 Returned Primary 21,000ft at 01.21hrs P/O V J Bouchard (P)
W/O D H Knight (Nav)
Sgt J H Knox (A/B)
P/O S B Taylor (P)
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 18
MAX Aircraft deployed
in single operation
1
(Brunswick, 14 Jan 1944)

These details were last updated: 13 November 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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