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: 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
OPERATIONS
Again Berlin. of 13 aircraft of 550 Squadron detailed, 2 were abortive and 11 claim to have attacked the target.
ORGANIZATION
A Station Post Office was opened on a Class A basis.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
ND463 Returned Primary 22,000 ft at 03.24hrs. Bombed centre of three red/green RP flares. F/Sgt A H Jefferies (P)
P/O E C W Bull (F/Eng)
Sgt H Simpson (Nav)
F/Sgt D S Jeffrey (A/B)
Sgt S A Keirle (W/Op)
Sgt W G Upton (MU/AG)
Sgt J W Whitley (R/AG)

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.
Station Summary
OPERATIONS
12 of the 13 aircraft of 550 Squadron detailed to take part in yet another large assault on BERLIN took off, 1 being cancelled due to hydraulic leak. 10 claim to have atacked the target, 1 sortie was abortive and 1 aircraft is missing. A feature of the raid was the outstanding performance of the crew of O/550. Their story is told in the Station's narrative report No. 1 dated 1/2/44, a copy of which is attached hereto as Appendix 1. As a result of this mission, the captain of O/550, F/O G.A. MORRISON, was awarded an immediate D.S.O. He thus becomes the only present holder of this award on the Station, as well as the first recipient of a decoration of any kind for work done from this Station.
GENERAL
From the Stirling aircraft which crashed yesterday and is now above water 5 bodies have been recovered. Our Medical Officer F/Lt Cunningham and our R & I Engineer F/O Stevens, intervening. Three were identified as Sergeants SPENCE, WALKER and HELSBY.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
ND463 Returned Primary 21,000 ft at 20.23hrs F/Sgt A H Jefferies (P)
P/O E C W Bull (F/Eng)
Sgt H Simpson (Nav)
F/Sgt D S Jeffrey (A/B)
Sgt S A Keirle (W/Op)
Sgt W G Upton (MU/AG)
Sgt J W Whitley (R/AG)

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.
Station Summary
OPERATIONS
Following a cancellation for the same target two days ago, a large scale Berlin raid was again laid on for tonight, to take part in the largest air operations so far undertaken by Bomber Command against Germany (878 heavy aircraft detailed by Command). 15 aircraft from 550 Squadron were briefed, 14 took off, and one was missing. 3 aircraft stationed at ELSHAM WOLDS found themselves on this airfield's circuit on return in mistake for their own, a mistake they did not discover until they landed here having gone through the motions of calling up ELSHAM WOLDS and touching down here instead of there.
ORGANIZATION
Weekly wearing of gas respirators was instituted, the established period being 0930 to 1000 hours each Tuesday. Instrument Section took over the responsibility of maintaining oxygen mask adaptor tubes for portable oxygen bottles, under new policy that these be fitted in aircraft at all times instead of being on charge to individual members of aircrew.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
ND463 Returned Primary 18,500 ft at 21.36hrs. Landed LISSET.

[Squadron CO W/Cdr Bennett pilot]
W/Cdr J J Bennett (P)
F/L A J Grain (P)
Sgt J Stanley (F/Eng)
F/O M R Oliver (Nav)
F/O E C Jones (A/B)
F/O H W Batt (W/Op)
P/O T N Large (MU/AG)
Sgt J Ellis (R/AG)

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
OPERATIONS
16 aircraft of 550 Squadron were detailed to participate in a large-scale attack on LEIPZIG. 14 took off and 1 was missing. Several sorties to other airfields from this operation, one of which, Lancaster 550/J (Captain F/Lt Crawford) touched down at MANSTON after a more than eventful trip, which is recounted in the Station Narrative Report attached as appensidx "B".
The Base Commander of 13 Base, Air Commodore IVELAW-CHAPMAN OBE, DFC, AFC, attended briefing.
ORGANISATION
It has been considered advisable that bomb aimers should attend main briefing in preference to the simultaneous navigators briefing for operations as hitherto. This change has been brought into force forthwith.
Difficulties in catering for increased oxygen charge pressure (see 14 Feb.) mitigated by obtaining extra transport cylinders.
Pending installation of illuminated letters "NK" for airfield identification, 3 gooseneck flares formaing a triangle at port downwind end of runway is use have been introduced.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
ND463 Returned Returned early, super charger to port inner unserviceable.

[Ed: ORB only lists 6 air-crew; no A/B listed present. Assumed that the regular A/B (E C Jones RCAF) would have been present; as flying without the bomb-aimer would seem rather pointless.]
F/L A J Grain (P)
Sgt J Stanley (F/Eng)
F/O M R Oliver (Nav)
F/O E C Jones (A/B)
F/O H W Batt (W/Op)
P/O T N Large (MU/AG)
Sgt J Ellis (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.
Station Summary
OPERATIONS
15 aircraft of 550 Squadron were detailed to take part in heavy attack on SCHWEINFURT. 14 took off, of which 2 sorties were abortive, while the remainder completed their mission. On the following day it turned out from am examination of photographs that the relatively small target had evaded accurate marking by PFF, and that main force bombs had apparently scattered more turnips than ball-bearings - a deduction which invoked a chiding message to all stations in the Group from the A.O.C.
On take-off tonight, 550/Q swung off runway in use (No. 04). Runway was obstructed but remaining sorties took off from No. 33 [Ed: assumed typo and No. 03 meant] and no delay incurred.
ORGANISATION
For tonigth's operation, and in the future as in the past, navigators will continue to be briefed separately and simultaneously to remaining aircrew - this after yesterday's conference betweem the Station Navigation Officer and navigators. Navigators are thoroughly briefed by Squadron Navigation Officer, generally at a time set for main briefing, which they do not attend.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
ND463 Returned RETURNED EARLY. Port Outer unserviceable. Starboard Inner gave trouble. 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 T A Thompson (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.
Station Summary
OPERTAIONS
13 aircraft of 550 Squadron were detailed for a large-scale attack on STUTTGART. 1 machine was cancelled prior to take-off due to lack of brake pressure.
ORGANIZATION
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
ND463 Returned Primary 21,000 ft at 03.14hrs. Bombed red 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 T A Thompson (F/Eng)

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 seen 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
ND463 Returned Primary 20500 ft at 22.08hrs. No markers of sky flares seen.

[Ed: ORB states ND463 "G" (yet another variant. This is thought incorrect and that ND403 is meant.]

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 7
MAX Aircraft deployed
in single operation
1
(Berlin, 28 Jan 1944)

These details were last updated: 21 March 2022


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.