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: Kiel (26 Aug 1944 - 27 Aug 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Kiel 26 Aug 1944 27 Aug 1944 N Eighteen aircraft and crews were offered and accepted for operations and were briefed to attack KIEL. After a first class takeoff at 21.00hrs the crews enjoyed good weather en-route to the target, but on the return journey a severe electrical storm was encountered. All crews returned safely although F/S Hopman and crew in "N" ditched in the River Humber whilst preparing to land, but were none the worse for this ducking.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NF963 Returned Primary 19,000ft at 23.10hrs F/O R Purvis (P)
F/Sgt C Stoddard (Nav)
F/Sgt K R S Scholefield (A/B)
Sgt L W Guthrie (W/Op)
Sgt J Wright (MU/AG)
Sgt V S B Scoble (R/AG)
Sgt G L Grant (F/Eng)

Operation/Target: Wemars-Cappel (28 Aug 1944 - 28 Aug 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Wemars-Cappel 28 Aug 1944 28 Aug 1944 N Ten aircraft and crews were detailed to attach a buzz-bomb sight ay WEMARS-CAPPEL in daylight. It is greatly regretted to have to put on record the loss of S/L K MacAleavey the "A" Flight Commander, who was also a member of the crew of "E". S/L K MacAleavey was a very popular Flight Commander and a well known member of the Navigation Union.

[Ed: in fact S/L MacAleavey survived the crash to become a POW. See below under PA991.]
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NF963 Returned -

Operation/Target: Le Havre (08 Sep 1944 - 08 Sep 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Le Havre 08 Sep 1944 08 Sep 1944 N 15 aircraft were detailed to attack the Huns who were still holding out on the Northern outskirts of LE HAVRE. Unfortunately had visibility over the prevented the bombing being carried out. Owing to the close proximity of our own troops precision bombing was essential and rather than strafe our own troops the Master Bomber called off the attack. "K" F/Lt Steele who had been orbiting the area for 15 minutes pressed down regardless and from 2000ft released his bombs on the target, the bursting bombs rocked the aircraft considerably, the remaining aircraft brought their bombs back. "A"/ F/O Purvis returned early owing to the bombsight being unserviceable. A spectacular and skilfull landing was made by "V" F/O Devereau on one wheel, the other wheel puncturing on landing. The pilot managed to keep the aircraft on an even keel until speed was reduced. The "V" swung to starboard and slewed round blocking the runway. The Flare Path personnel quickly changed the runway which was soon in action, but not for long. "C" F/O Dodds, on landing overshot and in consequence "E" F/O McCarthy had to be sent to Elsham Wolds to land.
Station Summary
OPERATIONS
The early morning operation was once again on the German garrison at LE HAVRE. Fifteen aircraft took off about 0700 hours and apart from 1 aircraft which lost height and bombed on clear visual identification, all brought their bombs back on the instructions of the Master Bomber, who called off the attack due to cloud.
ORGANISATION
Flying Control had proved the asset of having three runways today. On return from OPERATIONS one aircraft burst a tyre on landing necessitating the diversion of other aircraft to No. 2 runway. A second aircraft overshot on this runway and became bogged, so the third runway had to be brought into use to land the remainder of the aircraft.
GENERAL
Crash Crew called out to Mustang from GOXHILL which crashed at WOOTEN but were not called upon to operate on arrival.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NF963 Returned Abandoned over base - bombsight u/s F/O R Purvis (P)
F/Sgt C Stoddard (Nav)
F/Sgt K R S Scholefield (A/B)
Sgt L W Guthrie (W/Op)
Sgt J Wright (MU/AG)
Sgt V S B Scoble (R/AG)
Sgt S F Beardmore (F/Eng)

Operation/Target: Le Havre (10 Sep 1944 - 10 Sep 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Le Havre 10 Sep 1944 10 Sep 1944 N 17 aircraft and crews were detailed to attack the German garrison at LE HAVRE in close support of the Allied 1st Canadian Army. On the much pasted perimeter, within view of our own troops who were only two miles off, eigth separate areas were to be blasted by over 5000 tons of HE. Each of the 17 aircraft that took off returned to Base with photographs which together add up to a pictorial record, never before equalled. Ten aiming points were obtained and of the others not one is more than 700yards from the Bullseye, and the two line overlaps show a perfact straddle of the objective. The weather was excellent and opposition from the ground and air was nil. The result of this attack is considered to have been highly successful and to confirm our enthusiasm the following signal has been received substantiting out verdict: Quote:
From Lt/General Crerar, 1st Canadian Army ... "Heavy bombers did absolutely first class job and contributed greatly to fine attack by British formation of Canadian Army."
From GOC 1st British Corps ... "All ranks unanimous in praise of absolute accuracy of bombing and timing on every occasion. On 10 September all targets were covered just as we wanted them. Prisioners testify to its accuracy. On behalf of all ranks I wish to thank you for your whole-hearted co-operation and would much appreciate if all crews taking part could be told of admiration, appreciation and gratitude of us all."
Station Summary
OPERATIONS
Seventeen aircraft took off as part of a force of 200 heavies from Command to blitz German strongholds at LE HAVRE once again. This was a very successful attack, particularly for No. 550 Squadron which obtained 10 aiming point photographs - a squadron record. The attack took place in conditions of clear visibility and subsequently proved to be the very substantial last straw which broke the German garrison's back at this Channel port.
ORGANISATION
Flying Control report record landing and take-off. 17 aircraft airbourne in 16 minutes and 14 aircraft landed in 12 minutes.
Signals Section report the fitting of Y equipment to the Squadron Aircraft almost complete and Y training programme is now in full swing showing good results.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NF963 Returned Primary 9000ft at 18.56hrs F/O R Purvis (P)
F/Sgt C Stoddard (Nav)
F/Sgt K R S Scholefield (A/B)
Sgt L W Guthrie (W/Op)
Sgt J Wright (MU/AG)
Sgt V S B Scoble (R/AG)
Sgt G L Grant (F/Eng)

Operation/Target: Frankfurt (12 Sep 1944 - 12 Sep 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Frankfurt 12 Sep 1944 12 Sep 1944 N 19 aircraft and crews were detailed to attack the FRANKFURT. 15 aircraft bombed the primary target, 3 returned early. F/O Hussey "Gee" unserviceable, F/O Abrams Air Speed Indicator unserviceable, F/O Rose compressor unserviceable. The weather conditions were good. On approach to the target area the extensive Mannhein - Mainz Frankfurt searchlight belt was seen to be in full swing and several aircraft were coned and subjected to intense FLAK. P/O Ansell in the veteran aircraft "B" was one of these, for just after bombing he received the full attention of a searchlight cone and intense flak and after having successfully emerged through this with minor damage was attacked three times by a fighter ME109. Fire was exchanged and further damage sustained. The bombing attack, from reports, appears to have been a complete success. The marking was both punctual, concentrated and clearly seen. Fires were burning well and soon merged into one mass of flames and smoke like a boiling cauldron and could be seen a 100 miles distance on the homeward journey. FLAK in the target area was described moderate in a loose barrage, the homeward journey was quiet and uneventfull. All aircraft and crews returned safely. P/O Purvis, DFC and his crew completed their first operational tour. PRU were over FRANKFURT quicker than ever after the raid and they report as follows: "The whole area around the main marshalling yard on the west side of the city is covered with smoke from numerous fires. A large area NW of the marshalling yard is seen to be almost completely gutted. A considerable quantity of rolling stock is burning in the yard. The area between the M/Y and the lines leading west from the main railway station is now almost completed devastated". Another excellent prang.
Station Summary
OPERATIONS
After some respite from German targets, 550 was once again detailed, as part of a force of 185 from Command, to attack FRANKFURT tonight. Shortly after 1800 hours 19 of our aircraft took off. 15 claim to have attacked the primary. 1 attacked a German last-resort target and 3 returned early, having abandoned their mission because of technical troubles. Apart from one aircraft which landed at CARNABY because of a U/S compressor all our sorties returned safely to base.
ORGANISATION
F/Lt Lord, Base Gas and Fire Officer visited Gas and Fire Section and found everything satisfactory.
GENERAL
The 3rd, 13 Base Junion N.C.O's Discip. & Admin Course commened at this Station.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NF963 Returned Alternative target 17,000ft at 23.00hrs F/O R Purvis (P)
F/Sgt C Stoddard (Nav)
F/Sgt K R S Scholefield (A/B)
Sgt L W Guthrie (W/Op)
Sgt J Wright (MU/AG)
Sgt V S B Scoble (R/AG)
Sgt A Allway (F/Eng)

Operation/Target: Steenwijk (16 Sep 1944 - 17 Sep 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Steenwijk 16 Sep 1944 17 Sep 1944 N 20 aircraft and crews, briefed and took off without incident to attack STEENWIJK airfield. The entire absence of opposition of any kind at the target and the darkness of the night was described by some of the crews as being eerie. From reports so far gathered the attack was reasonsably successful. All aircraft retruned safely to Base.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NF963 Returned Primary 13500ft at 23.46 1/2hrs

Operation/Target: Bigge Kerke (17 Sep 1944 - 18 Sep 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Bigge Kerke 17 Sep 1944 18 Sep 1944 N 10 aircraft and crews, briefed to attack a gunsite at BIGGE-KERKE near Flushing in daylight as part of a small forcce destined to play an opening part in yet another invasion of the fast crumbling Fortress of Europe. Unknown to our crews, they had been preceded by only a few hours by an Air Armada of well-nigh 2000 sorties flying and escorting glider and paratroops of the First Allied Airborne Army into the heart of Holland. The flak gunners at BIGGE-KERJE, who had spent the last four years endeavouring to hinder the passage of Bomber Command to and from Germany, were themselves truly blasted - we hope. All aircraft engaged in this raid returned safely. The following message of congratulations has been received from the Air Ministry:- "I am commanded by the Air Council to convey to you their warm appreciation of the part played by your Command in defeating the enemys flying bomb attacks on this country. The continuous bombing of the experimental stations, production plants, launching sites, storage depots and communications which has been carried out by you Command not only imposed on the enemy a prolonged and unwelcome delay in the launching of his campaign but effectively limited the scale of effort which he was able to make. This notable achievement has added one more to the long list of successful operations carried out by Bomber Command".
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NF963 Returned Primary 11000ft at 18.16 1/4hrs

Operation/Target: Sandgatte (20 Sep 1944 - 20 Sep 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Sandgatte 20 Sep 1944 20 Sep 1944 N 14 aircraft and crews were briefed and took off to attack enemy defences at SANDGATTE. The operation is considered as having been successfuly and with this operation the Squadron scored its first century of operations. In just over eight months 550 has completed its hundredth operation from North Killingholme. Coming as a fledging from Waltham where it was hatched, the Squadron began to lay on 14th January, when 8 sorties dropped 38 tons of NE on Brunswik. Stettin and Berlin had been visited from Waltham.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NF963 Returned Primary 3000ft at 17.01 1/2hrs

Operation/Target: Neuss (23 Sep 1944 - 23 Sep 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Neuss 23 Sep 1944 23 Sep 1944 N At 10.55hrs the Squadron was informed that no operations would take place today, but the aircraft were to be bombed up ready for an early morning mission. As 12.20hrs information was received that the Squadron may be called upon tonight. At 13.30hrs informed that the Squadron would definitely operate tonight. 21 aircraft and crew were detailed, briefed and took off to attack Military objectives at NEUSS approximately 4 miles SW of Dusseldorf. 20 aircraft bombed the primary target, F/O Lord returned early owning to "GEE" being unserviceable. 10/10ths cloud over the target the results of the bombing could not be observed. All returned safely to Base.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NF963 Returned Primary 18,000ft at 21.21hrs

Operation/Target: Calais (25 Sep 1944 - 25 Sep 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Calais 25 Sep 1944 25 Sep 1944 N 25 aircraft and crews detailed, briefed and took off to blast the Hun out of Calais, precision bombing was called for owning to the close proximity of Allied troops The weather conditions were bad over the target and the Master Bomber ordered all aircraft to return to base with their bombs.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NF963 Returned Abandoned on instructions of Master Bomber

Operation/Target: Calais (26 Sep 1944 - 26 Sep 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Calais 26 Sep 1944 26 Sep 1944 N 24 aircraft and crews again detailed, briefed and took off to blast the Hun who are still holding out of Calais. This time the weather was good enough to permit precision bombing which was successfully applied.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NF963 Returned Primary 3000 at 12.23hrs.

Operation/Target: Training (04 Oct 1944 - 04 Oct 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Training 04 Oct 1944 04 Oct 1944 Y The Squadron was stood down from operations and a flying training was laid on and carried out, consisting of bombing practice, fighter affiliation, air to air firing, practice landing at Carnaby emergency landing ground, night fighter affiliations "Y" training night cross country and bombing exercies. P/O Hayter and crew crashed near Leeming, North Yorkshire at approximately 23.17hrs whilst on training cross country exercise and with the exception of the pilot all the crew were killed instantly.
Station Summary
The Squadron was this morning stood down "for today and tonight". Again this order held until the day ended.
ORGANISATION
The Gas and Fire Officer from 13 Base today made a routine inspection at this Station.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NF963 FTR - F/O S H Hayter (P)
Sgt L A Bassman (F/Eng)
F/O T Y Thomas (Nav)
F/O R R Bradshaw (A/B)
Sgt A J Pearce (W/Op)
Sgt J P Sheridan (MU/AG)
Sgt J McVey (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 12
MAX Aircraft deployed
in single operation
1
(Kiel, 26 Aug 1944)

These details were last updated: 20 July 2017


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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