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: 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
NG138 Returned Abandoned on instructions of Master Bomber

[Ed: ORB states NG138 "F2", however this might be NG133 (previously also cited as "F2").]
F/L R P Stone (P)
F/Sgt C W Sawyers (Nav)
Sgt G E White (F/Eng)
F/Sgt E W Halliday (A/B)
Sgt D E Norgrove (W/Op)
Sgt L G B Wartnaby (MU/AG)
Sgt W G Beney (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Calais (27 Sep 1944 - 27 Sep 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Calais 27 Sep 1944 27 Sep 1944 N 17 aircraft and crews took off for Calais early this morning once again to bomb the Hun into submission. The weather was good and the bombing results were excellent.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG138 Returned Primary 4800 at 10.14hrs F/L R P Stone (P)
F/Sgt C W Sawyers (Nav)
Sgt G E White (F/Eng)
F/Sgt E W Halliday (A/B)
Sgt D E Norgrove (W/Op)
Sgt L G B Wartnaby (MU/AG)
Sgt W G Beney (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Walcheren (03 Oct 1944 - 03 Oct 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Walcheren 03 Oct 1944 03 Oct 1944 N 17 aircraft and crews detailed to attack and destroy a sea walll which prevent the sea innundating the low lying areas on the island of Walcheren. The weather was bad, 6/10 cloud over the route and 9/10 cloud over the target. The Master Bomber brought the attack down to 4000ft to bomb and all aircraft were able to identify visual details of the coastline, many aircraft made several runs to ensure accurate bombing. As our portion of the attack developed the wall was breached and gave way in several places and the water crashing rhough, flooding far and wide across the fields and we hope drowned the enemy defences. Good photographs were obtained. In addition to operational flying, a training programme was carried out which included five "Y" cross country exercises. The final summing up of the operations can be made with the quotation from two communiques - (1) A report brought back by two specially reporting Mosquio aircraft shows that the flooding was extensive. (2) The aircraft carrying the 12000lbs "blockbusters" and scheduled to finished off the job at the end of the attack, all brought them back undropped - they were not needed as the job had already been completed.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG138 Returned Primary 5,300ft at 14.39hours F/L R P Stone (P)
F/Sgt C W Sawyers (Nav)
Sgt G E White (F/Eng)
F/Sgt E W Halliday (A/B)
Sgt D E Norgrove (W/Op)
Sgt L G B Wartnaby (MU/AG)
F/Sgt F Wright (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Fort Frederick Hendrick (11 Oct 1944 - 12 Oct 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Fort Frederick Hendrick 11 Oct 1944 12 Oct 1944 N 27 aircraft and crews were offered for operations but only 18 were accepted. These were briefed and took off ay 14.30hrs without incident to attack military targets at FORT FREDERICK HENDRICK, where the Hun is making a stand despite the fact that he is entirely encircled by the Allied Army. An ultimatium to surrender within 24hrs to prevent unnecessary bloodshed was handed to the Garrison Commander, but no reply having been received this was the cause of the operation, which was to blast the Hun from his own doorstep. It was rather disappointing to the boys that only 18 aircraft were called for as all the Squadron wanted to participate. In addition to the operational sorties a useful training programme was laid on consisting of "Y" cross country, figther affiliation, air to air and air to sea firing exercises and bombing practice.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG138 Returned Abandoned.

Operation/Target: Fort Frederick Hendrick (12 Oct 1944 - 12 Oct 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Fort Frederick Hendrick 12 Oct 1944 12 Oct 1944 N 28 aircraft and crews were offered for operations but only 12, 11 plus one reserve and one crew detailed to act as the Base reserve aircraft. The crews were briefed to carry out yet another attack on FORT FREDERICK HENDRICK, which despite yesterdays attack was still holding out. All our eleven aircraft returned safely to base.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG138 Returned Primary 10,000ft at 08.17hrs

Operation/Target: Essen (23 Oct 1944 - 23 Oct 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Essen 23 Oct 1944 23 Oct 1944 N 26 aircraft with crews were offered for operations and were briefed at 14.15hrs, with one crew acting as Squadron stand-by. Twenty-five aircraft took off at 16.15hrs to form part of a 1000 aircraft attack on ESSEN. Twenty-four succeeded in bombing the primary target and one aircraft returned early. Opposition encountered was considered moderate and the weather was reasonably good, all aircraft returned safely to Base.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG138 Returned Primary 22,000ft at 19.39hrs

[Ed: ORB says NG138 "F2", but is NG133 meant?]

[Ed:Sgt Costigan log book records him as flying as MU/AG on this op, whereas the ORB lists him as R/AG.]
P/O W J Shaw (P)
Sgt J Crawford (F/Eng)
Sgt C Eardley (Nav)
Sgt H H Tregonning (A/B)
Sgt R F Jones (W/Op)
Sgt R Murphy (MU/AG)
Sgt N Costigan (A/G)

Operation/Target: Essen (25 Oct 1944 - 25 Oct 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Essen 25 Oct 1944 25 Oct 1944 N 27 aircraft with crews were offered, accepted and briefed to attack once again objectives in ESSEN. The take-off was as usual good and without incident. The Station Commander, Group Captain R V McIntyre D.F.C captained "R" and like the remainder of the crews enjoyed the trip. Opposition over the target area was negligible but a fair number of jet-propelled fighters were seen high over the attackers, but no attempt was made to interfere with the bombing and all our aircraft returned safely to Base.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG138 Returned Primary 18,000 feet at 15.42hrs

[Ed: the ORB lists the standard Shaw crew flying this op; but Sgt Costigan log book records him as flying as MU/AG on this op.]
P/O W J Shaw (P)
Sgt J Crawford (F/Eng)
Sgt C Eardley (Nav)
Sgt H H Tregonning (A/B)
Sgt R F Jones (W/Op)
Sgt R Murphy (MU/AG)
Sgt J O'Leary (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Cologne (28 Oct 1944 - 28 Oct 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Cologne 28 Oct 1944 28 Oct 1944 N Thirty aircraft and crews were offered for opertions, twenty seven were accepted and stood by to be called upon at short notice for a daylight attack on COLOGNE. Twenty seven aircraft took off without incident at 13.10hrs, led by the Squadron Commander, Wing Commander B. Bell, more affectionately known as "Dingle". The weather conditions at Base left much to be desired and it seemed that the boys would not be able to take off owing to mist and low cloud, but the weather cleared for a brief spell which allowed the boys to take to the air and on to successfully attack military objectives in the Cologne area. The weather over the target was good and the crews highly delighted with the results achieved. The huge and busy railway bridge spanning the Rhine was seen to have had its time. All our aircraft returned safely to Base.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG138 Returned Primary 18,000ft at 15.47 1/2hrs P/O W J Shaw (P)
Sgt J Crawford (F/Eng)
Sgt C Eardley (Nav)
Sgt H H Tregonning (A/B)
Sgt R F Jones (W/Op)
Sgt R Murphy (MU/AG)
Sgt J O'Leary (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Dusseldorf (02 Nov 1944 - 03 Nov 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Dusseldorf 02 Nov 1944 03 Nov 1944 N Twenty seven aircraft and crews took off at approximately 16.00hrs to attack DUSSELDORF the leading commercial city of Western Germany and has exceptionaly good transport facilities both by railway and river. As a supply and concentration base for the Western Wall (Rhineland edition) it is therefore an excellent centre to eliminate. Enroute to the target the weather was good but cloudy which however cleared at 0500, leaving the target clear with bright moonlight and good visibility. Ground markers were punctual and clearly visible, placed accurately in the Marsalling yards area and very quickly a concentrated cloud of bomb smoke developed. This was added to in the later stages of the attack by the incendiary aircraft and the crews were enthusiastic about the fires which quickly took hold and emitted a rosy glow seen for almost 100 miles on the return journy. In addition light explosions were observed. Flak was reported as light at first in a barrage later increasing to intense. Night fighters also put in an appearance, all our Air gunners were on the qui vive and successfully beat off any interference from them. Photographs taken and brought back show extensive fire tracks and enthusisatic verbal reports from the aircrews show that the attack should be yet another outstanding success. It is regretted that F/Lt Foster and crew failed to return to base, nothing being heard of them since take-off. Congratualtions were extended to F/L Rose and crew on completing an excellent tour.

[Ed: see also the 4th Nov entry below, which refers to the 100th op of ED905 with F/Lt Shaw at the controls. But in fact it appears likely that 100th op occurred today 2nd Nov.]
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG138 Returned Abortive - starboard outer u/s

Operation/Target: Bochum (04 Nov 1944 - 04 Nov 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Bochum 04 Nov 1944 04 Nov 1944 N Twenty six aircraft and crews took off at approximately 17.15hrs to attack BOCHUM in the heart of the Ruhr. Aircraft "G2" (F/O Kennedy) soon after take-off found that his hydraulics were u/s and his wheels would not retract completely; thwarted in his efforts to jettison he made a successful landing at Woodbridge with all his bomb load on board. "E2" (F/O Marriott) found that the rear turret of his aircraft was u/s with an oil leak and abandoned. The remainder found 9/10 cloud en route, but over the channel this decreased and gradually cleared. The target was free from cloud, but a certain amount of industrial haze was present. Markers were punctual and fairly accurate, the target area was kept continuously marked and the bombing was well concentrated, After the incendiary attack developed, the whole area rapidly became a mass of fire, visible for approximately 100 miles and there were a number of impressive explosions. The ground defences in the target area were reported as moderate, occasionally becoming intense, with many searchlights in evidence exposing on cone of about 20 or more, there latter were at first ineffective, but later became more troublesome, several aircraft being coned. Hun night fighters made a strong reaction and figher flares were seen from the Dutch coast onwards. Many combats took place in which the following aircraft of 550 Squadron were involved, "B2" (F/O Whynacht) had 4 encounters and claims to have destroyed 2 aircraft and damaged another, whilst the other was inconclusive. All these appeared to be jet-propelled aircraft. No damage or casualties were received. "M" (F/O McCarthy) and "P" (P/O Franklyn (R)) both opened fire on two jet planes but no claims were made and the encounters were inconclusive. "V" (F/O Blackler) claims to have shot down an aircraft believed to be a jet propelled unit. The appearance of jet propelled and other rocket phenomena is only of recent origin, and these claims are being further investigated, meanwhile these claims are accepted with reserve. All our aircraft returned to Base with the exception of "F" (F/O Ansell) who landed at Manston having received damage to his aircraft from Flak, the F/Eng (F/S Sythes) receiving wounds in the thigh. Photographs brought back show extensive fire tracks. Aircraft "F" completed her 100th operational sortie, a fact that F/L Shaw is very proud of, since he has completed the major part of his tour in this aircraft.

[Ed: Can this entry about Shaw/ED905 be correct here? The battle order lists F/O W J Shaw in "F2" flying, but no F/Lt D A "Jock" Shaw in ED905 "F". Norman Franks in "Ton-Up Lancs" speculates, based on photos and the mixed up ORB at this point, that ED905 100th trip was F/Lt D A Shaw 2nd Nov 44 to Duesseldorf. This looks to be confirmed by Jock Shaw log book (information from his daughter). So perhaps the ORB just recorded this fact a day or two after the fact. The photo claimed to be ED905 taking off for 100th op may in fact be a photo of the aircraft some weeks earlier; some of the people waving have been positively identified (by John Eppel, Nav F/O J Harris crew) as being air-crew who were in fact airborne, or taxing for take-off, for the 2 Nov op so could not be standing at the end of the runway waving!.]

P.R.U cover now confirms the great damage done in this attack - the two main factories of first priority importance, with extensive blast furnaces, steel works and rolling mills all making armaments have suffered severely; of the six main buildings of one of them all are extensively damaged. A third factory (adjoining the main passenger station which is heavily damaged) manufacturing, milling and grinding machinery is still smoking and damage appears to be heavy. Destruction of unidentified industrial and commercial premises, and residential property is widespread and severe.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG138 Returned Primary at 18,000ft at 19.39hrs

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 10
MAX Aircraft deployed
in single operation
1
(Calais, 25 Sep 1944)

These details were last updated: 24 October 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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