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: Wanne-Eikel (09 Nov 1944 - 09 Nov 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Wanne-Eikel 09 Nov 1944 09 Nov 1944 N 23 aircraft and crews from 550 Squadron together with one aircraft from each of 166 and 103 Sqdns took off at approximately 07.20hrs to attack the synthetic oil plant at WANNE-EIKEL 2.5 miles NW of Bochum one of the lesser known towns of the Ruhr but nevertheless important since it forms part of the general Ruhr network of railway and marshalling yards. The take-off was good as was the weather up to the French coast after which the crews encountered cloud banks and when the target area was reached there was thick cumulous at 20,000ft with layer cloud below. Only one aircraft E2 (F/O Stevenson) had a fleeting glimpse of the target, and but for navigational aids the raid would have dissolved itself into a veritable blind mans buff. With such conditions existing it is impossible to assess the success or otherwise of the operation. Flak was scattered and erratic, and the fighter cover of Spitfires and Mustangs kept enemy fighters out of harms way. All our aircraft returned safely and the boys enjoyed a late lunch.
Station Summary
OPERATIONS
At first light 25 aircraft took off from NORTH KILLINGHOLME (comprising 23 of 550 Squadron and 1 of 166 Squadron and 1 of 103 Squadron, the latter having landed here from training) to attack WANNE-EICKEL, as part of a No. 1 Group force of 233 aircraft. All out aircraft returned safely having claimed to have bombed the target.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG290 Returned Primary, at 21000ft at 10.45 F/L V B Ansell (P)
Sgt H Moreton (F/Eng)
Sgt T D Rodgers (Nav)
Sgt L Trudgian (A/B)
F/Sgt H A Elderfield (W/Op)
P/O GJ Horsfall (MU/AG)
Sgt S J H Adams (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Dortmund (11 Nov 1944 - 11 Nov 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Dortmund 11 Nov 1944 11 Nov 1944 N The Squardon dispatched 21 aircraft and crews to attack the north eastern part of the city of DORTMUND where synthetic oil plants, steelworks, coke ovens and a by-products plant with the usual marshalling yards were situated. The take-off was as usual good and once again the crews ran into 10/10 cloud when nearing the target. However with the exceptions, ground markers were vaguely seen reflected on the underside of the clouds and were systematically bombed. Assessments of results are difficult but several reports were made of large explosions in the target area and it is hoped good results were achieved. Flak was generally described as slight to moderate "G" (F/O Young had the fuselage holed rendering the rear turret u/s fortunately there were no casualties.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG290 Returned Primary, at 19000ft at 19.02 1/2

Operation/Target: Duren (16 Nov 1944 - 16 Nov 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Duren 16 Nov 1944 16 Nov 1944 N 26 aircraft and crews took off in the usual Squadron style at approximately 12.30hrs to attack DUREN in close support of the advancing American armies. The weather was hazy over Duren but not unkind to our bomb aimers, who thanks to magnificient marking were able to confirm their visual observations and follow the precise instructions of the Master Bomber. The railway complex at this small town, where the line east of Aachen forks to Dusseldorf and Cologne was the aiming point for our aircraft who contribured to the moderate force. Their bombing photographs and visual reports both point to the exceptionally successfull effort which appears to have been repeated on the Command's simultaneous targets at Julich and Heinsberg. Handicapped by the lack of warning, enemy fighters were again absent. Moderate Flak at the target gave an unlucky break to "M2" (F/O George) which was unable to release its bombs due to damage, which amongst other things severed electrical connections. One of the other things was a punctured tyre, in spite of which the pilot landed his aircraft safely at Base on return with a full bomb load. From a gratifying selection of good bombing prints that of "A2" (F/O Shenker) has been chosen for the C in C's enlargement. Plottings are generally well on the mark.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG290 Returned Primary at 10300ft at 15.34hrs

Operation/Target: Wanne-Eikel (18 Nov 1944 - 19 Nov 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Wanne-Eikel 18 Nov 1944 19 Nov 1944 N The Squadron dispatched 29 aircraft and crews at approximately 15.30hrs to attack a synthetic oil plant at WANNE-EIKEL west of Gelsenkirchen. Soon after take off the crews encountered cloudy weather over England which however cleared across France; shortly after crossing the Rhine a thin layer of stratus cloud with tops at approximately 8000ft and similiar conditions prevailed over the target area. Although few crews were able to see ground details, the cloud was thin enough for the markers to show through and for the most part a concentrated supply of them was available. Bombing was reported to have been well concentrated around the markers and very early in the attack a large fire developed which, from the column of black smoke which arose it would seem likely that the oil plant was successfully hit. Numerous orange coloured explosions were seen during the course of the attack two which occured at 19.20 and 19.23 must have been particularly large as some of the crews clearly saw the glow when 40 miles away in the homeward journey. Flak was reported to be only slight to moderate in the target area. There were some fighters seen and a few enemy fighters appeared to be about, but our aircraft had no encounters. With the exception of one, all our aircraft attacked the primary target. "C" (F/O Smith) had trouble with a coolant leak in the port inner engine after feathering it and being able to get above 10000 feet he had to abandon just S.E. of Brussels, jettisoning some of his bombs off the East Coast in the permitted area and landing with the remainder. Owing to the deterioration in the weather only 9 aircraft landed at Base, the remainder landed at Stations in the diversion area.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG290 Returned Primary, at 16000ft at 19.06

Operation/Target: Freiburg (27 Nov 1944 - 27 Nov 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Freiburg 27 Nov 1944 27 Nov 1944 N 31 aircraft and crew were dispatched to attack the town of FREIBURG with its associated rail facilities at approximately 15.45hrs. The target was a small one, only approximately 2 miles by 1 and 1/2 miles, and the attack was entrusted to No. 1 Group to accomplish. With every Squadron putting out it's largest numbers, a new record was accomplished with over 300 aircraft and of these all successfully attacked the primary target, except one which was abortive. 550 Squadron accomplised their best performance to date with 31 aircraft off, 31 attacking the target and 31 aircraft returning to Base. After a smooth take-off and an uneventful journey across Allied held France, our crews found that the P.F.F. had prepared a "bang on" show for them. In spite of considerable thick stratus cloud and base well below, markers were being dropped punctually, and in great profusion while the Master Bomber had his finger "well out" and was giving clear and concise directions with machine gun rapidity. Nearly all our crews bombed on ground markers seen through the haze, although two of them took advantage of sky markers which were also dropped. The cloud base prevented the results from being reported as spectacular as they almost certainly were underneath, but the bombing appeared to be concentrated and a satisfactory fire glow soon developed by the light of which later crews were able to see a large church and streets outlined as the looked obliquely under the large pall of black smoke that soon arose. Flak was light and spasmotic, with no searchlights and none of our aircraft was hit. In fact, what "hit" most of them, was the sight of the lights of the Swiss Town of Basle "Like Piccadilly used to be, I suppose" as one Australian Navigator said, and the misty splendour of the misty Alps in the moonlight.
Postscript message from A.O.C. No. 1 Group: "Last night we operated, in all, 312 aircraft with only one abortive sortie and one aircraft missing. Please give my congratulations to all ranks for this magnificent record, which has never before been approached by any Group. It was a splendid achievement by both air and ground crews. All attacks were highly successful".
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG290 Returned Primary 13500ft at 20.05 3/4

Operation/Target: Karlsruhe (04 Dec 1944 - 04 Dec 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Karlsruhe 04 Dec 1944 04 Dec 1944 N 24 aircraft and crew took off at approximately 16.30hrs to attack the town and railway facilities at KARLRUHE. The crews has an uneventful but rather long trip over Allied Occupied Territory and found the target covered with 9/10th cloud. On approach some crews were able to identify the Red and Green T.I.s below cloud, which were rather scattered. The cloud rapidly moved eastwards and some of the later arrivals were able to identify the town visually. From reports it is gathered that good fires were started in the town, the glow of which could be seen for over 100 miles. Opposition from the ground consisted only of slight flak for the most part bursting well below the aircraft. All our aircraft returned safely.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG290 Returned Primary 19,000ft at 19.34 hrs

Operation/Target: Koblenz (22 Dec 1944 - 22 Dec 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Koblenz 22 Dec 1944 22 Dec 1944 N 24 crews were briefed to attack the communications centre at KOBLENZ and 20 took off at approximately 15.15 hours in fog which had been with us for days. The visibility at its best was 300 yards. F/Lt Shaw "E" was the first to take to the air and the remainder of the boys decided that if a Scotsman could get off so could they. The 20 aircraft successfully took off, four aircraft were cancelled as the visibility became really impossible. It appears that other stations in the base were not so badly handicapped by weather conditions as was Killingholme, and it is considered that the Squadron did well to get 20 aircraft off the deck. No trouble was experienced on route and all aircraft arrived at the target area with the exception of "H" (F/O Franklyn, J) who had to return from France with a Port Outer Engine unserviceable, and was diverted to R.A.F. Croft. At the target 2/10 to 4/10 thin cloud experienced, the sky marking was a few minutes late, but enough flares were dropped to enable most of the crews to bomb them. Some crews caught momentary glimpses of the two rivers standing out from the snow covered ground and there were opinions that the attack fell slightly south of the aiming point. This is confirmed by photographs brought back. The defences were quiet, flak being described as slight with no searchlights operating. Whilst the aircraft were on their journey, visibility at Base had deteriorated still further and all our aircraft were diverted to Woodbridge and all landed safely. "K" got down at Mildenhall and "Q" at Langham. Flying through the twin flame lanes of the fog dispersal apparatus one Australian gunner was heard to say that it was the first time he felt really warm in this country. No flying training was undertaken.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG290 Returned -

Operation/Target: St. Vith (26 Dec 1944 - 26 Dec 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
St. Vith 26 Dec 1944 26 Dec 1944 N The Squadron was called upon to operate, but with the majority of the Squadron still grounded at Wendling, and presumably nursing an Xmas "hangover", all the Squadron would offer was nine aircraft in an attack called from all groups on the railhead town of St. Vith, just inside Belgium on the northern side of the German advance, and was being used as a re-training centre for Panzer troops from rearward areas. Visibility was still in the visinity of 600 yards at the time of take off, but improved over the North Sea. The Continent was free from cloud and in spite of slight haze, visibility was good and the crews were able to map read and identify the target visually with ease. An excellent concentration of bombing was achieved, two large explosions were noted, one in the town and one on the railway to the N.E. Opposition was negligible except from positions behind the enemy lines on the run up to the target. No trouble was experienced from enemy fighters. Photographs brought back were excellent and showed a good concentration of bombing. F/O Williams brought back a "gem" of a photo which was enlarged for the Commander-in-Chief to see. All aircraft were diverted to R.A.F. WALTHAM.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG290 Returned -

Operation/Target: Rheidt (27 Dec 1944 - 27 Dec 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Rheidt 27 Dec 1944 27 Dec 1944 N 9 aircraft which had been diverted to Waltham and Ludford Magna took off from their diversion stations to attack the marshalling yards at RHEIDT, lying as it does to the west of the Ruhr and Rhine, this centre is vitally important at the moment to the Hun for conveying his troops and materials from the Ruhr and Central Germany. Shaking off the fog the crews found the French Coast and Continent clear except for slight ground haze. The target was easily identified in good visibility and the first T.I.s cascaded on the northern end of the marshalling yards followed by otehrs which were "dead on" the aiming point. The bombing thus was very concentrated and accurate, the target soon became enveloped in smoke, rising many thousands of feet in the air. One particularly large explosion was seen in the marshalling yard, possibly ammunition waggons. Flak was negligible over the target, but some aircraft were engaged by heavy flak north of the target. No emeny fighters were seen. On the return the weather was still in its "pranky" mood and all aircraft were again diverted, this time to Finningley. No flying training was carried out from Base.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG290 Returned -

Operation/Target: Scholven-Buer (29 Dec 1944 - 29 Dec 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Scholven-Buer 29 Dec 1944 29 Dec 1944 N 22 aircraft with crews took off without incidient at 15.00 hours to attack synthetic oil plants at SCHOLVEN-BUER approximately 7 miles north of Gelsenkirchen. At the target 10/10 thin cloud was met but this did not, however, prevent the target indictators from being well seen. Bombing quickly became concentrated round the markers, and almost immediately a very large explosion was seen, and resulted in thick columns of black smoke rising through the clouds. Several good fires developed and explosions were continuous until the last aircraft left. The defences of Cologne, Bochum, Gelsenkirchen and the Essen district were very active but not over the target itself. Cloud prevented ground detail coming in the photographs brought back, but in many of them, the fires and explosions show most encouragingly. It is thought that the attack was a success and all aircraft returned safely to base. No flying training was carried out.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG290 Returned -

Operation/Target: Leuna Oil Plant (14 Jan 1945 - 15 Jan 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Leuna Oil Plant 14 Jan 1945 15 Jan 1945 N After a week of enforced flying inactivity, the Squadron stood by for operations with 30 crews of which one complete crew was sent to R.A.F. Station, Kirmington and one to R.A.F Station Elsham to make up operationally fit crew members on these stations. F/O Cameron departed from the Squadron on posting to No. 1656 Heavy Conversion Unit, Lindholme, as an instructor. F/O Cameron had completed a very successful tour with the Squadron and was very popular with all members of the Squadron, who regret his going.
27 aircraft took off at approximately 19.00 hours to attach LEUNA synthetic oil plant near Merseberg. "N" (F/O Parsons) proved abortive owing to the unfortunate illness of one of the crew and returned to Carnahy. The remaining 26 "pressed on regardless", led throughout by the indefatigable "F" Fox. The captain F/Lt "Jock" Shaw has at last been compelled to call it a day with a grand total of 42 operations. Higher authority this time refused his application to continue on Ops much to the disappointment of Jock. The weather on route was fairly good but deteriorated at the target to 10/10 cloud. Bombing was by sky-markers and conditions prevented results being observed. Defences were active. None of our aircraft were damaged and returned safely to base. Flying Officers Harris and George completed their first tour of operations without a single abortive. No flying training was carried out.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG290 Returned - F/O G G H Cowper (P)
Sgt R H Whitehead (F/Eng)
F/O R M Mills (Nav)
F/Sgt C H Baldwin (A/B)
F/Sgt S E Willis (W/Op)
Sgt S E Morrison (MU/AG)
Sgt H R Graham (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 11
MAX Aircraft deployed
in single operation
1
(Wanne-Eikel, 09 Nov 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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