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: 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
PB514 Returned Primary 15500ft at 21.29hrs F/L G T Pyke (P)
Sgt H D Iddles-White (F/Eng)
Sgt D Hellings (Nav)
Sgt D Peters (A/B)
Sgt L Adams (W/Op)
Sgt D S Eldred (MU/AG)
Sgt A T Ellement (R/AG)

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
PB514 Returned Abandoned on instructions of Master Bomber F/L G T Pyke (P)
Sgt H D Iddles-White (F/Eng)
Sgt D Hellings (Nav)
Sgt D Peters (A/B)
Sgt L Adams (W/Op)
Sgt D S Eldred (MU/AG)
Sgt A T Ellement (R/AG)

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
PB514 Returned Primary 3000 at 12.24hrs. F/L G T Pyke (P)
Sgt H D Iddles-White (F/Eng)
Sgt D Hellings (Nav)
Sgt D Peters (A/B)
Sgt L Adams (W/Op)
Sgt D S Eldred (MU/AG)
Sgt A T Ellement (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Saarbrucken (05 Oct 1944 - 06 Oct 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Saarbrucken 05 Oct 1944 06 Oct 1944 N 27 aircraft with crew were briefed and took-off at 18.22hrs to attack military objectives in SAARBRUCKEN. "F" (F/Lt Shaw) and "A" (S/Ldr Misselbrock) returned early, the former owing to "Gee" being unserviceable and the latter with the Captain sick. The remainder of the force, after flying through some rather dirty weather over England, found the target area almost clear with only ground base or thin cloud to prevent excellent visibility. The marking was punctual and well placed. In addition to a large and apparently concentrated mass of incendiaries with fires taking a good hold, the chief show piece of the evening was a truely tremendous explosion, so great that every crew unanimously noted the time as 22.46 hours, with a sheet of orange flame many hundreas of feet in the air, and smoke rising to 8000 to 10,000ft. It would appear that the Hun will have several rounds less to fire at our Allies of the 3rd American Army. Flak was described as being moderate. Enemy night fighters were conspicuous by their absence. Photos taken show a mass of incendiary and fire traps, but unfortunately no ground detail. Visibility deteriorated rapdily at base and the aircraft, all of which returned safely, were diverted to Norfolk. A good flying training programme was also carried out.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned - F/L G T Pyke (P)
Sgt H D Iddles-White (F/Eng)
Sgt D Hellings (Nav)
Sgt D Peters (A/B)
Sgt L Adams (W/Op)
Sgt D S Eldred (MU/AG)
Sgt A T Ellement (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Emmerich (07 Oct 1944 - 07 Oct 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Emmerich 07 Oct 1944 07 Oct 1944 N Twenty five aircraft and crews were detailed and briefed, 24 took off at noon to attack Military objectives at EMMERICH in close support of the Allied Ground Forces. "F" (F/L Shaw) returned early owing to engine trouble. "C2" (F/O Hussey) failed to take off owing to compressor trouble. Emmerich, a small compact town on the North bank of the Rhine just inside Germany, serving as an important Railway Centre and a rendevous for troops and material was easily identified. The weather over the sea was cloudy, but clear with good visibility over the target. Markers were accurate and the town was soon covered by clouds of smoke, rising to a height of approximately 12,000ft, from excellent fires at their base. Very good photographs were obtained showing a vivid picture of the attack. There is no doubt that much weaving was necessary over the target as the Flak was vicious and accurately predicted and more than one aircraft brought back evidence of this in the shape of Flak holes. The return journey was uneventful, except of a grandstand view of Cleves [Ed: Kleve. A town in the Lower Rhine region of northwestern Germany near the Dutch border and the River Rhine] which had also been attacked and was burning well. At the Base the weather had deteriorated with cloud down to the "deck" and for the second time running the aircraft were diverted, this time to Faldingworth and Blyton.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Primary 11500ft at 14.24hrs. F/L G T Pyke (P)
Sgt H D Iddles-White (F/Eng)
Sgt D Hellings (Nav)
Sgt D Peters (A/B)
Sgt L Adams (W/Op)
Sgt D S Eldred (MU/AG)
Sgt A T Ellement (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
PB514 Returned Primary at 10,000ft at 16.40hrs F/L G T Pyke (P)
Sgt H D Iddles-White (F/Eng)
Sgt D Hellings (Nav)
Sgt D Peters (A/B)
Sgt L Adams (W/Op)
Sgt D S Eldred (MU/AG)
Sgt A T Ellement (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Duisburg (14 Oct 1944 - 14 Oct 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Duisburg 14 Oct 1944 14 Oct 1944 N 25 aircraft and crews were briefed to attack the large steelworks of August Thysson at Duisburg, the world largest inland port. 24 aircraft took off without incident at approx 06.30hrs to make their way through layer cloud which broke before the Rhiner but closed in again over the target and only the crew of "H" (F/O Bond) claim to have bombed the ground markers. "N" (F/S Hopman), "A2" (S/L Gainsford) and "E2" (F/O Stevenson) claim to have bombed their objectives on Navigational aids, the others endeavoured to obey the Master Bombers instruction to bomb any built up area they could see in the vicinity of the target. Several crews reported that the Thyssen works were identified and in flames and one crew reported having observed the demolition of a Rhine bridge. At least one good photograph was obtained by "C2" (F/O John) showing a carpet of bomb bursts on the Steelworks which has been enlarged and forwarded to the C in C for his inspection.
F/O Abrams and F/O Dodds and their crews failed to return from this daylight raid in which approximately 1000 heavy aircraft with fighter cover took part.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Primary 19,000ft at 08.55hrs

Operation/Target: Duisburg (14 Oct 1944 - 15 Oct 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Duisburg 14 Oct 1944 15 Oct 1944 N There was no respite for the Squadron for a further 25 aircraft and crews were required, provided and briefed to attack once again Duisburg the scene of their early morning visit. All our aircraft returned safely from this operation.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Primary 19,000ft at 01.29hrs

Operation/Target: Stuttgart (19 Oct 1944 - 20 Oct 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Stuttgart 19 Oct 1944 20 Oct 1944 N Twenty six aircraft with crews were offered and twenty five were accepted, plus one aircraft to act as stand-by in the Base. The crews were briefed and took off at 16.50hrs at attack STUTTGART. Twenty took off at this time and the remaining five at 21.30hrs to attack Stuttgart, in two waves. One aircraft was cancelled at the last moment and one aircraft returned early with engine trouble, so in all only 24 aircraft proceeded to the target, one of which, it is regretted, failed to return. F/L Thomas and crew, who had only been with the Squadron a short time and were on their first operational sortie. Moderately cloudy conditions were encountered en route, but over the target 9/10 thick cloud was present and sky marking had to be resorted to. Six crews found momentary gaps to bomb ground markers. Very few results could be seen, only a vague incendiary and fire glow being visible under the cloud. Flak was reported as slight to moderate with some ineffective searchlights. "A" (F/O young) received some unpleasant attention and was well peppered by flak receiving damage in the tail plane, fuselage, flaps punctured, hydraulics and bomb container. "K" (F/O Daniels) also found Karlsruhe defences awake and received damage to the port wing, fuselage and a punctured tyre. Both aircraft landed safely at Base without casualty. All photographs show cloud and damage cannot be assessed. In additions to operational flying a training programme consisting of Air to Air firing, Air to Sea firing, practice bombing, Fighter affiliation and "Y" Night cross country exercises were carried out.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned

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
PB514 Returned Primary 18,000ft at 19.36hrs F/L G T Pyke (P)
Sgt D Hellings (Nav)
Sgt D Peters (A/B)
Sgt L Adams (W/Op)
Sgt D S Eldred (MU/AG)
Sgt A T Ellement (R/AG)

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
PB514 Returned

[Ed: service number very blurred. PB??4 PD?? "K"? "E"?]
F/L G T Pyke (P)
Sgt H D Iddles-White (F/Eng)
Sgt D Hellings (Nav)
Sgt D Peters (A/B)
Sgt L Adams (W/Op)
Sgt D S Eldred (MU/AG)
Sgt A T Ellement (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Walcheren (29 Oct 1944 - 29 Oct 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Walcheren 29 Oct 1944 29 Oct 1944 N 30 aircraft and crews were again offered for operations, but only eight were accepted for another daylight attack on the gun enplacements off the island of WALCHEREN at Domburg. No opposition was experienced and the target was successfully bombed, and all our aircraft returned without incident. This is considered to have been the Squadrons easiest operation since its inception. In addition to operations 13 1/2 hrs flying training was carried out.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Primary at 7000ft at 13.17 hrs

Operation/Target: Cologne (31 Oct 1944 - 31 Oct 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Cologne 31 Oct 1944 31 Oct 1944 N Twenty-four aircraft and crews were accepted and briefed to attack military objectives and communications at COLOGNE once again. Opposition was reported to be very moderate and the weather reasonably good. Once again crews participating considered this to have been a highly successful attack.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Primary ay 17,000ft at 21.10hrs

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
PB514 Returned Primary at 19,000ft at 19.27hrs

Operation/Target: Gelsenkirchen (06 Nov 1944 - 06 Nov 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Gelsenkirchen 06 Nov 1944 06 Nov 1944 N Twenty three aircraft with crews took off at approximately 11.00hrs to attack GELSINKIRCHEN 7 miles NE of Essen. The object of this attack was to dislocate the Huns transport facilities by bombing the very large marshalling yards. The weather at the target was 6/10 - 8/10 cloud with a convenient gap for the early arrivals who were able to identify the target area visually, as well as see a few TI markers, marking the A/P. The attack opened a few minutes early, but the later aircraft found the cloud rather too much for accurate bombing and with the M/C giving them instructions to seek their own A/Ps the end of the attack became somewhat scattered. However a good concentration of early bombs were dropped around the A/P and much smoke and later incendiaries with the large fires burning were seen. Flak was moderate to intense throughout the route through the Ruhr, from Duisburg onwards, although it varied greatly as to different aircraft: "E" (F/O Whynacht) receiving flak damage in the fuselage, bomb doors and two radiators. No enemy aircraft were seen, so the figher cover appeared to be adequate. "H" (F/O Bond) found he had no brake pressure on retun so landed without trouble at Carnaby. "M" (F/O McCarthy) did not return and no news was received from him after take off.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Primary, at 19000ft. at 14.02.

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
PB514 Returned Primary at 20000ft at 19.02 F/L J Harris (P)
Sgt I S Freeman (F/Eng)
F/O E B Hornsby (Nav)
F/Sgt R W Richardson (A/B)
F/Sgt P F Flux (W/Op)
F/Sgt W H Barrett (MU/AG)
Sgt W A Bentley (R/AG)

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
PB514 Returned Primary at 10,000ft at 15.30hrs F/L G T Pyke (P)
Sgt D Hellings (Nav)
Sgt D Peters (A/B)
Sgt L Adams (W/Op)
Sgt D S Eldred (MU/AG)
Sgt A T Ellement (R/AG)
Sgt H D Davies (F/Eng)

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
PB514 Returned Primary, at 16000ft at 19.04 F/L G T Pyke (P)
Sgt D Hellings (Nav)
Sgt D Peters (A/B)
Sgt L Adams (W/Op)
Sgt D S Eldred (MU/AG)
Sgt A T Ellement (R/AG)
Sgt H D Davies (F/Eng)

Operation/Target: Aschaffenburg (21 Nov 1944 - 22 Nov 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Aschaffenburg 21 Nov 1944 22 Nov 1944 N The Squadron dispatched 26 aircrarft and crews to attack the marshalling yards at ASCHAFFENBURG. The take off at 15.45hrs was good and without incident. Once again the weather denied crews the satisfaction of even seeing the target or assessing results. En route conditions were good, but over France cloud built up and the Master of Ceremonies and his deputy appeared to be going into a "huddle" to decide exactly where the target was. A small break did reveal markers and these were confirmed to be well placed and were bombed. Following aircraft were assisted by a red glow beneath the clouds and several explosions were reported. F/O Stevenson and W/O Hopman with their crews completed there first tour of operations.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Primary at 14000ft at 19.18 F/L G T Pyke (P)
Sgt D Hellings (Nav)
Sgt D Peters (A/B)
Sgt L Adams (W/Op)
Sgt D S Eldred (MU/AG)
Sgt A T Ellement (R/AG)
Sgt H D Davies (F/Eng)

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
PB514 Returned Primary 14000ft at 20.02 F/L G T Pyke (P)
Sgt D Hellings (Nav)
Sgt D Peters (A/B)
Sgt L Adams (W/Op)
Sgt D S Eldred (MU/AG)
Sgt A T Ellement (R/AG)
Sgt H D Davies (F/Eng)

Operation/Target: Dortmund (29 Nov 1944 - 29 Nov 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Dortmund 29 Nov 1944 29 Nov 1944 N 30 aircraft and crew were dispatched to attack DORTMUND. All successfully took off at approximately 11.20hrs, but the weather conditions over the target left much to be desired. Crew reports agree that after a precessional approach through the flak-strewn corridor to the target area, leading sorties arrived somewhat early to find that cloud and haze barred all but a fleeting glimpse of the built-up area and precluded effective pinpointing. The markers appeared to have been widely scatted and the Master Bomber's guidance could hardly have beeen described as inspiring. In the circumstances our sorties endeavoured to bash the bashful marker while others set off in search of built up areas. "C (F/L Maclachlan) and "L2" (F/O Williams) both claim to have bomber red markers. Pressing on, our "E2" (F/O Dale) found himself well past the target area without sighting a worthwhile objective, plain or coloured. Nothing daunted he attacked the centre of Munster and brought back a photograph to prove it. Meanwhile "W" (F/O Adams) losing height on three engines had barely reached the Rhine when prudence counselled an alternative target which he chose at the village of [STEMMELN], where a train on the main line appears in his photo to have had a clean shave. Both these lone wolves brough mementoes of flak opposition at and around their target. All out sorties returned safely, including "P" (F/O Summons) which after colliding with another aircraft en-route to the target, was coaxed on its two port engines alone through a gauntlet of flak towards Dusseldorf. Good airmanship and richly deserved good luck (which unhappily deserted the other victim - an aircraft from a sister Squadron) brought the unfortunate episode to a safe finish for F/O Summons and his crew. Losing height and weaving as much as it dared "P" presented a sitting and solitary target for Jerry's guns. A run was made on a built up area, where in far from ideal conditions the bomb-aimer declared his entire load - minus one bomb-tail - well and truly laid ... a truely remarkable performance, as was disclosed on subsequent inspection of the mangled bomb-bay. Thereafter, losing height on a "Home James!" course, and escorted on the finishing straight by a Spitfire, "P" touched down at Mansten with a dignity that belied its crumpled propellers and disembarked its crew entirely unscathed.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Primary at 20000ft at 15.01hrs [Ed: "E"??? in ORB is not PB514, BQ-Y)] F/L G T Pyke (P)
Sgt D Hellings (Nav)
Sgt D Peters (A/B)
Sgt L Adams (W/Op)
Sgt D S Eldred (MU/AG)
Sgt A T Ellement (R/AG)
Sgt H D Davies (F/Eng)

Operation/Target: Urff Dam (03 Dec 1944 - 03 Dec 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Urff Dam 03 Dec 1944 03 Dec 1944 Y 14 aircraft and crew detailed to carry out an attack on URST DAM and took off at approximately 07.30hrs without incident. The weather en-route was bad and over the target visibility was so poor and the weather so bad that the crews returned without dropping their bombs. Flying training programme was also carried out totalling 33.06hrs.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Abandoned on instructions of Master Bomber F/L G T Pyke (P)
Sgt D Hellings (Nav)
Sgt D Peters (A/B)
Sgt L Adams (W/Op)
Sgt D S Eldred (MU/AG)
Sgt A T Ellement (R/AG)
Sgt H D Davies (F/Eng)

Operation/Target: Merseburg (06 Dec 1944 - 07 Dec 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Merseburg 06 Dec 1944 07 Dec 1944 N 30 crews briefed and took their aircraft off at 16.35hrs without incident to attack the synthetic oil plaint at MERSEBERG. The target was the LEUNA chemical works, one of he largest plants in Germnay, covering an area of 1 1/4 sq miles, and employing some 50000 workers in the manufacture of ammonia, fertilisers, chemicals, synthetic oil and other products. Truely a "chemical hot bed". The customary 10/10 cloud again persisted and bombing was carried out on flares. The glow of fires was visible for some distance on the return journey and several explosions were reported. Owing to the density of the cloud photographs proved useless and the report of our P.R.U colleagues are awaited with interest. Flak was reported as being moderate to intense. Little training was carried out owing to the lack of aircraft. From this operation F/L Morris and crew failed to return.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned -

Operation/Target: Essen (12 Dec 1944 - 13 Dec 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Essen 12 Dec 1944 13 Dec 1944 N 25 aircraft and crews took off without incident at 16.00hrs to attack ESSEN. The journey out proved uneventful and the 10/10 cloud which greets us with almost monotonous regularity was again in evidence. Early crews saw sky markers up aloft, a situation which gave bomb aimers rather a headache, but aircraft arriving later did not have the same problem to solve and were able to bomb in the orthdox fashion. Observed results were confined to a red glow seen reflected on the underside of the clouds and three healthy explosions each of which lighted the sky for appropimately 30 secs. Photographs were unable to throw any light on the subject and so once again we shall have to await the accurate assessment of the result. Flak was light to moderate and later increased in intensity.
In addition to the operations 20.52hrs flying training was carried out.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned - F/L G T Pyke (P)
Sgt D Hellings (Nav)
Sgt D Peters (A/B)
Sgt L Adams (W/Op)
Sgt D S Eldred (MU/AG)
Sgt A T Ellement (R/AG)
Sgt H D Davies (F/Eng)

Operation/Target: Ulm (17 Dec 1944 - 18 Dec 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Ulm 17 Dec 1944 18 Dec 1944 N 29 crews were briefed to attack the rail junction at ULM situated some 100 miles inside the German frontier on the banks of the Danube. Heavy cloud compelled low flying for most of the way, but in the target area there was little more than thin stratus which did not prevent ground markers from being seen through it. The Master Bomber' assessment of the situation however was that the best results were likely to be produced from aiming on the well placed and plentiful sky markers and ordered bombing accordingly. A very good concentration of fire developed, with a number of spectacular explosions occuring among them. Defences were meagre and there were no searchlights active.
S/L Caldow "B" was unlucky - one of the few flak bursts over the target hit one of his aircrafts fuel tanks, which promptly emptied, the tailplane, elevators damaged and one of the aerials shot away which did not interfere with a safe return and landing at Base. No flying training was carried out.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Primary at 1000ft at 19.36hrs [Ed. 1000ft seems like a typo]

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
PB514 Returned - F/L D A Shaw (P)

Operation/Target: Cologne (24 Dec 1944 - 25 Dec 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Cologne 24 Dec 1944 25 Dec 1944 N 23 crews were briefed to attack the marshalling yards at COLOGNE-NIPPES. 22 aircraft successfully took off with the intention of disrupting and disorganising things generally. The weather was anything but good at the time of take off, visibility fluctuating between 400-600 yards and before take off there were sinister rumours of a possible diversion - an ugly word at any time - and the wise ones collected their small kit. F/L MacLachlan "C" was genuinely disappointed at being a non-starter with a burst radiator and F/O Grundy "O" was abortive before setting course with a faulty starboard outer engine. The remainder bombed the target. Crews were surprised at the unusual phenomena of an entire absence of cloud, and with the assistance of very accuruate ground marking, proceeed to disrupt and disorganise as ordered. Photographs show many sticks of craters across the marshalling yards with nearly all the rail tracks severed and much rolling stock destroyed. With the exception of F/O Davidson "T(? - illegible)" who landed at Ludford Magna, all the aircraft landed at U.S.A.A.F Wendling, Norfolk. Any visions both air and ground crews may have had of holly, the flowing bowl and fun and games did not materialise. A certain amount of despondency descended on the Waafery and all the ground crews could do was to drink to absent friends, which they did with some measure of enthusiasm. No flying training was carried out.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Primary at 16500ft at 18.34hrs F/O W M Davidson (P)
Sgt F A Decker (F/Eng)
F/Sgt A V Townsend (Nav)
F/Sgt R J Lloyd (A/B)
F/Sgt W H Evans (W/Op)
Sgt J M Watson (MU/AG)
Sgt C J Sherratt (R/AG)

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
PB514 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
PB514 Returned - F/L G T Pyke (P)
Sgt D Hellings (Nav)
Sgt D Peters (A/B)
Sgt L Adams (W/Op)
Sgt D S Eldred (MU/AG)
Sgt A T Ellement (R/AG)
Sgt H D Davies (F/Eng)

Operation/Target: Nuremburg (02 Jan 1945 - 02 Jan 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Nuremburg 02 Jan 1945 02 Jan 1945 N 29 aircraft with crews, plus 2 crews and aircraft from No. 166 Squadron, were briefed to attack Nuremburg. Thirty aircraft took off at approximately 15.00 hours without incident. F/O Summons failed to take off owing to his navigator having met with an accident whilst proceeding to the aircraft. Also one complete crew was sent to R.A.F Elsham Wolds and took off from there to participate in the operation for No. 103 Squadron. The crews found the weather to be cloudy over England, and the Channel, and the Continent as far as 700degress(??) East. From thence it gradually cleared and at the target conditions were excellent with only a slight ground haze and the built up area contrasted sharply with the snow covered countryside. Owing to the prevailing winds, aircraft arrived early in the target area and some aircraft orbited awaiting the Pathfinder marking. The attacks opened a few minutes early and the first ??? of mixed Red and Green Target Indicators were seen to fall across the Marshalling Yards in the ??? of the town. Excellent concentrated bombing developed, numerous explosions took place, and the glow of the raging fires could be seen 150 miles away by the crews on their return journey. A reconnisance aircraft flying over the target after the attack reported three large area of solid fires to the N.N.W. and one to the S.E. with many smaller ones over the whole area. One aircraft "E" (F/O Smith) developed an oil leak in the port inner engine whilst over France. Correctly following instructions he sought out and found an alternative target, that of the town of Pforsheim, some 25 miles north of the route, lying between Karlsruhe and Stuttgart. The ground defences consisted of slight heavy flak and numerous searchlights, but all ground opposition rapidly decreased as the attack developed. Excellent photographs brought back prove conclusively that the attack was excellent. No flying training was carried out owing to the aircraft being used for operations, but a programme of ground training was carried out by the crews not engaged on operations.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Secondary, Pforzheim, at 11000ft at 18.46hrs

Operation/Target: Munich (07 Jan 1945 - 08 Jan 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Munich 07 Jan 1945 08 Jan 1945 N 27 aircraft and crews, which included 2 base reserves, were required on operations and the crews were briefed to attack MUNICH. Owing to three aircraft going unserviceable at the last moment, only 24 aircraft took off at approximately 18.00 hours. Nil to 6/10 cloud tops at 10,000ft was encountered over this country and the English Channel. A front was positioned just inside the French coast and cloud was 10/10 with tops up to 20,000ft to approx 5 degress E; from there to 7 degress E, the cloud was thin and a certain amount of icing was experienced, but after crossing the Rhine the cloud once again became 10/10 and the target was completely obscured by fairly thick cloud with tops 10/12000ft. Owing to stronger winds than forecast the main force arrived early in the target area and many orbited or dog-legged while waiting for markers. Aircraft from No. 5 Group had preceded our attack by several hours and what appeared to be the glow of fires and searchlights illuminating the cloud base could be seen for approximately 40 miles on appreoach to the target. The 5 group attackers experienced more favourable conditions and a concentrated and accuruate bombing appeared to have taken place. For our attack, the markers were sparse. The target indicators rapidly disappeared into the cloud and it was not until 22.33 hours that any degree of concentration of sky marking was achieved; many crews had bombed before this. The concentration of marking was not maintained and the attack can only be regarded as somewhat scattered. No detailed results were observed. Ground defences in the target area consisted only of slight to moderate heavy flak. Stuttgart defenders were active and several combats with night-fighters were reported. All photographs show cloud, therefore no assessment of the attack could be made although from the H.2.S. fixes there can be no doubt that the attack was correctly centered more or less on the centre of the city. F/O Ansell and crew completed a very successful tour with this trip. F/O Clarke ("P") and crew failed to return, nothing having been heard from them after take-off.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned - F/L G T Pyke (P)
Sgt D Hellings (Nav)
Sgt D Peters (A/B)
Sgt L Adams (W/Op)
Sgt D S Eldred (MU/AG)
Sgt A T Ellement (R/AG)
Sgt H D Davies (F/Eng)

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
PB514 Returned - F/L G T Pyke (P)
Sgt D Hellings (Nav)
Sgt D Peters (A/B)
Sgt L Adams (W/Op)
Sgt D S Eldred (MU/AG)
Sgt A T Ellement (R/AG)
Sgt H D Davies (F/Eng)

Operation/Target: Zeitz Oil Plant (16 Jan 1945 - 17 Jan 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Zeitz Oil Plant 16 Jan 1945 17 Jan 1945 N 26 aircraft 2 reserve aircraft and crews stood by for operations. The crews were briefed and 28 aircraft took off without incident at 17.30 hours to attack the synthetic oil plant at ZEITZ, situated some 20 miles south of Leipzig. "E" (F/Lt Pyke) had a somewhat "dicey do" soon after take off and while climbing over base the port outer engine caught fire; unable to extinguish it or feather the airscrew, F/Lt Pyke proceeded out to sea to jettison his bombs and do it quickly as the fire threatened to get out of hand. However, all went well for the fire went out soon after recrossing the coast and landed safely. The weather was as per forecast and gave no trouble. On arrival at their distant target they found clear weather and good visibility. The bombing was highly oncentrated on the centre of the target. 9 major explosions and one really super explosion which belched forth flame and black oily smoke were seen, The crew were really enthusistic and highly satisfied with their night's work. The defences and night fighters were very active, but all returned safely to base.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Abortive - Port outer overheated and caught fire. Unable to feather. F/L G T Pyke (P)
F/L J B Barnes (P)
Sgt D Hellings (Nav)
Sgt D Peters (A/B)
Sgt L Adams (W/Op)
Sgt D S Eldred (MU/AG)
Sgt A T Ellement (R/AG)
Sgt H D Davies (F/Eng)

Operation/Target: Hamborn (22 Jan 1945 - 22 Jan 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Hamborn 22 Jan 1945 22 Jan 1945 N 27 aircrews were briefed at 08.45 hours and were in thair aircraft ready for action. The Squadron was to be led by the Station Commander G/Cpt McIntyre, but the intended operation was once again cancelled owing to adverse weather en route and over the target. Needless to say the boys were very disappointed for they all, without excpetion, thoroughly enjoy a daylight operation. A good training programme was laid on but had to be cancelled owing to the Squadron having to prepare for another operation for which 31 aircrews were briefed at 14.30 hours and successfully took of at approximately 16.45 hours. Although take off was good, it needed all the pilots skill to successfully accomplish the feat. The runways were on the treacherous side in spite of the amount of time and effort spent on clearing snow and spreading salt and sand. Watching take off my heart momentarily stood still a few times, severlal aircraft when about to become airbourne had a tendancy to swing sharply to starboard which looked decidedly dangerous.
The Squadron was led by Squadron Commander W/Cmdr Bryan Bell (Dingle) to attack the steel works at HAMBORN, the northern suburb of Duisburg. F/Lt Summons in "Q" returned early with C S U(?) trouble, but the remaining 30 had a very successful party. The target was clear of cloud, the marking was accurate and bombing concentrated. Several fires were started and explosions reported, one very impressive and 37 minutes after "N" hours. At the end of the attack the target was covered by a thick pall of smoke. Ground opposition was only slight and fighters little in evidence. All returned safely and unscathed to Base. Photographs brought back show excellent results. F/Lt Shenker and F/O Bell with their crews completed their first operational tours on the high note of this most satisfactory operation.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned - F/L G T Pyke (P)
F/L J B Barnes (P)
Sgt D Hellings (Nav)
Sgt D Peters (A/B)
Sgt L Adams (W/Op)
Sgt D S Eldred (MU/AG)
Sgt A T Ellement (R/AG)
Sgt H D Davies (F/Eng)

Operation/Target: Mannheim-Ludwigshafen (01 Feb 1945 - 02 Feb 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Mannheim-Ludwigshafen 01 Feb 1945 02 Feb 1945 N After 10 days of enforced idleness due to excessive weather conditions the Squadron was called up on to supply 29 aircraft and crews plus two aircraft and crews in reserve to attack the rail centre and marshalling yards in LUDWIGSHAVEN. 30 aircraft successfully took off at approx. 1530hrs The weather on route was rather mixed from 10/10 cloud to clear conditions over the Channel well broken cluid over the Continent until the target 10/10 cloud built up about 5 miles hort on the run in. On the return very turbulent conditions were encountered crossing the North Sea to the Norfolk Coast. At the target both ground and sky marking was resorted to by the PFF but with the target indicators disappearing into the low cloud and some of the sky markers being too high for easy aiming, bomb aimers had rather a difficult time. Results were very obscure, there was however a very encouraging incendiary glow that developed into a compact fire mass with two explosions. From the H2S photographs brought back, it is thought that there was a tendency to undershoot. Flak was reported as slight, later decreasing to give way to night fighter activity. Night fighters were more active than usual and several combats were observed.
F/L Maltin and his crew completed their second tour and F/L Doward and his crew completed their first tour of operations successfully. F/O Lohrey and his crew failed to return and it was at first reported as missing but later it was learnt that at least five of his crew, including himself, were safe in Allied Territory, after having been forced to abandon their aircraft which had been badly damaged colliding with a friendly aircraft near the target area.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned - F/L G T Pyke (P)
Sgt D Hellings (Nav)
Sgt D Peters (A/B)
Sgt L Adams (W/Op)
Sgt D S Eldred (MU/AG)
Sgt A T Ellement (R/AG)
Sgt H D Davies (F/Eng)

Operation/Target: Mannheim (01 Mar 1945 - 01 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Mannheim 01 Mar 1945 01 Mar 1945 N 26 aircraft with their crews took off at approximately 11.30hrs without incident to participate in a daylight attach on a large concentation of enemy troops reported to be in the vicinity of the Rhine bridgeheads near MANNHEIM. It was unfortunate that on this daylight raid the target was covered by 10/0ths could and results of our bombing could not be observed and assessment of the raid was not possible. Ground defences consisted of approximately a dozen bursts of heavy flak. The bombers were escorted by fighters who kept their opposite numbers out of sight. "K" (F/O Davidson) had a starboard outer engine catch fire and although losing height pressed on to the target bombed and returned safely.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned -

Operation/Target: Cologne (02 Mar 1945 - 02 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Cologne 02 Mar 1945 02 Mar 1945 N 26 aircraft with their crews took off at approximately 06.45hrs in the usual Squadron style to attack the approaches to the Rhine bridges at COLOGNE to prevent the retreating Huns from escaping to the east of the Rhine. For once the weather was kind. 5/10ths cloud was encountered until approximately 20miles short of the target which was clear. Visibility was good and crews had no difficulty in identifying the aiming point visually. Bombing was reported to be concentrated with a few hundred yards of aiming point. A generous fighter escort was supplied which discouraged the Luftwaffe from putting in an appearance. Flak over the target was moderate and accurate. Five aircraft from the Squadron were damaged. Photographs confirm that the aiming point was well and truly hit.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned -

Operation/Target: Chemnitz (05 Mar 1945 - 06 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Chemnitz 05 Mar 1945 06 Mar 1945 N 26 aircraft, including the reserve, as it was apparant immediately after take-off that "E2" (F/L Dale) would be abortive with a port engine unserviceable, took off at approximately 16.45hrs as part of a force of over 700 Lancasters and Halifaxes detailed to attack CHEMNITZ. The trip to the target was without incident, with a layer of 10/10 cloud beneath most of the time. On reaching the target area it was quickly seen that the cloud prevented anything other the sky marking which was called for by the Master Bomber. His broadcasting was much distorted by static interference, but he was generally heard. The first release point flares went down 3 minutes before "H" hour; they were plentiful and well grouped but fell into the cloud tops rather quickly and later there was a gap when no flares were seen. Detailed results could not be seen but judging from the incendiary glow and the bursts of the cookies, bombing appeard to be concentrated. There was only very slight heavy flak over the target area, but the Leipzig defences were active and the night fighters were in evidence, both over the target and along the first two legs of the homeward route. Three aircraft reported combats but none claimed any night fighters destroyed. 22 aircraft landed safely at base; "J" (P/O Findlay) landed at Benson, "O" (F/O Harris) at Carnaby, with flaps unserviceable, and "F" (F/S Wilson) at Tempsford, with damage sustained in combat but no casualties.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned -

Operation/Target: Dessau (07 Mar 1945 - 08 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Dessau 07 Mar 1945 08 Mar 1945 N 27 aircraft took off at approximately 17.00hrs on operations, but not without incident. "E2" (W/O Lukies) proved most fractious. The starboard outer engine cut on take-off. The aircraft swung dangerously but the pilot by masterly handling avoided a hanger and other obstacles, proceeded to the jettison area and returned safely. The other aircraft set course on the long route to DESSAU. Cloud amounts variable. Opposition was lively, both from flak and night fighters, but the former was not so strong over the target. Some crews bombed ground markers through 3/10 cloud with a clear view of the town and River Elbe; others had to rely on sky markers owing to 10/10 cloud. General opinion was that the attack was well concentrated and that the target was set, well and truely, ablaze. "M" (S/L Pickles) had it's "Gee" unserviceable from Southern England outwards, but the crew pressed on and after some meandering found themselves near to the target. They bombed in solitary state, a healthy concentration of fires left by their comrades. Two crews reported inconclusive combats with night fighters. Three aircraft "V" (F/O Jones), "O" (F/O Harris) and "R" (P/O Nielson) failed to return and it was with deepest regret that they were reported missing. Nothing was heard from any of them after take-off. Three aircraft and crews carried out flying in training involving over 7 hrs flying.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Primary at 13,000ft at 22.10hrs

Operation/Target: Dortmund (12 Mar 1945 - 12 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Dortmund 12 Mar 1945 12 Mar 1945 N 23 aircraft took off without incident at approx. 12.50 hours on what was in almost every respect a repetition of the previous days effort. The only difference, the target was DORTMUND. The colour of the sky markers was changed and the time of the attack about tea time, but the same big dome of dark smoke mushroomed up through the cloud tops. Flak was not up to the usual Ruhr standards, and the only fighters seen were our own, and so the raid appeared to be highly satisfactory. Our 23 aircraft returned to base and landed safely with no fuss or botther at all. The crews of F/O E. M. Smith and F/L Edlund completed their tour of operations with this sortie. Two aircraft and crews completed a flying training detail involving 9 1/2 hours total flying.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned -

Operation/Target: Misburg (15 Mar 1945 - 16 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Misburg 15 Mar 1945 16 Mar 1945 N Another oil target. [Ed. Misburg? TBC.] 19 aircraft offered and all took off. Most of the "incident", in fact, came before take-off when the CO provided entertainment for the crews whiling away the last few moments on the deck by chasing a way a horse which was contravening Station Standing Orders by appropriating one of the runways as a cantering area. After a breathless 10 min exhibition, almost a rodeo, of horse steering by car, the take-off proceded. Except for the English Channel, the route wascloudless and over the target only ground haze was present. Ground identification was possible for many of the crews in the light of the illuminating flares, but ground markers were accurately placed and in excellent concentration. Almost immediately after the first bombs were dropped the target was enveloped in flame and smoke which rose to 10000 feet from a particularly big explosion. An excellently concentrated attack developed, large fires soon became established and two further large explosions occurred. The glow from the first would be seen upwards of 100 miles on the return journey. Opposition from the ground was generally described as moderate heavy flak, although this was accurate for the height and early crews found it hotter than those succeeding them. Some fighters were active but none of our aircraft reported combats, all returned safely to base.

[Ed: this last part of the last sentence appears to be an error in the monthly summary in the ORB. Because on the battle order list for the date one aircraft is listed as failing to return to base. P/O Wallace RNZAF crew, NG287 "Q" (5 killed, 1 Evd, 1 PoW.]
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned -

Operation/Target: Nuremberg (16 Mar 1945 - 17 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Nuremberg 16 Mar 1945 17 Mar 1945 N Squadron put 19 aircraft for operations. 18 aircraft took off; F/O Luder aircraft stayed on the ground with an unserviceable rear turret. The target was NURENBURG. Up to 10/10 cloud was experienced en route but this broke up to 4-6/10 in the targe area, over which there was a large gap giving a clear view of the ground markers, which were punctual and concentrated. The Master Bomber's instructions came through clearly. Fires got going quickly outlining the street patterns, finally merging into one large conflagration, the glow from which could be seen for 150 miles on the return journey. Flak defences were only slight to moderate with 15-20 ineffective searchlights which were doused early in the attack. On the other hand, enemy fighter activity was intense from the Stuttgart area to the target and beyond. Many combats were reported. "L" (F/S Wilson) claimed to have damaged a JU.88. "K" (/O Findlay) saw stikes on another. "D" (F/S Jamieson) landed at Manston with the rear gunner, Sgt, Klementoski, wounded so seriously that he has since died. "B" (F/O Liefooghe) failed to return, no news being received after take-off. S/L Caldow AFC, DFC and F/O Cowper completed their tours of operations. The latter came home on three engines. Six aircraft and crews carried out day and night flying training.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Primary at 16500ft at 21.30hrs W/O R E Vietheer (MU/AG)
P/O J S Percival (P)
Sgt E W Ward (F/Eng)
F/Sgt S E Whyte (Nav)
Sgt N R Knipton (A/B)
Sgt C J Nileman (W/Op)
Sgt I Rees (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Hanau (18 Mar 1945 - 19 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Hanau 18 Mar 1945 19 Mar 1945 N Squadron detailed 18 aircraft to attack Hanau. "M2" (F/L Sarll) aircraft developed ignition trouble in the port outer engine and did not leave its dispersal. The other 17 aircraft took off in quick succession, commencing at23.50 hours. The route was moderately quite, athough approaching the target and coming out of it, there was evidence of night fighters. Cloud varied in amount, but over the target it was thin. The marking was carried out punctually and in text book fashion. Bombing was reported as well concentrated and the effects were visible from 85 mils distant on the return journey. "D2" (F/O Lukies) reported a combat with a JU.88 and claimed it as damaged. Reports of other crews confirmed this. F/L Dale and crew completed their tour with this op. "Q" (F/L Burrows) aircraft failed to return. Five members returned to the Sqdn after baling out over no-mans-land and spending exciting days with the 12th US Army. Three aircarft and crews flew 14 1/4 hours on training details.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Primary at 11000ft at 04.36hrs F/O H J Handley (P)
F/Sgt L J Tough (F/Eng)
Sgt H B Brier (Nav)
F/Sgt J Taylor (A/B)
Sgt R G Aldridge (W/Op)
Sgt H Firth (MU/AG)
Sgt D Hiskins (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Bremen (21 Mar 1945 - 21 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Bremen 21 Mar 1945 21 Mar 1945 N 15 aircraft from the Squadron were detailed for operations. All of them took off safely without incident at approx 08.00. The target was the Deutsche Oil Refinery on the North West outskirts of BREMEN. The route was direct across North Holland, ideal weather conditions were experienced and no flak appeared. Marking was vary accurate and the Master Bomber had a firm and clear control of the attack. Very quickly a pall of smoke, of varying shades, enveloped the target. Along the bombing run the aircraft had to fly through a lane of hot, quite accurate, heavy flak and several aircraft were hit, but none vitally. "K" (P/O Screen) was hit in the port outer engine and limped back to base on three engines. All of the Squadron aircraft landed safely at base. 3 aircraft and crew flew 10 hours flying training.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Primary at 14500ft at 10.00hrs P/O R H Digby (P)
Sgt J H Walker (F/Eng)
F/O A E Lewis (Nav)
Sgt A E McLeod (A/B)
Sgt D Crabtree (W/Op)
Sgt J L Perrigo (MU/AG)
Sgt R D Hager (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Hildesheim (22 Mar 1945 - 22 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Hildesheim 22 Mar 1945 22 Mar 1945 N The Squadron was called to put up 16 aircraft on operations. All took off without incident at approx. 11.30 hours. The attack, a small one, was on HILDESHEIM, 20 miles SE of Hannover. Formation, outward bound to the target, was good in almost perfect weather conditions. Although the leader took the main force rather close by Osnabruck and Hanover, there was an almost complete absence of flak at the target and crews had no difficulty in visually identifying it, marked in an accurate and concentrated style. Soon the Master Bomber had to give directions to aim wiht the smoke as a guiode and within a few minutes the whole of the built up areas was a mass of smoke and dust. The smoke, rising to 15000 ft, could be seen from 200 miles. "C2" (F/L Parsons) was hit by heavy flak and had two fuel takes holed, "L" (F/S Wilson) was hit by incendiaries over the target, the port wing tip and aileron being damaged. All the Squadron's aircraft returned safely to base. F/O Davidon DFC and his crew completed their tour with this operation. 4 aircraft and crews on the flying training programme spent 14 hours in the air.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned -

Operation/Target: Hannover (25 Mar 1945 - 25 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Hannover 25 Mar 1945 25 Mar 1945 N 6 aircraft were called for operations. "M2" (F/S Wilson) had to "scrub it" with an unserviceable tacometer on the starbroad inner engine, but the other five took off with further mishap at approx. 06.50 hours. The target was HANNOVER and the route out uneventful apart from a front which had to be negotiated somewhere between 03.00 degress and 05.00 degress East. The bombing was accurate and well concentrated. No enemy aircraft were seen and flak was slight. "Y" (P/O Screen) had to feather the starboard outer over the North Sea outbound but pressed on through the front. In response to a request for fighter assistance 4 Mustangs came along and took them to the target, after which they were joined by three more. Some little distance away, on the return, they were subjected to predicted flak, which however they managed to avoid. All the aircraft landed safely at base. The Flight Lieutenants Franklyn R and J have, with their crews, completed their tours on consecutive days. 4 aircraft and crews flew a total of over 10 hours on a day flying training programme.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Primary at 12700ft at 09.52hrs

Operation/Target: Hamburg (31 Mar 1945 - 31 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Hamburg 31 Mar 1945 31 Mar 1945 N 16 aircraft with crews took off at approximately 06.20 to attack HAMBURG. The weather conditions were bad - 10/10 cloud all the way and over the target. The bombing on sky markers, which were rather scattered, was not considered to be concentrated and the results are awaited. Flak was moderately heavy and two of our aircraft were damaged without casualties. All aircraft returned safely to base just before mid-day to enjoy a good luncheon. Flying training programme was carried out during the afternoon and evening. The Squadron has enjoyed a good months work although unable to put into the air large numbers of crews through crews becoming tour-expired so quickly in succession.

MESSAGE FROM AIR OFFICER COMMANDING No. 1 GROUP.
The month of March 1945 ends with No. 1 Group breaking all records for sorties flown and for bomb tonnage lifted against the enemy of reaching the figures of 3674 (sorties) and 17902 (tons). These achievements truly reflect the energy and determination both of the aircrews and of the ground crews to strike hard blows against the bewildered enemy. I congratulate you all on this magnificient effort and am confident that, should you be called upon to repeat and perhaps even exceed these figures in the Month of April, none will be found wanting. Blucke.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Abortive - starboard outer u/s

Operation/Target: Lutzendorf (04 Apr 1945 - 04 Apr 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Lutzendorf 04 Apr 1945 04 Apr 1945 N 20 aircraft took off without incident to attack oil plant at LUTZENDORF. Mets briefing had made a courageous attempt to prove that the clouds would not be as black as they were painted, forecasting "after a good look at the map" generous breaks over the target in the threatened 8 - 10/10 cloud. The forecast was triumphly justified by a cloud free target with visibility only marred by a slight haze, although 8/10 cloud persisted to a point under 50 miles from target. Mets assurance, however, that umbrellas would not be required on return was not so happy. Markers after a somewhat slow start were plentiful and crews who were able to identify visually reported that they were actually placed. Bombing was well concentrated and although fires were not impressive much black smoke rose from the target early in the attack, so much so that the Master Bomber at H+3 ordered the crews to bomb smoke. Numerous explosions, with one particularly large one, in the target area were reported. Ground opposition consisted of slight to moderate H/F, a slight amount of light flak and about no ineffective searchlights. There was some enemy figher activity and "P" (F/S Williams) had a tussle with an ME.109 short of the target. The enemy aircraft was first seen 300 yards aways and "Ps" rear gunner immediately opened fire seeing numerous strikes before Jerry broke away without returing fire. Generally the route was trouble free. We regret to report that "X" (F/O Hayes) failed to return, no news being received after take-off.

[Ed: target alternatively spellt Lützkendorf (2 miles east of Mücheln) (i.e. the original ORB entry missed a "ü" and "k"). Also known as Krumpa.]
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned -

Operation/Target: Kiel (09 Apr 1945 - 10 Apr 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Kiel 09 Apr 1945 10 Apr 1945 N 23 aircraft and crews took off at approx. 19.40hrs without incident to attack KIEL, and joining the other aircraft from neighbouring bases, made an impressive picture as they streamed away to their target. The trip was uneventful for the outward jounrney, and the Met. proving accurate with some cloud en route but clearing completely in the target area, an excellent attack developed. The marking was clearly visible in spite of slight ground haze, and with some details of the Fjord and the coastline visible, appeared accurate. The Master Bomber was faint and difficult to hear, but most crews heard enough to understand the bombing instructions. Bombing appeared very concentrated and soon a pall of black smoke was billowing up with numerous explosions occuring underneath, while the cheerful sight of the glow of fires was seen for upwards of 90/100 miles on the homeward route. Flak varied from slight to intense and several fighters were seen over the target, although none of our aircraft was involved in combats. 22 aircraft attacked the primary target, one aircraft "N" (F/L Parsons) having to abandon soon after take-off due to some of the instrunments going u/s (a good attempt was made to cope with a piece of string as an artificial horizon but without avail). All our aircraft returned safely, including S/L Newitt and his crew who are to be warmly congratulated on finishing their second tour. The photographs shows some excellent ground detail, one or two of them being the clearest received for some time. The best for clarity was that of "R" (F/L Mitchell) which has been plotted as 600yards from the A/P - taken in the early part of the operation it shows that the main weight of the attack fell slightly to the N.E. of the A/P, but sufficiently near to make a successfull attack.
Eight hours night flying training was carried out by two new crews, F/S Thomas and F/S Banahan with their respective crews.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Primary at 14,000ft at 22.35hrs

Operation/Target: Plauen (10 Apr 1945 - 11 Apr 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Plauen 10 Apr 1945 11 Apr 1945 N No. 1 Groups attack last night on Plauen therefore might be regarded as a gesture of "no favour shown". PLAUEN a town about the size of Huddersfield 60(?) miles SSW of Leipzig is a junction where the main line from Berlin and Dresden to the south splits, one branch going S.W. towards Schweinfurt, threatenend by the American forces, and another to Nuremberg, Munich, and the Salzberg area, where Hitler is known to be concentrating material and his most fanatical followers for the "Last Round-up" The attack thus has a dual purpose - to prevent the sinews if was getting to the forces opposing the Americans and to delay the withdrawal to the Bavarian Alps by smashing Plauen's rail facilities. This and the trend of Bomber Command's future targets were indicated by the A.O.C No. 1 Group (Air Vice Marshall R.S. Burke DSO DFC) when he honoured 550 Squadron by attending its briefing. With the heavy influx of new crews, 550 Squadron is now regaining its former scale of effort.

Twenty-seven aircraft were detailed, of these 26 took off, "U" being cancelled because of engine trouble. Weather en-route was cloudless and with only a slight haze at the target many crews were able to identify visually the built-up area of the town. P.F.F were punctual and markers were dropped plumb in the centre of the town. So concentrated was the bombing that it completely obliterated the marking with dust and smoke, and immediately after "H" hours, the Master Bombert ordered bombing on the centre of the smoke which was seen billowing to 8/10,000feet. Several explosions were reported and fires were started which could be seen for upwards of 100 miles on the return journey. Ground defences were negligible at the opening of the attack, but increased to slight to slightly scatted H.F mainly below the bombing height band. There was some slight fighter activity but none of the our aircraft was engaged in combat. At interrogation crews were surprisingly full of beans after their long trip. One of the best pieces of back chat came from a Navigator and a Rear Gunner who differed over the amount of flak encountered over the target. The Navigator took the honours with the final and cruel retort "anyway we were home by the time you got to the target". "J" (F/L Browne) landed back at Manston on two engines after a trip that was full of incident. Soon after crossing the French coast outward and when at 3000ft J's starboard engine caught fire and had to be feathered. Although there was no hope of gaining the briefed bombing height, the Captain decided to carry on to the target which was reached on time, and at a height of 11500ft, well below the main force bombing height. Preferring to wait for the end of the attack to going in under the open bomb doors of the main Force "J" orbited the target area twice. Then 2 1/2mins after the close of the main attack J's air-bomber dropped his bombs on an Emergency sighting angle - the bomb sight was u/s owing to the failure of the starboard inner and the crew had the satisfaction of seeing them drop close to a blazing factory. On the camera run, with the bomb doors still open, "J" was hit by flak which damaged the tops of the bomb bays. Control of the aircraft was not affected but J's troubles were by no means over. In the region of Frankfurt while at 9000ft the port outer engine, which had been giving cause for anxiety, failed. Height was maintained, but the area of the Rhine I.A.Zs had to be crossed at 9000ft and these opened up. Fortunately, they broke off as soon as the colours of the period were fired and a safe landing was made at Manston, Photos confirm that the bombing was concentrated. F/L MacLachlan and crew completed their tour of operations.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Primary at 16500ft at 23.11hrs

Operation/Target: Heligoland (18 Apr 1945 - 18 Apr 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Heligoland 18 Apr 1945 18 Apr 1945 N 28 aircraft with crews took off in the usual 550 Squadron style at 10.10hrs to attack the German fortified island of HELIGOLAND. The crews were delighted at being able to participate in another daylight raid. The journey outward was uneventful and visibiity was excellent, the weather being that of a hot summer's day. Our contribution was part of a force of 950 aircraft. Bombing commenced a minute early and the absence of marking in no way affected the accuracy of the bombing. Indeed, the concentration of bombing was so tremendous that it was not thought that markers, had they been dropped, would have remained visible long enough for them to have been used as an aiming point. The island was so saturated by the weight of the attack that the crews met only negigible opposition from the ground defences. No enemy aircraft were encountered. A great number of excellent photographs were obtained giving proof of an outstanding attack. An aircraft carrying a movie-camera was present throughout the attack. P/O Town had to return early owing to engine failure. Eleven hours night flying training was also carried out.
Station Summary
OPERATIONS: A daylight operation took place on the defensive fortress of HELIGOLAND ISLAND. 28 aircraft took off from North Killingholme, one was abortive due to excessive coolant temperature in the port outer engine, and the remainder bombed the primary with excellent results.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Primary at 18,500ft at 12.49hrs F/O A C Bothe (P)
F/Sgt J H Andrews (F/Eng)
F/Sgt A S Wiltshire (Nav)
F/O S W Collins (A/B)
Sgt B J Williams (W/Op)
Sgt H W Barton (MU/AG)
Sgt F R Knight (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Bremen (22 Apr 1945 - 22 Apr 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Bremen 22 Apr 1945 22 Apr 1945 N It was a formidable force that Bomber Command detailed, with four separate aiming points - enemy strong points on the east side of Bremen, within a few miles of our troops. No. 1 Group had the honour of opening the attack, and 550 Squadron contributed 27 aircraft to this spearhead. All 27 took off at 18:00, but "G" (F/O Johnston) had an engine out on take-off and was saved the consequent "cross country". The remainder completed the course and the majority returned as full of eggs as when they departed. They had the chagrin of seeing most of Bremen clear of cloud but the target area itself covered by a thick patch and because our troops were so near the Master Bomber had no choice but to call the party off. Our crews held out the hope that conditions might improve for later waves, but it transpired that only our force fitted with special equipment could bomb. That, at any rate, was a gesture to our troops, who we hope realised, when they saw the bombers overhead that the promised assistance was only withheld so that they should not be imperialed. Return was more or less devoid of incident except for "M" (F/O Handley) which after touching down took off again for a flight, which, unfortunately cannot be counted as squadron training hours.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Mission abandoned F/O A C Bothe (P)
F/Sgt J H Andrews (F/Eng)
F/Sgt A S Wiltshire (Nav)
F/O S W Collins (A/B)
Sgt B J Williams (W/Op)
Sgt H W Barton (MU/AG)
Sgt F R Knight (R/AG)

Operation/Target: -/MANNA (29 Apr 1945 - 29 Apr 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
-/MANNA 29 Apr 1945 29 Apr 1945 N MANNA mission. 16 aircraft with crews proceeded on their humanitarian mission at midday to deliver food to the Dutch people on German occupied Holland. Our two dropping areas were the Race course outside The Hague and an airfield near Leiden. The food, or Manna, as it is officially called, was dropped with precision to the great delight of the populace who had been acquainted with out intentions by Radio Luxemburg and whose appreciation could easily be seen in the form of vigourous flag waving since the aircraft flying at a height of 500ft.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Primary at 500ft at 13.22hr. MANNA mission.

Operation/Target: Valkenburg/MANNA (30 Apr 1945 - 30 Apr 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Valkenburg/MANNA 30 Apr 1945 30 Apr 1945 N MANNA mission. 28 aircraft with crews carried out another Manna mission to Holland. The aircraft took off at approx. 16.00hrs and were back in time to enjoy their normal evening meal and pleased that they had been privileged to do some good to our brave Dutch Allies.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Primary at 500ft at 17.41hrs. MANNA mission. F/O A C Bothe (P)
F/Sgt J H Andrews (F/Eng)
F/Sgt A S Wiltshire (Nav)
F/O S W Collins (A/B)
Sgt B J Williams (W/Op)
Sgt H W Barton (MU/AG)
Sgt F R Knight (R/AG)

Operation/Target: -/MANNA (01 May 1945 - 01 May 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
-/MANNA 01 May 1945 01 May 1945 N 27 aircraft with crews took off at 14.00hrs with a further supply of food.
Station Summary
OPERATIONS: A "MANNA" operations, i.e. food dropping, was ordered, on a dropping zone north east of Rotterdam, 27 aircraft were detailed, all of them took off, dropped 60.453 tons of food, and all returned without incident. The Dutch inhabitants of the area evinced the usual enthusiasm, many flags being noticed and convoys of vehicles proceeding to the dropping areas.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Primary at 500ft at 15.32 1/2hrs. MANNA mission. F/O A C Bothe (P)
F/Sgt J H Andrews (F/Eng)
F/Sgt A S Wiltshire (Nav)
F/O S W Collins (A/B)
Sgt B J Williams (W/Op)
Sgt H W Barton (MU/AG)
Sgt F R Knight (R/AG)

Operation/Target: -/MANNA (02 May 1945 - 02 May 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
-/MANNA 02 May 1945 02 May 1945 N Once again 27 aircraft with crew took off at 12.30hrs to deliver more groceries to the Dutch people.
Station Summary
OPERATIONS: A "MANNA" operation was ordered, and 27 aircraft proceeded to the same area adjoining Rotterdam, dropped in all 60.453 tons of food and all returned safely without incident. Advice was received from Base operations that "MANNA" and "EXODUS" sorties are to count as operational trips for the purposes of compiling aircrew's tours.
Sport: Football - Station 2nd XI 5, Barrow 2.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Primary at 500ft at 14.10 1/2hrs. MANNA mission.

Operation/Target: -/MANNA (03 May 1945 - 03 May 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
-/MANNA 03 May 1945 03 May 1945 N 27 aircraft took off before midday on another "Manna" mission.
Station Summary
OPERATIONS: 27 aircraft were detailed for another "MANNA" dropping operation on the same area of Western Holland as previously, dropping 60.453 tons of food and all returned safely.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Primary at 500ft at 13.24hrs. MANNA mission.

Operation/Target: Rotterdam/MANNA (05 May 1945 - 05 May 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Rotterdam/MANNA 05 May 1945 05 May 1945 N 26 aircraft delivered groceries to the Dutch.
Station Summary
OPERATIONS: The postponed "MANNA" dropping operation took place and 26 aircraft dropped 58.214 tons of food on the outskirts of Rotterdam, and all returned without incident.
Sport: Cricket. Two matches Station XI v Grimsby Town and a Station XI v Humber Graving Dock, both in Grimsby, were abandoned owing to rain.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Primary at 500ft at 08.18hrs. MANNA Mission

Operation/Target: Rotterdam/MANNA (07 May 1945 - 07 May 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Rotterdam/MANNA 07 May 1945 07 May 1945 N 30 aircraft with crews led by Wing Commander McWatters took off on a "Manna" mission. F/O Handley (K2) on his return flight was able to assist in the rescue of at least three aircrew members of a Fortress which came down in the sea. On sighting this aircraft the W/Op at once turned I.F.F. to "Distress", the aircraft being then practically submerged. Descending to 200ft the crew of K2 saw an American type dingy and believed they also saw a figure in it; on returning from their orbit, however, the dingy was seen to be upside down and no figure present. A tramp ship was then spotted some 6 or 7 miles south proceeding south away from the wreck. K2 flew over to this ship and signalled to it by Aldis lamp "S.O.S. follow us". The ship replied from the bridge by Aldis lamp and turned round and followed K2 back to the wreck. In the meantime the W/Op had been passing position, time, height details etc on M/F Section "G" and had received in return "Stand By" orders. On arriving back at the wreck the ship lowered a boat. Approximately 2 miles north of the wreck, K2 found airman No. 1 in the water with a parachute floating all around him but apparently without any Mae-West as no yellow harness was visible. A Mae-West was thrown to him by the rear-gunner from the rear turret, which was seen to fall near the airman and which he donned. A flame float was also dropped. By this time, several Fortresses had arrived on the scene and circuits had become somewhat congested. A second airman was then spotted east of the wreck and another Mae-West was dropped to him, and a Red Verey cartridge fired. A Catalina aircraft then arrived on the scene, alighted on the sea and picked up surviver No. 1. A Walrus aircraft also appeared, alighted and picked up airman No. 2. Still circling the area, K2 sighted a second dinghy which appeared empty; however one of the last remaining flame floats was dropped to mark it, also a Mae-West. Almost immediately a third survivier was seen in the water and by means of a red verey light and R/T instructions on "Darkie" frequency, the Catalina aircraft taxied over and effected another rescue. Further search was continued, but as no more survivors were visible and the area was now thoroughtly marked and patrolled, and as two more aircraft were seen approaching with airborne lifeboat and an escorting Spitfire, K2 left the scene and continued her homeward journey, well satisfied with the happy twist in circumstances that had enabled them to assist in the resuce operations, and, at the same time, considerably enlivened what otherwise woulhd have been a somehwat monotonous trip.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned Primary at 400ft at 14.56hrs. MANNA Mission

Operation/Target: Brussels/EXODUS (10 May 1945 - 10 May 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Brussels/EXODUS 10 May 1945 10 May 1945 N 23 aircraft and crews took off at approx 05.30hrs to bring back to this country ex-prisioners of war from Brussels.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned EXODUS

Operation/Target: Brussels/EXODUS (11 May 1945 - 11 May 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Brussels/EXODUS 11 May 1945 11 May 1945 N 25 aircraft and crews took off at approx 15.45hrs for Brussels at very short notice after standing by for the most of the day. Ex-prisoners of war were brought back. Three of our aircraft "R", "A2" and "E2" landed at Westcott with their human cargo, but unable to take off owing to technical trouble.

[Ed: all flights flying with only 6 crew, one or other of the A/Gs being absent].
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB514 Returned EXODUS F/O A C Bothe (P)
F/Sgt J H Andrews (F/Eng)
F/Sgt A S Wiltshire (Nav)
F/O S W Collins (A/B)
Sgt B J Williams (W/Op)
Sgt F R Knight (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 61
MAX Aircraft deployed
in single operation
1
(Neuss, 23 Sep 1944)

These details were last updated: 26 November 2018


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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