Squadron Operations: Summary Information


Listed below is the information available for operations to this target flown by 550 Squadron.

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: Plauen (10 Apr 1945 - 11 Apr 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
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 3000 ft 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 11500 ft, 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 9,000 ft 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 9,000 ft 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
PD321 Returned Primary at 17,000 ft at 23.10 hrs
RF237 Returned Primary at 16,500 ft at 23.13 hrs
RA503 Returned Primary at 18,000 ft at 23.11 hrs 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)
PD382 Returned Primary at 16,000 ft at 23.08 hrs
PD343 Returned Primary at 16,500 ft at 23.11 hrs F/O H A Findlay (P)
F/Sgt W A Swan (P/F/Eng)
Sgt J B Carter (Nav)
F/O R Melia (A/B)
Sgt E Barton (W/Op)
Sgt I Daly (MU/AG)
Sgt W Towle (R/AG)
ME390 Returned Primary at 18,000 ft at 23.14 1/2 hrs F/O K W Jeans (P)
Sgt M G Snowball (F/Eng)
Sgt G Bulman (Nav)
Sgt K G Thom (A/B)
Sgt G C Vincent (W/Op)
W/O H O Lowe (MU/AG)
F/O K C Reeve (R/AG)
NG221 Returned Primary at 17,800 ft at 23.13 hrs
NG250 Returned Primary at 17,000 ft at 23.14 1/2 hrs F/L E G Blakeway (P)
F/Sgt G B Dawkins (F/Eng)
F/L H James (Nav)
F/O K H Vaughan (A/B)
F/O G McCann (W/Op)
F/Sgt N Gamble (MU/AG)
F/O L O Lynch (R/AG)
RF135 Returned Primary at 17,500 ft at 23.10 hrs F/L D R Parsons (P)
F/Sgt J P Tasker (MU/AG)
W/O T B Lees (P)
Sgt G E Carter (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J Price (Nav)
Sgt M W Morrison (A/B)
F/Sgt K Robinson (W/Op)
Sgt E Dinsley (MU/AG)
RF136 Returned Primary at 17,500 ft at 23.07 hrs
PB514 Returned Primary at 16,500 ft at 23.11 hrs F/O J A Beale (P)
Sgt Matthews (F/Eng)
F/O A F Geen (Nav)
F/O G C Glover (A/B)
F/Sgt R A Spearing (W/Op)
Sgt MacKenzie (MU/AG)
F/Sgt J L McKeown (R/AG)
F/Sgt J D P Banahan (P)
NF931 Returned Primary at 16,000 ft at 23.10 hrs W/O H Davies (P)
Sgt J S Preston (F/Eng)
Sgt G V Weller (Nav)
Sgt K P Moran (A/B)
Sgt R A Phillips (W/Op)
Sgt J F Wilson (MU/AG)
Sgt J L Robson (R/AG)
PA309 Returned Primary at 18,500 ft at 23.11 1/2 hrs F/L R E G Waite (P)
F/Sgt A G Johnston (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J H Marsh (Nav)
F/O R G McLean (A/B)
Sgt G Edwards (W/Op)
Sgt W Gray (MU/AG)
Sgt T Hume (R/AG)
NG120 Returned Primary at 16,000 ft at 23.17 F/O L S Johnston (P)
Sgt B C Terry (F/Eng)
F/O A C Armstrong (Nav)
F/O J L Oke (A/B)
Sgt J Jones (W/Op)
Sgt C B Gadsby (MU/AG)
Sgt J A Wilson (R/AG)
NG246 Returned Primary at 17,500 ft at 23.10
ME548 Returned Primary at 16,500 ft at 23.14 1/2 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)
NG390 Returned Primary at 11,500 ft at 23.20 F/L A W Browne (P)
F/Sgt W J Broom (F/Eng)
F/O E G Smith (Nav)
F/Sgt W B Reid (A/B)
F/O C G Hetherington (W/Op)
Sgt J Regan (MU/AG)
Sgt S Sorsby (R/AG)
ME503 Returned Primary at 16,000 ft at 23.10 F/L F J Mitchell (P)
W/O N J Horsley (F/Eng)
Sgt M H Levy (Nav)
F/O B A Hulse (A/B)
Sgt D J Bailey (W/Op)
F/Sgt A W W Coltman (MU/AG)
Sgt R B Nicholson (R/AG)
ME776 Returned Primary at 18,000 ft at 23.15 1/2 hrs
ME519 Returned Primary at 17,000 ft at 23.10
NG134 Returned Primary at 17,500 ft at 23.15 F/Sgt D P Lambert (P)
Sgt C P Blackham (F/Eng)
F/Sgt C Orrell (Nav)
Sgt G S Miller (A/B)
F/Sgt C Farrington (W/Op)
Sgt A E Boyle (MU/AG)
Sgt I Daly (R/AG)
PA268 Returned Primary at 17,700 ft at 23.15 P/O J G Smart (P)
Sgt E G Blackham (F/Eng)
F/Sgt C M Clayton (Nav)
Sgt T W Galbraith (A/B)
Sgt T Spicer (W/Op)
Sgt A Rose (MU/AG)
Sgt A L Taylor (R/AG)
LM228 Returned Primary at 17,500 ft at 23.15 F/O V G Roberts (P)
Sgt R E Davies (F/Eng)
Sgt F Farney (Nav)
F/O K L Pedersen (A/B)
F/Sgt D R Jackson (W/Op)
P/O S Walmsley (MU/AG)
W/O M Waddington (R/AG)
PB707 Returned Primary at 18,000 ft at 23.12 F/L E G Fleming (P)
F/Sgt G F Groom (F/Eng)
F/Sgt K W Derwent (Nav)
F/Sgt A R Morgan (A/B)
Sgt J Ward (MU/AG)
W/O R E Vietheer (MU/AG)
W/O F H Hansen (W/Op)
NG243 Returned Primary at 16,000 ft at 23.12 hrs
NG135 Returned Primary at 18,000 ft at 23.17 1/2 hrs F/O F J A Cox (P)
P/O S J Jackson (F/Eng)
F/O A Davidson (Nav)
F/O P M Fletcher (A/B)
Sgt R Townend (W/Op)
Sgt E J Chick (MU/AG)
Sgt H W E Gee (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 26
MAX Aircraft deployed
in single operation
(Plauen, 10 Apr 1945)

These details were last updated: 16 September 2020


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

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