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: Mardyck (09 May 1944 - 10 May 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Mardyck 09 May 1944 10 May 1944 N Eighteen aircraft with crews were offered for operations, eleven of which were accepted and briefed to attack MARDYCK coastal battery approximately 6 miles west of DUNKIRK, situated on the sand dune and, being only a few hundred yards in area, was not an easy target to hit. All aircraft took off as usual - without incident. The weather became increasingly clearer on the outward journey, and over the target visibility was excellent with bright moonlight. The P.F.F marking was good, the markers going down exactly on time, and a good concentration was achieved. Spectacular results from this kind of attack cannot be expected but all crews were unanimous in expressing the view that the H.E. bomb flashes were exploding all around the markers and in some cases on the markers themselves. The defences were moderate, coming mainly from the Dunkirk area, night fighters were conspicuous by their absence. Once again good photographs were obtained and from these there is every reason to suppose that the attack was satisfactory. One aircraft "W" (F/O Sage) and crew failed to return, no news of it being received after take-off.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
LL810 Returned Primary 12000ft at 00.11hrs P/O E C Purney (P)
Sgt J L Sheahan (F/Eng)
Sgt T E Flanagan (Nav)
Sgt E J Molnar (A/B)
Sgt T G P Cruickshank (W/Op)
Sgt D Yardley (MU/AG)
Sgt K H F de Lengerke (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Hasselt (11 May 1944 - 12 May 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Hasselt 11 May 1944 12 May 1944 N Eighteen aircraft with crews were offered for operations, but only tweleve were accepted and briefed to attack the marshalling yards at HASSELT in north west Belgium. The target lay on the fringe of the small but compact town of Haselt on one of Germany's main lines to the West. Precision bombing of a hight order was necessary to achieve our objective wihout inflicting civilian casualites in occupied territory. The weather over the targe unfortunately was not good enough to permit sufficiently accurate marking for this pinpoint target. Haze prevailed and after investigating possibilities, the aircraft directing operations ordered the main force to bring their bombs home much to the disappointment of the boys. Of the twelve aircraft sent by 550 Squadron, five had released their bombs near the target area, another joined No. 3 Group's attack on the Marshalling Yards at LOUVAIN, 30 miles away - this target being well marked. Of the others F/S Maxwell "V" and Sgt Essex "G" landed with their full bomb load, the remained jettisoned part of their load over the sea. One pilot and his bomb-aimer with the assurance of Ripley himself with "a believe it or not" twinkle on their eyes, claimed to have taxied down the railway line to the right sport but their photograph shows open fields which suggest that thety were derailed.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
LL810 Returned Primary 12,000ft at 00.02hrs. Bombed visually. P/O V J Bouchard (P)
W/O D H Knight (Nav)
Sgt J H Knox (A/B)
Sgt R Binney (F/Eng)
Sgt E J Baker (W/Op)
Sgt C A Rann (MU/AG)
Sgt J J M Calvin (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Orleans (19 May 1944 - 20 May 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Orleans 19 May 1944 20 May 1944 N Eighteen aircraft and crews offered for operations, fifteen of which were accepted and briefed to attack Marshalling Yards immediately north of the City of ORLEANS. The boys in the Squadron were delighted at the thought of being able to take to the air again after a lull of eight days. The take-off was of the usual 550 Squadron standard, the fifteen aircraft taking off in 14 minutes. The preliminary reports of the attack give every sign of it having been highly successful - another feather in the cap of Bomber Command and 550 Squadron. All reports speak of explosions of which the most outstanding one seems to have been at 00.46hrs early in the attack when debris was hurled up to 3000ft. The explosions turned into a raging fire seen from 40 miles away. Photographs taken show that the Squadron were either on or very near the aiming point. W/Cdr Connellys' pre-bombing photo shows him travelling in the right direcvtion some 550 yards short of the aiming point - a promising preface, but his bombing pictures were unplottable due to the smoke. This was W/Cdr Connelly's first operatiuonl trip with the Squadron since taking command. P/O Marles in "T" (Tommy) made the round trip in spite of the rear turret being unservicebale from a few minutes after take-off. P/O Dukelow put up a creditable show on his maiden trip. All our aircraft returned safely to Base, and the crews satisifed with their nights work.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
LL810 Returned Primary 7,500ft at 00.45hrs P/O D McCrae (P)
Sgt R A Drury (F/Eng)
F/O M Shapiro (Nav)
F/Sgt F G Lebano (A/B)
Sgt A G Hall (W/Op)
Sgt C A Bonner (MU/AG)
Sgt A H Brown (R/AG)
P/O K J Newman (P)

Operation/Target: Duisburg (21 May 1944 - 22 May 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Duisburg 21 May 1944 22 May 1944 N Eighteen aircraft and crews offered for operations and all were accepted and briefed to attach targets in DUISBURG, the steel and coal centre of the Ruhr and Rhine, which has not had the attention of Bomber Command for about twelve months. The weather over the target was cloudy and called for blind bombing by a method which has already paid good dividends in "Happy Valley". Photographs as was to be expected yielded no joy and cannot profitably be commented upon, all showing thick cloud and in some instances fine tracks. Although there were several sightings of the enemy the general impressions of DUISBURG defences confirms the view that they were less active than a year ago. P/O Dukelow, F/S Hinde and Sgt Essex with their crews failed to return to Base.

[Ed: but can only find 17 aircraft listed in the battle-order (after multiple cross-checking of the ORB) of which 3 aircraft and crews FTR.]
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
LL810 Returned Primary 20,000ft at 01.13hrs

Operation/Target: Dortmund (22 May 1944 - 23 May 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Dortmund 22 May 1944 23 May 1944 N Sixteen aircraft and crews offered for operations all being accepted and were briefed to attack DORTMUND.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
LL810 Returned - P/O D McCrae (P)
Sgt R A Drury (F/Eng)
F/O M Shapiro (Nav)
F/Sgt F G Lebano (A/B)
Sgt A G Hall (W/Op)
Sgt C A Bonner (MU/AG)
Sgt A H Brown (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Aachen (24 May 1944 - 25 May 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Aachen 24 May 1944 25 May 1944 N Seventeen aircraft and crews offered and accepted for operations. The crews were briefed to attack the Marshalling yards at AACHEN. With their mission successfully completed all aircraft and crews returned safely and unscathed. The take-off was good, as is usual, and the weather good. Two of the Squadrons aircraft were engaged in combat F/Sgt Barton ("T") and P/O Newman (C") both proved inconclusive, the enemy breaking off the engeagement in both cases. Bombing photographs taken were of exceptional interest to the Intelligence, and confirm that the Squadon has assisted in adding some aches to AIX-LA-CHAPELLE.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
LL810 Returned Primary 21,000ft at 02.27hrs P/O D McCrae (P)
Sgt R A Drury (F/Eng)
F/O M Shapiro (Nav)
F/Sgt F G Lebano (A/B)
Sgt A G Hall (W/Op)
Sgt C A Bonner (MU/AG)
Sgt A H Brown (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Aachen (27 May 1944 - 28 May 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Aachen 27 May 1944 28 May 1944 N Eighteen aircraft with crews offered for operations, fifteen of which were accepted and briefed to attack the Marshalling yards ROTHE-ERDE of AACHEN, east of the city. The fifteen aircraft took off in typical 550 Squadron style. Two aircraft "K" (P/O McCrea and "H" (P/O Purney) failed to return, but the majority of the others claim to have bombed the primary target, which despite a light haze, was clearly marked and in some cases visually identified. Information from crews and photographs taken suggests that the attack was successfully carried out. Poor visibility at Base made it necessary for ten aircraft to land at other airfields on their return, and were accommodated at Binbrook, Kelstern, Ludford-Magna and Waltham. The only three which made Base were "J" (W/Cdr Connolly), "S" (P/O Maxwell) and "P" (F/Lt Richard). With this trip the last named with his crew completed their tour.
Higher authority have officially recognised the destruction of a JU 88 by Sgt Campbell the rear gunner in "F" (Sgt White) on 22/23rd May 1944, as a result of supporting evidence having been recorded by five other bombers in the Command.
S/Ldr Graham (Australian) "B" Flight Commander affectionately know to the boys as "Bluey" completed his second tour of operations, rendered his Swan Song prior to his departure from the Squadron on posting to No. 1 Lancasters Finishing School, RAF Station Hemswell. "Bluey" was always keen and conscientious and extremely popular with the boys and it often needed a firm hand to keep him on the ground. Had he succeeded in getting his own way, he would have simply whistled through his second tour of operations.

Information received from HQ Bomber Command that the King, on the recommendation of the Air Officer Commanding, had approved the Immediate Award of the Distinguished Flying Medals to F/Sgt LLOYD and Sgt. MOORE for their magnificient show on the night of 3/4th May after attacking their target at MAILLY. [As narrated earlier on page 1.]
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
LL810 FTR Missing P/O D McCrae (P)
Sgt R A Drury (F/Eng)
F/O M Shapiro (Nav)
F/Sgt F G Lebano (A/B)
Sgt A G Hall (W/Op)
Sgt C A Bonner (MU/AG)
Sgt A H Brown (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 7
MAX Aircraft deployed
in single operation
1
(Mardyck, 09 May 1944)

These details were last updated: 11 October 2019


Note

this list is still being built and will take some time to complete
what is currently displayed is believed accurate but much more is still to be added

This note describes the options currently available to produce a smaller, more manageable list and also describes planned future enhancements to the reporting facility.


Return to the top of the page.