Squadron Operations: Summary Information

Overview

There follows below a list of the all of the operations flown by 550 Squadron and the aircraft involved on each. The information used to build this page was taken in the first instance from the lists provided on the original Squadron Association web-site, but has been augmented by new information gathered since that time (squadron operations logs, individual aircrew log books, and other sources).

This information is not yet complete: it has been build from the a number of sources (documentary and people) and compilation of complete lists is an ongoing task that is expected to take quite some time to complete. So please don't shout just yet if you spot an omission - work continues to build a more complete, and accurate, list.
Do however shout if you spot an error! Please email any corrections or information to the contact details in the link at the bottom of the page.

Operation Summary: The column headers should be fairly self-explanatory. The term "aborted" as used here covers a number of possibilities:

Aircraft Deployed: When a link to a particular aircraft is given, this indicates aircraft known to have taken part in this raid (in the records currently available to the web-site author). A record of whether the aircraft returned or failed to return (FTR) is also logged.

Servicemen Deployed: Names of the crew in the operation.

Station Summary: This section is the information from the RAF North Killingholme Station Record Book for the operational date (if available).

Definitions of the abbreviations used are available: here.

Manageable Lists

The amount of data in the database is growing and this is resulting in the "all operations/targets" list getting rapidly bigger and thus slower to generate. There are options to display shorter, more quickly generated, reports if you want to home in on something specific. For example, there are options to generate reports on operations to a single target, or by single aircraft (to all targets) or by single aircraft to a single target. There is, on the database-reports summary page, a short user guide (PDF format) on how to do this.


Operation/Target: Calais (28 Sep 1944 - 28 Sep 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Calais 28 Sep 1944 28 Sep 1944 N 12 aircraft and crews took once off for Calais this morning the target area being very small now owing to pressure by Allied forces precision bombing was called for; the weather over the target area was bad and the Master Bomber ordered all A/C to return to base.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG120 Returned Abandoned 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: Walcheren (03 Oct 1944 - 03 Oct 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Walcheren 03 Oct 1944 03 Oct 1944 N 17 aircraft and crews detailed to attack and destroy a sea walll which prevent the sea innundating the low lying areas on the island of Walcheren. The weather was bad, 6/10 cloud over the route and 9/10 cloud over the target. The Master Bomber brought the attack down to 4000ft to bomb and all aircraft were able to identify visual details of the coastline, many aircraft made several runs to ensure accurate bombing. As our portion of the attack developed the wall was breached and gave way in several places and the water crashing rhough, flooding far and wide across the fields and we hope drowned the enemy defences. Good photographs were obtained. In addition to operational flying, a training programme was carried out which included five "Y" cross country exercises. The final summing up of the operations can be made with the quotation from two communiques - (1) A report brought back by two specially reporting Mosquio aircraft shows that the flooding was extensive. (2) The aircraft carrying the 12000lbs "blockbusters" and scheduled to finished off the job at the end of the attack, all brought them back undropped - they were not needed as the job had already been completed.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG120 Returned Primary 3,600ft at 14.37hours - Landed at Carnaby

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
NG120 Returned Primary 17000ft at 22.40 1/2hrs P/O J C Parry (P)
F/O E W Ball (F/Eng)
Sgt C G J Mason (Nav)
Sgt L O Kirton (A/B)
Sgt F R Cole (W/Op)
Sgt D F Peggs (MU/AG)
Sgt D W Morrow (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
NG120 Returned Primary 13,000ft at 14.28hrs. P/O J C Parry (P)
F/O E W Ball (F/Eng)
Sgt C G J Mason (Nav)
Sgt L O Kirton (A/B)
Sgt F R Cole (W/Op)
Sgt D F Peggs (MU/AG)
Sgt D W Morrow (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
NG120 Returned Primary 19,500ft at 08.50 1/2hrs

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
NG120 Returned Primary 20300ft at 01.28 1/2hrs

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
NG120 Returned Primary 21,500ft at 19.41 1/2hrs

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
NG120 Returned

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

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Cologne 28 Oct 1944 28 Oct 1944 N Thirty aircraft and crews were offered for opertions, twenty seven were accepted and stood by to be called upon at short notice for a daylight attack on COLOGNE. Twenty seven aircraft took off without incident at 13.10hrs, led by the Squadron Commander, Wing Commander B. Bell, more affectionately known as "Dingle". The weather conditions at Base left much to be desired and it seemed that the boys would not be able to take off owing to mist and low cloud, but the weather cleared for a brief spell which allowed the boys to take to the air and on to successfully attack military objectives in the Cologne area. The weather over the target was good and the crews highly delighted with the results achieved. The huge and busy railway bridge spanning the Rhine was seen to have had its time. All our aircraft returned safely to Base.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG120 Returned Primary 19,000ft at 16.02hrs

Operation/Target: Cologne (30 Oct 1944 - 30 Oct 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Cologne 30 Oct 1944 30 Oct 1944 N Twenty-six aircraft and crews were offered for operations, but only twenty three were required and these took off at approximately 17.30hrs to attack military objectives in COLOGNE. All but one bombed their primary targets, "Q" (F/O Allen) having to return early with his port outer engine unserviceable. The attack is considered by all crews to have been most successful.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG120 Returned Primary at 18300ft at 21.03 1/2hrs

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
NG120 Returned Primary at 18,500ft at 21.01 1/2hrs 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)
F/O R A Marriott (P)
P/O E W Turnbull (F/Eng)
F/Sgt D O Pratt (Nav)
F/O J Winning (A/B)
F/Sgt R W Hyde (W/Op)
Sgt J C Austin (MU/AG)
F/Sgt J A Proudfoot (R/AG)

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

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

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

P.R.U cover now confirms the great damage done in this attack - the two main factories of first priority importance, with extensive blast furnaces, steel works and rolling mills all making armaments have suffered severely; of the six main buildings of one of them all are extensively damaged. A third factory (adjoining the main passenger station which is heavily damaged) manufacturing, milling and grinding machinery is still smoking and damage appears to be heavy. Destruction of unidentified industrial and commercial premises, and residential property is widespread and severe.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG120 Returned Primary at 17,000ft at 19.36hrs F/L M F A Maltin (P)
Sgt G N Raynes (F/Eng)
F/O J D Nelson (Nav)
W/O G B McGhee (A/B)
Sgt G King (W/Op)
Sgt V Montague (MU/AG)
Sgt R C Dyke (R/AG)

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
NG120 Returned Primary, at 19000ft. at 14.00

Operation/Target: Wanne-Eikel (09 Nov 1944 - 09 Nov 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Wanne-Eikel 09 Nov 1944 09 Nov 1944 N 23 aircraft and crews from 550 Squadron together with one aircraft from each of 166 and 103 Sqdns took off at approximately 07.20hrs to attack the synthetic oil plant at WANNE-EIKEL 2.5 miles NW of Bochum one of the lesser known towns of the Ruhr but nevertheless important since it forms part of the general Ruhr network of railway and marshalling yards. The take-off was good as was the weather up to the French coast after which the crews encountered cloud banks and when the target area was reached there was thick cumulous at 20,000ft with layer cloud below. Only one aircraft E2 (F/O Stevenson) had a fleeting glimpse of the target, and but for navigational aids the raid would have dissolved itself into a veritable blind mans buff. With such conditions existing it is impossible to assess the success or otherwise of the operation. Flak was scattered and erratic, and the fighter cover of Spitfires and Mustangs kept enemy fighters out of harms way. All our aircraft returned safely and the boys enjoyed a late lunch.
Station Summary
OPERATIONS
At first light 25 aircraft took off from NORTH KILLINGHOLME (comprising 23 of 550 Squadron and 1 of 166 Squadron and 1 of 103 Squadron, the latter having landed here from training) to attack WANNE-EICKEL, as part of a No. 1 Group force of 233 aircraft. All out aircraft returned safely having claimed to have bombed the target.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG120 Returned Primary, at 24000ft at 10.45 F/O C J Jones (P)
Sgt S J Webb (F/Eng)
P/O J Buckmaster (Nav)
F/Sgt L W Harvey (A/B)
Sgt F M Main (W/Op)
F/Sgt T Spewart (MU/AG)
F/Sgt G G Blair (R/AG)

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

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Dortmund 11 Nov 1944 11 Nov 1944 N The Squardon dispatched 21 aircraft and crews to attack the north eastern part of the city of DORTMUND where synthetic oil plants, steelworks, coke ovens and a by-products plant with the usual marshalling yards were situated. The take-off was as usual good and once again the crews ran into 10/10 cloud when nearing the target. However with the exceptions, ground markers were vaguely seen reflected on the underside of the clouds and were systematically bombed. Assessments of results are difficult but several reports were made of large explosions in the target area and it is hoped good results were achieved. Flak was generally described as slight to moderate "G" (F/O Young had the fuselage holed rendering the rear turret u/s fortunately there were no casualties.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG120 Returned Primary, at 17800ft at 19.06 F/O C J Jones (P)
Sgt S J Webb (F/Eng)
P/O J Buckmaster (Nav)
F/Sgt L W Harvey (A/B)
Sgt F M Main (W/Op)
F/Sgt T Spewart (MU/AG)
F/Sgt G G Blair (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
NG120 Returned Primary, at 11000ft at 15.32 F/O C J Jones (P)
Sgt S J Webb (F/Eng)
P/O J Buckmaster (Nav)
F/Sgt L W Harvey (A/B)
Sgt F M Main (W/Op)
F/Sgt T Spewart (MU/AG)
F/Sgt G G Blair (R/AG)

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
NG120 Returned Primary, at 17000ft at 19.11

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
NG120 Returned Primary 13000ft at 20.09

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
NG120 Returned Primary at 20000ft at 15.00 1/2hrs

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

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Karlsruhe 04 Dec 1944 04 Dec 1944 N 24 aircraft and crew took off at approximately 16.30hrs to attack the town and railway facilities at KARLRUHE. The crews has an uneventful but rather long trip over Allied Occupied Territory and found the target covered with 9/10th cloud. On approach some crews were able to identify the Red and Green T.I.s below cloud, which were rather scattered. The cloud rapidly moved eastwards and some of the later arrivals were able to identify the town visually. From reports it is gathered that good fires were started in the town, the glow of which could be seen for over 100 miles. Opposition from the ground consisted only of slight flak for the most part bursting well below the aircraft. All our aircraft returned safely.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG120 Returned -

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
NG120 Returned - F/O G E Mearns (P)

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
NG120 Returned -

Operation/Target: Ludwigshaven (15 Dec 1944 - 16 Dec 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Ludwigshaven 15 Dec 1944 16 Dec 1944 N 30 aircraft and crews took off at approximately 14.20 without incident to attack LUDWIGSHAVEN paying particular attention to the chemical works situated on the northern outskirts of the town and extending for approximately 3 miles to the village of Oppan. There was ... MORE DETAILS TBA ...
S/L Redmond on this trip completed his second tour oof operations.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG120 Returned -

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
NG120 Returned Primary at 11000ft at 19.29 1/2hrs

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
NG120 Returned -

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
NG120 Returned Primary at 19,000ft at 18.30 3/4hrs F/O S D Thompson (P)
Sgt R A Wilson (F/Eng)
F/O J C Thorp (Nav)
F/O W K Campbell (A/B)
Sgt F Roberts (W/Op)
Sgt W Cranfield (MU/AG)
Sgt K Haub (R/AG)

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
NG120 Returned Primary at 19,000ft at 19.04hrs

Operation/Target: Osterfeld (31 Dec 1944 - 31 Dec 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Osterfeld 31 Dec 1944 31 Dec 1944 N 14 aircraft were dispatched from the Squadron at 15.00 hours to assist in the attack on OSTERFELD marshalling yards on the northern end of the Ruhr. The journey outward was uneventful, except that adverse winds from the north speeded up considerably more than forecast, and gave the navigators a lot of hurried extra work to do. On the final "run-in" to the target the aircraft were travelling at something like 350mph ground-speed - "that's 550 that was" - the bomb aimers had to look slippy and "pull their fingers out". The weather at the target was 10/10 fairly thin cloud, thin enough for most bomb-aimers to get a reasonable view of the markers which were in fair supply. Most crews bombed them, only two being forced to rely on navigational aids. Reports of the attack varied from "good" to "disappointing". However, encouraging confirmation came along in the shape of photographs showing sticks right across the marshalling yards and the T.I. streaks also well placed. Flak was again reported as slight and spasmodic, some crews even stated that they had experienced no flak wahtsoever throughout the entire journey through the Ruhr, which is incredibly amazing - however they should know! Eleven hours flying training was carried out during the day and night.


So ends the year 1944, with a good job behind us, and a better and we hope, a final job ahead of us. Come what may 550 is always ready for the fray.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG120 Returned Primary at 18,000ft at 18.50 F/O G E Mearns (P)
Sgt F Norris (F/Eng)
F/Sgt W G Kelly (Nav)
Sgt J F McKeen (A/B)
Sgt D O'Neil (W/Op)
Sgt J Chamboly (MU/AG)
Sgt A G Slater (R/AG)

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 700degrees[???] 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
NG120 Returned - F/O G E Mearns (P)
Sgt F Norris (F/Eng)
F/Sgt W G Kelly (Nav)
Sgt J F McKeen (A/B)
Sgt D O'Neil (W/Op)
Sgt J Chamboly (MU/AG)
Sgt A G Slater (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Hannover (05 Jan 1945 - 06 Jan 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Hannover 05 Jan 1945 06 Jan 1945 N 24 aircraft with crews took off at approximately 19.00 hours to attack HANOVER. The weather was nowhere difficult on route and our crews were led visually to the target by means of it's "Blaze of Glory" that could be seen for a hnudred miles, this blaze had been started by an earlier attack two and a half hours before by [unreadable]. Our attack was to impede the fire fighters and add more fuel to the fires. The [???] was blazing beautifully and the second installment of H.Es and incendaries was added to the [???]. Fires and smoke increased and could be seen by our crews when over the Zuider Zee on their return. Good photographs were brought back. Flak was reported generally as moderate, but accurate for height and there was searchlight activity, although with the glare of Recc. flares above and the fire glow below they had a pretty thin time. The attack was an outstanding success and Hanover now has a hangover. One of our aircraft "M" (F/O Adams) and crew failed to return, no news being received after take-off. They were a grand team and will be missed by all on the Squadron. A good flying training programme was also carried out.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG120 Returned -

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
NG120 Returned Primary, at 17000 ft at 22.30

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
NG120 Returned -

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
NG120 Returned -

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
NG120 Returned -

Operation/Target: Dortmund (20 Feb 1945 - 20 Feb 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Dortmund 20 Feb 1945 20 Feb 1945 N 27 aircraft and crews took off without incident to attack once again the heavy engineering manufacturing town of DORTMUND. F/O Ferguson in "L" unfortunately returned early with his starboard inner engine u/s. The remaining aircraft found good weather along the route until approx. 0530 degress E when a low layer of thick cloud gradually built up to 4000 feet, until at the target the markers were barely visible as they dropped into it. The marking was punctual and an adequate number of ground markers, as well as some sky markers were dropped, However, the latter were somewhat scattered and although some encouraging concentrations of incendiary and fire glows were seen indistinctly under the cloud, the illuminating explosions, there was quite a lot of scatted bombing and it must only be considered, from first accounts, as a moderately successful raid. Ground defences were reproted as being only slight to moderate in a loose barrage, with one or two aircraft receiving some predicted attention. Night photographs show a good diplay of incendiary and fire tracks, but clouds have again prevented only plotting. Good shows were put up by F/O Franklyn in "G" who had his port outer engine u/s and had to feather it when over the Bexhill area on the outward journey. F/L Dale in E2 (taking F/L Sarll and crew on their initial operation) had trouble with his port outer engine which was u/s from 0500 degrees outward forcing them to bomb at 13,000 feet. F/O Mearns also had trouble with his starboard outer engine which was partially u/s for the trip.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG120 Returned Primary at 18,000ft at 01.15hrs.

Operation/Target: Duisburg (21 Feb 1945 - 21 Feb 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Duisburg 21 Feb 1945 21 Feb 1945 N [Ed: Target not listed in ORB. Duisburg assumed.] 24 aircraft and crews were detailed and all took off, including "B" (F/L Sarll) whose first independant trip was made with the rear turret u/s. The operations had an unhappy end in the failure of "A" (W/C Bell with the F/L Luger and his crew) to return to base. Everyone will be sorry to lose W/C Bell whose cheerful, forceful personality has been an inspiration to all members of the Squadron and Killingholme generally. It is feared that this layer cloud over the target marred the accuracy of the attack. Marking was punctual, but reports such undershooting, there were, however, large fires and several explosions around the aimers points. Flak at the target was only slight to moderate, fighters on the other hand were much in evidence, "A" F/O Smith the only aircraft to report a combat can claim a suspected ME262 as probably damaged. Owing to the thin cloud none of the photographs succeeded in showing ground details. Congratuations to F/L Harris and crew on the completion of a voluntarily extended tour, without an abortive.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG120 Returned Primary at 17500ft at 23.15hrs P/O J Lukies (P)
Sgt W K Oldham (F/Eng)
F/Sgt L W Pfitzner (Nav)
F/Sgt R W Caples (A/B)
F/Sgt J W Foran (W/Op)
P/O H K Johnson (MU/AG)
Sgt J M Craine (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Pforzheim (23 Feb 1945 - 24 Feb 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Pforzheim 23 Feb 1945 24 Feb 1945 N 27 aircraft and crews were called for to attack PFORZHEIM and took off at approx. 16.00hrs without incident. Weather at take off was 10/10 low cloud down to 600 ft, but broke up over the continent and the target was quite clear, with some "dangerous moonlight". The markers were accurately placed and the bombing was correspondingly concentrated and the attack has every appearance of being a hightly successful one, fires could still be seen 150 miles away on the homeward journey. Very slight light flak was encountered over the target but night fighters were much in evidence. "C" (F/O Grundy) failed to return from this operation. F/O RD Harris in [NF998] despite a damaged port outer engine which caught fire over the target and severed tube caused by incendiaries, limped back and landed at Manston. One of the crew was injured but not seriously.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG120 Returned Primary at 8000ft at 20.04 1/2 P/O J Lukies (P)
Sgt W K Oldham (F/Eng)
F/Sgt L W Pfitzner (Nav)
F/Sgt R W Caples (A/B)
F/Sgt J W Foran (W/Op)
P/O H K Johnson (MU/AG)
Sgt J M Craine (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Meuss (28 Feb 1945 - 28 Feb 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Meuss 28 Feb 1945 28 Feb 1945 Y 27 aircraft and crews were detailed and took off without incident at approximately 08.00hrs to attack the railway centre at MEUSS and the river unloading port on the Western Bank of the Rhine just opposite Dusseldorf. The crews had been in the air little more than an hour when they were recalled. The operation was cancelled due to forecast cloudy conditions over the target area and the close proximity of our troops The boys were very disappointed to not be able to strike again at the common enemy.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG120 Returned Recalled

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
NG120 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
NG120 Returned Primary at 16500ft at 10.09 1/2hrs. P/O J Lukies (P)
Sgt W K Oldham (F/Eng)
F/Sgt L W Pfitzner (Nav)
F/Sgt R W Caples (A/B)
F/Sgt J W Foran (W/Op)
P/O H K Johnson (MU/AG)
Sgt J M Craine (R/AG)

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
NG120 Returned Primary at 16000 ft at 21.51hrs

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
NG120 Returned Primary at 12000 ft at 22.05hrs

Operation/Target: Kassel (08 Mar 1945 - 09 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Kassel 08 Mar 1945 09 Mar 1945 N The Squardon was again called to operate and 23 aircraft took off in quick time without incident at approximately 17.20hrs. The target was Kassel. All the aircraft bombed the primary target indicated including "H" (F/O Cowper) whose port inner engine caught fire and was feathered some 200 miles short of the target. 10/10 cloud covered practically the whole of the continental route, but was broken immediately over the target, which was clearly visible through only a thin layer. Bombing was heavily concentrated, the incendiaries tooks a firm hold and the resultant fire glow could still be seen when aircraft were crossing the Rhine over 100 miles away. Flak over the target was light to moderate and there was little sign of fighter activity - a happy contrast to the previous night's experience. All the Squadron's aircraft returned safely to base, where at interrogation the crews were sleepy but satisfied. One aircraft and crew completed a night flying training drill lasting 2 3/4 hrs
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG120 Returned Primary at 20500 ft at 21.35hrs

Operation/Target: Essen (11 Mar 1945 - 11 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Essen 11 Mar 1945 11 Mar 1945 N 20 aircraft and crews detailed and took off without incident at approximately 11.40hrs on a daylight sortie to Essen, now only some 14 miles ahead of our troops. A total of over 1000 aricraft took part in the attack delivering over 4500 tons of bombs. There was a level carpet of 10/10 cloud all the way out, over the target and back. Crews bombed on coloured smoke puffs assisted by verbal instructions form the Master Bomber. It was considered that the bombing was quite concentrated and very soon a protuberance in the shape of mushrooming fire smoke appeared, agitating the top layers of the cloud - evidently someting was burning down under. Flak was not very troublesome, being variouly described as "nil", "very slight" and "slight to moderate". The Luftwaffe was absent. All the aircraft returned safely to base. 7 aircraft and crews carried out flying training to the extent of 24 3/4hrs flying. Day and night practice bombing, fighter affiliations and Y cross countries.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG120 Returned Primary at 16500 ft at 15.02hrs

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
NG120 Returned Primary at 16500 ft at 16.31

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
NG120 Returned Primary, at 19000 ft at 21.15 F/O S D Thompson (P)
Sgt R A Wilson (F/Eng)
F/O J C Thorp (Nav)
F/O W K Campbell (A/B)
Sgt F Roberts (W/Op)
Sgt W Cranfield (MU/AG)
Sgt K Haub (R/AG)
P/O R H Digby (P)

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
NG120 Returned Primary at 10000 ft at 04.37 P/O J Lukies (P)
Sgt W K Oldham (F/Eng)
F/Sgt L W Pfitzner (Nav)
F/Sgt R W Caples (A/B)
F/Sgt J W Foran (W/Op)
P/O H K Johnson (MU/AG)
Sgt J M Craine (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Dortmund (24 Mar 1945 - 24 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Dortmund 24 Mar 1945 24 Mar 1945 N 14 aircraft took off without incident at approx 13.00 hours to participate in an attack on an oil refinery and storage plant situated midway between BOCHUM and DORTMUND. The weather was summerlike and visibility excellent. Crews were easily able to identify the target visually; it was undoubtedly hit, there was a large explosion and a big pillar of smoke rose skywards. It was visible a hundred miles away on the return journey. No enemy fighter were seen. "H" (F/L Barnes) failed to return to base, nothing being heard from him after take-off. All the other aircraft landed safely. 5 aircraft and crews on a flying training programme did over 10 hours day flying.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG120 Returned Primary at 18000 ft at 16.32 P/O J Lukies (P)
Sgt W K Oldham (F/Eng)
F/Sgt L W Pfitzner (Nav)
F/Sgt R W Caples (A/B)
F/Sgt J W Foran (W/Op)
P/O H K Johnson (MU/AG)
Sgt J M Craine (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Nordhausen (03 Apr 1945 - 03 Apr 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Nordhausen 03 Apr 1945 03 Apr 1945 N 23 aircraft took off - one cancelled owning to engine trouble the remainder took off without incident - to attack a military barracks at NORDHAUSEN. The weather however was not at all cooperative. The continent was covered with varying amounts of cloud 5/10 - 10/10 solid with tops 12000ft. There were no signs of any sky marking and consequently the Master Bomber gave instructions to bomb on the best "Navigational aids" possible which in most cases was H2S. Four crews decided that the state of their H2S did not warrant bombing and brought their bombs back to base, which in the circumstances was the best procedure. The attack was very scattered. No opposition from ground or air was experienced.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG120 Returned Primary at 14,000ft at 16.18hrs F/O G E Mearns (P)
Sgt F Norris (F/Eng)
F/Sgt W G Kelly (Nav)
Sgt J F McKeen (A/B)
Sgt D O'Neil (W/Op)
Sgt A Colin (R/AG)

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
NG120 Returned Primary at 13000 ft at 01.31 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)

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
NG120 Returned Primary at 16,000ft at 23.17 F/O L S Johnston (P)
Sgt B C Terry (F/Eng)
F/O A C Armstrong (Nav)
F/O L J Oke (A/B)
Sgt J Jones (W/Op)
Sgt C B Gadsby (MU/AG)
Sgt J A Wilson (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Potsdam (14 Apr 1945 - 15 Apr 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Potsdam 14 Apr 1945 15 Apr 1945 N The Squadron supplied 25 aircraft with crew as their contribution towards a force of 400 to attack POTSDAM. They took off without let or hinderance and Londoners could have seen them flying serenely over the Metropolis - cloud and other things being equal. The journey across France, Luxemburg and Western Germany was as uninspiring as it was lenghty. There was a certain amount of flak on approaching the target and on the way out, but considering it was the heart of Germnay and only 18 miles from Berlin, the defences, to use an Americanism, seemed about "tapped out". May they remain in this conciliatory state! Several decoys were seen but did not swerve us from our main purpose. The target was found to be clear of cloud and was identified visually by the adjoining lakes. Markers were plentiful and with the Master Bomber giving explicit instructions, the attack developed along the right lines. The journey back was just a long, long trail and all out aircraft landed safely at Base in the "wee small hours". Our three Musketeers again produced plottable photographs and our congratualtions are extened to F2 (F/O Town) on obtaining an A/P - a fast pace, which we hope can be kept up. Details of all plottable photographs are given, but this in no way detracts from the merits of the others. They are merely devoid of ground details and full of exuberance of smoke and fire.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG120 Returned Primary at 19500 ft at 23.00 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)

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
NG120 Returned Primary at 19000 ft at 12.51 1/2hrs. 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)

Operation/Target: Wachenfeld (25 Apr 1945 - 25 Apr 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Wachenfeld 25 Apr 1945 25 Apr 1945 N After two day of non-operational flying the Squadron was called upon for operations. The honour of making the front-page headlines was given to Nos 1 and 5 Groups. No 5 Group were attacking the Eagle's Nest, the Wachenfeld, and the SS Barracks in three separate attacks, some with 12000lb bombs, at 09:00 and No 1 Group followed up at 0945 with the main weight of the attach with the aiming point on the SS Barracks. 23 aircraft were detailed from the Squadron, and after the chilly greyness of the early (very early) morning briefing, all of them took off as dawn was breaking. With the exception of occasional patches of cirrus above 20000ft. thje route was entirely free from cloud, and as the sun rose, the French countryside became visible as the crew flew southeastward. It appeared deserted and peaceful, in contrast to its turmoil and battling activity of recent months. Ther appeared more activity in the air than on the ground, with the Allied Air Focres, Tactial and Heavy, all busily dominating the skies; one gunner, however, asserts that a white figure (feminine) gave him a warm and personal wave. Soon the Alps loomed up on the starboard, and the crews had to make a great effort not to become quite lyrical over their appearance, gleaming in the sunshine. In the target area, the weather was perfect with no cloud and excellent visibility except for a few patches of ground mist in the valleys; this was fortunate as the target was not easy to find among the maze of mountains, valleys and partly snow-covered and partly tree-covered slopes. When the leading formation arrived on time at the last turning point before the target, the leader, who had tuned in to the Master Bomber, realised that difficulty was being experienced by the latter and his deputy in marking the target. In order to avoid losing the Main Force over the target before marking had commenced, he therefore overshot the last turing point by 2-and-a-half minutes before making a wide orbit to get back on track. This, however, had the effect of splitting up the formation and as a result aircraft were approaching the target on many different headings - in fact "coming round the mountain when she comes" seems best to sum up the situtaiton, which for the first few minutes of the attack was somewhat hectic. The Master Bomber at last instructed the crews (who were orbitting violently in all directions) to bomb visually if they were able; a minute later, however, a single Red Target Indicator was dropped accurately on the Aiming Point. The Master Bombers order were throughout the attack, given in relation to the smoke which was clearly seen by all crews. The early arrivals had no difficulty in identifying the target visually, and before smoke had covered the aiming point a good concentration of bombs was reported to have fallen across the S.S. Barracks. An excellent concentration was achieved with some tendency to overshoot to the norther and spread to the east. In the main, however, bombing was confined to the immediate vicinity of the aiming point, and it is thought that satisfactory results should have been achieved. In the words of the popular Press (yes, we did hit the headlines) "the barracks were seen to be taking severe punishment, and the whole area was soon covered with a pall of black smoke, rising to 10000ft. with bomb flashes leaping through it. Many aircraft circled the area several times to make sure of hitting the target". The report from the P.R.U. photographs that were taken immediately after the smoke had cleared, says that the Chalet (Wachenfeld) has received 2 or 3 direct hits and blask damage; the N.E. building of the S.S. Barracks has been demolished, the S.W. one severly damaged and the N.W. one severly damaged in its northern half; the Main Control Building has been a quarter demolished; the Air Raid Control and Administrative H.Q. was still on fire; the Garage, Hospital and Guest Houses have all received blast damage, and Herr Spann's house has been severly damaged/ . That 550 Squadron contributed materially to these results is shown by our photographs of which 22 out of the 23 show the aiming point somewhat in their bombing point. This was the greatest number achieved in the Base. Defences at the target consisted of moderate but accurately predicted H/F with omse L/F, while there was some H/F from Salzburg, and one venturesome flak gun that "popped off" from an isolated valley as our bomber stream passed over on the way to the target. "M" (Sgt Locke) was unable to bomb the primary target due to a sticking distributor arm, although making an orbit and a second run. However, they used their bombs usefully by dropping them on a bridge and railway line at Ruhpolding, about 26 miles homeward from the target. All things considered, an extremely successful raid; we think that Francis Drake that expert in singeing the facial protuberances of Continental dictators would have been pleased.

CONGRATULATIONS: Congraulations to F/O Screen on his immediate DFC - won on the Hanover raid of 25th March last after a good show on 3 engines.
And congratulations to F/L Browne on his immediate DFC - achieved on the Plauen raid on 10th April and equally good show on two engines.
And finally congratulations to F/L Parsons and his crew on completing their operational tour.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG120 Returned Primary at 17000 ft at 09.52 1/2hrs 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)

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
NG120 Returned MANNA mission. F/O L S Johnston (P)
Sgt B C Terry (F/Eng)
F/O A C Armstrong (Nav)
F/O L J Oke (A/B)
Sgt J Jones (W/Op)
Sgt C B Gadsby (MU/AG)
Sgt J A Wilson (R/AG)

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
NG120 Returned MANNA mission. Sgt G Evans (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: -/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
NG120 Returned Primary at 500 ft at 15.32 1/2hrs. MANNA mission. Sgt G Evans (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: -/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
NG120 Returned Primary at 500 ft at 14.12hrs. MANNA mission. F/Sgt J H Vance (P)
Sgt J S Kennedy (F/Eng)
Sgt R J Lester (Nav)
Sgt R J Harris (A/B)
Sgt D H Hope (W/Op)
Sgt A M Gardner (MU/AG)
Sgt R A Stockwell (R/AG)

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
NG120 Returned Primary at 400 ft at 08.17 1/2hrs. MANNA Mission 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)

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.

[Ed: the ORB lists PA268 "F2" twice on this op; FIRST with the F/Sgt Vance crew and two pages later again with the P/O Percival crew; there is no obvious way to determine what the entry is correct.]
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG120 Returned Primary at 300 ft at 14.57 1/2hrs. MANNA mission. 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)

Operation/Target: -/MANNA (08 May 1945 - 08 May 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
-/MANNA 08 May 1945 08 May 1945 N MANNA mission. 8 aircraft with crews took off before midday on another "Manna mission". The remainder of the Squadron stood down for the day to celebtate "VE" day. Games and cinema were organised. Mrs. Bell phoned to that Wing Commander B. Bell had arrived in the country from POW Camp.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG120 Returned Primary at 500 ft at 13.05hrs. MANNA mission. F/Sgt V B Cassapi (F/Eng)
F/O M K Anderson (Nav)
P/O A G Elliott (P)
F/Sgt R J Francis (A/B)
Sgt D Scully (W/Op)
Sgt A J Cassidy (MU/AG)
Sgt R Craigs (R/AG)

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
NG120 Returned EXODUS 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)

Operation/Target: Dodge (26 Aug 1945 - 26 Aug 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Dodge 26 Aug 1945 26 Aug 1945 N Phase II
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG120 Returned Dodge F/L D A Shaw (P)
P/O S Walmsley (MU/AG)

Operation/Target: Dodge (29 Aug 1945 - 29 Aug 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Dodge 29 Aug 1945 29 Aug 1945 N "Dodge" No.30 returned to Base. 68 hours fo flying time was completed.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG120 Returned Dodge F/L D A Shaw (P)
P/O S Walmsley (MU/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 64
MAX Aircraft deployed
in single operation
1
(Calais, 28 Sep 1944)

These details were last updated: 31 July 2019


Note

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

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


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