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: Aschaffenburg (21 Nov 1944 - 22 Nov 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Aschaffenburg 21 Nov 1944 22 Nov 1944 N The Squadron dispatched 26 aircrarft and crews to attack the marshalling yards at ASCHAFFENBURG. The take off at 15.45hrs was good and without incident. Once again the weather denied crews the satisfaction of even seeing the target or assessing results. En route conditions were good, but over France cloud built up and the Master of Ceremonies and his deputy appeared to be going into a "huddle" to decide exactly where the target was. A small break did reveal markers and these were confirmed to be well placed and were bombed. Following aircraft were assisted by a red glow beneath the clouds and several explosions were reported. F/O Stevenson and W/O Hopman with their crews completed there first tour of operations.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG331 Returned Primary at 14000ft at 19.21 F/O D D S Ferguson (P)
P/O D A McLeod (F/Eng)
F/O J C Nicoll (Nav)
F/O F D Leith (A/B)
F/S D A Jones (W/Op)
W/O M J Moran (MU/AG)
Sgt G Reading (R/AG)

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
NG331 Returned Primary 13000ft at 20.03

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
NG331 Returned Primary at 20500ft 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
NG331 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
NG331 Returned -

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

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Essen 12 Dec 1944 13 Dec 1944 N 25 aircraft and crews took off without incident at 16.00hrs to attack ESSEN. The journey out proved uneventful and the 10/10 cloud which greets us with almost monotonous regularity was again in evidence. Early crews saw sky markers up aloft, a situation which gave bomb aimers rather a headache, but aircraft arriving later did not have the same problem to solve and were able to bomb in the orthdox fashion. Observed results were confined to a red glow seen reflected on the underside of the clouds and three healthy explosions each of which lighted the sky for appropimately 30 secs. Photographs were unable to throw any light on the subject and so once again we shall have to await the accurate assessment of the result. Flak was light to moderate and later increased in intensity.
In addition to the operations 20.52hrs flying training was carried out.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG331 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
NG331 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
NG331 Returned Primary at 13,000ft at 19.37hrs

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
NG331 Returned Primary at 17500ft at 18.32hrs F/O J C Adams (P)
Sgt W P Scott (F/Eng)
F/Sgt B Sterman (Nav)
F/O W R Elcoate (A/B)
F/Sgt F Papple (W/Op)
F/O F S Renton (R/AG)
Sgt C A DeLaveleye (MU/AG)

Operation/Target: Munchengladbach (28 Dec 1944 - 28 Dec 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Munchengladbach 28 Dec 1944 28 Dec 1944 N The Squadron received a preliminary warning for operations and at 15.50 hours nine aircraft took off to attack MUNCHENGLADBACH. From reports received the weather was good over the target and the raid was considered a success. All aircraft returned to Base, although at first the question arose as to whether the crews would return to the station they took off from. At long last the Squadron was able to do some flying training, which amounted to a few minutes short of 14 hours.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG331 Returned -

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

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Scholven-Buer 29 Dec 1944 29 Dec 1944 N 22 aircraft with crews took off without incidient at 15.00 hours to attack synthetic oil plants at SCHOLVEN-BUER approximately 7 miles north of Gelsenkirchen. At the target 10/10 thin cloud was met but this did not, however, prevent the target indictators from being well seen. Bombing quickly became concentrated round the markers, and almost immediately a very large explosion was seen, and resulted in thick columns of black smoke rising through the clouds. Several good fires developed and explosions were continuous until the last aircraft left. The defences of Cologne, Bochum, Gelsenkirchen and the Essen district were very active but not over the target itself. Cloud prevented ground detail coming in the photographs brought back, but in many of them, the fires and explosions show most encouragingly. It is thought that the attack was a success and all aircraft returned safely to base. No flying training was carried out.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
NG331 Returned Primary at 18,500ft at 19.03hrs F/L V B Ansell (P)
Sgt H Doherty (R/AG)
Sgt T D Rodgers (Nav)
Sgt L Trudgian (A/B)
F/Sgt H A Elderfield (W/Op)
Sgt S J H Adams (R/AG)
Sgt C Lambie (F/Eng)

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
NG331 Returned Primary at 19,000ft at 18.52

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
NG331 Returned -

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
NG331 FTR Missing - No news after take off. F/O J C Adams (P)
Sgt W P Scott (F/Eng)
F/Sgt B Sterman (Nav)
F/O W R Elcoate (A/B)
F/Sgt F Papple (W/Op)
F/O F S Renton (R/AG)
Sgt K D Winstanley (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 14
MAX Aircraft deployed
in single operation
1
(Aschaffenburg, 21 Nov 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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