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: 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
NG363 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
NG363 Returned Primary at 18,500ft at 19.03hrs F/O A W L Lohrey (P)
F/Sgt V B Cassapi (F/Eng)
F/Sgt E C Westhorpe (Nav)
F/Sgt W G Anderson (A/B)
Sgt N Tinsley (W/Op)
Sgt A James (MU/AG)
F/Sgt A Jarnell (R/AG)

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
NG363 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
NG363 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
NG363 FTR Missing - No news after take-off F/O C J Clarke (P)
Sgt J T Tunstall (F/Eng)
F/Sgt H E Miell (Nav)
F/O A J Coldwell (A/B)
Sgt L O Precieux (W/Op)
F/Sgt F W Bradley (MU/AG)
F/Sgt L A J Gauthier (R/AG)

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
NG363 Returned - F/L D R Parsons (P)
Sgt B S P Barby (R/AG)
Sgt G E Carter (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J Price (Nav)
Sgt M W Morrison (A/B)
F/Sgt K Robinson (W/Op)
Sgt E Dinsley (MU/AG)

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 6
MAX Aircraft deployed
in single operation
1
(Merseburg, 06 Dec 1944)

These details were last updated: 11 December 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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