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: Mannheim-Ludwigshafen (01 Feb 1945 - 02 Feb 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Mannheim-Ludwigshafen 01 Feb 1945 02 Feb 1945 N After 10 days of enforced idleness due to excessive weather conditions the Squadron was called up on to supply 29 aircraft and crews plus two aircraft and crews in reserve to attack the rail centre and marshalling yards in LUDWIGSHAVEN. 30 aircraft successfully took off at approx. 1530hrs The weather on route was rather mixed from 10/10 cloud to clear conditions over the Channel well broken cluid over the Continent until the target 10/10 cloud built up about 5 miles hort on the run in. On the return very turbulent conditions were encountered crossing the North Sea to the Norfolk Coast. At the target both ground and sky marking was resorted to by the PFF but with the target indicators disappearing into the low cloud and some of the sky markers being too high for easy aiming, bomb aimers had rather a difficult time. Results were very obscure, there was however a very encouraging incendiary glow that developed into a compact fire mass with two explosions. From the H2S photographs brought back, it is thought that there was a tendency to undershoot. Flak was reported as slight, later decreasing to give way to night fighter activity. Night fighters were more active than usual and several combats were observed.
F/L Maltin and his crew completed their second tour and F/L Doward and his crew completed their first tour of operations successfully. F/O Lohrey and his crew failed to return and it was at first reported as missing but later it was learnt that at least five of his crew, including himself, were safe in Allied Territory, after having been forced to abandon their aircraft which had been badly damaged colliding with a friendly aircraft near the target area.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PA503 Returned Primary at 18,000ft at 19.22hrs 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: 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
PA503 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
PA503 Returned -

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
PA503 Returned Primary at 19000 ft at 12.38hrs

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 4
MAX Aircraft deployed
in single operation
1
(Mannheim-Ludwigshafen, 01 Feb 1945)

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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