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 (26 Sep 1944 - 26 Sep 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Calais 26 Sep 1944 26 Sep 1944 N 24 aircraft and crews again detailed, briefed and took off to blast the Hun who are still holding out of Calais. This time the weather was good enough to permit precision bombing which was successfully applied.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB321 Returned Primary 3000 at 12.21hrs. F/L J C Lord (P)
Sgt K W C Down (F/Eng)
F/Sgt R Sebaski (Nav)
Sgt A A A Vass (A/B)
P/O J Elliott (W/Op)
Sgt A J Schomberg (MU/AG)
Sgt P J Sculley (R/AG)

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
PB321 Returned Primary at 20000ft at 15.01hrs

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
PB321 Returned Primary at 17000 ft at 09.49 1/2hrs F/Sgt C L Cochrane (P)
Sgt J Potts (F/Eng)
F/Sgt D G Mather (A/B)
Sgt R H Keevil (MU/AG)
F/Sgt R G Miles (R/AG)
F/Sgt J N Williams (Nav)
F/Sgt E Ashley (W/Op)

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
PB321 Returned MANNA mission. Abortive at 200ft at 13.13 - Complete load hung up over target.

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
(Calais, 26 Sep 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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