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: Frankfurt (12 Sep 1944 - 12 Sep 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Frankfurt 12 Sep 1944 12 Sep 1944 N 19 aircraft and crews were detailed to attack the FRANKFURT. 15 aircraft bombed the primary target, 3 returned early. F/O Hussey "Gee" unserviceable, F/O Abrams Air Speed Indicator unserviceable, F/O Rose compressor unserviceable. The weather conditions were good. On approach to the target area the extensive Mannhein - Mainz Frankfurt searchlight belt was seen to be in full swing and several aircraft were coned and subjected to intense FLAK. P/O Ansell in the veteran aircraft "B" was one of these, for just after bombing he received the full attention of a searchlight cone and intense flak and after having successfully emerged through this with minor damage was attacked three times by a fighter ME109. Fire was exchanged and further damage sustained. The bombing attack, from reports, appears to have been a complete success. The marking was both punctual, concentrated and clearly seen. Fires were burning well and soon merged into one mass of flames and smoke like a boiling cauldron and could be seen a 100 miles distance on the homeward journey. FLAK in the target area was described moderate in a loose barrage, the homeward journey was quiet and uneventfull. All aircraft and crews returned safely. P/O Purvis, DFC and his crew completed their first operational tour. PRU were over FRANKFURT quicker than ever after the raid and they report as follows: "The whole area around the main marshalling yard on the west side of the city is covered with smoke from numerous fires. A large area NW of the marshalling yard is seen to be almost completely gutted. A considerable quantity of rolling stock is burning in the yard. The area between the M/Y and the lines leading west from the main railway station is now almost completed devastated". Another excellent prang.
Station Summary
OPERATIONS
After some respite from German targets, 550 was once again detailed, as part of a force of 185 from Command, to attack FRANKFURT tonight. Shortly after 1800 hours 19 of our aircraft took off. 15 claim to have attacked the primary. 1 attacked a German last-resort target and 3 returned early, having abandoned their mission because of technical troubles. Apart from one aircraft which landed at CARNABY because of a U/S compressor all our sorties returned safely to base.
ORGANISATION
F/Lt Lord, Base Gas and Fire Officer visited Gas and Fire Section and found everything satisfactory.
GENERAL
The 3rd, 13 Base Junion N.C.O's Discip. & Admin Course commened at this Station.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB562 Returned Abandoned A.S.I u/s

Operation/Target: Sandgatte (20 Sep 1944 - 20 Sep 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Sandgatte 20 Sep 1944 20 Sep 1944 N 14 aircraft and crews were briefed and took off to attack enemy defences at SANDGATTE. The operation is considered as having been successfuly and with this operation the Squadron scored its first century of operations. In just over eight months 550 has completed its hundredth operation from North Killingholme. Coming as a fledging from Waltham where it was hatched, the Squadron began to lay on 14th January, when 8 sorties dropped 38 tons of NE on Brunswik. Stettin and Berlin had been visited from Waltham.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB562 Returned Primary 3500ft at 17.02 1/2hrs

Operation/Target: Neuss (23 Sep 1944 - 23 Sep 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Neuss 23 Sep 1944 23 Sep 1944 N At 10.55hrs the Squadron was informed that no operations would take place today, but the aircraft were to be bombed up ready for an early morning mission. As 12.20hrs information was received that the Squadron may be called upon tonight. At 13.30hrs informed that the Squadron would definitely operate tonight. 21 aircraft and crew were detailed, briefed and took off to attack Military objectives at NEUSS approximately 4 miles SW of Dusseldorf. 20 aircraft bombed the primary target, F/O Lord returned early owning to "GEE" being unserviceable. 10/10ths cloud over the target the results of the bombing could not be observed. All returned safely to Base.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB562 Returned Primary 18,500ft at 21.20hrs

Operation/Target: Calais (25 Sep 1944 - 25 Sep 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Calais 25 Sep 1944 25 Sep 1944 N 25 aircraft and crews detailed, briefed and took off to blast the Hun out of Calais, precision bombing was called for owning to the close proximity of Allied troops The weather conditions were bad over the target and the Master Bomber ordered all aircraft to return to base with their bombs.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB562 Returned Abandoned on instructions of Master Bomber

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
PB562 Returned Primary 3000 at 12.24 1/2hrs.

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
PB562 Returned -

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
PB562 Returned Primary 11000ft at 14.21 hrs

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
PB562 Returned Primary 20,000ft at 01.20 1/2hrs

Operation/Target: Wilhelmshaven (15 Oct 1944 - 16 Oct 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Wilhelmshaven 15 Oct 1944 16 Oct 1944 N 24 aircraft and crews were offered for operations, but only 8 were required and were briefed and took off to attach Wilhelmshaven, from which once again, all returned safely. In addition "Y" cross country exercises were carried out.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB562 Returned Primary at 18,000ft at 19.48 1/2hrs

Operation/Target: Stuttgart (19 Oct 1944 - 20 Oct 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Stuttgart 19 Oct 1944 20 Oct 1944 N Twenty six aircraft with crews were offered and twenty five were accepted, plus one aircraft to act as stand-by in the Base. The crews were briefed and took off at 16.50hrs at attack STUTTGART. Twenty took off at this time and the remaining five at 21.30hrs to attack Stuttgart, in two waves. One aircraft was cancelled at the last moment and one aircraft returned early with engine trouble, so in all only 24 aircraft proceeded to the target, one of which, it is regretted, failed to return. F/L Thomas and crew, who had only been with the Squadron a short time and were on their first operational sortie. Moderately cloudy conditions were encountered en route, but over the target 9/10 thick cloud was present and sky marking had to be resorted to. Six crews found momentary gaps to bomb ground markers. Very few results could be seen, only a vague incendiary and fire glow being visible under the cloud. Flak was reported as slight to moderate with some ineffective searchlights. "A" (F/O young) received some unpleasant attention and was well peppered by flak receiving damage in the tail plane, fuselage, flaps punctured, hydraulics and bomb container. "K" (F/O Daniels) also found Karlsruhe defences awake and received damage to the port wing, fuselage and a punctured tyre. Both aircraft landed safely at Base without casualty. All photographs show cloud and damage cannot be assessed. In additions to operational flying a training programme consisting of Air to Air firing, Air to Sea firing, practice bombing, Fighter affiliation and "Y" Night cross country exercises were carried out.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB562 Returned Primary 17,000 feet at 20.30 1/2 hours

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
PB562 Returned

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
PB562 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
PB562 Returned Primary 19,000ft at 16.04hrs

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
PB562 Returned Primary at 19,000ft at 21.02 1/4hrs

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
PB562 Returned Primary at 18,000ft at 21.04hrs

Operation/Target: Dusseldorf (02 Nov 1944 - 03 Nov 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Dusseldorf 02 Nov 1944 03 Nov 1944 N Twenty seven aircraft and crews took off at approximately 16.00hrs to attack DUSSELDORF the leading commercial city of Western Germany and has exceptionaly good transport facilities both by railway and river. As a supply and concentration base for the Western Wall (Rhineland edition) it is therefore an excellent centre to eliminate. Enroute to the target the weather was good but cloudy which however cleared at 0500, leaving the target clear with bright moonlight and good visibility. Ground markers were punctual and clearly visible, placed accurately in the Marsalling yards area and very quickly a concentrated cloud of bomb smoke developed. This was added to in the later stages of the attack by the incendiary aircraft and the crews were enthusiastic about the fires which quickly took hold and emitted a rosy glow seen for almost 100 miles on the return journy. In addition light explosions were observed. Flak was reported as light at first in a barrage later increasing to intense. Night fighters also put in an appearance, all our Air gunners were on the qui vive and successfully beat off any interference from them. Photographs taken and brought back show extensive fire tracks and enthusisatic verbal reports from the aircrews show that the attack should be yet another outstanding success. It is regretted that F/Lt Foster and crew failed to return to base, nothing being heard of them since take-off. Congratualtions were extended to F/L Rose and crew on completing an excellent tour.

[Ed: see also the 4th Nov entry below, which refers to the 100th op of ED905 with F/Lt Shaw at the controls. But in fact it appears likely that 100th op occurred today 2nd Nov.]
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PB562 Returned ...

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
PB562 Returned Primary at 19,000ft at 19.324 1/2hrs

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
PB562 FTR Missing - No news after take-off. F/O L J T McCarthy (P)
Sgt J D Shilcock (F/Eng)
Sgt T W Farmer (Nav)
F/Sgt F L J Colbourn (A/B)
Sgt S J Lovett (W/Op)
Sgt L Kendrew (MU/AG)
F/O F M Kennedy (R/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 18
MAX Aircraft deployed
in single operation
1
(Frankfurt, 12 Sep 1944)

These details were last updated: 13 November 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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