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: 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
PD382 Returned Primary 20,000ft at 15.49 1/2hrs. Elevator control flatted and split. Hydraulic pipe line severed completely by H.F. over target area.

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
PD382 Returned ... P/O W P F Daniels (P)
Sgt J G Woodhall (F/Eng)
Sgt R G Roberts (Nav)
Sgt R Wright (A/B)
F/Sgt F R Easton (W/Op)
Sgt A E Baker (MU/AG)
Sgt W F Baker (R/AG)

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
PD382 Returned Primary at 16,000ft at 19.45hrs

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
PD382 Returned Primary at 19500ft at 13.58 1/2hrs

Operation/Target: Wanne-Eikel (09 Nov 1944 - 09 Nov 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Wanne-Eikel 09 Nov 1944 09 Nov 1944 N 23 aircraft and crews from 550 Squadron together with one aircraft from each of 166 and 103 Sqdns took off at approximately 07.20hrs to attack the synthetic oil plant at WANNE-EIKEL 2.5 miles NW of Bochum one of the lesser known towns of the Ruhr but nevertheless important since it forms part of the general Ruhr network of railway and marshalling yards. The take-off was good as was the weather up to the French coast after which the crews encountered cloud banks and when the target area was reached there was thick cumulous at 20,000ft with layer cloud below. Only one aircraft E2 (F/O Stevenson) had a fleeting glimpse of the target, and but for navigational aids the raid would have dissolved itself into a veritable blind mans buff. With such conditions existing it is impossible to assess the success or otherwise of the operation. Flak was scattered and erratic, and the fighter cover of Spitfires and Mustangs kept enemy fighters out of harms way. All our aircraft returned safely and the boys enjoyed a late lunch.
Station Summary
OPERATIONS
At first light 25 aircraft took off from NORTH KILLINGHOLME (comprising 23 of 550 Squadron and 1 of 166 Squadron and 1 of 103 Squadron, the latter having landed here from training) to attack WANNE-EICKEL, as part of a No. 1 Group force of 233 aircraft. All out aircraft returned safely having claimed to have bombed the target.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Primary, at 23000ft at 10.44 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: Dortmund (11 Nov 1944 - 11 Nov 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Dortmund 11 Nov 1944 11 Nov 1944 N The Squardon dispatched 21 aircraft and crews to attack the north eastern part of the city of DORTMUND where synthetic oil plants, steelworks, coke ovens and a by-products plant with the usual marshalling yards were situated. The take-off was as usual good and once again the crews ran into 10/10 cloud when nearing the target. However with the exceptions, ground markers were vaguely seen reflected on the underside of the clouds and were systematically bombed. Assessments of results are difficult but several reports were made of large explosions in the target area and it is hoped good results were achieved. Flak was generally described as slight to moderate "G" (F/O Young had the fuselage holed rendering the rear turret u/s fortunately there were no casualties.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Primary, at 19000ft at 19.04 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
PD382 Returned Primary 14000ft at 20.05 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: 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
PD382 Returned Primary at 20000ft at 15.09 1/2hrs. H/F damage to cockpit perspex and fuselage.

Operation/Target: Urff Dam (03 Dec 1944 - 03 Dec 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Urff Dam 03 Dec 1944 03 Dec 1944 Y 14 aircraft and crew detailed to carry out an attack on URST DAM and took off at approximately 07.30hrs without incident. The weather en-route was bad and over the target visibility was so poor and the weather so bad that the crews returned without dropping their bombs. Flying training programme was also carried out totalling 33.06hrs.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Abandoned on instructions of Master Bomber

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
PD382 Returned Primary 18,000ft at 19.36 hrs 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: 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
PD382 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
PD382 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
PD382 Returned Primary at 10,000ft at 19.34hrs

Operation/Target: Koblenz (22 Dec 1944 - 22 Dec 1944)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Koblenz 22 Dec 1944 22 Dec 1944 N 24 crews were briefed to attack the communications centre at KOBLENZ and 20 took off at approximately 15.15 hours in fog which had been with us for days. The visibility at its best was 300 yards. F/Lt Shaw "E" was the first to take to the air and the remainder of the boys decided that if a Scotsman could get off so could they. The 20 aircraft successfully took off, four aircraft were cancelled as the visibility became really impossible. It appears that other stations in the base were not so badly handicapped by weather conditions as was Killingholme, and it is considered that the Squadron did well to get 20 aircraft off the deck. No trouble was experienced on route and all aircraft arrived at the target area with the exception of "H" (F/O Franklyn, J) who had to return from France with a Port Outer Engine unserviceable, and was diverted to R.A.F. Croft. At the target 2/10 to 4/10 thin cloud experienced, the sky marking was a few minutes late, but enough flares were dropped to enable most of the crews to bomb them. Some crews caught momentary glimpses of the two rivers standing out from the snow covered ground and there were opinions that the attack fell slightly south of the aiming point. This is confirmed by photographs brought back. The defences were quiet, flak being described as slight with no searchlights operating. Whilst the aircraft were on their journey, visibility at Base had deteriorated still further and all our aircraft were diverted to Woodbridge and all landed safely. "K" got down at Mildenhall and "Q" at Langham. Flying through the twin flame lanes of the fog dispersal apparatus one Australian gunner was heard to say that it was the first time he felt really warm in this country. No flying training was undertaken.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned -

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
PD382 Returned Primary at 18,000ft at 18.31hrs 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: 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
PD382 Returned -

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
PD382 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
PD382 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
PD382 Returned -

Operation/Target: Leuna Oil Plant (14 Jan 1945 - 15 Jan 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Leuna Oil Plant 14 Jan 1945 15 Jan 1945 N After a week of enforced flying inactivity, the Squadron stood by for operations with 30 crews of which one complete crew was sent to R.A.F. Station, Kirmington and one to R.A.F Station Elsham to make up operationally fit crew members on these stations. F/O Cameron departed from the Squadron on posting to No. 1656 Heavy Conversion Unit, Lindholme, as an instructor. F/O Cameron had completed a very successful tour with the Squadron and was very popular with all members of the Squadron, who regret his going.
27 aircraft took off at approximately 19.00 hours to attach LEUNA synthetic oil plant near Merseberg. "N" (F/O Parsons) proved abortive owing to the unfortunate illness of one of the crew and returned to Carnahy. The remaining 26 "pressed on regardless", led throughout by the indefatigable "F" Fox. The captain F/Lt "Jock" Shaw has at last been compelled to call it a day with a grand total of 42 operations. Higher authority this time refused his application to continue on Ops much to the disappointment of Jock. The weather on route was fairly good but deteriorated at the target to 10/10 cloud. Bombing was by sky-markers and conditions prevented results being observed. Defences were active. None of our aircraft were damaged and returned safely to base. Flying Officers Harris and George completed their first tour of operations without a single abortive. No flying training was carried out.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned -

Operation/Target: Zeitz Oil Plant (16 Jan 1945 - 17 Jan 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Zeitz Oil Plant 16 Jan 1945 17 Jan 1945 N 26 aircraft 2 reserve aircraft and crews stood by for operations. The crews were briefed and 28 aircraft took off without incident at 17.30 hours to attack the synthetic oil plant at ZEITZ, situated some 20 miles south of Leipzig. "E" (F/Lt Pyke) had a somewhat "dicey do" soon after take off and while climbing over base the port outer engine caught fire; unable to extinguish it or feather the airscrew, F/Lt Pyke proceeded out to sea to jettison his bombs and do it quickly as the fire threatened to get out of hand. However, all went well for the fire went out soon after recrossing the coast and landed safely. The weather was as per forecast and gave no trouble. On arrival at their distant target they found clear weather and good visibility. The bombing was highly oncentrated on the centre of the target. 9 major explosions and one really super explosion which belched forth flame and black oily smoke were seen, The crew were really enthusistic and highly satisfied with their night's work. The defences and night fighters were very active, but all returned safely to base.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Primary, at 17,000ft at 22.16

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
PD382 Returned -

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
PD382 Returned -

Operation/Target: Weisbane (02 Feb 1945 - 03 Feb 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Weisbane 02 Feb 1945 03 Feb 1945 N 28 aircraft and crews were accepted and briefed to attach WEISBANE where enemy troops were reported to be resting and being re-fitted preparatory to a move to the Eastern Front. Of the 28 aircraft, only 26 aircraft took off, 2 aircraft were non-starters owing to one developing engine trouble and the other being bogged due to a temporary failure of some perimeter track lighting. The weather again was our chief enemy. Cloud up to 20,000ft had been predicted over the Channel only, but in point of fact the worst conditions were over the target where there was layer cloud up to this height and over. Markers were completely obscured and in the circumstances it hardly seems likely that a concentrated attack could have been made. Flak was very ineffective but three of our aircraft saw enemy fighters and opened fire on them without response or conclusive result. All our aircraft returned safely one landing at Kirmington.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned - 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: Kieve (07 Feb 1945 - 08 Feb 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Kieve 07 Feb 1945 08 Feb 1945 N 27 aircraft and crews were the Squadrons contribution to an attack on KIEVE a road centre where six routes meet, also a rail junction linking the Ruhr and those area still held by the Hun in Holland north of the Rhine - the object being to blot out the town, thus denying the enemy the main route into that part of the battle area. All aircraft successfully took off without incident in the usual Squadron style at approximately 18.30hrs. F/L Pickles in "Y" very reluctantly had to abandon his mission when over France owing to his bomb sight being unserviceable. F/L Rhude had the galling experience of going all the way to the target and then found his bombsight u/s. He made the correct decision, refrained from bombing and brought his bombs back. The route to the target was practically cloud free but the target ware was covered by 9/10-10/01 cloud about 3000ft thick. The Master Bomber had the matters well organised and brought the main force down beneath the cloud where they found the ground marking concentrated and easy to follow. The crews were unanimous that the bombing was very concentrated with "cookies" bursting all around the markers. Flak was negligible only a few spasmodic bursts being observed.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned -

Operation/Target: Politz (08 Feb 1945 - 09 Feb 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Politz 08 Feb 1945 09 Feb 1945 N The Squadron stood by for a skylight operations, which was however cancelled at approx. 13.30hrs presumably owing to adverse weather. 28 aircraft were later called for an attack on a synthetic oil plant at POLITZ 3 miles north of Stettin. Owning to mechanical defects developing at the last moment only 24 aircraft took off at approx. 19.00hrs. The weather along the unfamiliar route fufilled our worst suspicions, but on approaching the Reich the waether improved considerably and the target area was found to be practically free from cloud, consequently the flares and markers were dropped punctually and accurately. The target had been attacked two hours earlier and the fires started were still visible and our boys brigthened them up considerably. Many explosions were seen and a particularly vicious one at 23.17hrs which lit up the whole area and was said to have been the best ever. All our aircraft returned safely although one, F/O Parsons in "N" landed at Carnaby with defective hydraulics. Good photographs were obtained. F/O Lohrey and four members of his crew who baled out after their attack at Ludwigshaven on the 1st Feb returned to the Squadron.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned -

Operation/Target: Chemnitz (13 Feb 1945 - 14 Feb 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Chemnitz 13 Feb 1945 14 Feb 1945 N 22 aircraft and crews were briefed, and successfully took off at approximately 20.00hrs to attack CHEMNITZ the Bradford of Germany with important rail junctions through which reinforcements from the west, country and southern Germany would have to pass on their way to the Eastern Front. The weather was good over England but deteriorated on approaching the target which was found covered with 10/10th cloud with tops up to 18,000ft. Markers could not be seen and crews were instructed to bomb on Navigational aids. The concensus of opinion seemed to be that the attack was rather scattered. An aircraft that had bombed however went below cloud and reported that the sourhern part of the town was burning but the northern part was untouched. Flak was slight and there were no searchlights. Photographs reveal nothing. All aircraft returned safely to base after their nine hours trip.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Primary at 18,500ft at 00.33hrs

Operation/Target: Dresden (13 Feb 1945 - 14 Feb 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Dresden 13 Feb 1945 14 Feb 1945 N 27 aircraft and crews were called upon for operations, 28 crews were briefed, one extra being held in reserve. After some effort 26 aircraft took off at approximately 21.15hrs to attack DRESDEN. The journey across England was unfortunately marred by a fatal accident in which one of our aircraft was involved (B2 - F/L Allen). It appears that an aircraft from 300 Squadron collided with ours near Appe by Manor Lincs, soon after setting course and the wreckage of both planes was scattered over a wide area as a result of explosions.
The weather en-route was better than expected. After a long journey across the continent the target was seen some 180 miles before E.T.A looming up as a dull red glow of fires still raging from a previous attack. The Bombing run was clear which enabled the crews to see the markers and a further concentrated contribution of cookies and incendiaries again made the rear reflecting against the clouds, warming the hearts and feet of the rear gunners. The defences protested, but it was only a feeble attempt. Photographs show an encouraging quantity of fire and incendiary glare and in short show that the attack was a highly successful one.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned -

Operation/Target: Dortmund (20 Feb 1945 - 20 Feb 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Dortmund 20 Feb 1945 20 Feb 1945 N 27 aircraft and crews took off without incident to attack once again the heavy engineering manufacturing town of DORTMUND. F/O Ferguson in "L" unfortunately returned early with his starboard inner engine u/s. The remaining aircraft found good weather along the route until approx. 0530 degress E when a low layer of thick cloud gradually built up to 4000 feet, until at the target the markers were barely visible as they dropped into it. The marking was punctual and an adequate number of ground markers, as well as some sky markers were dropped, However, the latter were somewhat scattered and although some encouraging concentrations of incendiary and fire glows were seen indistinctly under the cloud, the illuminating explosions, there was quite a lot of scatted bombing and it must only be considered, from first accounts, as a moderately successful raid. Ground defences were reproted as being only slight to moderate in a loose barrage, with one or two aircraft receiving some predicted attention. Night photographs show a good diplay of incendiary and fire tracks, but clouds have again prevented only plotting. Good shows were put up by F/O Franklyn in "G" who had his port outer engine u/s and had to feather it when over the Bexhill area on the outward journey. F/L Dale in E2 (taking F/L Sarll and crew on their initial operation) had trouble with his port outer engine which was u/s from 0500 degrees outward forcing them to bomb at 13,000 feet. F/O Mearns also had trouble with his starboard outer engine which was partially u/s for the trip.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Abortive - Mission abandoned owing to starboard inner being u/s. 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: Pforzheim (23 Feb 1945 - 24 Feb 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Pforzheim 23 Feb 1945 24 Feb 1945 N 27 aircraft and crews were called for to attack PFORZHEIM and took off at approx. 16.00hrs without incident. Weather at take off was 10/10 low cloud down to 600 ft, but broke up over the continent and the target was quite clear, with some "dangerous moonlight". The markers were accurately placed and the bombing was correspondingly concentrated and the attack has every appearance of being a hightly successful one, fires could still be seen 150 miles away on the homeward journey. Very slight light flak was encountered over the target but night fighters were much in evidence. "C" (F/O Grundy) failed to return from this operation. F/O RD Harris in [NF998] despite a damaged port outer engine which caught fire over the target and severed tube caused by incendiaries, limped back and landed at Manston. One of the crew was injured but not seriously.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Primary at 8000ft at 20.02 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: 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
PD382 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
PD382 Returned -

Operation/Target: Chemnitz (05 Mar 1945 - 06 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Chemnitz 05 Mar 1945 06 Mar 1945 N 26 aircraft, including the reserve, as it was apparant immediately after take-off that "E2" (F/L Dale) would be abortive with a port engine unserviceable, took off at approximately 16.45hrs as part of a force of over 700 Lancasters and Halifaxes detailed to attack CHEMNITZ. The trip to the target was without incident, with a layer of 10/10 cloud beneath most of the time. On reaching the target area it was quickly seen that the cloud prevented anything other the sky marking which was called for by the Master Bomber. His broadcasting was much distorted by static interference, but he was generally heard. The first release point flares went down 3 minutes before "H" hour; they were plentiful and well grouped but fell into the cloud tops rather quickly and later there was a gap when no flares were seen. Detailed results could not be seen but judging from the incendiary glow and the bursts of the cookies, bombing appeard to be concentrated. There was only very slight heavy flak over the target area, but the Leipzig defences were active and the night fighters were in evidence, both over the target and along the first two legs of the homeward route. Three aircraft reported combats but none claimed any night fighters destroyed. 22 aircraft landed safely at base; "J" (P/O Findlay) landed at Benson, "O" (F/O Harris) at Carnaby, with flaps unserviceable, and "F" (F/S Wilson) at Tempsford, with damage sustained in combat but no casualties.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned -

Operation/Target: Dessau (07 Mar 1945 - 08 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Dessau 07 Mar 1945 08 Mar 1945 N 27 aircraft took off at approximately 17.00hrs on operations, but not without incident. "E2" (W/O Lukies) proved most fractious. The starboard outer engine cut on take-off. The aircraft swung dangerously but the pilot by masterly handling avoided a hanger and other obstacles, proceeded to the jettison area and returned safely. The other aircraft set course on the long route to DESSAU. Cloud amounts variable. Opposition was lively, both from flak and night fighters, but the former was not so strong over the target. Some crews bombed ground markers through 3/10 cloud with a clear view of the town and River Elbe; others had to rely on sky markers owing to 10/10 cloud. General opinion was that the attack was well concentrated and that the target was set, well and truely, ablaze. "M" (S/L Pickles) had it's "Gee" unserviceable from Southern England outwards, but the crew pressed on and after some meandering found themselves near to the target. They bombed in solitary state, a healthy concentration of fires left by their comrades. Two crews reported inconclusive combats with night fighters. Three aircraft "V" (F/O Jones), "O" (F/O Harris) and "R" (P/O Nielson) failed to return and it was with deepest regret that they were reported missing. Nothing was heard from any of them after take-off. Three aircraft and crews carried out flying in training involving over 7 hrs flying.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Primary at 14000 ft at 22.00hrs

Operation/Target: Kassel (08 Mar 1945 - 09 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Kassel 08 Mar 1945 09 Mar 1945 N The Squardon was again called to operate and 23 aircraft took off in quick time without incident at approximately 17.20hrs. The target was Kassel. All the aircraft bombed the primary target indicated including "H" (F/O Cowper) whose port inner engine caught fire and was feathered some 200 miles short of the target. 10/10 cloud covered practically the whole of the continental route, but was broken immediately over the target, which was clearly visible through only a thin layer. Bombing was heavily concentrated, the incendiaries tooks a firm hold and the resultant fire glow could still be seen when aircraft were crossing the Rhine over 100 miles away. Flak over the target was light to moderate and there was little sign of fighter activity - a happy contrast to the previous night's experience. All the Squadron's aircraft returned safely to base, where at interrogation the crews were sleepy but satisfied. One aircraft and crew completed a night flying training drill lasting 2 3/4 hrs
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Primary at 19000 ft at 21.34 1/2hrs

Operation/Target: Essen (11 Mar 1945 - 11 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Essen 11 Mar 1945 11 Mar 1945 N 20 aircraft and crews detailed and took off without incident at approximately 11.40hrs on a daylight sortie to Essen, now only some 14 miles ahead of our troops. A total of over 1000 aricraft took part in the attack delivering over 4500 tons of bombs. There was a level carpet of 10/10 cloud all the way out, over the target and back. Crews bombed on coloured smoke puffs assisted by verbal instructions form the Master Bomber. It was considered that the bombing was quite concentrated and very soon a protuberance in the shape of mushrooming fire smoke appeared, agitating the top layers of the cloud - evidently someting was burning down under. Flak was not very troublesome, being variouly described as "nil", "very slight" and "slight to moderate". The Luftwaffe was absent. All the aircraft returned safely to base. 7 aircraft and crews carried out flying training to the extent of 24 3/4hrs flying. Day and night practice bombing, fighter affiliations and Y cross countries.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Primary at 18500 ft at 15.06hrs

Operation/Target: Misburg (15 Mar 1945 - 16 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Misburg 15 Mar 1945 16 Mar 1945 N Another oil target. [Ed. Misburg? TBC.] 19 aircraft offered and all took off. Most of the "incident", in fact, came before take-off when the CO provided entertainment for the crews whiling away the last few moments on the deck by chasing a way a horse which was contravening Station Standing Orders by appropriating one of the runways as a cantering area. After a breathless 10 min exhibition, almost a rodeo, of horse steering by car, the take-off proceded. Except for the English Channel, the route wascloudless and over the target only ground haze was present. Ground identification was possible for many of the crews in the light of the illuminating flares, but ground markers were accurately placed and in excellent concentration. Almost immediately after the first bombs were dropped the target was enveloped in flame and smoke which rose to 10000 feet from a particularly big explosion. An excellently concentrated attack developed, large fires soon became established and two further large explosions occurred. The glow from the first would be seen upwards of 100 miles on the return journey. Opposition from the ground was generally described as moderate heavy flak, although this was accurate for the height and early crews found it hotter than those succeeding them. Some fighters were active but none of our aircraft reported combats, all returned safely to base.

[Ed: this last part of the last sentence appears to be an error in the monthly summary in the ORB. Because on the battle order list for the date one aircraft is listed as failing to return to base: P/O Wallace RNZAF crew, NG287 "Q" (5 killed, 1 Evd, 1 PoW.]
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Primary, at 17500 ft at 21.19

Operation/Target: Nuremberg (16 Mar 1945 - 17 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Nuremberg 16 Mar 1945 17 Mar 1945 N Squadron put 19 aircraft for operations. 18 aircraft took off; F/O Luder aircraft stayed on the ground with an unserviceable rear turret. The target was NURENBURG. Up to 10/10 cloud was experienced en route but this broke up to 4-6/10 in the targe area, over which there was a large gap giving a clear view of the ground markers, which were punctual and concentrated. The Master Bomber's instructions came through clearly. Fires got going quickly outlining the street patterns, finally merging into one large conflagration, the glow from which could be seen for 150 miles on the return journey. Flak defences were only slight to moderate with 15-20 ineffective searchlights which were doused early in the attack. On the other hand, enemy fighter activity was intense from the Stuttgart area to the target and beyond. Many combats were reported. "L" (F/S Wilson) claimed to have damaged a JU.88. "K" (/O Findlay) saw stikes on another. "D" (F/S Jamieson) landed at Manston with the rear gunner, Sgt, Klementoski, wounded so seriously that he has since died. "B" (F/O Liefooghe) failed to return, no news being received after take-off. S/L Caldow AFC, DFC and F/O Cowper completed their tours of operations. The latter came home on three engines. Six aircraft and crews carried out day and night flying training.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Primary at 17000 ft at 21.33 1/2

Operation/Target: Hanau (18 Mar 1945 - 19 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Hanau 18 Mar 1945 19 Mar 1945 N Squadron detailed 18 aircraft to attack Hanau. "M2" (F/L Sarll) aircraft developed ignition trouble in the port outer engine and did not leave its dispersal. The other 17 aircraft took off in quick succession, commencing at23.50 hours. The route was moderately quite, athough approaching the target and coming out of it, there was evidence of night fighters. Cloud varied in amount, but over the target it was thin. The marking was carried out punctually and in text book fashion. Bombing was reported as well concentrated and the effects were visible from 85 mils distant on the return journey. "D2" (F/O Lukies) reported a combat with a JU.88 and claimed it as damaged. Reports of other crews confirmed this. F/L Dale and crew completed their tour with this op. "Q" (F/L Burrows) aircraft failed to return. Five members returned to the Sqdn after baling out over no-mans-land and spending exciting days with the 12th US Army. Three aircarft and crews flew 14 1/4 hours on training details.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Primary at 11000 ft at 04.35

Operation/Target: Bremen (21 Mar 1945 - 21 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Bremen 21 Mar 1945 21 Mar 1945 N 15 aircraft from the Squadron were detailed for operations. All of them took off safely without incident at approx 08.00. The target was the Deutsche Oil Refinery on the North West outskirts of BREMEN. The route was direct across North Holland, ideal weather conditions were experienced and no flak appeared. Marking was vary accurate and the Master Bomber had a firm and clear control of the attack. Very quickly a pall of smoke, of varying shades, enveloped the target. Along the bombing run the aircraft had to fly through a lane of hot, quite accurate, heavy flak and several aircraft were hit, but none vitally. "K" (P/O Screen) was hit in the port outer engine and limped back to base on three engines. All of the Squadron aircraft landed safely at base. 3 aircraft and crew flew 10 hours flying training.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Primary at 14500 ft at 10.02hrs

Operation/Target: Hildesheim (22 Mar 1945 - 22 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Hildesheim 22 Mar 1945 22 Mar 1945 N The Squadron was called to put up 16 aircraft on operations. All took off without incident at approx. 11.30 hours. The attack, a small one, was on HILDESHEIM, 20 miles SE of Hannover. Formation, outward bound to the target, was good in almost perfect weather conditions. Although the leader took the main force rather close by Osnabruck and Hanover, there was an almost complete absence of flak at the target and crews had no difficulty in visually identifying it, marked in an accurate and concentrated style. Soon the Master Bomber had to give directions to aim wiht the smoke as a guiode and within a few minutes the whole of the built up areas was a mass of smoke and dust. The smoke, rising to 15000 ft, could be seen from 200 miles. "C2" (F/L Parsons) was hit by heavy flak and had two fuel takes holed, "L" (F/S Wilson) was hit by incendiaries over the target, the port wing tip and aileron being damaged. All the Squadron's aircraft returned safely to base. F/O Davidon DFC and his crew completed their tour with this operation. 4 aircraft and crews on the flying training programme spent 14 hours in the air.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Primary at 14500 ft at 14.04

Operation/Target: Dortmund (24 Mar 1945 - 24 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Dortmund 24 Mar 1945 24 Mar 1945 N 14 aircraft took off without incident at approx 13.00 hours to participate in an attack on an oil refinery and storage plant situated midway between BOCHUM and DORTMUND. The weather was summerlike and visibility excellent. Crews were easily able to identify the target visually; it was undoubtedly hit, there was a large explosion and a big pillar of smoke rose skywards. It was visible a hundred miles away on the return journey. No enemy fighter were seen. "H" (F/L Barnes) failed to return to base, nothing being heard from him after take-off. All the other aircraft landed safely. 5 aircraft and crews on a flying training programme did over 10 hours day flying.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Primary at 18800 ft at 16.31 1/2

Operation/Target: Paderborn (27 Mar 1945 - 27 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Paderborn 27 Mar 1945 27 Mar 1945 N The squadron was called upon to provide 18 aircraft to participate in an attack on PADERBORN. The aircraft took off without incident at approx. 14.50 hours in the usual efficient manner. 10/10 cloud covered the target and most of the route, which according to the crews had the semblance of a "cross country". No enemy fighters were seen, there was no flak over the target and very little along the route. The cloud layer prevented any assessment of the bombing accuracy but a large mushroom of smoke came up through the cloud tops to 12000ft. So something caught fire somewhere! All the aircraft returned and landed safely at base, although "J" (F/O Percival) had the misfortune to be stuck by incendiaries from an aircraft flying just above. A training programme involving 4 aircraft and crews and a total of hours day flying was carried out.

[Ed: Although there appears to be 1 aircraft missing from the listing in the ORB battle order.]
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Primary at 17,000ft at 17.31hrs F/L R E G Waite (P)
F/Sgt A G Johnston (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J H Marsh (Nav)
F/O R G McLean (A/B)
Sgt G Edwards (W/Op)
Sgt W Gray (MU/AG)
Sgt T Hume (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Nordhausen (03 Apr 1945 - 03 Apr 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Nordhausen 03 Apr 1945 03 Apr 1945 N 23 aircraft took off - one cancelled owning to engine trouble the remainder took off without incident - to attack a military barracks at NORDHAUSEN. The weather however was not at all cooperative. The continent was covered with varying amounts of cloud 5/10 - 10/10 solid with tops 12000ft. There were no signs of any sky marking and consequently the Master Bomber gave instructions to bomb on the best "Navigational aids" possible which in most cases was H2S. Four crews decided that the state of their H2S did not warrant bombing and brought their bombs back to base, which in the circumstances was the best procedure. The attack was very scattered. No opposition from ground or air was experienced.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Primary at 14,000ft at 16.19 1/2hrs F/Sgt C L Cochrane (P)
Sgt J Potts (F/Eng)
F/Sgt D G Mather (A/B)
Sgt D G Hammersley (W/Op)
Sgt R H Keevil (MU/AG)
F/Sgt R G Miles (R/AG)
F/Sgt J N Williams (Nav)

Operation/Target: Lutzendorf (04 Apr 1945 - 04 Apr 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Lutzendorf 04 Apr 1945 04 Apr 1945 N 20 aircraft took off without incident to attack oil plant at LUTZENDORF. Mets briefing had made a courageous attempt to prove that the clouds would not be as black as they were painted, forecasting "after a good look at the map" generous breaks over the target in the threatened 8 - 10/10 cloud. The forecast was triumphly justified by a cloud free target with visibility only marred by a slight haze, although 8/10 cloud persisted to a point under 50 miles from target. Mets assurance, however, that umbrellas would not be required on return was not so happy. Markers after a somewhat slow start were plentiful and crews who were able to identify visually reported that they were actually placed. Bombing was well concentrated and although fires were not impressive much black smoke rose from the target early in the attack, so much so that the Master Bomber at H+3 ordered the crews to bomb smoke. Numerous explosions, with one particularly large one, in the target area were reported. Ground opposition consisted of slight to moderate H/F, a slight amount of light flak and about no ineffective searchlights. There was some enemy figher activity and "P" (F/S Williams) had a tussle with an ME.109 short of the target. The enemy aircraft was first seen 300 yards aways and "Ps" rear gunner immediately opened fire seeing numerous strikes before Jerry broke away without returing fire. Generally the route was trouble free. We regret to report that "X" (F/O Hayes) failed to return, no news being received after take-off.

[Ed: target alternatively spellt Lützkendorf (2 miles east of Mücheln) (i.e. the original ORB entry missed a "ü" and "k"). Also known as Krumpa.]
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Primary, at 12000 ft. at 01.31 F/Sgt K F Wilson (P)
Sgt H McKelvie (P/F/Eng)
F/Sgt E H Waller (Nav)
F/Sgt E C Eminson (A/B)
F/Sgt D Evans (W/Op)
F/Sgt A H Clothier (MU/AG)
F/Sgt E J Davey (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Kiel (09 Apr 1945 - 10 Apr 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Kiel 09 Apr 1945 10 Apr 1945 N 23 aircraft and crews took off at approx. 19.40hrs without incident to attack KIEL, and joining the other aircraft from neighbouring bases, made an impressive picture as they streamed away to their target. The trip was uneventful for the outward jounrney, and the Met. proving accurate with some cloud en route but clearing completely in the target area, an excellent attack developed. The marking was clearly visible in spite of slight ground haze, and with some details of the Fjord and the coastline visible, appeared accurate. The Master Bomber was faint and difficult to hear, but most crews heard enough to understand the bombing instructions. Bombing appeared very concentrated and soon a pall of black smoke was billowing up with numerous explosions occuring underneath, while the cheerful sight of the glow of fires was seen for upwards of 90/100 miles on the homeward route. Flak varied from slight to intense and several fighters were seen over the target, although none of our aircraft was involved in combats. 22 aircraft attacked the primary target, one aircraft "N" (F/L Parsons) having to abandon soon after take-off due to some of the instrunments going u/s (a good attempt was made to cope with a piece of string as an artificial horizon but without avail). All our aircraft returned safely, including S/L Newitt and his crew who are to be warmly congratulated on finishing their second tour. The photographs shows some excellent ground detail, one or two of them being the clearest received for some time. The best for clarity was that of "R" (F/L Mitchell) which has been plotted as 600yards from the A/P - taken in the early part of the operation it shows that the main weight of the attack fell slightly to the N.E. of the A/P, but sufficiently near to make a successfull attack.
Eight hours night flying training was carried out by two new crews, F/S Thomas and F/S Banahan with their respective crews.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Primary at 15500ft at 22.36hrs

Operation/Target: Plauen (10 Apr 1945 - 11 Apr 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Plauen 10 Apr 1945 11 Apr 1945 N No. 1 Groups attack last night on Plauen therefore might be regarded as a gesture of "no favour shown". PLAUEN a town about the size of Huddersfield 60(?) miles SSW of Leipzig is a junction where the main line from Berlin and Dresden to the south splits, one branch going S.W. towards Schweinfurt, threatenend by the American forces, and another to Nuremberg, Munich, and the Salzberg area, where Hitler is known to be concentrating material and his most fanatical followers for the "Last Round-up" The attack thus has a dual purpose - to prevent the sinews if was getting to the forces opposing the Americans and to delay the withdrawal to the Bavarian Alps by smashing Plauen's rail facilities. This and the trend of Bomber Command's future targets were indicated by the A.O.C No. 1 Group (Air Vice Marshall R.S. Burke DSO DFC) when he honoured 550 Squadron by attending its briefing. With the heavy influx of new crews, 550 Squadron is now regaining its former scale of effort.

Twenty-seven aircraft were detailed, of these 26 took off, "U" being cancelled because of engine trouble. Weather en-route was cloudless and with only a slight haze at the target many crews were able to identify visually the built-up area of the town. P.F.F were punctual and markers were dropped plumb in the centre of the town. So concentrated was the bombing that it completely obliterated the marking with dust and smoke, and immediately after "H" hours, the Master Bombert ordered bombing on the centre of the smoke which was seen billowing to 8/10,000feet. Several explosions were reported and fires were started which could be seen for upwards of 100 miles on the return journey. Ground defences were negligible at the opening of the attack, but increased to slight to slightly scatted H.F mainly below the bombing height band. There was some slight fighter activity but none of the our aircraft was engaged in combat. At interrogation crews were surprisingly full of beans after their long trip. One of the best pieces of back chat came from a Navigator and a Rear Gunner who differed over the amount of flak encountered over the target. The Navigator took the honours with the final and cruel retort "anyway we were home by the time you got to the target". "J" (F/L Browne) landed back at Manston on two engines after a trip that was full of incident. Soon after crossing the French coast outward and when at 3000ft J's starboard engine caught fire and had to be feathered. Although there was no hope of gaining the briefed bombing height, the Captain decided to carry on to the target which was reached on time, and at a height of 11500ft, well below the main force bombing height. Preferring to wait for the end of the attack to going in under the open bomb doors of the main Force "J" orbited the target area twice. Then 2 1/2mins after the close of the main attack J's air-bomber dropped his bombs on an Emergency sighting angle - the bomb sight was u/s owing to the failure of the starboard inner and the crew had the satisfaction of seeing them drop close to a blazing factory. On the camera run, with the bomb doors still open, "J" was hit by flak which damaged the tops of the bomb bays. Control of the aircraft was not affected but J's troubles were by no means over. In the region of Frankfurt while at 9000ft the port outer engine, which had been giving cause for anxiety, failed. Height was maintained, but the area of the Rhine I.A.Zs had to be crossed at 9000ft and these opened up. Fortunately, they broke off as soon as the colours of the period were fired and a safe landing was made at Manston, Photos confirm that the bombing was concentrated. F/L MacLachlan and crew completed their tour of operations.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Primary at 16,000ft at 23.08hrs

Operation/Target: Potsdam (14 Apr 1945 - 15 Apr 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Potsdam 14 Apr 1945 15 Apr 1945 N The Squadron supplied 25 aircraft with crew as their contribution towards a force of 400 to attack POTSDAM. They took off without let or hinderance and Londoners could have seen them flying serenely over the Metropolis - cloud and other things being equal. The journey across France, Luxemburg and Western Germany was as uninspiring as it was lenghty. There was a certain amount of flak on approaching the target and on the way out, but considering it was the heart of Germnay and only 18 miles from Berlin, the defences, to use an Americanism, seemed about "tapped out". May they remain in this conciliatory state! Several decoys were seen but did not swerve us from our main purpose. The target was found to be clear of cloud and was identified visually by the adjoining lakes. Markers were plentiful and with the Master Bomber giving explicit instructions, the attack developed along the right lines. The journey back was just a long, long trail and all out aircraft landed safely at Base in the "wee small hours". Our three Musketeers again produced plottable photographs and our congratualtions are extened to F2 (F/O Town) on obtaining an A/P - a fast pace, which we hope can be kept up. Details of all plottable photographs are given, but this in no way detracts from the merits of the others. They are merely devoid of ground details and full of exuberance of smoke and fire.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Primary at 18000 ft at 22.52hrs

Operation/Target: Bremen (22 Apr 1945 - 22 Apr 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Bremen 22 Apr 1945 22 Apr 1945 N It was a formidable force that Bomber Command detailed, with four separate aiming points - enemy strong points on the east side of Bremen, within a few miles of our troops. No. 1 Group had the honour of opening the attack, and 550 Squadron contributed 27 aircraft to this spearhead. All 27 took off at 18:00, but "G" (F/O Johnston) had an engine out on take-off and was saved the consequent "cross country". The remainder completed the course and the majority returned as full of eggs as when they departed. They had the chagrin of seeing most of Bremen clear of cloud but the target area itself covered by a thick patch and because our troops were so near the Master Bomber had no choice but to call the party off. Our crews held out the hope that conditions might improve for later waves, but it transpired that only our force fitted with special equipment could bomb. That, at any rate, was a gesture to our troops, who we hope realised, when they saw the bombers overhead that the promised assistance was only withheld so that they should not be imperialed. Return was more or less devoid of incident except for "M" (F/O Handley) which after touching down took off again for a flight, which, unfortunately cannot be counted as squadron training hours.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Mission abandoned

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
PD382 Returned Primary at 17500 ft at 09.58hrs

Operation/Target: Valkenburg/MANNA (30 Apr 1945 - 30 Apr 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Valkenburg/MANNA 30 Apr 1945 30 Apr 1945 N MANNA mission. 28 aircraft with crews carried out another Manna mission to Holland. The aircraft took off at approx. 16.00hrs and were back in time to enjoy their normal evening meal and pleased that they had been privileged to do some good to our brave Dutch Allies.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Primary at 450 ft at 17.44hr. MANNA mission.

Operation/Target: -/MANNA (01 May 1945 - 01 May 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
-/MANNA 01 May 1945 01 May 1945 N 27 aircraft with crews took off at 14.00hrs with a further supply of food.
Station Summary
OPERATIONS: A "MANNA" operations, i.e. food dropping, was ordered, on a dropping zone north east of Rotterdam, 27 aircraft were detailed, all of them took off, dropped 60.453 tons of food, and all returned without incident. The Dutch inhabitants of the area evinced the usual enthusiasm, many flags being noticed and convoys of vehicles proceeding to the dropping areas.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Primary at 500 ft at 15.36hrs. MANNA mission.

Operation/Target: -/MANNA (02 May 1945 - 02 May 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
-/MANNA 02 May 1945 02 May 1945 N Once again 27 aircraft with crew took off at 12.30hrs to deliver more groceries to the Dutch people.
Station Summary
OPERATIONS: A "MANNA" operation was ordered, and 27 aircraft proceeded to the same area adjoining Rotterdam, dropped in all 60.453 tons of food and all returned safely without incident. Advice was received from Base operations that "MANNA" and "EXODUS" sorties are to count as operational trips for the purposes of compiling aircrew's tours.
Sport: Football - Station 2nd XI 5, Barrow 2.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Primary at 500 ft at 14.10hrs. MANNA mission.

Operation/Target: -/MANNA (03 May 1945 - 03 May 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
-/MANNA 03 May 1945 03 May 1945 N 27 aircraft took off before midday on another "Manna" mission.

[Ed: The log book of Sgt E Ashley records him flying as W/Op for the P/O J S Percival crew on this MANNA op (to Rotterdam). However, the ORB does not record P/O Percival crew flying this op. It is not possible to determine if the Percival crew was missed off the ORB in error, or if there is an error with a crew identified, in the ORB, as flying but which was not in fact flying. Both the Squadron and Station ORBs record 27 aircraft took off on this op; and 27 aircraft are listed below. The Percival crew is identifed as flying both 2nd and 5th May.]
Station Summary
OPERATIONS: 27 aircraft were detailed for another "MANNA" dropping operation on the same area of Western Holland as previously, dropping 60.453 tons of food and all returned safely.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Primary at 500 ft at 13.19hrs. MANNA mission.

Operation/Target: Rotterdam/MANNA (07 May 1945 - 07 May 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Rotterdam/MANNA 07 May 1945 07 May 1945 N 30 aircraft with crews led by Wing Commander McWatters took off on a "Manna" mission. F/O Handley (K2) on his return flight was able to assist in the rescue of at least three aircrew members of a Fortress which came down in the sea. On sighting this aircraft the W/Op at once turned I.F.F. to "Distress", the aircraft being then practically submerged. Descending to 200ft the crew of K2 saw an American type dingy and believed they also saw a figure in it; on returning from their orbit, however, the dingy was seen to be upside down and no figure present. A tramp ship was then spotted some 6 or 7 miles south proceeding south away from the wreck. K2 flew over to this ship and signalled to it by Aldis lamp "S.O.S. follow us". The ship replied from the bridge by Aldis lamp and turned round and followed K2 back to the wreck. In the meantime the W/Op had been passing position, time, height details etc on M/F Section "G" and had received in return "Stand By" orders. On arriving back at the wreck the ship lowered a boat. Approximately 2 miles north of the wreck, K2 found airman No. 1 in the water with a parachute floating all around him but apparently without any Mae-West as no yellow harness was visible. A Mae-West was thrown to him by the rear-gunner from the rear turret, which was seen to fall near the airman and which he donned. A flame float was also dropped. By this time, several Fortresses had arrived on the scene and circuits had become somewhat congested. A second airman was then spotted east of the wreck and another Mae-West was dropped to him, and a Red Verey cartridge fired. A Catalina aircraft then arrived on the scene, alighted on the sea and picked up surviver No. 1. A Walrus aircraft also appeared, alighted and picked up airman No. 2. Still circling the area, K2 sighted a second dinghy which appeared empty; however one of the last remaining flame floats was dropped to mark it, also a Mae-West. Almost immediately a third survivier was seen in the water and by means of a red verey light and R/T instructions on "Darkie" frequency, the Catalina aircraft taxied over and effected another rescue. Further search was continued, but as no more survivors were visible and the area was now thoroughtly marked and patrolled, and as two more aircraft were seen approaching with airborne lifeboat and an escorting Spitfire, K2 left the scene and continued her homeward journey, well satisfied with the happy twist in circumstances that had enabled them to assist in the resuce operations, and, at the same time, considerably enlivened what otherwise woulhd have been a somehwat monotonous trip.

[Ed: the ORB lists PA268 "F2" twice on this op; FIRST with the F/Sgt Vance crew and two pages later again with the P/O Percival crew; there is no obvious way to determine what the entry is correct.]
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Primary at 500 ft at 14.53hrs. MANNA Mission

Operation/Target: -/MANNA (08 May 1945 - 08 May 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
-/MANNA 08 May 1945 08 May 1945 N MANNA mission. 8 aircraft with crews took off before midday on another "Manna mission". The remainder of the Squadron stood down for the day to celebtate "VE" day. Games and cinema were organised. Mrs. Bell phoned to that Wing Commander B. Bell had arrived in the country from POW Camp.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned Primary at 500 ft at 13.01hrs. MANNA mission.

Operation/Target: Brussels/EXODUS (11 May 1945 - 11 May 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Brussels/EXODUS 11 May 1945 11 May 1945 N 25 aircraft and crews took off at approx 15.45hrs for Brussels at very short notice after standing by for the most of the day. Ex-prisoners of war were brought back. Three of our aircraft "R", "A2" and "E2" landed at Westcott with their human cargo, but unable to take off owing to technical trouble.

[Ed: all flights flying with only 6 crew, one or other of the A/Gs being absent].
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
PD382 Returned EXODUS F/Sgt K F Wilson (P)
Sgt H McKelvie (P/F/Eng)
F/Sgt E H Waller (Nav)
F/Sgt E C Eminson (A/B)
F/Sgt D Evans (W/Op)
F/Sgt A H Clothier (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 57
MAX Aircraft deployed
in single operation
1
(Cologne, 28 Oct 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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