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: 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
RA547 Returned Primary at 14000 ft at 22.09hrs

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
RA547 Returned Primary at 20500 ft at 21.35 1/2hrs

Operation/Target: Dortmund (12 Mar 1945 - 12 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Dortmund 12 Mar 1945 12 Mar 1945 N 23 aircraft took off without incident at approx. 12.50 hours on what was in almost every respect a repetition of the previous days effort. The only difference, the target was DORTMUND. The colour of the sky markers was changed and the time of the attack about tea time, but the same big dome of dark smoke mushroomed up through the cloud tops. Flak was not up to the usual Ruhr standards, and the only fighters seen were our own, and so the raid appeared to be highly satisfactory. Our 23 aircraft returned to base and landed safely with no fuss or botther at all. The crews of F/O E. M. Smith and F/L Edlund completed their tour of operations with this sortie. Two aircraft and crews completed a flying training detail involving 9 1/2 hours total flying.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
RA547 Returned Primary at 19500 ft at 16.34 1/2 F/Sgt C L Cochrane (P)
Sgt J Potts (F/Eng)
F/Sgt - Moore (Nav)
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)

Operation/Target: Herne Oil Plant (13 Mar 1945 - 14 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Herne Oil Plant 13 Mar 1945 14 Mar 1945 N The Squadron was required to provide 12 aircraft for a night attack on the Erin Benzole Plant at HERNE which is in the north central area of the Ruhr close to the Rhine-Herne canal. All 12 aircraft took off neatly and without incident at approx. 17.15 hrs. Patches of 4/10 Stratocumulus cloud with tops at 12000ft were encountered all along the outward route over this country. After leaving the English coast the route was cloudless until reaching the Rhine were more stratocumulous formed and rapidly increased to 9/10 in the target area with tops 10/12000ft. There was a considerable [amount] of haze over the whole route. Only ground markers were provided and these were obscured to a considerable extent by haze and cloud. As a result, a large number of crews had to bomb on navigational aids and whilst a fair concentration of bombing was achieved on the ground markers, there was a considerable amount of undershooting and overshooting and probably half the effort was wide of the target area. An encouragingly large explosion was reported in the target area; however, something must have gome up. Only moderate heavy flak was encountered over the target and searchlight illumination was not attempted. Jet aircraft were active over the target area but none of our aircraft were molested. All our aircraft landed safely at base and there was quite a series of celebrationbs as the following captains, F/O Summons, F/O Ferguson and F/L Rhude, had with their crews, all completed their tours.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
RA547 Returned Primary at 14500 ft at 20.32hrs F/Sgt G W Jamieson (P)
F/Sgt H W Burlingham (F/Eng)
F/O E A Butcher (Nav)
Sgt W D Riley (A/B)
F/Sgt J P Aucoin (W/Op)
F/Sgt J W Hamilton (MU/AG)
F/Sgt W J Klementoski (R/AG)

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
RA547 Returned Primary at 18000 ft at 21.32 1/2 F/Sgt G W Jamieson (P)
F/Sgt H W Burlingham (F/Eng)
F/O E A Butcher (Nav)
Sgt W D Riley (A/B)
F/Sgt J P Aucoin (W/Op)
F/Sgt J W Hamilton (MU/AG)
F/Sgt W J Klementoski (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Heligoland (18 Apr 1945 - 18 Apr 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Heligoland 18 Apr 1945 18 Apr 1945 N 28 aircraft with crews took off in the usual 550 Squadron style at 10.10hrs to attack the German fortified island of HELIGOLAND. The crews were delighted at being able to participate in another daylight raid. The journey outward was uneventful and visibiity was excellent, the weather being that of a hot summer's day. Our contribution was part of a force of 950 aircraft. Bombing commenced a minute early and the absence of marking in no way affected the accuracy of the bombing. Indeed, the concentration of bombing was so tremendous that it was not thought that markers, had they been dropped, would have remained visible long enough for them to have been used as an aiming point. The island was so saturated by the weight of the attack that the crews met only negigible opposition from the ground defences. No enemy aircraft were encountered. A great number of excellent photographs were obtained giving proof of an outstanding attack. An aircraft carrying a movie-camera was present throughout the attack. P/O Town had to return early owing to engine failure. Eleven hours night flying training was also carried out.
Station Summary
OPERATIONS: A daylight operation took place on the defensive fortress of HELIGOLAND ISLAND. 28 aircraft took off from North Killingholme, one was abortive due to excessive coolant temperature in the port outer engine, and the remainder bombed the primary with excellent results.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
RA547 Returned Primary at 16900 ft at 12.57 F/Lt H G Johnston (P)
F/Sgt A L Dickens (F/Eng)
Sgt B B Wakeford (Nav)
F/O P B Beddoes (A/B)
Sgt J E Jennings (W/Op)
Sgt N Nicoll (MU/AG)
Sgt G P Simpson (R/AG)

Operation/Target: Rotterdam/MANNA (05 May 1945 - 05 May 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Rotterdam/MANNA 05 May 1945 05 May 1945 N 26 aircraft delivered groceries to the Dutch.
Station Summary
OPERATIONS: The postponed "MANNA" dropping operation took place and 26 aircraft dropped 58.214 tons of food on the outskirts of Rotterdam, and all returned without incident.
Sport: Cricket. Two matches Station XI v Grimsby Town and a Station XI v Humber Graving Dock, both in Grimsby, were abandoned owing to rain.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
RA547 Returned Primary at 500 ft at 08.21hrs. MANNA Mission

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 7
MAX Aircraft deployed
in single operation
1
(Dessau, 07 Mar 1945)

These details were last updated: 31 July 2019


Note

this list is still being built and will take some time to complete
what is currently displayed is believed accurate but much more is still to be added

This note describes the options currently available to produce a smaller, more manageable list and also describes planned future enhancements to the reporting facility.


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