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: Duisburg (21 Feb 1945 - 21 Feb 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Duisburg 21 Feb 1945 21 Feb 1945 N [Ed: Target not listed in ORB. Duisburg assumed.] 24 aircraft and crews were detailed and all took off, including "B" (F/L Sarll) whose first independant trip was made with the rear turret u/s. The operations had an unhappy end in the failure of "A" (W/C Bell with the F/L Luger and his crew) to return to base. Everyone will be sorry to lose W/C Bell whose cheerful, forceful personality has been an inspiration to all members of the Squadron and Killingholme generally. It is feared that this layer cloud over the target marred the accuracy of the attack. Marking was punctual, but reports such undershooting, there were, however, large fires and several explosions around the aimers points. Flak at the target was only slight to moderate, fighters on the other hand were much in evidence, "A" F/O Smith the only aircraft to report a combat can claim a suspected ME262 as probably damaged. Owing to the thin cloud none of the photographs succeeded in showing ground details. Congratuations to F/L Harris and crew on the completion of a voluntarily extended tour, without an abortive.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
RF135 Returned Primary at 16,000ft at 23.11hrs

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
RF135 Returned [Ed. ORB said RF135 "N" (but RF135 "F2" appears later in the battle order).] F/L D R Parsons (P)
F/Sgt J P Tasker (MU/AG)
Sgt G E Carter (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J Price (Nav)
Sgt M W Morrison (A/B)
F/Sgt K Robinson (W/Op)
Sgt E Dinsley (MU/AG)

Operation/Target: Cologne (02 Mar 1945 - 02 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Cologne 02 Mar 1945 02 Mar 1945 N 26 aircraft with their crews took off at approximately 06.45hrs in the usual Squadron style to attack the approaches to the Rhine bridges at COLOGNE to prevent the retreating Huns from escaping to the east of the Rhine. For once the weather was kind. 5/10ths cloud was encountered until approximately 20miles short of the target which was clear. Visibility was good and crews had no difficulty in identifying the aiming point visually. Bombing was reported to be concentrated with a few hundred yards of aiming point. A generous fighter escort was supplied which discouraged the Luftwaffe from putting in an appearance. Flak over the target was moderate and accurate. Five aircraft from the Squadron were damaged. Photographs confirm that the aiming point was well and truly hit.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
RF135 Returned - F/L D R Parsons (P)
F/Sgt J P Tasker (MU/AG)
Sgt G E Carter (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J Price (Nav)
Sgt M W Morrison (A/B)
F/Sgt K Robinson (W/Op)
Sgt E Dinsley (MU/AG)

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
RF135 Returned Primary at 16500 ft at 21.54hrs F/L D R Parsons (P)
F/Sgt J P Tasker (MU/AG)
Sgt G E Carter (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J Price (Nav)
Sgt M W Morrison (A/B)
F/Sgt K Robinson (W/Op)
Sgt E Dinsley (MU/AG)

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
RF135 Returned Primary at 15000 ft at 21.59hrs F/O D W Summons (P)
Sgt C C Jerman (F/Eng)
F/L G S Nankivell (Nav)
F/O A Benger (A/B)
F/Sgt J W Arnold (W/Op)
W/O J J Boland (MU/AG)
Sgt J F O'Halloran (R/AG)

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
RF135 Returned Primary at 19500 ft at 21.33 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
RF135 Returned Primary at 17000 ft at 15.01 1/2hrs F/O C G K Edlund (P)
Sgt S Lipfriend (F/Eng)
F/O W F Dawson (Nav)
Sgt P H Barber (A/B)
W/O J M Gorton (W/Op)
Sgt H J Cleghorne (MU/AG)
Sgt J Carruthers (R/AG)

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
RF135 Returned Primary at 19000 ft at 16.36 P/O A G Elliott (P)
F/Sgt J R Morley (P/F/Eng)
F/Sgt N H Lund (Nav)
F/Sgt R J Francis (A/B)
Sgt D Scully (W/Op)
Sgt A J Cassidy (MU/AG)
Sgt R Craigs (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
RF135 Returned Primary at 15500 ft at 20.30hrs

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
RF135 Returned Primary, at 19000 ft at 21.19 P/O A G Elliott (P)
F/Sgt J R Morley (P/F/Eng)
F/Sgt N H Lund (Nav)
F/Sgt R J Francis (A/B)
Sgt D Scully (W/Op)
Sgt A J Cassidy (MU/AG)
Sgt R Craigs (R/AG)

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
RF135 Returned Primary at 15000 ft at 10.00hrs F/L D R Parsons (P)
Sgt W L Howell (R/AG)
Sgt G E Carter (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J Price (Nav)
Sgt M W Morrison (A/B)
F/Sgt K Robinson (W/Op)
Sgt E Dinsley (MU/AG)

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
RF135 Returned Primary at 18500 ft at 16.31 1/2 F/L D R Parsons (P)
F/Sgt J P Tasker (MU/AG)
Sgt G E Carter (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J Price (Nav)
Sgt M W Morrison (A/B)
F/Sgt K Robinson (W/Op)
Sgt E Dinsley (MU/AG)

Operation/Target: Hamburg (31 Mar 1945 - 31 Mar 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Hamburg 31 Mar 1945 31 Mar 1945 N 16 aircraft with crews took off at approximately 06.20 to attack HAMBURG. The weather conditions were bad - 10/10 cloud all the way and over the target. The bombing on sky markers, which were rather scattered, was not considered to be concentrated and the results are awaited. Flak was moderately heavy and two of our aircraft were damaged without casualties. All aircraft returned safely to base just before mid-day to enjoy a good luncheon. Flying training programme was carried out during the afternoon and evening. The Squadron has enjoyed a good months work although unable to put into the air large numbers of crews through crews becoming tour-expired so quickly in succession.

MESSAGE FROM AIR OFFICER COMMANDING No. 1 GROUP.
The month of March 1945 ends with No. 1 Group breaking all records for sorties flown and for bomb tonnage lifted against the enemy of reaching the figures of 3674 (sorties) and 17902 (tons). These achievements truly reflect the energy and determination both of the aircrews and of the ground crews to strike hard blows against the bewildered enemy. I congratulate you all on this magnificient effort and am confident that, should you be called upon to repeat and perhaps even exceed these figures in the Month of April, none will be found wanting. Blucke.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
RF135 Returned Primary at 17500ft at 08.48hrs F/L E G Blakeway (P)
F/Sgt G B Dawkins (F/Eng)
F/L H James (Nav)
F/O K H Vaughan (A/B)
F/O G McCann (W/Op)
F/Sgt N Gamble (MU/AG)
F/O L O Lynch (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
RF135 Returned Abortive - H2S u/s, Gee faded out before reaching target. F/O A C Bothe (P)
F/Sgt J H Andrews (F/Eng)
F/Sgt A S Wiltshire (Nav)
F/O S W Collins (A/B)
Sgt B J Williams (W/Op)
Sgt H W Barton (MU/AG)
Sgt F R Knight (R/AG)

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
RF135 Returned Primary, at 14000 ft. at 01.32

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
RF135 Returned Abortive - instruments u/s F/L D R Parsons (P)
F/Sgt J P Tasker (MU/AG)
W/O T B Lees (P)
Sgt G E Carter (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J Price (Nav)
Sgt M W Morrison (A/B)
F/Sgt K Robinson (W/Op)
Sgt E Dinsley (MU/AG)

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
RF135 Returned Primary at 17500ft at 23.10hrs F/L D R Parsons (P)
F/Sgt J P Tasker (MU/AG)
W/O T B Lees (P)
Sgt G E Carter (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J Price (Nav)
Sgt M W Morrison (A/B)
F/Sgt K Robinson (W/Op)
Sgt E Dinsley (MU/AG)

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
RF135 Returned Primary at 19500 ft at 22.2 1/28hrs F/L D R Parsons (P)
F/Sgt J P Tasker (MU/AG)
F/Lt H G Johnston (P)
Sgt G E Carter (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J Price (Nav)
Sgt M W Morrison (A/B)
F/Sgt K Robinson (W/Op)
Sgt E Dinsley (MU/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
RF135 Returned Primary at 18500 ft at 12.49hrs F/L D R Parsons (P)
F/Sgt J P Tasker (MU/AG)
Sgt G E Carter (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J Price (Nav)
Sgt M W Morrison (A/B)
F/Sgt K Robinson (W/Op)
Sgt E Dinsley (MU/AG)

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
RF135 Returned Mission abandoned F/L D R Parsons (P)
F/Sgt J P Tasker (MU/AG)
Sgt G E Carter (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J Price (Nav)
Sgt M W Morrison (A/B)
F/Sgt K Robinson (W/Op)
Sgt E Dinsley (MU/AG)

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
RF135 Returned primary at 17500 ft at 09.53hrs F/L D R Parsons (P)
F/Sgt J P Tasker (MU/AG)
Sgt G E Carter (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J Price (Nav)
Sgt M W Morrison (A/B)
F/Sgt K Robinson (W/Op)
Sgt E Dinsley (MU/AG)

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
RF135 Returned Primary at 500 ft at 17.45 1/2hrs. 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
RF135 Returned Primary at 500 ft at 15.34hrs. 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
RF135 Returned Primary at 500 ft at 14.06 1/2hrs. 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
RF135 Returned Primary at 500 ft at 13.25 1/2hrs. MANNA mission. F/Sgt J F Thomas (P)
Sgt R J Kemmett (F/Eng)
F/Sgt A W Scott (Nav)
Sgt C W Read (A/B)
Sgt T S Wood (W/Op)
Sgt T J Cronin (MU/AG)
Sgt A Murphy (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
RF135 Returned Primary at 500 ft at 08.23hrs. MANNA Mission F/Sgt J F Thomas (P)
Sgt R J Kemmett (F/Eng)
F/Sgt A W Scott (Nav)
Sgt C W Read (A/B)
Sgt T S Wood (W/Op)
Sgt T J Cronin (MU/AG)
Sgt A Murphy (R/AG)

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
RF135 Returned Primary at 400 ft at 14.58hrs. MANNA Mission

Operation/Target: Brussels/EXODUS (10 May 1945 - 10 May 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Brussels/EXODUS 10 May 1945 10 May 1945 N 23 aircraft and crews took off at approx 05.30hrs to bring back to this country ex-prisioners of war from Brussels.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
RF135 Returned EXODUS

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
RF135 Returned EXODUS

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 29
MAX Aircraft deployed
in single operation
1
(Duisburg, 21 Feb 1945)

These details were last updated: 31 July 2019


Note

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

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


Return to the top of the page.