550 Squadron were formed from ‘C’ flight of 100 Squadron in November 1943 at Waltham – they moved to the nearly completed North Killingholme on 3rd January 1944 and flew their first mission (to Brunswick) on 14th January 1944.

194 raids
3,485 take offs
122 early returns
188 ‘Ordered to Return’
3,175 successful sorties
4,271 night operational hours flown
4,988 day operational hours flown
9,259 total operational hours flown
16,195 tons of bombs dropped
56 aircraft and crews ‘missing’
14 aircraft crashed

The squadron was officially disbanded and North Killingholme airfield closed on 31st October 1945.

At the end of the war, the men and women of 550 Squadron were demobilised into civilian life, but as the years passed many wanted to re-establish contact with old comrades.

In 1980, Channel 4 started a ‘Service Pals’ Teletext service which Frank Pritchard used to obtain further contacts. Bob Sloan visited Frank on a trip from Australia and they met with Jack Harris – with Jack Harding as the Canadian representative they formed the 550 Squadron Association in 1991.

The first reunion was held at the RAF Museum in Hendon and there have been annual reunions since then at North Killingholme where the squadron was based.

The members are spread across the globe, from Australia to Canada, New Zealand to the UK and worldwide.

31 responses to “History

  1. hi. I have been doing some research on a family member and have discovered that he was a lancaster pilot and was shot down on 21/22 January 1944. I am looking for relatives of Sgt S sykes who was the only surviving member of the crew.

    Many thanks


    • Apologies if I am passing on information you already know.


      “Serial Range ED303 – EE202 This aircraft was one of 620 lancasters ordered from A.V.Roe (Chadderton) in 1941 and built from Nov42 to Jun43 as 129 Mk.1s
      and 491 Mk.111, mixed up to ED782 and all as Mk.111s from ED783 onwards. The Mk.1s were initially fitted with Merlin 20 and the Mk.111s with merlin 28 en
      gines. EE107 was delivered to No.97 Sqdn 25May43, to No.100 Sqdn 12Nov43 and joined No.550 Sqdn 27Nov43. Took part in the following key Operations: With
      No.97 Sqdn as OF-F, Bochum 12/13Jun43; Cologne 3/4Jul43; Turin 12/13Jul43; Hamburg 27/28Jul43; Peene_nde 17/18Aug43; Berlin 3/4Sep43; as OF-L, Mannheim 2
      3/24Sep43. With No.100 Sqdn as HW-U, Berlin 18/19Nov43. With No.550 Sqdn as BQ-Q, Berlin 2/3Dec43; Berlin 16/17Dec43; Berlin 29/30Dec43; Berlin 1/2Jan44-
      aborted; Berlin 2/3Jan44; Brunswick 14/15Jan44; Magdeburg 21/22Jan44-Lost No record of total hours. Airborne 2004 21Jan44 from North Killingholme. Those
      killed are buried in Holland at Venray War Cemetery. Sgt Clarkin came from Dublin in the Irish Republic. W/O G.K.Peasgood KIA Sgt S.Sykes PoW F/S W.P.Mor
      ris RCAF KIA F/S S.J.Richards KIA Sgt S.J.L.Jones KIA Sgt P.P.Clarkin KIA. The CWGC state that Venray was liberated in mid-October 1944 and that burials
      in the cemetery date from this time. This suggests that the above crew were brought here from another cemetery, possibly from one on Germany. Sgt S.Sykes
      was interned in Camp 4B, PoW No.270085 (possibly 270885) ”

      The 550 Squadron and North Killingholme Association newsletter is published approx. 2 -4 times per year. The secretary (Jack Harris OBE DFC) and treasurer (Mike Leeman) have membership lists of 550 squadron members and families and may be able to provide contact details. The former is not on-line the latter is – I’ll pass on any email should you want to contact the association.

      • Hi, I understand that Sgt Stan Sykes died in 2000. However, I would like to contact his relatives to see if Stan ever related what happened on the nigh 21st/22nd Jan 1944, as he was the only survivor when his Lancaster was shot down. My (and John Hibberd) Nan’s nephew W/O GK Peasgood was the pilot.

    • I recently received some information about what may have happened on the night of 21/22 Jan 1944.
      See the details put up on:

    • My husband is sgt stan sykes nephew. Please contact him on 07761198473 and he can pass his sons info on to you. Many thanks mandy

  2. Sgt. P.P. Clarkin 21/22 Jan. 1944 is the name from the Roll of Honour, other than that, our visitors might be able to help.

  3. Hi, has anyone got any info on P/O Maxwell my granddad was his F/E Robson Willey, they were in 550 Sqn feb 1944 and completed their tour in june that year. any info would be appreciated.



    • The 550 Squadron and North Killingholme Association newsletter is published approx. 2 -4 times per year. The secretary (Jack Harris OBE DFC) and treasurer (Mike Leeman) have membership lists of 550 squadron members and families and may be able to provide contact details. The former is not on-line whereas the latter is – I’ll pass on any email should you want to contact the association ( I note you accessed http://www.550squadronassociation.org.uk/ some time ago!) The information and photos, etc, previously available at http://www.550squadron.theraf.co.uk/ (now defunct) may eventually become available again; that may contain helptful information.

    • See also: http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1944/1944%20-%202592.html
      (ca. half-way down left-hand column). Preceding PDF page indictate this is a list of DFC awards.

    • Loris Smith (Maxwell)

      Simon I was married to P/O Maxwell in Adelaide Australia in 1946 He passed away in Brisbane in Nov 1975 after a long illness In 1945 he was based in Singapore with 238 squadron flying DC3 aircraft In 1946 we returned to the UK and he was based at Mildenhall West Suffolk until he left the RAF and came to Adelaide Aust in 1948 before moving to Brisbane in 1953

  4. Hello

    My grandfather Jack (john) Foran (RAAF)was a Wireless operator A/G in this sqdn, i was tring to find out some information regarding the Lanc/s he flew in,

    Any help would be appreciated


  5. Could anyone give me Mike Leeman’s email address?

  6. I am looking for any information regarding the circumstances of the death of my cousin Ronald Sedgeley Smith – I know he died on 4th April 1945, age 19, and is buried in the Berlin War cemetery. He was shown as being Sergeant (Air Gunner) with 550 Sqdn

  7. Hi
    My wifes uncle was the captain of a lancaster shot down on the night of 15/16 of March 1945. His name was Russell Wallace from New Zealand.
    We understand that some of the crew survived. We are very keen to make contact with any of them if they are still alive. They were part of squadron 550 at North Killingholme.

  8. We are trying to trace a “L O Hardy” – son of Oswald Anthony Hardy of 550 squadron. If anyone has any information that can heklp us we would be delighted.

  9. Hi looking for any information on my father-in-law Flt/s Norman Joseph Horsley.He started out with 50 Sqd at Skellingthorpe then 550 sqd at North Killingholme.He survived 30 sorties then done it all over again.He and his crew even went on a mission ( i think on a whim) that they were not meant to be on.He was later awarded the DFM.

  10. Hi yes thats my father-in-law,where did you find the photo and could we get a copy as we dont have this one and do you have any more?

    • We would also be very grateful for any information you may have.

    • The photo is one of a collection I am scanning (on behalf of the owner W/Cmdr Harris) which will then head up to the museum in North Killingholme. I have your email address from this site admin – I will email you some stuff.

  11. Thats fantastic any information would be very much appreciated

  12. REINBOLD Patrick

    I’m search information over The LM 392 J Bomber commanded from the F/Lt Jack Simon Crawford that are crashed in ARTOLSHEIM in the night 15 March 1944. We habe built a memorial for the seven deat crew members that wass inaugured last saturday.We can send your photographies from this ceremony

  13. Dr George Seifert

    I have just found what I assume is an identity disc that fell out of an old passport of a long dead distant relative who lived in Berlin during WWII

    It is circular with a single hole and punched details

    MURPHY W. A.
    R. C.

    As per your website

    William Arthur Murphy
    A/B (what does this stand for?)
    w.e.f. 6.5.45
    What does w.e.f. stand for?

    Did he survive the war or was he shot down over Berlin?
    Which may explain how this made its way to Australia
    Any family?
    My next move would be to contact either the RAAF or War Museum in Canberra as to where best to send this

    Your advice?

    Dr George Seifert (Jr)

    3 Ray St

    Mobile 0412 848598

  14. William Ramsay Ross ( Jock Ross) was my father he flew with 550 squadron during ww11. If anyone has any photos of him I would love to get a copy. Thanks. We will remember them!

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