Information Requests

Use this page if you have have requests for information, e.g. about members of the squadron, etc.
Anyone can comment!

265 responses to “Information Requests

  1. Anyone have photos or information on Squadron Leader RM Newitt’s crew – W/O WG Hill (flight engineer), P/O J B Wright (navigator) F/O G Williams (bomb aimer), F/O A Levene (wireless operator), F/O F H Quick DFC (air gunner), FSgt John Piper (air gunner). Jack Harris has sent me a photo of the crew taken at North Killingholme and says they are asbout to set up a 550 museum in the village hall at North Killingholme. Are there any other photos or details about the crew members? Roly Newitt RCAF got his D.F.C. “for consistent courage and determination on numerous sorties”. He once flew his own bomber to Canada and then went on leave! The crew had 30 “ops” in Bomber Command when they joined 550 in early November 1944. Their first op with 550 was flown on 16 Nov 1944. Jack Harris says Harry Quick is living in Melton Mowbray.

  2. I have a large photo of the whole squadron taken in May 1945. I have scanned it and offered it and one of ‘C’ flight to the 55o association. I am waiting for a reply before I send them. My father Flt/lt E.G. Fleming flew on ops with 550 in early 1945 after spendin about 3 years in England as an instructor on Airspeed Oxfords. Dad flew second pilot to Squadron Leader Newitt on his first op to Lutzkendorf in Lancaster J2 on April 4th 1945 (from his logbook)

  3. Further to my original message, this picture of the squadron is a large panorama about 90cm wide and of exceptional quality and detail. I have created a JPEG file approximately 3.08MB in size. I have not seen this picture or anything like it on any 550 or RAF website.

  4. Photo uploaded to the website 13/10/09. As a matter of interest I scanned it in 4 sections and stiched it together using Arcsoft panorama Maker 3.

  5. Colin Brannigan

    I’ve since spoken to Harry Quick. He confirmed he was the rear gunner and John Piper the mid upper gunner. Harry’s now 88 and living in Melton Mowbray. I saw a fresh photo of John’s crew at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre at East Kirby, home of Lancaster NX611 “Just Jane” this month (Oct 2009). The pilot in the photo was Bob Tapsell. I spent 40 minutes aboard the aircraft and plan to revisit Just Jane next July with my grandson William for a taxy run on the aircraft. William lives in Colorado. He’ll love it. What ten-year-old wouldn’t! Just Jane is one of only three Lancs left in the world that can move under their own power. One is part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at RAF Coningsby which we also visited and the third is in Canada.
    Colin Brannigan

  6. My Nan’s cousin was W/O G.K. Peasgood from 550 SQ the pilot of Lancaster EE107, shot down 22nd Jan 1944. He is buried in Venray cemetery in Holland. According to the records one of his crew, Sgt S. Sykes survived and was a POW. I would be interested in contacting anyone who knows or is related to Sgt Sykes to share their memories of what happened and photos etc. Thanks

    • On the HISTORY page of this site someone else was also trying to chase up information on Sgt Sykes – perhaps some of the names there might be able to assist you in your search?

  7. I am seeking some history on Sergeant Edmund Walsh, killed in Wansford, Northamptonshire on 14/15 August 1944, in a Lancaster from 550 squadron. Any assistance would be gratefully appreciated.

  8. Hi Mr. Les Finn,
    As I’m living not that far away from Venray War Cemetery, I could take a pic of W/O Peasgood’s grave if you like.
    Please let me know on my private email:


  9. John Piper’s daughter asked me to get his Service Record on her behalf. John had only recently died aged 85. She gave me an authorisation note which I duly sent to the RAF requesting a copy of his record. They never replied to my letter (which surprised me) but rang John’s daughter to say the record could only be sent to her and they would need a copy of John’s death certificate and she would have to complete a form. Worth bearing in mind if anyone wants Service Records.

  10. “Lost bombers” is a useful website. I found reference to a cousin and a friend of my father’s both who died while flying Lancasters : Richard (Dick) French and V errell Weatherley. I got the aircraft numbers off The Lancaster Archive website of Larry Wright.

  11. Looking for crewpics of Lanc PD221, crashed 03.02.1945 in Westerbeek, Holland.
    Crew were:

    R.G. Nye – C.Stuart – J. Holding – J. Moyle – W.J. Howson – W.H. Cook (RCAF) & L.C. Taerum (RCAF).

    Thanks in advance,

  12. Hello Les,
    I’ve sent a dozen pictures regarding W/O Peasgood’s grave and Venray War Cemetery in general to your hotmailaccount.

    Kind regards,

  13. Hello all,

    Everyone who’s looking for photographs of graves of 550 sq. airmen buried in Venray of Kleve Reichswald Cemetery, please sent your request to my mailadress :

    Please use your personal mailadres so I can forward the photo’s.

    Best regards,

  14. Hi.

    I hope you maybe able to help me. I am trying to findout about my grandfather Clifford Charles Jerman. I’ve managed to find him via a search for C C Jerman RAF which lead me to this link where he is listed as winning a DCM.

    Clifford was my mothers father, but he and his wife were divorced after the war and my mother never saw him again. He died in 1979. Her Mother told her he flew Lancasters and was a flight engineer and won a medal, but that is all the information we have apart from a couple of pictures of him in uniform.

    If you can help in amyway to find out more about him it would be very much appreciated.

    Best Regards

  15. Sirs,
    Exucuse me for my bad English. I am member of the “Cercle d’Histoire et de Genealogie de Rebecq” in Belgium where a Lancaster aircraft of the 550 squadron of the Royal Air Force crashed on September 1944. Two peoples of the crew survived and the five other died in the crash. Main citizen of the village Rebecq was deported in Germany following the accident because the Germans did’nt find the bodies of the crew immediately.
    We intend to bow a monument in memory of those persons (Englishes, Canadians an Belgians) involved by this event. I would find the parents and relatives of the members of the crew to contact them. Could you give me a Email address than I can contact you easely for to give more informations about this mater. We would also invite for the inauguration the autorities of the 550 sqd when the date will be decided.
    In advance, many thanks for your kind attention.

    Wilfred Burie

  16. Adrian van Zantvoort

    Looking for more info for the loss of a 550 Sqdn Lancaster LL747, BQ-P flown by F/O G.H.Packham. Crew survived but a/c crashed abandoned from her crew on farmhouses at Hoeven near Elshout in Holland which killed 8 civilians. Also looking forward to get in touch with G.H.Packham and or his crew.

    Adrian van Zantvoort

    • Friday Nov 5th 2010
      Hello Adrian
      I met Geoff Packham today!
      I was attending the funeral of his brother and Geoff mentioned during his eulogy to his brother that they were both in the RAF. I got chatting with Geoff after the funeral and he told me the story of his crash, mentioning his great sadness that his aircraft destroyed a farmhouse, killing 8 civilians.

      Being interested in Bomber Command and being due to visit East Kirkby and the Lancaster ‘Just Jane’ tommorrow, I decided to have a search for details of Geoff and have come across your message.

      I have little other information regarding Geoff other than the fact that he is now 90 and lives in London. He appeared to be in good health today and was, given the circumstances, bearing up well. I have no idea as to whether Geoff would be willing to talk about his experiences but I would be willing to try and contact him via his sister in law in the near future after he has had chance to recover from the loss of his brother.


    • hello …. …

      My name is April, F/O G H Packham is my Great Uncle. He is very much alive and well.

      If i can be of any help please feel free to get in touch


      • Adrian van Zantvoort

        Hello April, Very sorry for this late reply but I visit 550 Sqdn website not very often. Please contact me
        Very honoured to get in touch with you and I am more than pleased that your great Uncle is alive and well.


      • Paul Pouwels

        Dear April,
        Just found your reply of Nov 9th, 2010. As I am living one mile from the crash site I am most interested in this crash. Please be so kind as to contact me in private at

    • April Packham

      Hi Adrian

      I only just seen your reply.

      My great uncle geoff is still alive and well. I cannot seem to contact you with the email address,

      Please feel free to email me


  17. Hello:

    I am looking for information on my Uncle, W/O R.S. Pyatt (RCAF), who was KIA with 626 Squadron on February 22, 1945. My information request from 626 Squadron says that he had transferred from 550 Squadron. Can you please provide any other informational regarding missions, crew, etc.?


    Frank Pyatt

    • Hi Frank,
      Chorley holds the following details regarding your uncle’s final mission:

      Lancaster I LM105 UM-T2 took off at 19.29 hrs from Wickenby. Ops. Duisburg.
      All crew (except your uncle) rest at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, near Kleve, Germany.
      Pyatt rests at Nederweert War Cemetery, Holland.

      The crew:

      F/O D. Rodger
      Sgt. H.B. King
      F/O R.W. Donner
      F/O T.J. O’Neill (RCAF)
      F/Sgt. C.R. Badger
      Sgt. R. Thomson
      W/O1 R.S. Pyatt (RCAF)


    • Hello Frank Pyatt.

      Regarding Lancaster LM105, I have just started to look at this on behalf of a veteren, who was on 626 Squadron as his friend Donnor was killed. I have a picture of the crew and the grave if you are interested. E-mail me on

    • Dear Mr.Pyatt,
      As this is a rather old message,you may have found this information yourself but here is what I have found in the records I have to hand.Your Uncle first appears on 8/4/44,posted in to 100 Squadron from 1667 Conversion Unit as Flight Sergeant R.164403 with four other airmen who form the nucleus of a crew with S/L A.F Hamilton who arrives the same day from No.11 Base.Your Uncle then flies two sorties as part of this crew,on 20-21/4/44 to Cologne and 24-25/4/44 to Karlsruhe.
      He is then posted for recrewing to 576 Squadron on 6/5/44.As preserved at The National Archives,the 576 Squadron O.R.B.does not have N.C.O.posting records,but it appears that your uncle flew the following sorties;
      11-12/5/44 Hasselt with P/O.J.S.Griffiths and crew.
      27-28/5/44 Aachen with P/O.D.R.Harkin and crew.
      The following seven sorties all with P/O.J.Archibald and crew;
      14/6/44 Le Havre.
      16-17/6/44 Sterkrade.
      22/6/44 Mimoyecques.
      23-24/6/44 Saintes.
      27-28/6/44 Chateau Bernapre.
      29/6/44 Domleger.
      30/6/44 Oisemont Neuville Au Bois.
      Your Uncle apparently did not fly again with 576 Squadron,but was posted again, to 550 Sqn,on 3/9/44(the 550 Sqn O.R.B. records him as being posted in from 567 Sqn.,but this could well just be a typing error).
      While with 550 Sqn, your Uncle flew two sorties as a replacement gunner with F/L.F.S.Steele and crew,on 25/9/44 and 26/9/44,both to Calais.He was then posted again,to 626 Sqn.21/10/44.
      There are also two combat reports surviving from his time on 100 Sqn.
      Hope this is of interest,
      Regards,Mark Simpson.

  18. Hello,
    I would be most interested in any information or photographs that may exist of my cousin Sgt Desmond R M Davies who died in Lancaster DV309 at Westerlo. Many thanks to all.


    Paul Beard

  19. We are trying to find flight records and information about my grandfather Sgt Frank James Arthur Cox who flew during the war with (we think) 550 Lancaster Sqn.

    Any Help is greatly appreciated

    Andy Hyslop

  20. Am hoping to find anyone who might have a connection & information to the crew of Lanc’ LM647 who were shot down on the night of 12/13 July 1944. The men were returning from a raid over Revigny Marshalling yards & who are remembered in the VIGNORY Communal Cemetery, France. F/O NORMAN A DAVIES (Wireless Op) was my Great uncle who we never knew. W/C Jack Harris OBE has kindly supplied me with info relating to this operation & as a result we’ve been able to update the family history. Sadly we don’t have any photo’s of Norman or his crew members, do any readers out there have any?

    Any info would be much appreciated.

    Peter Claus

    • I have recently started looking for my mother,s cousin Daniel Donoghue who was a gunner on this flight,sadly i have no photo,s of him.I am asking around the family i hope that someone will have a photo of him.He was from Maesteg in South Wales

      • Hi Catherine – There are photos of some of the crew on 550 squadron website ‘failed to return’. Contact me on & I’ll happily fill you in on what I know. Peter

      • Cheryl Ketcher

        Hello Catherine, my mother was also Daniels cousin. They were brought up together in Maesteg. We do have a photo which is displayed with his medals and is in the care of my nephew (my sisters eldest son) who is named after him. Myself and my siblings have been brought up with the photo and other memorabilia. One of my brothers visited his grave in vignory 2 years ago and we hope to go this year. His Mother Annie was a widow when she had the terrible news if his death.We were all very close to her ,my brother was doted on by her.He had a brother Ken who when married I spent a lot of time with as a child as they did not have children
        Sadly he died some years ago.

      • Catherine Nash

        Cheryl, I am Norah’s daughter,your my daughter Sian’s godmother.I last saw you at your mothers funeral,long time no see ,I hope you’re keeping well.Sian is married now with 3 children and is a student nurse .Are you on Facebook?

  21. My uncle was Erest Mackenzie who died on 23.2.45 He was one of two airmen killed on Operation Pforzheim when his Lancaster was brought down. He was a membr of 550 squadron. Other members of the crew who survived were named Grundy, Figg, McLauchlan, Jarvis, and King. Sgt Sowter was the other airman who was killed in action. They are buried in Durnbach war cemetary.

  22. I am looking for information about my father, Peter Cahill Sharp who completed a tour with 550 squadron between December 1943 and May 1944. I have his operation record from his Log book, but would be interested in any other information such as crew names etc. I do know his Pilot during that tour was C.Kenyon.


    Kim Sharp

    • My Grandad was Charles Kenyon DFC and he was your father’s pilot at 550 squadron. Pete Sharp was his navigator and I was lucky to meet him at my Grandad’s funeral in 1980 when I was only 8 years old. He took the time to talk to me and confirmed interesting accounts about operational flights. These include being chased across the channel by a German fighter, landing with a live bomb in the bomb bay and completing a night mission without navigational instruments. I also have my Grandad’s logbooks and photographs. I understand they remained in contact after the war. I do not know the other crew member names although my mother tells me one was South African and another a New Zealander. I would be interested to hear what else you have found out. Best wishes, John.

      • Hello John,
        Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately I have only recently started to research my Fathers wartime record and only have his log books and service record. As I find out more I will let you know. My Mother tells me that after finishing their tour with 550 sqaudron both your Granfather and my Father together were converting to Mosquitos when the war ended. I hope that would be visible in the service record. The only service photo I have is one of the entire squadron in front of a Lancaster.

        I will keep you up to date if I find out more about their fellow crew members or any other details I stumble across.

        kind regards

        Kim Sharp

      • Hello John,
        I have just recieved the operations record for the period between November ’43 and June ’44 which details all the operations during that time. Within the crew were an Australian and a Canadian. When I’ve studied the record more I will be intouch.

        kind regards

        Kim Sharp

      • John
        The crew that flew with your Grandfather were

        Sgt Ellis J.N F/Engineer
        P/O Sharp P.C Navigator
        Sgt Maroney W.R.I A.B
        F/Sgt Duncan G.E WOP/AIR (Australian)
        Sgt Logan G.K M.U.G
        Sgt Collicutt L.M R.G (Canadian)

        Apart from the odd Second pilot the crew remained unchanged on all their ops. Your Grandfather is mentioned twice during their tour in the operational record between December 43 and May 44. Once when their A\C was ‘coned’ in searchlights and had to drop the bombs prematurely, and once at the conclusion of their tour.

        kind regards

        Kim Sharp

      • Hello John,
        Do any of the photographs you have show any of the crew members or any of the A/C they flew ?

        kind regards


      • Hello John, my mother Maud Hills (nee Kenyon) had a cousin “charlie” who used to fly a Lancaster in the war and I was wondering if he maybe the same person as your grandad. Her father was “Jack” John Stanley Kenyon and he was married to Maud Kenyon.Thank you for taking the time to read this message, regards Kim.

      • Hello John, do you have any photo’s of your Grandad with his crew ?

        best wishes

    • Colin Brannigan

      How did you get hold of his log book? I am trying so hard to get one for John Piper, a mid upper gunner with 550 but no luck so far after numerous searches and tips.

  23. Ronald McEachen


    I have my uncles (in l aw!) log books and bombing records while with 550 Sqd 1943-45. He was W/O Denis Porter , from Glasgow, who survived to become a teacher and depute Headmaster in Glasgow. He flew with P/O Vaughn. Anyone interested in the stuff? I can scan and send pages from logbook. It makes sparse but terrific reading..with ‘sticky landings’ mentioned.


    • Colin Brannigan

      Hi Ronald,
      Could you look through the log books to see if there are details of missions on 26/4/43 to Duisberg with Flt/Sgt Smith as pilot (I’m looking for one of the gunners, John Piper), a crash on 4/5/43 (3rd raid), 12/7/43 to Turin, Berlin on 31/8/not sure of year, 26/27 November 1943 to Berlin, 8 May 1945 (Operation Manna). F/S Piper J.E Mid Upper Gunner in Lancaster PD 382 ‘L’.

      • Colin,

        Thanks for e-mail.

        I cannot say with confidence that the names you mention appear in my late uncles log books.

        We are preparing the books to be sent to 550 museum.

        I shall have a look later through the dates given by you.

        Let you know ASAP.

    • Hi Ronald,
      I must apologise for this late reply, but I haven’t been to the site for a while and only just saw tour post about the logbook.
      I appreciate that these are probably logs for a specific crew, but I would be most interested if there were any mentions of my uncle David Mayo and the crew of Lancaster LL851 who were all klled when shot down by night fighters over St Niklaas, Belgium on 21/22 May 1944 returning from a raid on Duisberg.
      The crew were:
      P/o Peter J Dukelow (Pilot)
      P/o Leslie R Dunham (Navigator)
      Sgt David A W Mayo (W/op)
      Sgt Donald S Bruty (Flight eng)
      Sgt Leslie R Towsley (Bomb aimer)
      Sgt Sidney A Jarvis (A.g.)
      P/o Herman Earl MacDuff (A.g.)
      I would be most interested in seeing a copy of the Logs if you have them scanned.
      I have been in touch with relatives of Peter Dukelow, and with an amazing Belgian lady called Josette Bens, who came to Britain as a refugee and joined the RAF. Upon returning to Belgium she tended the graves of the crew in the cemetery at St Niklaas until only a few years ago. She is still alive, and I was in touch with her before Christmas.
      Phil How

      • Hello Phil.,
        I haven’t been on this site before so just picked-up your message.
        My wife’s father was Donald S. Bruty and we have been gathering information on his time as a member of the crew.
        Please let me know if you wish to exchange information.

  24. Hello,

    I am the grandson of Sgt. K P C Williams, who was the WAG for LL836 of 550 sqn that went down on 10/11 April 1944. I would love to know if anyone would have any information or photos, anything. My parents have said very little and I would like to find out more.



    • Neil,
      I am the nephew of F/O J J Logan who was the Nav on 836. I have quite a number of photos (mainly training in Canada) but I would need to go through them and scan any relevant ones (may take some time as I’m v. busy at the moment). Originally my family were told that 836 was on a leaflet dropping mission and it was quite a long time before they discovered it was a bombing raid on the Aulnoye railway yards. Apparently the nightfighter that took down 836 also destroyed 6 other Lancs in about 40 mins on the same night.I visited the cemetery at Achiet a couple of years ago – took some pics there – a very peaceful and dignified spot although I was disappointed by the apparent lack of care around the graves (just scruffy ground cover – or maybe I picked a bad day). Will possibly be visiting again in July this year.

      • Laurent WIART

        Can you contact me via email. I’m french historian living near Arras and look for information about air war during WW2. Very interested by the Achiet le Petit Lancaster Crew story.
        Please make contact to

      • Michel Lespagnol

        Dear John,
        I am living about 40 kms east of Achiet Le Petit and am in connection with someone from Achiet who would like to pay tribute to the crew members of LL836 next year. Is it possible for you to have contact with me to know a little bit more about your Uncle and the other crew members,
        Best regards

      • Dear Michel,

        Very interested in your note. I am actually visiting the Somme area w/c 18 August and will vista Achiet at some point. I’m also hoping to meet up with Laurent Wiart (Arras Director of Libraries and Archives) who has had contact and and arranged some memorials. Please contact me at and I can share more details with you.

        Best regards,

        John Logan

    • Neil,
      Please contact me by email ( if you are still interested in further information. Through Laurent Wiart and Michel Lespagnol I have put together further information on this crash and crew. I would also be interested to try to track down other relatives of the crew to share this info.

      John Logan

    • Hello Neil, thanks to contact me we plan to pay tribute to the crew next june and we now have many informations about this crew and your uncle.

      Best regards


  25. Neil have you seen ‘Lost Bombers” website? Here’s what they say about LL836: “”Serial range LL617 – LM296 This aircraft was one of 450 Lancasters ordered from Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft Apr42 and built as 100 Mk.11s with Hercules XV1 engines delivered from Oct43 to Mar44 and 350 Mk.1s with Merlin 24 engines initially installed and delivered from Nov43 to Aug44. LL836 wa a Mk.1 and was delivered to 550 Sqdn Feb44 Also took part in the Key Operation against Stuttgart 15/16Mar44. When lost this aircraFt had a total of 44 hours. Airborne 2325 10Apr44 from North Killingholme tasked to bomb the railway yards. Shot down by a night-fighter and crashed less than a kilometre NNW of Achiet-le-Petit in the Pas-de-Calais, 7 km NW of Bapaume. All are buried in Achiet-le-Petit Communal Cemetery. Sgt Williams had won an immediate DFM, Gazetted 2May44, for showing selfless disregard for his own safety while aiding an injured comrade while on recent operations over Berlin. F/l waycott had previously served with 101 Sqdn and details of his award were Gazetted 13Jul43. F/L R.W.Picton DFC KIA Sgt T.H.Guest KIA F/O J.J.Logan DFC KIA F/O J.J.Logan DFC KIA F/O J.F.Potter KIA Sgt K.P.C.william DFM KIA F/L W.H.Waycott DFM KIA Sgt W.Essar RCAF KIA ”

    Tony Fleming.

  26. Hello Hans: Thank you very much for the information. Under what typical circumstances would my Uncle not be buried with the rest of his flight crew?

    • Hi Frank. It may have been that he was found elsewhere, away from the main crash site after the incident and then buried in a different cemetery originally by the Germans away from his crew mates. This could have been also that maybe he was not found the same day and maybe days or weeks later if he was not found with his crew at the time of the crash.

      The Americans did exhume airmen that they came across and had a habit of taking them away to an American cemetery without informing the RAF MRES teams whuch also caused problems. I will be looking into this Lancaster as a veteren I am in touch with, these were his mates. Are you a member of the Wickenby Register? I have a picture of the crew and the graves.

  27. Hello everyone.

    Does anyone have any pictures of the crew members of Lancaster PD319 or NG133? Both was were shot down on the 14th October 1944 while on a raid to Duisburg. Does anyone have any contact with family members of these crews. If anyone has anything at all, please contact me. You can also e-mail me direct on


    Pilot – F/O A Abrams. – thrown clear, survived
    F/E – Sgt Kenneth William Nettleton
    A/B – F/Sgt Raynold Frank Veness
    Navigator – F/Sgt John William Brown
    MUG – Sgt Albert Percy Soper
    Rear Gunner – F/Sgt Kenneth William Salton
    W/O – Philip Leonard Brooker

    Is there a written account that anyone knows of from the pilot Abrams?


    Pilot – F/O Harry Dodds
    F/E – P/O Arthur Reginold Brown
    A/B – F/O Harry Black
    Nav – F/O Douglas John Kenneth White
    MUG – Sgt Harold Lewis
    Rear Gunner – Sgt Albert Laidlaw
    W/O – F/Sgt Clarence Walter Beckingham

    Any info regarding pictures or would be great.

    Cheers, Marc

  28. Fred Dawson..Does anyone have any info or photos of my father (fred dawson) or the rest of the crew of BQ-N ‘Nan’ W5005. Or photos of BQ-N, i would be extremly interested. he passed away last year and had his ashes scattered out of the BBMF ‘Lanc’ which was what he wanted. i have his flight log book and noticed that he even flew a few opps in the ‘Phantom of the Ruhr’.. Anything would be great.

  29. Louis Michiels

    I am looking for information( picture) on Sgt WAJ Young who died in 550 Sq Lancaster DV309 at Westerlo Belgium 21 -22 May 1944. Many thanks to all.
    Crew.F/Sgt. G.W. Hinde
    Sgt. T.L.J. Whittick
    Sgt. D. Hughes
    F/Sgt. C.C. Sharland
    Sgt. D.R.M Davies
    Sgt. W.A.J. Young
    Sgt. C.E. Beacham.

  30. Colin Brannigan

    I now have mid upper gunner John Piper’s record of service with 550 which sadly tells me precious little (there’s a photo of John with his crew on this site). Does anyone know how I can find details of the missions he flew? Trace his log book (not in his personal effects – were log log books held by the RAF or the crew member ?) I have traced another surviving member of the crew – Harry Quick DFC, the rear gunner, now 88. Any help appreciated. Colin Brannigan

    • You could try contacting RAF Museum at Hendon, I’ve found them very helpful. Goto to their Reseach link. I was able to trace – and arrange to see – the navigator logs my father-in-law kept (although we knew he had specifically donatated them decades ago – they are all on microfiche now). If you have names/numbers they should be able to quickly trace if they have logs or not.

  31. My father (Fred) flew in BQ-N at 550 sqdn. Does anyone have any ideas as to where i cold find the repair/maitenance records of the plane? (Also, i am extremely interested in any photos..please note he was a w/op not a pilot.)

  32. David Gillies

    Hello, I understand that this is an incredibly audacious attemt…My Great Uncle, Sgt Raymond Gillies, was a Mid-Upper-Gunner in Lancaster DV343 of 550 Squadron (At the time based at RAF Grimsby). His plane Failed To Return (FTR) after bomber commands raid over Berlin on 23/24 December 1943. I am aware that 2 Lancasters collided on take-off (not his) and that a German night fighter ace Paul Zorner claimed 3 Lancasters. No-one appears to know, or have witnessed what happened to his plane. Im desperate for any information, or anyone who may know someone that may! thankyou for your time. I do have some info of the crews time in DV176 of 100 Sqdrn

  33. See “Lost Bombers” but not much info.

  34. Colin Brannigan

    Does anyone have any news of the crew of Flt Sgt (later Pilot Officer) John Smith’s crew. His rear gunner, Flying Officer Harry Quick has given me some info. I know the mid upper gunner was John Piper (I did the eulogy at his funeral service last year). Harry and John were in hospital after a crash in May 43 on their third trip. John was discharged from hospital on June 3. John and Harry clearly flew with more than one piIot. The photo I posted on this site shows their pilot as Sqd Ldr R.M. Newitt but Harry refers to Flt/Sgt (later Pilot Officer) Smith. Harry actually wrote down the names of the crew for me when he sent me the photo so there’s no doubt the pilot then was Newitt. I’ll now looking to trace the missions flown with Pilot Officer Smith. Their first operation as a crew was on 26/4/43 to Duisberg with Flt/Sgt Smith as pilot and at that time they were based at Holme on Spalding moor in Lincolnshire. They crashed on 4/5/43 (3rd raid) and Harry did not rejoin the Squadron until early July due to his back injuries.Their next raid together was on 12/7/43 to Turin. Harry’s last raid with P/O Smith and John Piper was to Berlin on 31/8/43 this completed the others tour of 30 missions.

  35. Colin Brannigan

    Thanks to Kim Sharp I’m making some progress tracing John Piper’s missions. Kim says: “I’ve just looked at random through the Operational record for 550 between December 43 and May 45 and I find a F/S Piper J.E Mid Upper Gunner in Lancaster PD 382 “L”, this was on the 9th May 1945. He also appears as a Rear Gunner a few days earlier. ”

    Does anyone have any more information about Lancaster PD 382 “L” or the reason for the flight on May 9 – the day after VE Day?

  36. I have recently been researching the W.W.2.
    Roll of Honour for Clitheroe in Lancashire .
    I have one Geoffrey Wilkinson Battersby , who you have on your roll of honour as V not G .

  37. Colin Brannigan

    I have the service record (but no log book) for Flt Sgt John Piper, air gunner. Can anyone help decipher these initials on his service record:

    14 I.T.W.
    2 AGS
    18 OTU
    2 ACD
    Also anything known about Stn Hospital, Locking (John was there from 21.5.43 to 3.6.43)?

  38. ITW: Initial Training Wing
    AGS: Air Gunners School/Aircrew Grading School
    Consequently …
    EAGS: Elementary Air Gunners School ???
    OTU: Operational Training Unit
    ACD: Aircrew Despatch
    ACAC: Aircrew Allocation Centre
    AG/OMT: Air Gunner / ???


  39. my uncle was a member of 550 squadron sgt k d winstanley raf no 634829 he was on flight no ng331 he was shot down 05/01/1945 over hannover . He spent the last few months of the war in stalagluft no1 does anybody have information?

    • Hi Rob.
      Just read your entry re. your uncle Kenneth Winstanley. He was in the same crew as my wife’s uncle Flying Officer Francis Swan Renton, KIA with the rest of the crew. The story of his last flight (recounted to the Birmingham City Library) tells how he and Francis swapped turrets for that flight. Let me have your email address and I’ll scan a copy through.
      Brian Goodwin.

  40. Colin Brannigan

    Does anyone have details of F/0 R.J.Lieffoghe (nationality etc) who was reported missing on the Nurenberg raid 16 March 1945. John Piper whom I am researching) flew with F/0 Lieffoghe a month earlier as his rear gunner.
    Also any details of F/O I Levene (Christian name etc) a wiresless operator who flew with John Piper and F/L Roland Newitt. Harry Quick,the rear gunner, tells me he was Jewish and always fearful of having to bale out over enemy territory. Fortunately all F/L Newitt’s crew survived the war.

  41. I am searching for information regarding my uncle, Flt Lt David Arnot Shaw ( ? Jock Shaw) who flew with 550 squadron from 1943-1945. Apparently, the crest of his lancaster had a St Andrews cross in defernce to his Scottish roots (Fife). I would be grateful for any information about my uncle both during and after the war.

    • Susan
      My Grandad (Charles Bruce) was flight engineer with Jock Shaw’s crew from April 1944 through to Sept 1945 in ED905 “PRESS ON REGARDLESS”. Happy to help with any info if I can – I’m extremely proud of what these guys did for us all.

      • Susan Stuart

        Haven’t visited this page for some time but have recently returned to researching family history and so pleased to see your response to my request. Jock Shaw was my mum’s older brother by quite a few years and I have little information. I am trying to find out what he did after the war ( & during it!). I have a copy of Jimmy johnsons book so know of their daring escapade. I would be grateful for any information that you might have and would be happy to share with me.

    • Hello Susan,
      I did most of my National Service at RAF Cottesmore in Rutland. I went there as an 18 year old in the summer of 1957 and the base was in mothballs (C&M) after WW2. It did not remain like that for very long and it soon re-opend as the first Victor Bomber Base with No. 10 Squadron and No.XV Squadron under the command of Group Captain Johnnie Johnson (The fighter Ace from WW2) with Flt Lt Jock Shaw as his adjutant.
      I believe that they met in the war years and remained friends and stayed together afterwards. They regularly played golf and I used to sit in their offices to answer the phone and to take messages whilst they were away.
      He was a very nice man and I always had to have a pot of coffee ready for when he and the CO returned. They were always running out of cigarettes and used to borrow some from me but always gave me back double the amount.
      I was demobbed on early 1959 and I believe that your uncle was coming up for retirement and was ither building or having a bungalow built nearby in the Oakham area. I seem to remember that he used to be in the building industry before the war.

      John Hubbard

    • Jeff Griffiths

      Susan, my late father, Eric Joseph Griffiths was Jock’s rear gunner.

  42. Congratulations on the excellent work you have done on the 550 squadron website. I have not looked at it for some months and was very impressed with all the photos and info you have on there now. Keep up the good work.

    Tony Fleming
    New Zealand.

  43. Hello.
    I am looking for information on my father W/Op Francis Main born in Dunbar Scotland who flew out of Killingkolme in 1944-45.He was shot down over Dresden(I think) and was the only survivor of an all Canadian crew.He was a POW until the end of the war.He was a member of the caterpillar club and thats about all i know.can anyone out there point me in the right direction.
    Alex Main.

    • Dear Sir ,
      Perhaps this can help.
      PA995 was a Mk.111 and was delivered to No.550 Sqdn 29May44. Took part in the following Key Operations: Wimereux 3/4Jun44; Acheres 6/7Jun44-aborted by Master Bomber; Flers 9/10Jun44; Gelsenkirchen 12/13Jun44; Le Havre 14/15Jun44; Sterkrade 16/17Jun44; Mimoyecques 22Jun44; Saintes 23/24Jun44; Pas de calais V1 site 24/25Jun44; Domleger V1 Site 30Jun44; Orleans 4/5Jul44; Pas de Calais V1 site 6Jul; Revigny 12/13Jul44; Revigny 14Jul44; Caen 18/Jul44; Wizernes 20Jul44; Kiel 23/24Jul44; Stuttgart 24/25Jul44; Stuttgart 25/26Jul44; Stuttgart 28/29Jul44; Cahagnes 30Jul44; le Havre 3Aug44; le Havre 4Aug44; Pauillac 5Aug44; Fontenay 8/9Aug44; Duigny 10Aug44; Stettin 2/8Aug44; Ghent 18/19Aug44; Russelsheim 25/26aug44; Kiel 26/27Aug44; Wemars Cappel 28Aug44; Stettin 29/30Aug44; Agenville 31Aug44; Gilze Ruen Airfield 3Sep44; le Havre 5Sep44; Le Havre 6Sep44; Le Havre 10Sep44; Frankfurt 12/13Sep44; Steenwuk Airfield 16/17Sep44; Sangatte 20Sep44; Neuss 23Sep44; Calais 25Sep44; Calais 26Sep44; Calais 27Sep44; Calais 28Sep44; Walcheren 3Oct44; Saarbr_cken 5Oct44; Fort Frederick Hendrick 11Oct44; Duisburg 14/15Oct44; Stuttgart 19Oct44; Essen 23Oct44; Cologne 28Oct44; Cologne 30Oct44; Cologne 31Oct44; D_sseldorf 2Nov44; Bochum 4Oct44; Gelsenkirchen 6Nov44; Wanne Eickel 9Nov44; Dortmund 11Nov44; Duren 16Nov44; Freiburg 27Nov44; Dortmund 29Nov44; Karlsruhe 4Dec44; Merseburg 6/7Dec44; Essen 12Dec44; Ludwigshaven 15Dec44;Koblenz 22Dec44; Cologne 24Dec44; Scholven- Buer 29Dec44; Zeits 16/17Jan45; Duisburg 22Jan45; Ludwigshaven 1Feb45; Cleve 7/8Feb45; Stettin 8/9Feb45; Dresden 13/14Feb45; Chemnitz 14/15Feb45; Dortmund 20/21Feb45; Duisburg 21/22Feb45; Pforzheim 23Feb45; Neuss 28Feb45-recalled; Mannheim 1Mar45; Cologne 2Mar45; Chemnitz 5/6Mar45; Dessau 7Mar45-Lost. When lost this aircraft had in excess of 600 hours and over 100 operations. PA995 was named ‘The Vulture Strikes’ PA995 was one of three No.550 Sqdn Lancasters lost on this operation. See; ME428 ME503. Airborne 1659 7Mar45 from North Killingholme. Shot down by a Ju88 2130, crashing at Schauen, 2 km S of Osterwieck, Germany. Two have no known graves, while WO2 Harvey is buried in Nederweert War Cemetery, having been brought here from Margraten. Sgt Smith escaped in late March, contacting advancing American forces. He returned to No.550 Sqdn 11Apr45 F/O C.J.Jones RCAF KIA Sgt S.J.Webb Inj Confined in Hospital due injuries. F/O J.Buckmaster RCAF KIA WO2 L.W.Harvey RCAF KIA Sgt F.M.Main Inj Confined in Hospital due injuries. Sgt S.Pelham Inj Confined in Hospital due injuries. Sgt M.B.Smith Inj Confined in Hospital due injuries. “

  44. Alex:
    I think you mean PA995 “The Vulture Strikes”, FTR 11 March 1945 on operation to Dessau. Shot down on 101st op.
    See – “Sgt F.M.Main Inj Confined in Hospital due injuries”.
    See also: for picture of Vulture and air and ground crews association with the aircraft.

  45. I am preparing a book about those boys of King Edward VI School in Stratford-upon-Avon who died during the Second World War. (A companion to ‘The Boys of Shakespeare’s School in the First World War’ published in May this year.) I would appreciate information please about Flight Lieutenant Phiilip Morris 130129, who was killed December 6 1944 when his Lancaster Mk I NG251 ‘J Jink’ crashed west of Leipzig. Any photograph of him and or his crew would be wonderful. Thank you.

  46. On april 22 1944 Lancaster Mk I ME851 crashed near Spa- Malchamps ( Belgium ) during a raid to Dusseldorf. The crew was F/O Milburn Philip G pilot J/23416 RCAF (KIA) ,Sgt Palfrey Joseph engineer 1542325 (KIA) , P/O Burdett Norman W.E navigator J/86419 RCAF (KIA) , F/O Ashley Borden B bombardier J/25521 RCAF (KIA) , Sgt Courtenay Stanley W radio 1578974 (KIA), F/O Clarke Sydney M gunner 50765 (KIA) and F/O Magan Daniel W gunner 148510 (KIA).
    Is there someone who can help me with a picture from the crew ?
    Thanks already for the help

  47. My uncle, Sgt Albert Laidlaw (rear gunner), was killed in action during a raid on Duisburg, when the Lancaster bomber (PD319 / BQ-G) was shot down on 14 October 1944.
    My husband is undertaking the construction of a 1:48 scale model of a Lancaster and wishes to replicate this Mk 1 PD319 in its correct 550 Squadron livery and markings etc. We would therefore ask if there might exist any old photographs or other records that might assist.
    I can let you have scanned copies of photographs that we hold:
    Sgt Albert Laidlaw
    ‘D’ Flight Photograph October 1943
    ‘D’ Signatures on back of photograph

  48. Hi
    I have opened a face book group fro people wishing to add photos and generally communicate in this media , just click the link and request to join , enjoy .

  49. Hello, my name is Daniel Granger

    Im doing some research on my grandfather, he served with 550 squadron

    all I have is his medals, 550 badges and patches….and only a few photos, is there any possibility or getting more information or photos if anyone has any.

    His name was Harry Granger, he was a rear gunner

    Ive grown up hearing stories about him, but I would like some more information for both me and my father, stuff such as photos or letters, is this possible

    Daniel Granger

  50. Hi,
    I was wondering if Wng Cdr Jack Harris DFC is still with us.
    I’ve sent him a letter a while ago but do not know if this reached its goal.


  51. Hans – I believe he is, but has most likely other things on his plate.

  52. Wondering if you have any information on Andrew Hunter Stockton who died in Germany on February 15/16, 1944? Looking foer particulars on his death. Thank You.

  53. The Roll of Honour on the association website confirms 1944.
    See also
    I’m afraid I have no other information currently.

  54. would like to know the next reunion at north killingholme please, and any information on my father robert hubbard, he was a navigator on the lancasters at north killingholme , thank you,

  55. Tentative date in early July is posted up on
    As soon as a confirmed date is available it will be posted up there too.

  56. The Dec 6 2010 issue of Bygones ( a Grimsby Telegraph special publication at 75p) has three pages with photos of one 550 crew’s missions in graphic detail which I researched and wrote. Copies can be purchased at 75p. See
    It covers missions from North Killingholme from Nov 16 1944 to May 8 1945 flown by Ft Lt Roland Newitt and his crew and includes raids on Dortmund, Mannheim, Dessau, Pforzheim, Duisberg, Wiesbaden, Ludwigshafen, Essen, Duren, Wanne-Eikel, Hanau, Bremen, Hildesheim, Keil and Nuremburg.

  57. Had a look for that on the website (Grimbsby Telegraph) but could not find a link to it. can you give me a push in the right direction please?

  58. Tony, I now have a spare copy of Bygones and will send it to you. Will email you to get your home address. Colin

  59. Many thanks Colin.

  60. Tony, I haven’t got your home address (in New Zealand?) nor your email address. Could you post your home address on this site? Colin

  61. Drop me an email at tonyfleming(at) and I’ll send my address to you direct, rather than post it on the web. (identity theft and all that…)

  62. hi Peter Figg. I am interested in viewing the information in your uncles Log.I would like to build a history for lm273 and the Op history would be very helpful.

    • Hi Jim.

      Just to clarify – I got things a bit confused in my first post – My father was L.F. Figg. I meant to correct my reference to “Carol Cripps’ father” to her “uncle”, but this obviously just confused things further.

      Starting again, My father (Leslie F Figg) was shot down (but survived) with Carol Cripps’ Uncle (Ernest Mackenzie) and others who, sadly, didn’t.

      I have been clearing out my mother’s house and expected to find more information and photos of my father’s wartime days, but nothing else has come to light.

      The final page of his flying log is here:

      I will try to scan all the relevant pages at a greater resolution when I find the power cable for my scanner!

      I’d be very interested in LM273’s history, especially if its final place of rest (if that is the right term) is ever discovered.

      Peter Figg

  63. I am the son of gilbert swain,a rear gunner in 550 squadron,my dad died 14 years ago and i have only just recently found out his squadron,i have a few pictures but no names of the people in them,if anybody remembers my dad could you please e-mail me,i would gladly scan the pics i have and e-mail them to people,he was good freinds with a ken higgins who emigrated to australia,he sadly passed away some years before my dad,any details would be really appreciated!

  64. My cousin’s sister in her 89th year is seeking information about her ‘long lost’ brother George who is listed by the Association as having earned a DFC whilst in the 550 Squadron.
    Could anyone kindly provide any more information or advice??

    • Hi Richard my name is Chris Lewis the son of George Cowper DFC and I am trying to trace my family from my fathers side . Please could you contact me with any information you may have . Regards Chris .

  65. F/O G G H Cowper DFC

    I think I filled in the message form incorrectly – as above. It is about George Cowper DFC and my name is Richard James.

  66. F/O G G H Cowper DFC

    Looking for information about a cousin who served in 550 Squadron in WWII – George Cowper, Lancaster Pilot

  67. Looking for information on 550 BQ DV365 O Navigator Frederick William Bennett.

  68. Hi
    I have just received my father’s Navigators, Air Bombers and Air Gunners Flying Log Book. His name was Eric Mozley and he flew with 550 Squadron. His flying officer was Blackler. The log book is full of wonderful information. Any news /photographs etc would be very useful. I plan to visit Kilingholme in the near future. When is the next reunion?
    Many thanks in advance.

  69. Hello,

    I am doing a bit of digging around about my uncle – William Kennth Campbell (RAAF – service number 429447) who served with 550 from 8/11/44.
    He was a bomb aimer
    His aircraft was reported missing in March 1945 after an attack on Hanau
    His causalty report number was 82/45
    He survived the parachute jump and return to Kilingholme after some adventures with the US Army.

    Are you able to provide any more details of his operations with 550?


  70. I would like to contact the following people regarding obtaining copies of photos they may have access to-JILL HOLDER (Rafe Eley B/A in F/SGT Langfords crew),RICHARD JOHNSON (F/SGT Robert Johnson B/A in F/SGT Charlie Foster”s crew-RNZAF ?), RAY REARDON (Cpl Stan Reardon- fire unit ?) and ANDREW THOMSON (W.O Eric Thomson ).Also a relative of ALFRED CLOTHIER (may have been in a technical team ?). The photos appeared on the original website and are now lost,I”d like to source the originals again.

  71. Trevor Deeley.

    Dear Sirs. This is not a request for information, but notification of intentions to lay wreaths on grave sites in France.

    I am Chairman of Tanworth in Arden(Warwickshire)Branch of the Royal British Legion. Every year, since 1997, around September, members of the branch visit grave sites of RAF Bomber Command crews, lost on raids over France.
    This year on September 23rd, at 11am, we will lay a wreath on the graves of the crew of Lancaster LL826,(8 crew) in the Village of Cheniers, near Chalons en Champagne, France.
    We understand this aircraft was lost on the raid on Mailly le Camp, on the night of 4th May, 1944.


    • Dear Trevor, It’s been a while since I checked this site but was interested to read your post regarding visiting grave sites of lost crew throughout France. I was wondering if anyone from the RBL had visited the communal cemetery in Vignory & perhaps learnt anything of the crash from locals or media? The crew of Lanc’ LM647 were lost on the night of 12/13 July 1944 returning from an op over Revigny Marshalling yards. F/O NORMAN A DAVIES (Wireless Op) was my Great Uncle who sadly I never knew. I’ve been hoping to find someone related to his crew to share details of these incredibly brave men but so far unsuccessful. Details of the full crew are available in my post dated 1 Mar 2010.
      If you have any info I’d be very pleased to hear from you!
      Regards, Peter

      • Dear Peter,
        I have been meaning to contact you for a while.I have sent photos of your Great Uncle and at least one,possibly three,of his crew to Peter Coulter.Hopefully he will be able to post them on the squadron website shortly.
        Regards,Mark Simpson.

      • Trevor Deeley

        Dear Peter.

        Thanks for your email regarding your relative, Norman Davies. I regret I cannot give you any further details than you already know. I can tell you however that we did visit the graveyard at Vignory in September of 2008. We laid a wreath on the Pilots grave and poppy wooden crosses on all seven graves.

        I can also inform you that we played the National Anthem. The French National Anthem, and our Royal British Legion Standard was dipped in full salute. Prayers were also said, together with the Exhortation,(They shall not grow old) and the Kohima epitaph.

        I should tell you that we are always accompanied by a group of around twenty, ex French servicemen and their families on our annual visits.



      • Dear Peter, It transpires that I am related to the Navigator, Sgt Douglas MacKenzie on your Great Uncle’s last fateful flight. I would be pleased to learn anything you can tell me about your Great Uncle, in particular I would like to know when the crew came together and/or were posted to 550 Squadron and how many ops they flew before being brought down on the Revigny Raid. I once found a photo on line of the crew looking very dishevelled holding up a makeshift chalkboard similar to the one shown in their individual photo’s but unfortunately I have misplaced my copy and can’t seem to be able to relocate the original on line. It would be good to hear from you.
        Regards, Huw Baker

    • Dear Trevor,
      Many thanks for your reply. It took the family years to finally track Norman (Non) down though sadly not in time before his immediate family passed away. It’s very nice to hear you have visited the cemetery & for your kind words. On behalf of the family I thank you for your visit to remember Norman & his pals! One day I hope to visit Vignory myself.

      Dear Mark,
      Fantastic! Many thanks also for your reply. I’m very excited you have some photos, I’d almost given up hope! Thanks for sending them to the squadron’s website, I eagerly await them.

      Kind Regards to you both,

  72. Does anyone have any photos of Lancaster “We Dood It?” that I might print off and frame. Many thanks. Paul Flavelle.

  73. REQUEST FOR CONTACT INFORMATION: Does anyone know of contact details for Brian Chapman of Ontario, Canada who asked for information about 550 Sqdn Lanc NG363. Information has come to light. See the link below and if you have information please email it to the address on the web-page.

  74. I am looking for any crew members for Anthony Hugh Ladkin my father who served in a Lancaster and was shot down survived and was a prisoner of war in Germany

  75. My father in law Mr Ronald John Green was in 550 squadron and had a aussie crew i think, he also trained in the USA then towards the end of the war dropped food parcels some where. He is currently living in Ascot Berkshire. Any imformation would be very helpful. Many Thanks

      is online now – with the sevice numbers of all the crew, and in the case of the RAAF men links to their online servive records.
      Your father-in-law having joined in early May 1945 does not appear in any of the May ops (because new crews would still have been carrying out training flights) and May is the last month the ORB details crews on individual ops. From June onwards it only lists the numbers of aircraft dispatched and not who was on the aircraft. (But if you have access to his log books I’d be happy to add material to the web-site about ops flown.) Hope that helps.

  76. Hi Les, regarding the fooddrops you mentioned, I guess you mean operation ‘Manna’ ? Just google in case it doesn’t ring a bell.


  77. Hi Les, see Manna (also Chowhound, Exodus and Dodge) at:
    Nearly all the ops from 29 Apr 45 onwards were one of these, e.g. “Delivering groceries to the Dutch” on 5 May according the squadron log.

    Do you have approx. dates of flights? Was he the pilot, or if not do you know the name of the pilot (makes trawling the records easier if I have the pilot name); so far from Mar – Jun I have not been able to find a pilot of that name. On 25 June 45 all the Aussies (and Kiwis and Canadians) were posted away from 550.

  78. It would appear that your father in law’s crew was that of Flight Sergeant,later P/O,Vernon Roy Lionel Johnson,R.A.A.F.,posted into the squadron on 6/5/45.The other crew members were Flight Sergeant Reginald Henry Pinnington R.A.A.F. navigator,Warrant Officer William Arthur Murphy R.A.A.F air bomber,Flight Sergeant Robert Edwards Brock R.A.A.F. wireless operator, Flight Sergeant Alan Mcvicers Henry R.A.A.F air gunner,and Flight Sergeant Neil Mcleod Pegrum R.A.A.F. air gunner..
    Your father in law was indeed a qualified pilot,but was acting as fiight engineer,due I believe to an excess of qualified pilots at this late stage of the war.These aircrew are sometimes listed in squadron records as P/F/Es.
    I do have a photograph of this crew and will hopefully be able to send a scan to Mr Coulter that he can post on the website.
    Regards,Mark Simpson.

    • Excellent stuff Mark – I have him now; I’ll try to have the crew up on the association web-site by the end of the week-end and if a photo is available even better. Regards, P

  79. Timothy James Bennett

    Anyone know anything about P/O Frederick William Bennett?

      • Mark Simpson.

        Hi there,
        P/O.Bennett was posted in to 100 Squadron on 21/10/43 along with the rest of his crew;
        P/O.G.A.Morrison,pilot;Sgt.P.W.Wise,flight engineer;P/O.R.Warren,air bomber;Sgt.H.Gilbert,wireless operator/air gunner;Sgt.J.Cantor,air gunner and Sgt.J.McKenzie,air gunner.
        As a crew they flew at least two sorties while on 100 Squadron,on the nights of 3-4/11/43 to Dusseldorf and 22-23/11/43 to Berlin.
        They were then posted in as a crew to help form 550 Squadron on 25/11/43.While with 550 Squadron,they flew six sorties,all to Berlin,on the nights of 26-27/11/43,16-17/12/43,23-24/12/43,27-28/1/44,28-29/1/44 and 30-31/1/44.
        On this last sortie,while approaching the target,they were attacked twice by fighters and badly damaged-both air gunners were fatally wounded and the air bomber bailed out by mistake in the confusion.Eventually the aircraft landed at Woodbridge in Suffolk and was declared damaged beyond repair.As a result of his actions F/O Morrison received a D.S.O.There are at least two well-known photographs of the aircraft taken after it’s return,showing the battle damage around the tail plane.
        The four survivors never flew again with 550 Squadron -F/O Morrison was posted to 103 Squadron 24/4/44,Sgts. Wise and Gilbert were posted to R.A.F.Eastchurch 27/5/44 and F/O Bennett was posted to No.11 Base 12/6/44.
        I have no more information about F/O.Bennett until October 1944,when he transfers from the General Duties branch of the R.A.F. to the Admin. and Special Duties branch on 14/10/44 as reported in The London Gazette of 21/11/44.
        Regards,Mark Simpson.

  80. Re: F/N C C Jerman
    I found your pictures through a search for my grandfather Charles Clifford Jerman. I found out he flew in 550 squadron and knew he won the DCM but that was all. I see from the text he won his medal following a mid ari collison on 29/11/44 and wondered if you had anymore information or could direct me to find out more?
    Many thanks
    Aaron Scott

    Hi Aaron,
    Apologies for the delay in replying-I have not signed in to Flickr for a while.There is a brief account of the events of the night of 29-30/11/44 in 550 Squadron records and I have a copy of the recommendation and citation for the award of the your grandfather.I have also made my own list of sorties for all airmen and crews on 550 Squadron that I can send you.There is a photo on the 550 Squsdron Association archive website of your grandfather’s aircraft after it’s return with,I believe, a first hand account from one of the crew of the events of that night.The other aircraft involved in the collision came from 103 Squadron-six of the crew were killed and one became a P.O.W.
    Please let me know if I can send you any more information,
    Regards,Mark Simpson.

    Hi Mark

    Thank you so much for the reply. I found the info and pic on 550 squadron website the other night which was fantastic. I’ve been working my way though the site which is very well put together and will join shortly.

    I would be very grateful if you could send me a copy of his recommendation and citation and your list of sorties. I am more than happy to pay for them.

    Many thanks.


  81. I’ve had a request for information about F/O Roy KAY – only survivor of the crew of ME840 lost during a raid on Sterkrade June 16/17 ’44. Despite being hurt in the crash F/O Kay evaded capture with assistance from local Dutch people and made it back to England. If anyone has info about him, if he is still alive or if there is family please email me at Thanks.

    • Hi Peter

      Did you receive any information about Roy Kay? My uncle, John Joseph Berg was the navigator on that flight and, as you are aware was KIA. I would be very interested to hear from him if he is still alive and find out more about my uncle. I have been in touch with the nephew of Leslie Pulfrey who was also on that fated flight and he has sent me lots of interesting information including the official report by Roy Kay of his description of the plane going down, his jumping from the plane and his journey back to the UK. It’s absolutely fascinating.

      Gary Berg

  82. I am in the process of having a memorial book edited with the hope of publishing later this year or early next. Two crews from 550 Squadron are touched on in the book. They are Jack Crawford and crew from Lancaster Mk III LM392 BQ-J and James Craig and crew of Lancaster Mk II LL852 BQ-X, both of which crashed 15/16 March 1944. I would be interested in any help you may be able to provide with regard to details of the crashes, the crews, photos or possible links to family who may wish to comment about their relative. I see John Woodhead made mention that his father flew with Craig during 1941. Would you be able to pass my details to him? I also have photos of the graves of Jack Crawford and crew from Lancaster Mk III LM392 BQ-J if you would like a copy.

  83. Rod Fitzgerald

    Hi my father was in the squadron as part of the RCAF, Arthur Fitzgerald. I would be interested in any open days, fly pasts that are being arranged for 2102. Rod from Grimsby

  84. The 2012 reunion and flypast details are up on the web-site including recent publicity in the Grimsby Telegraph. See:

  85. My name is John Steele and my father was F/L Frank “Stainless” Steele who was a Lancaster pilot in 550 Squadron. Dad passed away at the age of 93 on May 18, 2012. I am looking for as much information as I can get about his Air Force / Military career such as sorties, why he was awarded the DFC, how he eventually moved from the RAF to the RCAF, etc. It was only later in life that he would talk about his war time experiences and we wopuld like to celebrate his accomplishements with a tribute in a local newspaper.

  86. Hi John, sorry to hear that your dear father passed away, please except my sincere condoleances. I hope you’ll succeed in your much appreciated efforts.

    Best regards,

  87. Thank you very much for your message Hans. I will do my best to find out as much as I can, and already have been assisted in this regard. We still have a few hidden “chests” in his basement that might contain some valuable information. As I mentioned in my speech at my father’s memorial service, it is very important for all of us to regard every day as “Remembrance Day” and to actively acknowledge the unselfish and heroic contributions of all War Veterans that led to our freedom. We will be forever indebted to them.

  88. Hi John, I totally agree with you. I set up a commerative service in 2005 to remember the fateful crew of 550 Lanc BQ-R pd-221, crashed near the village in a farmfield. The crew rests in Westerbeek (NL) cemetery. This year the municipal remembranceday was in the village and flowers were laid on the graves and a commerative service was held at the monument, in front of the church. Wingcommander Jack Harris OBE DFC (550 sq. secretary) and his wife Bobbie participated as well.

    It is good knowing, people keep up this good thing in order to remember the supreme sacrifices of these men. Lest we forget! Regards, Hans

  89. Hans – thought you might like to read this. The Ottawa Citizen newspaper ran a feature obituary on my father today. Here’s the link:


  90. Hi John, what a story! Haha, laughed my pants off reading the passage about the “Nun”. Heard the Dutch variant not too long ago…..coïncidence??

    Pity all these caracters from those days are passing by gradually.
    That’s fate of life I guess.

    Take care!

  91. Yes nice story , thanks for sharing

  92. My uncle was a rear gunner on a Lancaster bomber shot down over Agenville august 31 1944. Entire crew was lost. Recently I met in Lethbridge, Alberta, the nephew of the pilot who was flying the bomber. Can any tell me about the Agenville raid? The details: flak, fighter attacks, weather conditions, etc. THanks

    • Hi Allen.
      I don’t suppose you have contact details for the gentleman you met in Lethbridge. I’m researching my wife’s uncle crew, the bomb aimer was a Lethbridge man.

    • Julie-Clare Becher

      hi there, i am currently researching my second cousin whose Lancaster bomber NF962 was shot down over Agenville on the 31st Aug 1944, piloted by Sisley, is this the crew you are interested in?.

  93. Hi, we are trying to trace a “L O Hardy” who was a son of Oswald Anthony Hardy of 550 squadron. If anyone has any information that may be of help we would be very grateful.

  94. Vivien Borrill-Townsend

    My name is Vivien Borrill-Townsend and I am the daughter of Flt Sgt Gordon Victor Weller (Navigator). Looking through the photographs on your site, I am very interested in two of the photographs as my father appears on them. The Squadron Group Photograph taken in May 1945, which I haven’t seen before and the Navigation Section photograph taken September 1945 of which I have a copy but had no information as to where or when it was taken. On the Navigation photograph my father is on the back row fourth from the left.
    Is there anyway of finding out any information about my father during his time at North Killingholme?
    After the war my father was demobbed, he re enlisted later but was sadly killed on 26th June 1955 in a Lincoln bomber (WD131) of 199 Squadron from Hemswell. His plane was in a mid air collision over Germany whilst on an exercise.
    Would be grateful for any information you can give. I can be contacted on:
    Kind regards,

  95. Hello, My Uncle was W/O Harry Lawrence Farmer, who flew on NG132 the last aircraft in Bomber Command to be lost on 17 march 1945, in the Estuary at Hull? I believe there was one survivor from the accident(possibly Canadian) but i have no further information.
    I’ve tried using the http://www.lostbomber website but it now seems out of commission. If anyone can help with any further information please contact myself on
    Kindest regards,

  96. Can anyone provide any info on my Mother Eileen Roberts who was stationed here during the 2nd World War, anything would be appreciated.
    She is now 89 years old and lives in Huddersfield.

  97. Can anyone provide me with information on Flight Sergeant Edward Griffiths – rear gunner – Press on Regardless. I would be most grateful.


    Might also be possible to contact Roy (Ginger) Harris – Nav in Jock Shaw crew – as he is still alive and kicking in Arizona.

  99. I’m trying to trace my fathers service on avro lancaster, my dad never talked about his time as a rear air gunner on lancs , his sqn or service number to my mother & myself.
    He was sergeant arthur hendley.
    my contact details if anyone has any information :

  100. Does anyone have any information about Freddie Fenner who flew in Felix with John Timms? we are trying to trace any of the crew who could have a log book as my husband John Tims, the pilot, Now deceased, had lost his and without it we have no proof to obtain his bomber command clasp.

  101. Hi Jean: I’m afraid I do not have info on Freddie Fenner. But I will be sending you some info later this evening or tomorrow morning from 550 records to your email address.

  102. Clyde Holmwood

    Hi I have recently found photographs in my mother’s house of a crew with a Lancaster with a white elephant on the side and called Bad Penny II, also of a whole squadron standing on the wings of a Lancaster. I have no idea which side of the family this refers as not aware of anyone being in the RAF but cannot find list names of crew to give us an idea. There is also a photo of an illustration of the bomber flying over the coast on D Day which I have been told it was one of the first bombers to fly over that day – on the back is written by someone ‘J’ Johnny over invasion beaches on the night of D Day.
    I have been in touch with Duxford but they do not keep records but did some info would appreciate if anybody could add to this.

    • (long) list of links following by email.

    • Michael Bravery

      Hi Clyde

      I’ve just found your post about Bad Penny 2 and assume that you received the information you were after from coulter. I just wanted to add that my uncle Kenyon Bown-Bravery was Bad Penny 2’s pilot and he flew the D Day mission shown in the picture. Kenyon is still alive and living in Hythe.
      I just happened to be searching for information today as I have seen this illustration before and was wondering if I could track down a fair copy of it, or anything else for that matter.
      I know it’s a bit cheeky of my to ask but I don’t suppose you would be willing to part with it? …or perhaps I could obtain a copy of it.
      Kind Regards
      Michael Bravery

  103. Does anyone have any information about my father, Flight Lt Frank Mitchell?

    I have a sort of memory that he may have flown the Lancaster R Raj but that may not be accurate.

    I also think he may have had Bob Nicholson on his crew as a navigator or gunner.

    He joined 550 after leaving 103 squadron and training as a pilot in Canada. I have his two of his log books with Operation Manna as one of the later missions.
    Many thanks Jill Hudson

  104. hi just wondering if anyone has any information on Sergeant Thomas L J Whittick, he would have been my mother in law’s uncle if still alive? i know he sacrificed his own life by taking over the Lancaster Bomber and flying it over belgian antwerp to save a whole village but sadly died aged 19 on 22/5/1944. I would like to find out as much information and preferably some pictures please?

  105. Hello ,

    Please contact me at , perhaps i can help you with some information.

  106. Hi
    My Uncle David Mayo was also killed on 21/22 May 44 but Thomas Whittick was not on the same plane, as I know the names of all those that were in his crew. I know that 2 other planes were lost that night from 550 sqn whilst returning from a raid over Duisberg.
    This was the highest loss suffered by 550 in a single raid.
    If this was the night and the squadron in question, I have some of the details of the mission, though mostly of my Uncle,s plane.
    Phil How

  107. p.s. The other planes lost on 21/22 May ’44 were (I believe) DV309 and LM319
    Phil How

  108. In response to this message from: Bob Henry | 7 October, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
    Hello Phil.,
    I haven’t been on this site before so just picked-up your message.
    My wife’s father was Donald S. Bruty and we have been gathering information on his time as a member of the crew.
    Please let me know if you wish to exchange information.

    Hi Bob,
    Great to hear from you.
    As I said in my original post, I have been in touch with various members of Peter Dukelow’s family and it is nice to hear from Donald Bruty’s family.
    I know a great deal about the events of 22nd May 1944, thanks in great part to the Dukelows, but have very little knowledge of my Uncle David’s (and the rest of the crew’s) activities before that night, thoug I know that they were not together very long.
    According to Josette, Peter Dukelow said that my uncle David was from Falmouth, but that was just the place that the Mayos were living at the time, as my grandfather was a squadron Leader in the RAF.
    David was actually born in Malvern, as were his sister Marjorie (my Mum) and his brother (my uncle) Philip Mayo.
    My apologies for this somewhat brief response, but I only just got this message at 0100 and I am off to bed in a very short while.
    My e-mail is: phil at if you would like to contact me directly. I would be most interested in exchanging information with you.
    I am so pleased to hear from you and look forward to chatting further.


  109. Unfortunately this was only the second outing for the Dukelow crew (Peter Dukelow having done a 3rd outing (his first op, as 2nd pilot- Hasselt (11 May 1944 – 12 May 1944)) .
    Then full crew Orleans (19 May 1944 – 20 May 1944) “P/O Dukelow put up a creditable show on his maiden trip. ” and Duisburg (21 May 1944 – 22 May 1944) – “P/O Dukelow, F/S Hinde and Sgt Essex with their crews failed to return to Base.”

  110. Looking for the exact crash location of 550 squadron Lancaster DV279, believed to be Seething near Norwich, 19July1944. Pilot died, all others baled out. My father Paul Binder was the WOP. Would appreciate any info in this respect.
    Andrew Binder

  111. Thank you sir – the pilot, Andy Clark, was Canadian and was very highly thought of by the whole crew (I was even named after him!). I’ll follow-up the Seething connection. My father is now 91, and I was hoping to find a small memento of the fateful crash for him. Will let you know if I come up with anything.

  112. Can anyone please confirm if there was a Geoffrey Joseph Yung (spelling may vary) associated with 550 squadron at Killingholme?

  113. Hi to you all ,
    I am searching for some information and photos (if any) on
    SGT John A Ringrow service number 1814109 who was with the 550 squadron .
    This information is a surprise for my partner his daughter , i would like to be able to have some information about her dad and hopefully some pictures ,thanks for any help


  114. Valerie Bartlett

    I am looking for information about Vernon “Bud” Bouchard, RCAF who served with 550, flew the Phantom of the Ruhr. Would love to hear memories from any former mates who may remember him, or have memories of visiting the Plough Inn at Icklingham. Also, would like to settle a bet, did Vernon speak with a French Canadian accent?

  115. I am looking for information on my late father, Edward Griffiths, Rear Gunner. Very many thanks. Moyra Woodward

  116. Yes it certainly is. I had found that photo on the same day I contacted you. Do you have any other photos of Ken Higgins (Grandad)?

    • I’m afraid not – essentially all the photos I have are online (I have a few odds and sods still to scan but none featuring the Grimes crew).


    I am hoping someone can give me any information on R. McKenzie rear gunner in N-Nan which was put down in the Humber by F/Sgt Hopman and also of Keith Martin in the same crew. My mother remembers them from 550 squadron at North Killingholme and is wondering if they are still alive. We attended the remembrance service yesterday and it was wonderful to see the Lancaster fly over. Many thanks.

  118. David Gillies

    I am well aware that this is a long shot, and I asked on here a few years ago but hoping more info may be available. my great uncle, Raymond Gillies (1585244) was the mis-upper-gunner on lanc DV343 of 550squadron ; one of the planes that went missing on the evening 23/24 dec ’43. Nobody seems to have any information of what happened, whether there is any wreckage, whether there are any photos of him (and his plane/crew). Rays brother (my grandad) is as desperate as I am for some resolve. He has never been able to fully come to terms with his brothers death, and I am desperate to know more about my hero. Any information would be kindly received!

    Kind regards,
    David Gillies –

  119. Dear Michel,

    Very interested in your note. I am actually visiting the Somme area w/c 18 August and will vista Achiet at some point. I’m also hoping to meet up with Laurent Wiart (Arras Director of Libraries and Archives) who has had contact and and arranged some memorials. Please contact me at and I can share more details with you.

    Best regards,

    John Logan

  120. Michel Lespagnol

    Dear John,

    I have sent you a message by separate mail to arrange a meeting with my friend for the tribute planned. Best regards


  121. My Grandpa: Archibald Menzies Gardner was in 550 squadron. He is 89 and I would love to have a little more information for him. Also if any members remember him.


    • Have a look on the 550 Squadron website. There is a Gardner mentioned there. There is possibly a photo of him with a crew – was he a mid upper air gunner?

  122. Margaret Pengelly

    Looking for information for Pilot Officer John Kay Murray who was with the RCAF in Sqdn 550. We believed he was shot down June 17, 1944 over Netherlands and his body never found but recently it has come to light that relatives in western Canada have his dogtags and helmet, so his body must have been recovered. His service number was J/86549. Any information would be appreciated.
    Marg Pengelly

    • Hi Margaret

      Go to the 550 Squadron web site where you will find references to your relative.

      Tony Fleming
      New Zealand

    • The information I read on this states that W/O JK Murray was killed in Lancaster LM134 flown by F/O Neilson crew when it was lost on 16/17 June 19 to Sterkrade . This was his 1st flight as 2 nd pilot to Neilson . For more information about that flight see F/O D F Neilson page

      • My father, Frank Steele, was a Lancaster pilot with Sqdn 550. He was supposed to have had his orientation flight with F/O Neilson on 1944-06-16 but for some reason it was changed to 1944-06-14. My Dad recorded this in his flight logs and you can see the relevant page here: If you would like me to send you the scanned image as a file please let me know the easiest way to do this.

  123. Trying to find information and photo of F/O F W Bennett DV305

  124. Margaret Pengelly

    Many thanks Tony and Catherine.
    It mentions that only 3 bodies were found. Is there any way to find out who was found and who is still missing?

  125. Hi Margaret. Please see my response to Catherine re: F/O Neilson and crew not returning on 1944-06-16. Thank you.

  126. If you would like the scanned page from my Dad’s flight logs please let me know.

  127. Margaret Pengelly

    Many thanks everyone. This answers my questions. The family always thought that his body had never been recovered and this information confirms that. I’m just wondering how someone got his dogtags if this is the case!!!

  128. Perplexing Margaret. I hate a mystery that cannot be solved. If you consider that 55,500 airmen were lost during ww2 it is obvious that some of their remains, if any, were interred in many makeshift graves across Europe, and thus not recorded despite people’s best intentions. Someone may have recovered your relative’s dog-tags, which ultimately found their way to your family. One of my father’s cousins was shot down over Berlin, the plane crashing in what was to become the Russian sector thus no record appears to exist of his resting place. He is also remembered on the Runnymead Memorial – a fine and fitting tribute to those brave young men. “Lest we forget”

    Tony Fleming

  129. Despite being a postwar Dutchman, I’m very much intriged by all the stories, especially about all these men lost without known graves. Try to imagine what this means for close relatives. Margaret, without knowing you, I deeply hope you find what you are looking for. Best and warm regards from the Netherlands.

    Hans Ooms

  130. Margaret Pengelly

    Many thanks. We did a battlefield tour 2 yrs. ago and visited the Netherlands. We were most impressed with the cemeteries and the number of local school children visiting them. A beautiful way to honour our young men.

  131. Elizabeth Pickavance

    My Uncle, George Pickavance served in the RCAF during WWII. He was a Flight Squardron 550. He left Baltimore,MD along with a younger brother,John Pickavance and went up to Canada to fight HITLER.before the US.A was in the war. . He was shot down over, Berlin and was a P O. He was a hero flying many mission out of England prior to his crash. He survived with two broken legs. After the war and release from a German Prison camp. He first lived in, Baltimore with the rest of his family after a few year he finally moved to Canada due to his serious injuries He died in, Canada. I still miss him. My mom and dad and th r4st of the family made trips to, Canada and he made trips back to Maryland. . .] Born in England, St. Helens Lanchshire County ( I believe) My dad and grandfather left Great Britain for America in 1923 and settled in ,Baltimore. Then they sent for my grandmother and the other four brothers. Uncle George and John were two of the four. . . He was a GREAT human being. A wonderful person an artist He had a photographic memory. I loved him dearly. ‘ PICKAVANCE” is a proud British Name. all the way back to the beginning of England..His loving niece, Elizabeth Pickavance


  132. Peter Coulter

    Request for Information.
    Do you know, or know contact details for, Kenneth Weston? He published some 550 photos a few years back, but on the Flickr web-site so contact details are not known.

    The organizers of a memorial event in Rhenen, The Netherlands wish to contact him, or any other relatives of the F/O Neilson crew:

    The crew were all killed in LM134: Some are buried in NL, some are remembered at Runneymede.

  133. Margaret Pengelly

    I would be interested in any more information about the planned memorial unveiling to pass along to JK Murray’s relatives who might be interested in attending.
    Marg Pengelly

  134. Margaret Pengelly

    I first tried clicking on Gerard’s name first but nothing happened. It didn’t take me to another site or email as I would have expected. Perhaps someone else can try it and see if they get a response.

  135. Peter Coulter

    OK – it should have launched straight into your emailler with the email address pre-populated; can’t explain why it has not done so (it is for me). Anyway the email address is ‘’.

  136. Robert Henry

    They were ALL heroes, Andy, every last one of them!

  137. Margaret Pengelly

    Many thanks Peter

  138. Gerard van der Vliet

    Margaret: an email is coming your way! For all other relatives: please contact me for more information of the memorial-ceremony on the 17th of june 2016. With regards, Gerard van der Vliet

  139. LL838 crashed in Rotherfield 22 Jun 44 returning from Mimoyeques raid.
    After doing lots of research on crash sites in my parish relating primarily to the Battle of Britain I was made aware a couple of years ago of a Lancaster from 550 Sqn crashing a few miles from where I live. To date I have concentrated on 1940 and have done little research but a colleague contacted me yesterday claiming to have found a piece of aircraft wreckage (rivetted aluminium with 20-25mm hole and black on one side) that when he described the location is almost certainly that of the aforementioned bomber. I know the crew names 5 of whom subsequently died. but wonder whether there is more info of this bomber or crew?

  140. Can anyone advise what the air crew carried on their person when on raids over Germany? For example, did they have German currency in the event they may have survived a crash?

    • According to: The Bomber Command Handbook 1939-1945 by Jonathan Falconer.

      ‘Before take-off on a raid, every crew member was issued with an escape and survival pack to help them evade capture if forced down over enemy territory. However, few of those who were shot down, and survived, had much chance of using the small escape pack they all carried because they were quickly apprehended by German forces.

      Escape packs were issued sealed and collected from crews in their return. They came in several different forms, fitting easily into a battledress pocket, and each contained a variety of useful items and ingenious gadgets to help its owner with his escape and survival. They included packets of real foreign currency and detailed waterproof maps of Europe printed on silk, some of which showed the best escape routes and frontiers. These were sometimes issued separately. Occasionally sewn into battledress lining, and at other times as part of a complete escape pack.

      The Type 2 Ration and escape pack, made from clear acetate plastic in two closely fitting sections, was known as an escape box. It contained rations for 48 hours and a variety of aids for survival when living off the land, including high-energy foodstuffs such as Horlicks tablets, chewing gum, chocolate, barley sugar sweets, and a tube of condensed milk. The survival aids included matches, magnetised razor blades (to serve as a compass pointer),a small compass, a heliograph (to signal with), Benzedrine tablets (known to aircrew as wakey-wakey pills’) to combat tiredness, water-purifying tablets, a rubber water Bottle, needle and thread and fishing twine, a razor and soap. The contents varied from kit to kit and on what condensed rations were available at any given time.

      The Mk IV escape box was cleverly designed as a hollow circular container that could also double as a water bottle. Its contents included a silk escape map, Horlicks tablets, chocolate, water-purifying tablets, matches, needle and thread. To empty the contents, the side of the box had first to be removed and then replaced to form a bottle. The stopper unscrewed to reveal a tiny watch and compass.

      In addition to the escape packs there were additional pieces of escape equipment and gadgets issued as personal items, or as articles of clothing and flying kit. These included the 1943 pattern flying boots that could be cut down to make a pair of walking shoes (see page 154), the standard issue British forces Bakelite razor that often contained a compass in the base, a magnetised fly-button compass, tunic and cap buttons that unscrewed to reveal a tiny compass, a tobacco pouch containing a map concealed inside the lining, and a pencil that if broken at a certain letter embossed on the pencil would reveal a tiny compass inside.”

      I’ve heard 550 veterans confirm on a number of occasions the silk map and cut-down boots to shoe information. Also I know photos in civilian clothing (‘Pimpernel’ or escape photos) intended for use in forged documents were taken: so must have been carried in order to have been any use (several are available on the 550 web-site).

  141. Thanks, Peter, for that very comprehensive response. Much appreciated.
    Kind regards,

  142. Never the less.

  143. Good evening everyone. I am looking for information regarding a Mr Thomas McVey who served with 550 squadron from 1942-1945. He was born in Greenock, Scotland in 1925 and served with the 550 as a gunner and wireless operator. I cannot find a service number for him but I believe he was mentioned in dispatches after one sortie and won a medal of some description with an oak leaf. Any information at all would be helpfull or even some advice on where to look next for his service number etc. Would the Imperial War Museum be the next port of call?

    • Hi Gerard
      Thomas McVey cannot have served with 550 Squadron from 1942-1945, in that 550 Squadron was only formed on 25th Nov 1943, first operational flight (and first loss on ops) Berlin 26th Nov 1943, and they weren’t flying out of North Killingholme until 3rd Jan 1944. Disbanded 31st Oct 1945.
      So any service prior to 25th Nov 1943 must have been with another Squadron.

      The Imperial War Museum is a possibility.

      Also the RAF Museum at Hendon, they have extensive records and a research department that can be contacted (see their web-site). It is also possible by prior arrangement to visit the research centre and access their records which is on the museum site.

      The RAF Archive at Cranwell keeps all RAF service records, you could try them. Although if not a close relative then it may be difficult to get records out of them. Their admin fees for record retrieval are on their web-site.

      You could try searching the London Gazette (online) for decorations as mentioned in dispatches, etc were announced there.
      The oak leaf is likely to be the MID.

  144. I’m researching F/Sgt C W Beckingham RAAF who was part of the crew of Lancaster PD 319 of 550 Sqn. This aircraft and NG 133 failed to return from a raid over Duisburg on the 14/15 Oct 1944. I have seen a report of the crash on the Inter net (over Duisburg in which all the crew were lost) but for the life of me I cannot find it again, any help would be most appreciated. Thanking you in advance.

  145. Hi there my name is John mckay I was wondering if anyone on here as any information on my great uncle James Morris mckay he was stationed in 550 squadron during WW2 his name was James Morris mckay and his service number is 591199

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