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No. 550 Squadron RAF

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Title: No. 550 Squadron RAF  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: North Killingholme, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Killingholme, Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer, RAF North Killingholme, Air Fighting Development Unit
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

No. 550 Squadron RAF

No. 550 Squadron RAF
Active 25 Nov 1943 – 31 Oct 1945
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Royal Air Force
Role Bomber
Motto Latin: Per Ignem Vincimus
(Translation: "Through fire we conquer")[1][2]
Squadron Badge heraldry In front of flames of fire a sword erect point upwards.[2]
The badge is symbolic of the squadron's power to force its way through barrage of fire and fighter opposition to drop its bombs. It can also be taken as symbolic of the squadron's raids with both incendiary and high-explosive bombs.[1]
Squadron Codes BQ (Nov 1943 – Oct 1945)[3][4]
Aircraft flown
Bomber Avro Lancaster
Four-engined heavy bomber

No. 550 Squadron RAF was a heavy bomber squadron of the Royal Air Force during World War II.


No. 550 squadron was formed at RAF Waltham (near Grimsby), Lincolnshire on 25 November 1943 from 'C' Flight of 100 Squadron.[5] Equipped with Avro Lancasters, they began operating in the same month, as part of No. 1 Group RAF. On November 26/27, 8 of their Lancasters were dispatched to make bombing runs over Berlin; 7 succeeded, with the other failing to return after the mission.[6] In early 1944, it was moved to RAF North Killingholme, Lincolnshire where it continued operations over German targets until May 1945, when it began dropping food over the Netherlands as a relieve effort as part of Operation Manna.[6] The squadron completed 3,582 operational sorties with the Lancaster with a loss of 59 aircraft.[7] It was disbanded at North Killingholme on 31 October 1945.,[2] the same day that North Killinghome closed.[8]

Operation Banquet

Before standing up as an operational bomber unit 550 Squadron was allocated to the Air Fighting Development Unit under 'Operation Banquet' anti-invasion plans.[9]

Aircraft operated

Aircraft operated by no. 550 Squadron RAF, data from[2][5]
From To Aircraft Version
November 1943 October 1945 Avro Lancaster Mks.I, III

Notable aircraft

Three of the Lancasters that flew with 550 squadron managed to survive one hundred operations or more, and one nearly did so:

No. 550 Squadron RAF aircraft with the most number of operations, data from[10]
Serial no. Name Operations Call-sign Fate Remarks
EE139 "Phantom of the Ruhr" 121 BQ-B Scrapped 19-02-1946 Also flew with No. 100 Squadron RAF.
Current Battle of Britain Memorial Flight
Lancaster flies BQ-B call-sign.[11]
PA995 "The Vulture Strikes" 101 BQ-V Failed to return, 11-03-1945 Flew all missions with 550 Squadron[12]
ED905 "Ad Extremum/Press on Regardless" 100+ BQ-F Crashed 20-08-1945 with No. 1656 Conversion Unit Also flew with No. 103 Squadron RAF
and No. 166 Squadron RAF[13]
W5005 "SS-Nan" 94 BQ-N Ditched in Humber estuary 26/27-08-1944 Also flew with No. 460 Squadron RAF

Squadron bases

Bases and airfields used by no. 550 Squadron RAF, data from[2][5]
From To Base
25 November 1943 3 January 1944 RAF Waltham, Lincolnshire
3 January 1944 31 October 1945 RAF North Killingholme, Lincolnshire




  • Lake, Alan. "Flying Units of the RAF".Airlife Publishing. Shrewsbury. 1999. ISBN 1-84037-086-6

External links

  • 550 Squadron Royal Air Force new site
  • 550 Squadron Royal Air Force old site
  • 550 Squadron and North Killingholme Association Official website
  • 550 squadron association
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