|No. 550 Squadron RAF|
|Active||25 Nov 1943 – 31 Oct 1945|
|Branch||Royal Air Force|
|Motto(s)||Latin: Per Ignem Vincimus|
(Translation: "Through fire we conquer")
|Squadron Badge heraldry||In front of flames of fire a sword erect point upwards.|
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.
|Squadron Codes||BQ (Nov 1943 – Oct 1945)|
Four-engined heavy bomber
No. 550 Squadron RAF was a heavy bomber squadron of the Royal Air Force during World War II. Formed at RAF Waltham on 25 November 1943, 550 Squadron flew Avro Lancaster bombers as part of No. 1 Group RAF. In early 1944, the squadron was moved to RAF North Killingholme, Lincolnshire where it continued operations until May 1945, when it began dropping food over the Netherlands as a relief effort as part of Operation Manna. The squadron was disbanded on 31 October 1945. Today, a surviving Lancaster bomber continues to fly in the markings of BQ-B "Phantom of the Ruhr" EE139 from 550 squadron as part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
No. 550 squadron was formed at RAF Waltham (near Grimsby), Lincolnshire on 25 November 1943 from 'C' Flight of 100 Squadron. Equipped with Avro Lancasters, they began operating in the same month, as part of No. 1 Group RAF. The squadron's commanding officer, until 17 May 1944, was Wing Commander James Johnson Bennett. The squadron motto was "Per Ignem Vincimus", meaning "through fire we conquer".
From RAF Waltham, 550 Squadron attacked Berlin on seven different occasions, and also participated in raids on Leipzig and Frankfurt. On 26/27 November 1943, 8 of their Lancasters were dispatched to make bombing runs over Berlin; 7 succeeded, with the other failing to return after the mission.
On 3 January 1944 the squadron was moved to RAF North Killingholme, Lincolnshire, where it continued operations. 550 flew their first mission from North Killingholme on 14 January 1944 - 11 Lancasters participated in a raid on Brunswick.
550 grew in size to two flights and later to three. 550 Squadron would become one of the most efficient squadrons in Bomber Command, on a number of occasions reaching the top of the No. 1 Group RAF Group bombing league table. Losses were relatively low, as was the rate of aborted missions - a good indication of high morale. 
On 5 June 1944 550 Squadron participated in the D-Day landings, as Lancaster LL811 J-Jig "Bad Penny II" was credited with dropping the first string of bombs at 11.34pm. 
During the course of the war, 550 Squadron completed 3,582 operational sorties with the Lancaster with the loss of 59 aircraft. The squadron dropped 16,195 tons of bombs. Three of 550 Squadron's Lancaster bombers succeeded in flying more than 100 combat missions. These were BQ-F "Press on Regardless" ED905, BQ-V 'The Vulture Strikes' PA995, and - the most well known - BQ-B "Phantom of the Ruhr" EE139. The latter flew a total of 121 missions.
|November 1943||October 1945||Avro Lancaster||Mks.I, III|
Three of the Lancasters that flew with 550 Squadron managed to survive one hundred operations or more, and one nearly did so:
|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.
|PA995||"The Vulture Strikes"||101||BQ-V||Failed to return, 11-03-1945||Flew all missions with 550 Squadron|
|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
|W5005||"SS-Nan"||94||BQ-N||Ditched in Humber Estuary 26/27-08-1944||Also flew with No. 460 Squadron RAAF|
|25 November 1943||3 January 1944||RAF Waltham, Lincolnshire|
|3 January 1944||31 October 1945||RAF North Killingholme, Lincolnshire|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to No. 550 Squadron RAF.|