- No. 55 Squadron Royal Air Force during the Second World War -
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No. 55 Squadron Royal Air Force
No 55 squadron formed at Castle Bromwich on the 27th April 1916 as a training squadron but in January 1917 converted to a bomber squadron with the arrival of the DH4 day bomber. It proceeded to France in March 1917. As part of the Independent Air Force, 55 Squadron was tasked with long distance bombing raids into Germany. Following the Armistice, 55 Squadron was briefly used to run airmail services to British forces, before returning to the United Kingdom and disbanding on 22th January 1920.
The Squadron reformed on 1 February 1920, when No. 142 bomber Squadron, based at Suez was renumbered. It it transferred to Turkey in July 1920 to support British forces occupying Constantinople and the Dardanelles, but moved to Hinaidi near Bagdhad in Iraq in September that year.
It was re-equipped at RAF Habbiniya in March 1939 with twin-engined Bristol Blenheim bombers, and transferred to Ismailia in Egypt just before the outbreak of the Second World War.
September 1939 Patrols
11th June 1940 New Targets
14th June 1940 In Action
27th May 1941 Aircraft Lost
September 1941 Anti-Shipping Ops
March 1942 Conversion
12th May 1943 Bombing Raid
August 1943 Relocation
September 1943 Another Move
October 1944 Re-Equipping
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Those known to have served with
No. 55 Squadron Royal Air Force
during the Second World War 1939-1945.
The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List
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A/Sqn.Ldr. Francis Finney DSO. 114 Sqd.My father was Frank Finney. At the beginning of WW2 he was sent to be a flying instructor in Rhodesia and South Africa, then in 1943 he travelled north through Africa, by land and sea, to Egypt where he converted onto Baltimores. Then he joined 55 and later 114 Sqns, converted to Boston III, then IV and finally in early 1945 to Boston V, as they progressed through Italy when the Germans retreated. The task was to hinder the Germans as much as possible. There was much 'flak'.
In Feb 1945 my father led a raid on railway marshalling yards and his a/c was set alight by flak. His comms with the crew in the belly of the a/c ceased to operate and although he gave the command to bale out, he was unaware if this had happened so felt unable to bale out himself and elected to stay with the a/c as long as possible. The heat was intense and the a/c was at imminent risk of explosion owing to the proximity of flames and fuel. Nevertheless he got back to the nearest airfield across the line and managed to pump down the under carriage manually although he had no idea whether it had lowered or not or if the tyres were OK. But he landed successfully. The charred remains of the mid-upper gunner were in the fuselage but the other 2 crew had gone. It was discovered later that one had been hidden and repatriated by Partisans whilst the other had died owing to a burning 'chute. Flt Lt Finney was awarded the DSO and given acting rank of Sqn Ldr.
The Wing was at Aviano, NE Italy, when the war ended. Sqn Ldr Finney, having been overseas since 1940, was repatriated in May 45, flying a Boston to Marseilles to catch a troopship. Little did he realise that day, it was to be his final flight in the RAF. His pre-war civilian employers, discovering he was home on leave, asked the Air Ministry to release him, this was agreed and he found himself back as Clerk of the County Court in Stoke. Frank Finney died aged 87 in 2005.Steve Finney
Flt.Lt. Robert Arthur Tofts 114 SquadronMy father Robert Tofts was a sergeant in the Volunteer Reserves. He served with 114 Squadron in Blenheim IVs. His log books show a variety of aircraft and operations. He remained in the RAF until 1964 when he retired. He was also with 55 Squadron for a time. Whilst I have a variety of photographs I am attaching a picture of the entire 114 Squadron. I am not certain when this was taken but suspect it was circa 1940. I met Richard Rook (Dickie) who died approx 4-5 years ago. Some people may recognise some of members of the Squadron in this photograph. Father was commissioned in 1944 and retired as a Flt/lt.
I also attach two photgraphs of my father (extreme left) with W/C Monson, Flt/Lt Adam and Flt/Lt Bedford. This was taken in January 1946 in Elmas, Sardinia. The aircraft is a Buckingham which was on a test flight at the time.Ian Tofts
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