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World War 2

This group is for all the people who are interested in the second world war.
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Founded: January 9th, 2013

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Phantom of The Ruhr

Added by:
andymackie22
on 5/1/22
5/1/22
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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.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight celebrated 50 years in 2007, and underwent a complete refit to fly again in the livery of 550 Squadron Lancaster EE139 the "Phantom of the Ruhr", a ton-up Lancaster that flew her first 30 ops on No. 100 Squadron based at Waltham before completing a further 91 ops on No. 550 Squadron at North Killingholme. She sports the letters HW-R of 100 Squadron on her port side and BQ-B of 550 Squadron on her starboard, effectively commemorating the crews of both Squadrons.

On the night of September 23, 1943, the target for their 24th operation was a chemical works in Mannheim, situated on the banks of the Rhine, deep in enemy territory.
The approach was met with intense flak but the “Phantom of The Ruhr” arrived over the target on time.

After the bomb aimer called ‘bombs gone’, the navigator called out the heading back to England, with the Lancaster still buffeted by flak bursts and illuminated by searchlights.
Suddenly a flak shell penetrated the bomb bay, went through the middle of the aircraft, and burst through the top without exploding, but snapped a control cable on its exit, causing severe vibration.
It sent The Phantom in to a steep dive; struggling hard with the controls, the pilot managed to regain control, but now down to around 10,000ft, they were now attacked by a night fighter.
Cannon shells raked the fuselage, damaged the port wing, flaps and tailplane, but thanks to evasive action the crew escaped the enemy fighter and limped home to base.
Because of the damage, the bomber ran off the end of the runway and straight through a hedge before coming to a stop, breaking its back as it did so.
They examined the damage and counted more than 300 shrapnel and bullet holes which put The Phantom out of action until November while it was repaired.
For their courageous actions that night in saving the aircraft and crew, the pilot, Warrant Officer Ron Clark was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, and Sergeant Harry Bennett, the flight engineer, the Distinguished Flying Medal.
The Phantom of the Ruhr eventually completed 121 missions – one of only 35 Lancasters to make it over 100.
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