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WWII Barrage Balloon Sites

johnny082

master brummie
I lived in Abbey Road Erdington and well remember the barrage balloon situated on the allotments by Brookvale Park. One night we had the usual air raid which was over by about 3 am. We went back to bed and dropping off to sleep and suddenly heard a most unusual swishing noise. I was scared stiff and dashed into my parents room. We then saw the sky was lit up with a searchlight and looking out of the bedroom window saw this barage balloon that had broken loose coming towards our house with all it's wires trailing. We don't know where it finished up but next morning found the hauser wire which held it in place was now lying the full length of Abbey Road draped over all the tops of the trees which lined our road. No knowing what damage it would have caused had it landed on top of all the houses.
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
I find it surprising how early in 1939 that plans for barrage balloons and their units were being made. Viv.
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joeb

New Member
My dad James Butler was in France in 1940 with the RAF, I think he was part of a barrage balloon unit. He came out via Boulogne and served at Castle Bromwich for the rest of the war. Does anyone have information on birmingham units in France or where I could research them
 

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Stocktonbrian

New Member
NAZARETH HOUSE LONGBRIDGE

Is there anybody who can confirm the presence of a barrage balloon site at the RC Childrens Home Nazareth House? Nazareth House was by the roundabout of the Bristol Road and Lickey Hill, literally opposite the factory entrance to the Austin car factory.
There was a balloon site at Daffodil Park, near Longbridge railway station, one on Rubery Hill, one next to Lickey Hill Golf Course, and one by Bittel Reservoir. There were also balloon sites at Northfield reservoir, and Frankley Beeches.
The site at the Golf Course was known as site 60, but there was a site 61, listed in Rednal. Unfortunately a Blenheim bomber collided with the cables of site 61 and crashed. I'm trying to locate site 61, and the nearest I have come to identifying it is a vague comment that someone thought there was a site at Nazareth House, but no confirmmation.
Nazareth House no longer exists, and is now the site of St Columba's Primary school.
Any help would be gratefully accepted
The Rednal site 61 was in a quarry along the Barnt Green Road immediately opposite Reservoir rd, I was born there in 1937 and remember the balloon,during a gale it came very low and took the ridge tiles off the roof at the house nearest the B G road,I have also had a lifelong memory, which I didnt know whether true or not, that a plane had collided with the cable and crashed, and have just read your confirmation of this and found a record on ''aircrewremembered.com''.
I dont recall there being a balloon site at Nazareth House, but do remember that it was a hospital for war wounded, and there were also some multi-barrelled guns there towards the end of the war.
 

Amanda Judith

New Member
Really appreciate this thread. Many thanks to everyone who's contributed.

My grandfather was part of the Balloon Barrage Unit in Birmingham. Unfortunately I have no more information as I never met him and my grandmother divorced him immediately after the war. He's been a blank space in our family for decades and I'm trying to piece his life together. He was called up in 1939 and his name was Ralph Anderton Wilcock. He was then posted to Bristol in Feb 1943.

Thankyou again
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
Welcome to the Forum, Amanda Judith, and thanks for your kind words. Hope you can make progress.

Chris
 

bennyinkwell

New Member
:) I am researching the Birmingham Barrage Balloon Squadrons, formed in 1939 and manned by the local population as part of the Auxiliary Air Force. For the North Birmingham Barrage there were 3 Squadrons, 911, 912 & 913, under No 5 Balloon Centre at Sutton Coldfield. For the South Barrage, the 3 Squadrons were 914, 915 & 916 Sqn, under No 6 Balloon Centre at RAF Wythall. They were all called up in August 1939.  No history of their existence has been recorded, and I hope to put this right by writing up a record for all to have access to.ÂÂ
 Looking through the Squadron Operational records, there is no reference to where a balloon site was. There is only a reference to a site number, eg 914 Sqn site No 15, sometimes abbreviated to 14/15. By 1942 there were 150 balloon sites in Birmingham.  If anyone knows the location of any of the sites, I would be grateful for any information, or reminiscences.
   Phil Bonner
Hi Phil
I am trying to locate a book about the balloon sites around Birmingham. Can you help?
 

oldbrit

OldBrit in Exile
I know there were Barrage balloon and aircraft gun sights on Church Rd and Harvey Rd across from the school in Yardley during the war I remember seeing them
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Apparently there was established no 6 barrage balloon centre, occupied by 914, 915, 916 &917 squadrons near Wythall (at SP073 753) responsible for defending Black country, Coventry & southern birmingham (From "The defence of Worcestershire " by Mick Wilks)
 
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