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WWII Barrage Balloon Sites

O

O.C.

Guest
Hard for me to reply as the three topics seem to be merging Re Photo's
Hard for me to know were to post Photo's as running at the moment is
The Homefront and Blitz
The Spitfire
Posters
And barrage balloon pics appear in all of them or will
So to answer some ones question I snooker myself
So keep an eye on the Spitfire topic Phil
 
P

Phil Bonner

Guest
:) cromwell Thanks for that. To make it easier for you, I'll check the other threads for the pictures. My main objective at the moment is tracking down the many sites.
 
O

O.C.

Guest
Phil Interesting photo of Gosford Green Coventry and unknown location
 
P

Phil Bonner

Guest
:) cromwell Thanks for the photo on Gosford Green. I haven't started on 916 & 917 Squadrons in Coventry yet. They only had about 75 sites, but the photo has helped to locate one of those.
 
O

O.C.

Guest
Going slightly away from what you want, but still with the Barrage Balloons not a lot of folk know how they were inflated as it was not by air. the Midlands was a prime manufacture in the gas that was used here is a pic of all the gas bottles loaded on trains heading for the destinations of the Barrage Balloon sites
Bottom pic
Shows the gas being used to blow a balloon up and they were not only used to snag enemy aircraft up andbring them down, but they were used to train our own troops

Watch this space
 

pudsey

gone but not forgotten
Phil, you may already have these details, it is taken from the website for St Marys Parish Church,Wythall
RAF Wythall was opened in 1939 as the HQ of No. 6 Balloon Barrage Centre, responsible for the balloon defence of the southern part of Birmingham and Coventry. Later the Centre assumed responsibility for balloon defence of the whole of Birmingham and part of the Black Country. Six hundred miles of territory were covered and many WAAF personnel, as well as RAF men, were engaged at the Centre and on the balloon sites.

After the war, the Station became the WAAF Demobilisation Centre, handling the release of all air service women engaged in every theatre of war. When the Demobilisation Centre was closed, having completed its purpose, the station became the HQ of No. 1 School of Administrative Trades.

The School was transferred to Hereford in 1949 and the station was closed: it remained so on a care and maintenance basis until 1951. when it was taken over by No. 90 Signals Group, now Signals Command.

RAF Wythall was finally closed operationally at the end of 1959. During the next few years of ?care and maintenance? it became well known for its beautifully kept gardens and greenways. The station occupied some 12 acres in all. Following the reorganisation of the Ministry of Defence and the three Armed Services in 1964, it was decided that the RAF would have no future use for the station and the land was put up for sale by auction. In July 1965. forty three acres, which included disused hangars, were sold by auction and in February 1967 a further 18 acres were sold to Bromsgrove RDC. and has now become Wythe Heath Mobile Homes Park.

Colin
 
O

O.C.

Guest
Nice photo(which needs clleaning up) of parachute training from a basket slung underneath the Balloon as it saved sending planes up to jump from, the balloon was winched up and down from the winch on the lorry
 

The Baron

master brummie
I spent many hours watching with my buddy Bruse Smith, just such training at Castle Bromwich air field in the 50s.Also ATC glideing practice the woosh as these guy came over the Kingsbury road & the Drome Cafe' to land.
ASTON
 

The Baron

master brummie
Yes robert,I pass it oftan, as my son lives just of Eachelhrust Rd,Had many a nice cup of tea after watching those Guys jump BACK IN THE GOOD OLD DAYS.
ASTON
 
P

Phil Bonner

Guest
Sorry I haven't replied to recent postings, but I've been busy with the day job! Roll on retirement.

Cromwell Ref Post # 33, The balloons are Mark 6 balloons, smaller than the LZ balloons used for Birmingham. They were used on ships, particularly at the Normandy landings. The photo of the WAAFs on parade is in the R101 hangar at the Balloon Training Unit at Cardington.

Aston & Robert Ref Post# 69. Didn't realise they did parachute training at Castle Bromwich post WWII. It is outside the period of my research but you might like to know that the RAF used balloons for parachute training up until 1995. Apparently some trainees found the balloon jumps more terrifying than those from an aircraft.

Colin B Ref Post # 67. Yes, had come across the article. It must have been quite a base in its heyday. All the former WAAFs I've been in touch who were based there, have said what a happy camp it was. The King & Queen visited the site in 1940. Today there is no trace of it.

Postie Ref Post # 33. Thanks for the article, it is another site I did not know about.

Thanks to everyone for the information. Still looking for more sites, in particular Site 61 at Rednal.
 

pudsey

gone but not forgotten
Hi Phil,haven't heard much from you lately ,guess you're still busy with your work.
I was looking through a book for information on mills for loisand when I found this single line which may be of interest to you
"During the Second World War ,there was a barrage balloon site in Bills Wood,Bills Lane,Shirley" not a lot to go on but may fit in with some other information

Colin
 
P

Phil Bonner

Guest
:)
Colin,
Yes, still busy with the day job, but it does pay the mortgage. Thanks for the information about Bills Wood, it is another site to add to the collection. The Shirley/Solihull area is one area I do not have many sites for.
I've now got some Grid References for some sites from 911 & 912 Squadrons, based on Sheet 72 of the Ordnance Survey map for Birmingham, so I hope to plot those out. They were part of the North Birmingham barrage.
Out of interest, I've just found out that Kenneth Horne, who had a popular radio show in the 1960s, 'Round The Horne', started off as an Acting Pilot Officer on 911 Squadron in August 1939.
Thanks for your help, it is much appreciated.
Regards
Phil
 
O

O.C.

Guest
Phil Bonner I hope you have the "Birmingham the War Years" A 50th Anniversary commemoration Edition
Alton Douglas has done a really good job with loads of info. well worth getting
 
P

Phil Bonner

Guest
Cromwell, No I haven't got a copy of the book, but I'll try to track it down. I believe it was promoted within the West Midlands; unfortunately I no longer live in the region. Thanks for the recommendation.
Phil
 
P

Phil Bonner

Guest
Cromwell & jennyann
Thanks for that. Just about to put the order in. I note that Alton Douglas has also produced a book on 'Coventry At War', which could help in researching 916 & 917 Sqns.
Regards
Phil
 

dennis

master brummie
Phil,
you can get the book direct from Alton Douglas
postage paid.......
Alton Douglas,
371,Rednal Road,
Kings Norton,
Birmingham. B38 8EE Tel:0121 458 5599
 
P

Phil Bonner

Guest
Dennis,
Thanks for that. He is obviously a very popular and highly respected author.
 
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