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WWII Barrage Balloon Sites

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Phil Bonner

Guest
Maggie,

Thanks for the comments. The balloon centre at Sutton Coldfield was Number 5 Balloon Centre, responsible for 911, 912 & 913 Squadrons and the north Birmingham balloon barrage.

Can you check with your Mum exactly where the balloon site was, and the approximate date when the balloon had broken free.

The RAF used balloons with baskets suspended below them for parachute training up until about 1990.

Regards

Phil
 

Graham

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
My cousin Frederick's (also a forum member) dad from Leamington Road, Sparkbrook, Fred Ford, was in the RAF attached to a group that during WWII looked after barrage balloons, but he got stationed in Kent not Brum.

Graham.
 

maggie may

proper brummie kid
Hi! Phil,

Just sent a text to Mum so I'll let you know when she gets back to me about the break away balloon.

Mum is 86 now but still very 'with it' her memory of the local area during the war years amazes me.
 

printmeister

master brummie
Whilst searching for information on Nonsuch Farm in Bartley Green, I came across this:

"14/10/1941 Tiger Moth T8199 of 19 EFTS hit a balloon cable and spun in at Nonsuch Farm, Stonehouse Lane, Woodgate Valley, Birmingham. Pilot Cpl Thompson was injured."
 

maggie may

proper brummie kid
Hi! Phil,

Spoke to Mum this morning. With regard to the escaped balloon all that she can remember is that it occurred during the major bombing of the area and that it would be prior to December 7th 1942 which is when Mum enlisted in the army. Apparently I even have a picture of the tree that the balloon attached itself to as it is on Mum and Dads' wedding photograph.

With regard to the Windy Ridge/ Cats Hill balloon. Looking at a modern map there is a rough triangle of Eachelhurst Road on one side-Walmley Ash Road on another with Orton Avenue and Ashurst Road forming the base. The balloon would have been in this triangle.

Eastleigh Croft which is a cul de sac had not been built at this time but the balloon would have been sited more or less at the bottom of the gardens of the houses at the bottom of the cul de sac- hope that makes sense.

We moved into the house on Eastleigh Croft as a new build in the early 1950s. Mum tells me that when Dad was making the garden the air was blue because his spade kept hitting yards of steel rope of which there was so much he couldn't remove it. Dad who wasn't a local man was rather puzzled by this but Mum always thought it most likely that the offender was a steel hawser from a barage balloon.
 
P

Phil Bonner

Guest
Maggie May,

Thanks for checking the location with your Mum.

Printmeister,

Thank you for your post. I'm collecting details on friendly aircraft that got tangled in the balloons, and I don't think that was on my list. I believe 19 EFTS was at Elmdon (now B'ham International Airport) which was opened in 1939. The aircrew were responsible for staying clear of the balloons but that was not always possible in cloud. In the end they fixed radio beacons on some of the balloons to warn aircraft, and these balloon sites were known as 'squeekers'.

Lencops,

Grateful for the gun sites. The balloons and guns were co-ordinated, but not always co-located, so that there was no danger that the balloons would be in the line of fire of the guns.
Regards

Phil
 

jonny

proper brummie kid
Phil,

Did you ever finish your work on the Balloon Sqns? I am currently researching a NCO who served with B Flight, 915 Sqn. I have his medals, AAF Embodiment Form, 2 x Xmas menus from 1939 with the Flight's signatures on and his Service and Release Book. I just wondered where B Flight was based?

Rgds

Jonny
 

Helen_Lee

knowlegable brummie
I have a photo of my mum with a barage balloon behind her on the ground. She says this was Cannon Hill Park. Will try to attach photo: They were born in 1940 so I think the photo would have been taken 44/45 Also I have found a mention of Raddlebarn Road Recreation ground having them too.

View attachment 44797
 

Ray Griffiths

master brummie
Hi

There was a large Anti aircraft gunners and Barrage Ballon site in Perry Barr Park over the Walsall Rd. side by the boating lake, there used to be a lot of long wooden huts to house the troops.

I don't have any knowledge of what Sqd. was based there.

Ray
 
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stevenmartinross

Guest
hi i remeber when we cleaned our church cellar out we had to move out old WW2 search lights i was 10 or 12 at the time and one of the elders said that the ballon was positioned over the school hall and the winch was what is now the stage. the lights were massive and heavy
steve
 

adriantighe

New Member
My grandfather was in sq 912, and was in france in 1940 - can you give me the site you are referring to as I'd like to look at it?
Many thanks
 

angela burley

master brummie
I remember my father telling me there were barrage balloons and gun emplacemenhs on the high recreation ground between Coventry Road,Church Road,Hobmoor Rd and Wash lane Yardley. Up untill 10 yrs ago there were green nissan huts in Church Rd between the Swan and Yew Tree. Angela
 

angela burley

master brummie
Thanks Dennis,the map is very interesting,i see the balloons were where the Sedgmere Club is now. I am surprised so many bombs were dropped in such an unindustrialised area or was intimidation the whole point. My dads family lived in Wash Lane and a bomb dropped on the front steps of the corner house 50 yds away,the concrete slabs flew over and crashed through the roof of the house next door to theirs. Angela.
 
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Humph3

Guest
I have spoken to my sister today and asked her about barage balloons. She was born in 1932 and she said there was an AA gun behind our house on the Chester Road where the sandpits were and she is almost sure there was a barage balloon there too. I can remember my mother saying the same thing to me about forty years ago.

Humph
 

Aidan

master brummie
When the Harborne Cricket Club was swept by a metal detector a few years back, at the behest of the groundsman rather than treasure seekers, a number of fascinating historical items from 1300 to recent times were recovered.

The haul included posts of the Barrage Balloons, shrapnel (several bombs fell on Harborne apparently as well as the wing of a Heinkel) and a few bullets.

Lencops map shows a Gun emplacement in Welsh House Farm (Rd?) which is only 0.5miles from the Club https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=d&...559,0.031543&g=52.455905,-1.9696&ie=UTF8&z=16 and there was I believe a Home Guard unit around the corner on Tennal Road to operate them
 

lencops

gone but not forgotten
I was a 11yrs old when WW2 started and a Battery of 4, 3.7inch calibre Anti Aircraft Guns were sited on Oaklands Recreation Ground, Church Rd, Yardley, the wooden huts i which Gun crews lived were on the r/hand side of the entrance to the Rec, the Gun emplacements were on the Rec as it sloped down to Hob Moor Rd, there were no Nissan huts on there, there was a small Chapel to the left of the Rec, the entrances were guarded, we kids at the time ran errands for the Artillerymen, for a lot more info type in search "Wartime Yardley". Len.
 
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