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Thread: Balloon Sites (Hampshire)

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    Default Balloon Sites (Hampshire)

    This is outside my normal area of research but wondered if anyone knew whether a map, or an address list, exists of all the balloon sites in Hampshire.

    I have the information relating to the various Centres and Squadrons and I understand that some of the sites were mobile, but I am keen to find where the static balloon sites were.

    Any help would be much appreciated (as I am out of my depth on this one)

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Hi Pete,

    You need to look at document SD158(2) - Control of Flying in the UK (TNA AIR14/1350). It includes coloured maps showing gun defended areas, balloon barrages, firing ranges etc. I'll post a map extract and the key when I have a bit more time.

    Richard

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    Pete

    If the S.D. 158 map from the AIR 14/1350 file, is the same as my map and rule extracts from the AIR 10 files relating to S.D. 158 Part 2 Identification Rules for Non-Op aircraft, then it probably shows outline of balloon barrages only?

    Which balloon barrages are you interested in, as some balloon site tracings survive for some balloon barages, with each balloon site numbered, which correspond to sites mentioned in Balloon Squadron ORBs and collision reports. Some aircraft collision reports with balloon cables are missing.

    No balloon site tracing appears to survive for Southampton 930 Squadron Balloon Barrage and the Southampton Water balloons only have co-ords listed, but no balloon site numbers corresponding to the co-ords.

    Hants Archives have some correspondence quoting balloon site numbers, but only where the landowner deposited the files. Also some Local Authorities have correspondence relating to balloon sites on council land, parks and cemeteries, or have placed this correspondence into County Archives.

    The 12 Balloon Centre at Titchfield also had balloons up, but never noticed any numbered balloon site maps. Also some buildings such as Winchester Cathedral and other locations had a single balloon.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 30th December 2014 at 19:36.

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    Thanks for the information.

    I was reading through No 933 Squadron ORB which referred to numerous sites but the locations were not mentioned; this made me wonder if there was a map or a listing of balloon locations for that area.

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Hello Pete

    I have the early WW2 1939 / 1940 balloon site 1" to 1 mile tracings for 933 Gosport and 932 Portsmouth Balloon Squadrons. I see your email is registered.

    These were terrible places for the flyer considering RAF Gosport and RNAS Eastleigh were Air Stations. I have also found a 20th August 1940 complaint from Dowding, signed by his SASO sent to the Rear Admiral Naval Air Service (RANAS) Lee-on-Solent also a RNAS, moaning about the raising of the balloons on local instructions, rather than waiting for the RED Air Raid Warning to sound first and failing to follow instructions laid down.

    According to records of the DHO (Director of Home Operations), Dowding's SASO (Senior Air Staff Officer) at FC was ordered by Dowding to stop the introduction of balloon barrage warning beacon lights in July 1940, still a legal requirement at Aerodromes in 1940 according to War Orders.

    After years of searching mirror files of the other Commands and Naval files I have found the August 1940 Signal stating that the warning beacons are now lit, but of course Whitley P5044 15th August and Blenheim L8870 26 August 1940 with crews were already lost.

    It seems that there was a terrible row between Dowding (who had gone against an aviation Act in opposing the warning light beacons at Aerodromes), the Navy and Bomber Command. The accident happened at Eastleigh a Royal Naval Air Station who reported it to the Air Ministry AIB as cause unknown, despite knowing that P5044 had hit balloon cables. Driffield was about to closed and it appears they were diverting to Boscombe Down.

    My Grandfather, an Air Observer and four other crew on a Whitley struck cables (apparently in the plural), whilst following instructions crossing the South coast. FC tried to blame BC Operations and I've spent a decade tracking down missing correspondence relating to original file serials and teleprinted signals with certain dates and matching serials from 100s of files, to piece together what was going on
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 1st January 2015 at 22:38.

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    Slightly off-thread, Mark, but do you know the reason Driffield was about to close? I've looked at the charts for the night of 14-15 August and I can't see that it would have been weather-related.

    Brian

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    Some map extracts below, Pete. They don't give you the detail you're after, but may be of general interest especially for the safe routes for aircraft flying in and out of the defended areas.

    Cheers,

    Richard



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    Richard; Thanks once again for the feedback; the maps are extremely helpful.

    Mark; I have sent you an e-mail

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Thanks Richard

    I see your S.D.158 plan is January 1945 and it is most interesting to see how it compares with the earlier January 1940 map (below). Basically, in 1940 you could still fly through the training area as long as you had notified by wireless in an emergency, or had planned / permission in advance to RAF Gosport, or for Naval aircraft to the Rear Admiral Naval Air Service (RANAS) at Lee-on-Solent. If flying from the north you had to land at Worthy Down to go on to Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Eastleigh. The Eastleigh Balloon Barrage 924 Sqn established late June 1940 is not depicted.

    Brian, I don't know why RAF Driffield was U/S [unserviceable], but it was an 8 hour flight and they kept Byron Burbridge in the air for 10 hours according to his Log Book. Richard Pinkham's Whitley went back to Hemswell and not back to Driffield. Ian Brownlie told me that he landed and picked up another crew, before returning to Driffield, he gave me the other Captain's name, but what happened to their aircraft is a mystery. The 77 Sqn and Driffield Stn ORBs seem to have missed all this out. Whereas 3 Group Appendices had noted their 14/15 August 1940 diversions and forced landings (but no F/L Cards seem to survive).

    There are also two extra MLS numbers on the No. 4 Group Forms E for two more No.4 Group aircraft, which were not given in Sqn / Stn records. Four No. 4 Group 'D' Form numbers are noted on Form E and the Bomber Command War Orders confirms the 'D' Form to be a Diversion Form, but no mention in Group, Station or Squadron records of any No. 4 Group aircraft diversion. Abingdon D/F had also gone U/S in the early hours of 15th August.

    Pete, I'll be in touch by email.



    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 1st January 2015 at 23:04.

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