News: The modern name of Kent is derived from the Brythonic word kantos meaning "rim" or "border", or possibly from a homonymous word kanto "horn, hook"
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Author Topic: Canterbury Barrage Balloons  (Read 3457 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline peterchall

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3620
  • Appreciation 186
  • 25.06.1929 - 12.03.2016
Re: Canterbury Barrage Balloons
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2012, 23:58:00 »
A bit more background to the location of the later balloon barrages, from ‘Royal Air Force Handbook’ by Chaz Bowyer. It specifically mentions the increase in balloon barrages in early 1944 as part of the effort to hide the build-up of forces for the Normandy landings, but none were in Kent. That made sense because Kent was awash with dummy tanks and landing craft that we wanted the Luftwaffe to find, to convince the Germans that the landings would be on the Pas-de-Calais.

It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

Offline peterchall

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3620
  • Appreciation 186
  • 25.06.1929 - 12.03.2016
Canterbury Barrage Balloons
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2012, 12:06:16 »
This thread is an ‘offshoot’ of http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=14483.msg118105#msg118105, so refer to that for any details not explained here, and the link http://www.rafweb.org/Sqn900.htm lists all balloon squadrons formed during WW2.

It first lists all home based squadrons and includes this entry: “960 Squadron. February 1940 to pre-December 1943 – Lyness, Orkney". Then, "1944 – Canterbury.” I thought at first that this must be an incorrectly dated reference to Canterbury’s 1942 barrage, but the list continues with overseas squadrons until ending with a list of mobile squadrons (Nos 992 – 999) formed in December 1943 “for the defence of ports” and with some shown as transferring to No 85 Group in June 1944. Since they were all stationed in the south of the country, I wonder if it was brought down to join that group of squadrons. No 85 Group was a ‘defensive’ part of 2nd Tactical Air Force (2ndTAF) which followed our invasion armies onto the Continent, so presumably the ports referred to were ones in Europe.Those not transferring to No 85 Group are shown as providing barrages to places in the UK (listed) that had not previously had one, but presumably connected with the D-Day operations.

Apart from 960 Squadron, the only one of the series that concerns Kent is this entry in the list: "994 (Mobile) Squadron. December 1943 – No 30 Group, Canterbury. June 1944 – No 85 Group.” I took that to mean that it was formed in December 1943 under command of No 1 Balloon Centre, 30 Group and, with 960 squadron, was merely ‘parked’ at Canterbury while waiting to go to the continent.

However, I’ve found here (http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=1712.0) that it was the unit that provided Canterbury’s barrage after the raid in June 1942, so presumably it was then that it was first formed. Hence the question is, did it stay at Canterbury until December 1943/June1944, as mentioned above (and, if so, did it fly its balloons for all that time), or was it disbanded and re-formed later? There is an intriguing mention in the link of how its personnel were to be used as infantry in the ground defences of Canterbury in the event of invasion!
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

 

BloQcs design by Bloc
SMF 2.0.11 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines