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 Post subject: Barrage Balloon Command
PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 21:40 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 11:53 am
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Location: Luton and Stoke-on-Trent
Real Name: Ieuan Smith (Joe)
Group: Poor Bloody Infantry
Hey guys.

My girlfriend has always wanted me to do RAF, and I've never had much interest. My grandfather was a wing commander post-war but thats my only connection. I never had much interest...that was until now.

I was speaking to my girlfriends mother the other day about her father's service in the war. I knew he was in the RAF but I came to learn he was in Barrage Balloon command - and had an incredible service! He volunteered just before war started in 1939 and began the war putting up barrage balloons in the humber estuary. He then volunteered for over-sea's service and saw service in North Africa, Palestine, Syria, Crete (and was there during the German Invasion, and escaped) and later Italy, before returning to Egypt where he was de-mobbed.

And thats what I can remember from the quick discussion. ;) lol. His service struck me as so remarkable I felt that what he has done (and Barrage Balloon Command itself) seems rather forgotten and overlooked. I'll hold my hands up, I did it alot. So I'd be very interested in looking towards putting a Barrage Balloon Command impression together. Any advice on where to go for information, photo's ect would be greatfully appreciated. :) My girlfriend and her family have loads on her grandfather and I'm thinking of asking permission to base my impression on my partner's grandfather, as I feel his service is remarkable, but any information would be gratefully received!

Thanks in advance for any help. This will be a long standing project but I look forward into looking into the possibilities of doing it and hopefully pulling it off. But your help will be gratefully received as my RAF knowledge is very, very limited. lol.

Thanks again guys.

Joe.

P.S no offence meant o people who know alot about Barrage Balloon Command (or I've even used the wrong title for the section that were responsible for barrage balloons ;) ) I just know many people over-look their work as I was one of them. :)


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PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 11:52 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2006 16:18 pm
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Real Name: Bryan Legate
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The correct title is just Balloon Command in the UK, overseas they came under whichever Command area they were operating under ;)
What are you looking at specifically? Role, Theatre etc.
From what I remember it was simply the relevant uniform for that rank at whatever time frame you are portraying. Of course you'll need a Fordson Sussex with a balloon winch on the back :D

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Always interested in anything related to WW2 military catering and field cookery.

Also interested in any and all RFC/RNAS/RAF Mechanical Transport (vehicles to you) information and images, from 1912 till 2012+.


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PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 19:41 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 11:53 am
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Location: Luton and Stoke-on-Trent
Real Name: Ieuan Smith (Joe)
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RAFSC wrote:
The correct title is just Balloon Command in the UK, overseas they came under whichever Command area they were operating under ;)
What are you looking at specifically? Role, Theatre etc.
From what I remember it was simply the relevant uniform for that rank at whatever time frame you are portraying. Of course you'll need a Fordson Sussex with a balloon winch on the back :D


I knew I had it wrong. Thanks for the correction. :)

At the moment I'm looking primarily doing a at home walking out impression. Though I would be interested at putting together a North Africa impression at a later date, especially as my girlfriend's grandfather spent most of his time in the middle east. Still need to find out what rank he was. lol.

Where's the best place to source the right type of uniform and badges? I'm presuming Monty could make them if he hasn't got any?

SO from what I gather, its simply an RAF uniform with cap badge and a balloon recognition badge?


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PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2013 7:47 am 
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Real Name: Bryan Legate
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As far as I'm aware there isn't a balloon operators badge. Unlike the army the RAF didn't really go in for trade specific badges, only a couple of exceptions were lucky enough to have badges.
As for the rest of the kit there is a thread at the top of this forum that should help with sources.

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Always interested in anything related to WW2 military catering and field cookery.

Also interested in any and all RFC/RNAS/RAF Mechanical Transport (vehicles to you) information and images, from 1912 till 2012+.


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PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2013 13:18 pm 
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Fair enough mate. Thanks alot. :) I'll help dig out the photo of my girlfriend's grandfather and identify the relevant insignia ect needed and then I'll refer to the thread at the top for the best places to get the kit. Thanks alot again. :)


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PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2013 13:45 pm 
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I'll be interested to see how this one turns out!


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PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2013 18:11 pm 
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RAFSC wrote:
As for the rest of the kit there is a thread at the top of this forum that should help with sources.


Bryan, you made my day (actually that's a lie as I've put in 7 3/4 flying hrs today, but it's made a pleasant end to it) as I'd begun to think that thread was invisible...

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PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2013 20:50 pm 
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Real Name: Lloyd Richards
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Yin i will ask my dad he was in barrage balloon command in the 1948 to 1954.....see if he can help...i know he has loads of photos from when he was "in".

Regards

Lloyd

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PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2013 21:50 pm 
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Location: Warwickshire & Ashdown WW2 Camp
Real Name: Paul V
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There is the Barrage Balloon Reunion Club that might be of interest to you:
http://www.bbrclub.org/Site%20Directory.htm

Quite a bit of info on there.
Earlier in the year I sold two small barrage balloons from the 70's, to Peter from the site so hope to see them inflated some time.

Being involved with hot air balloons I would love to do a barrage display but too busy organising a show.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 15:21 pm 
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The local ATC base in Derby (Alvaston ) still as a couple of buildings from when it was ( part of ) the Barrage Balloon set up, and think it may have been RAF Alvaston after the war as I met a chap a few years ago who did his national service there !

I do know from family history etc that there were quite a few Balloons placed to protect Rolls_Royce and the Railway ( where I work, there's a plaque up for the Zepplin bomb that fell there in 1916, but it cannot be seen by people as it's in the middle of the works ), and my next door neighbour still as the concrete block which was one of the anchor points as he was a kid during the war and the Army/Hom guard looked after security for them.

Not helpful to the tread but...thought I'd share this :)

Cheers,

Keith

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 16:58 pm 
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Real Name: Bryan Legate
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There's a lot of ex kite balloon operators around, especially as the RAF were still playing with them into the early 90's.
There's a series of photos of an exercise in '91, apart from the modern Bedfords it could have been taken in '40 as none of the other associated equipment had changed!

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Always interested in anything related to WW2 military catering and field cookery.

Also interested in any and all RFC/RNAS/RAF Mechanical Transport (vehicles to you) information and images, from 1912 till 2012+.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:22 am 
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Location: Luton and Stoke-on-Trent
Real Name: Ieuan Smith (Joe)
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Got a friend whose passionate about the RAF helping me with this so will be handy. :) haha.

This impresion is definitely a go at some point. I learnt my girlfriends grandfather (called Sydney) had his own personal camera and went picture mad in the Middle East. Numerous pictures of him and his chums in the Middle East, many interesting, including numerous ones of Jerasuelm, his Arab friends (he learnt to speak Arabic) and him and his mates outside the Pyramids! I can't get over the amount of Pith Helmets there! I also learnt he was a LAC which is going to help. :) So I'm looking at putting together both a walking out and desert impression.

But to help me even more, Sydney kept his kit issuing list which tells us what he was issued and how much of it! Brilliant find! So going to use that to help me work out what I need to represent good old Sydeny.

My friend is coming over in a couple of weeks to have a look at the material but will happily try to get copies and share them if anyone is interested. :)

Joe.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:37 am 
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I would love to see a copy of the kit list Joe. That may help with my Palestine impression when I get round to it!


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:47 am 
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Will do mate. See what I can do. :)


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 0:51 am 
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Question:
What where the barrage balloons made of/from?

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Strange, they only post in my threads when it's controversial, seems they want to vent their spleens whilst claiming victimhood ; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEwVpWFyy3M


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"I reflect on the infamous 1987 photograph by American artist Andres Serrano that depicts a crucifix submerged in a glass of the artist's urine. I remember all the leftists that jeered and mocked me, and many Christians like me, for being bruised by that photograph (the title of which I would rather not verbalize). They scoffed and told us to get a life. These are the same people today, unsurprisingly, who are stridently arguing for curtailment of free speech not to offend Muslims."


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