RAF Balloon Command

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Balloon Command
RAFBallooncommand.png
Command Crest
Active 1 November 1938–February 1945
Country United Kingdom
Branch Royal Air Force
Motto Vi Et Ictu
(Latin: By Force and Impact).[1]
Engagements World War II

Balloon Command was the Royal Air Force command which was responsible for controlling all the United Kingdom-based barrage balloon units during World War II.

History[edit]

Prior to the establishment of Balloon Command, a balloon group was brought into being in 1937. This smaller formation was known as No. 30 (Balloon Barrage) Group and was commanded by Air Commodore John Hearson.[2] Balloon Command itself was formed on 1 November 1938 at RAF Stanmore Park in Middlesex.[3] It consisted of a headquarters and several groups. Balloon Command was disbanded in February 1945.[3]

Commanders[edit]

The following officers were in command:[3]

Pre-war organization[edit]

Before the second world war the command had one group - No. 30 (Balloon) Group at four stations:

No. 1 Balloon Centre at Kidbrooke
No. 2 Balloon Centre at Hook
No. 3 Balloon Centre at Stanmore
No. 4 Balloon Center at Chigwell

Second world war organization[edit]

During World War II, the command had the following organization:

The command consisted of five groups[4] which were in turn subdivided into balloon centres (equivalent to wings of heavier-than-air aircraft). The organization was as follows:

  • No. 30 Group headquartered at Chessington, near Surbiton, Surrey (1 November 1938 to 7 January 1945)
    • No. 1 Balloon Centre
    • No. 2 Balloon Centre
    • No. 3 Balloon Centre
    • No. 4 Balloon Centre
    • No. 12 Balloon Centre
  • No. 31 Group (1 April 1939 to 13 November 1941)
  • No. 32 Group headquartered at Claverton Manor, Claverton, near Bath, Somerset (1 March 1939 to 15 November 1944)
    • No. 6 Balloon Centre (earlier in 33 Group)
    • No. 11 Balloon Centre
    • No. 13 Balloon Centre
    • No. 14 Balloon Centre
  • No. 33 Group headquartered at Parkhead House, Abbey Lane, Sheffield, Yorkshire (1 March 1939 to 4 September 1944)
    • No. 5 Balloon Centre
    • No. 6 Balloon Centre (later in 32 Group)
    • No. 8 Balloon Centre
    • No. 9 Balloon Centre
    • No. 10 Balloon Centre
    • No. 15 Balloon Centre (earlier in 34 Group)
    • No. 16 Balloon Centre
    • No. 17 Balloon Centre
  • No. 34 Group headquartered at Tor House, Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh (7 April 1940 to 19 July 1943)
    • No. 15 Balloon Centre (later in 33 Group)
    • No. 18 Balloon Centre

The dates indicated give the periods for which each group existed as part of Balloon Command. No. 30 and 31 groups also existed in World War I as part of different formations.

The balloon centres in turn consisted of balloon squadrons which were numbered from 900 to 994.

See also[edit]

References[edit]