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Author Topic: No.961 Squadron, Balloon Barrage (Dover)  (Read 6865 times)
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John
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« Reply #30 on: December 23, 2015, 09:21:47 AM »

9th/10th February 1941.
1655 Emergency order from G.O.R. to close-haul all balloons as there were two Spitfires flying over the Barrage Area at 400 ft.
1704 Balloons returned to normal flying heights.
1930 Site B/11 Balloon adrift in Channel (total loss). Beetle O.K.
Practice message from "Bridle" reads "Lover's Lane at Greenfield Park, New York has upholstered benches equipped with electric lamps which glow red when occupied - green when vacant".
0055 R.N. Balloon salvaged at Camden Sands - 30 Group advised.

10th/11th February 1941.
Much R.A.F/ activity during the day - 175 Hurricanes and Spitfires and 80 Blenheims over this area en route for France; one Spitfire was shot down by Manston A.A.

11th/12th February 1941.
The Squadron was visited by the Centre Commander who took a rehearsal inspection, preliminary to the inspection by the A.O.C. in C. on the 12th.

12th/13th February 1941.
The Squadron was inspected by Air Marshal Gossage (A.O.C. in C. Balloon Command) who was accompanied by Air Commodore Guilfoyle (A.O.C. 30 Group) and Group Captain Turner.

13th/14th February 1941.
Little air activity during day - two M.E. 109s. chased by Spitfire, one broke off engagement and attacked balloons. B/13, C/21, C/24 down. Manning exercise 100% took place in the afternoon. All Squadron to their respective posts at Castle and Citadel. Group Captain Bowen left Dover for Kidbrooke at about 16.00 hours.

14th/15th February 1941.
The following Officer (sic) paid a visit to this Squadron:- F/Lt. W.S. Adams, D.A.P.M. and F/O. G.T. Meredith, Service Security Officer, also F/Lts.Kelby and Robinson from No. 1 Centre and two Officers from Group, namely F/Lt. Tomlinson and P/O. Kane. Considerable activity during day. Raid intercepted in the Channel about 12.13 hours. One M.E. 109 brought down. Two shells landed near Admiralty Pier at 15.37 hours.

15th/16th February 1941.
Enemy aircraft over Barrage Area, but no bombs dropped; large numbers of British aircraft in action during bombardment of French Coast.
0415 Gale Warning.
0512 Gale Warning.
Meteorgraph operated on Site A/3.

16th/17th February 1941.
1220 Enemy activity over the Barrage, A.A. guns in action.
1353 JU. 88 over the Barrage dropped bombs on Military hutments D.1 behind site A.6, A.A. guns from D.1, 5, and 11 in action until ordered to cease fire when enemy was engaged by a Spitfire.
A/7's stabilisers burst causing the rip-link to fire; A/7 began re-inflation at 08.20 hours. Three bombs were dropped on D.1 gun site causing six casualties; no damage to R.A.F. personnel or property was caused.

17th/18th February 1941.
Fair amount of enemy activity, chiefly of a patrol nature with no direct attack on the barrage area; dog-fight took place overhead and one M.E. 109 was reported in flames near Folkestone at 11.58 hours, though no confirmation has been received. A/7 was re-inflated by 12.04 hours.

18th/19th February 1941.
0135 B/12 struck by lightning and seen by Operations Officer who ordered balloons to close-haul; when the crew turned out for the operation they found the cable on the ground.

19th/20th February 1941.
A few raids during the day over the Channel and Straits and during the night but no attack on the barrage area; slight A.A. gun-fire at night.
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John
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« Reply #31 on: December 26, 2015, 10:37:00 AM »

20th/21st February 1941.
Enemy patrols during the morning - 6 plus M.E. 109s. engaged in a dog-fight with Spitfires, one of which was shot down in flames, the Sergeant Pilot being killed. Balloon C/23 was punctured with shrapnel holes. During the night many hostile planes were plotted flying North West of this area.

21st/22nd February 1941.
Little enemy activity during the day and night. C/23 inflated and flying at 16.20 hours.

22nd/23rd February 1941.
Large numbers of M.E. 109s. flying at 35 to 39,000 ft., in the vicinity during the morning, mostly in the Dover - Hawkinge - Manston area; there was slight A.A. fire.

23rd/24th February 1941.
Some enemy activity - M.Es. flying at a great height - over the area during the afternoon, giving rise to a small amount of A.A. fire.
1530 B/22 inflated.

24th/25th February 1941.
Enemy patrols in the Channel, but no attack on the Barrage area. Severe thunder risk and risk of snow-showers.

25th/26th February 1941.
Enemy patrols in the Channel area; British Fighters made several sweeps during the day. Enemy aircraft over the barrage area, but no attack made.

26th/27th February 1941.
Considerable activity by hostile aircraft, mostly M.E. 109s. flying at 30,000 ft. One Spitfire was shot down, but no direct attack was made on the barrage area; Three A.A. batteries opened fire after dark. The cable of A/5 was cut by a Blenheim at 00.57 hours. The cable of B/13 broke at the Cofee-pot (sic) and investigation is proceeding.

27th/28th February 1941.
Heinkel 111 dropped six bombs near the inner Harbour - Light A.A. in action. Balloons A.1, A.15, B.8, B.9, B.11. B.14, B.22, C.17, C.18, C.19, C.20 and C.23 broke away due to gale conditions, the rip link firing in nearly every case.

28th February/1st March 1941.
Spasmodic raids took place during the day; a Ju. 88 dropped three bombs at 14.25 hours (one on Marine Parade and two in Liverpool Road); Light and heavy A.A. guns went into action; part of Marine Parade was closed, but there were no reports of casualties or damage to R.A.F. personnel or property.
1040 Starboard stabiliser of A.4 collapsed in gale.
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John
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« Reply #32 on: January 03, 2016, 13:21:46 PM »

The thought of continuing to transcribe the ORB for 961 Squadron fills me with dread as it soon becomes a real pain in the proverbial to copy out, so I'll only post interesting snippets from now on. And, as I think I've earned a break, I'll switch instead to other sources.

How about volunteering for this job? Document dated 16th July 1941, extracted from AIR 13/18 at the National Archives...

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« Reply #33 on: January 06, 2016, 15:51:05 PM »

Memo from Headquarters, 30 Group to Headquarters, Balloon Command dated 13th June 1942 regarding operation of the Waterborne Sites at Dover. Extracted from AIR 13/19 at the National Archives.

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« Reply #34 on: January 13, 2016, 14:35:37 PM »

As the risk of direct attack on the Dover Barrage gradually receded in 1942, but with the increasing hit and run raids by the Luftwaffe on the South East, a change in operational practices was decided on. Attached is a letter (AIR 13/19 at the National Archives) from HQ 30 Group to HQ Balloon Command, dated 23rd August 1942, detailing the change.

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Man of Kent1
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« Reply #35 on: January 13, 2016, 15:18:36 PM »

What is meant by 'fully armed cable' please, John?
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John
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« Reply #36 on: January 13, 2016, 15:47:21 PM »

I believe that if an aircraft hit such a cable, explosive cutting charges would sever the cable at top and bottom and, in theory, wrap itself around the wing and drag the aircraft down. System was known as Double Parachute Link, as each end of the cable had a parachute attached. Armed cable also employed a system whereby if a Barrage Balloon broke away, it would be gently deflated by having a patch torn off while the cable itself descended under a parachute. This is mentioned often in the various Barrage Balloon posts, for example see the entry for 27th/28th February 1941.
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« Reply #37 on: January 27, 2016, 16:54:11 PM »

A letter dated 10th February 1943 (AIR 13/19 at the National Archives) from HQ 30 Group to 11 Group, copied to HQ Balloon Command, regarding the move of one Swingate balloon due to the Admiralty requiring the land.

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« Reply #38 on: March 28, 2016, 18:31:02 PM »

Message from 11 Group to 30 Group (extracted from AIR 13/19 at the National Archives), dated 13th January 1944, regarding the move of the balloon site on the Citadel Sports Ground. This was due to a planned extension to H.A.A. Site D.7.

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« Reply #39 on: July 31, 2016, 06:22:18 AM »

More information on the move of the Balloon from the Citadel Sports Ground, same source.

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« Reply #40 on: August 04, 2016, 12:30:25 PM »

John - is there any info in the Diaries about the death of AC1 Leonard J. Horner of 961 Sqn? 'Killed in Action' I think the date may be sometime in July 1942. Apparently killed without trace! Also similar circumstances AC1 William Morgan same date & circumstances.? Both commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial

cliveh

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« Reply #41 on: August 04, 2016, 13:27:43 PM »

The ASR launches used on the Dieppe raid were assigned to balloon squadrons, no idea why unless secrecy or to confuse.
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« Reply #42 on: August 04, 2016, 15:07:05 PM »

No mention in the main ORB entries for that date. The ASR reports are usually in the medical appendices - the one for June is present, but I can't find July's (it might be misfiled and, if so, I might stumble across it one day).

Aircraftman 1st Class Leonard Horner is buried in Enfield Cemetery.
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« Reply #43 on: August 04, 2016, 16:28:19 PM »

Thanks John
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« Reply #44 on: May 07, 2017, 14:00:23 PM »

Evacuation of Squadron Headquarters - more info in the following topic:

Flight Lieutenant George Soden, shelling casualty

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