The Story of a Book
Under the title of “Hulls own Air Force Station” Local RAF Historian Len Bacon privately published his book in 2002 precisely on the day that marked the 63rd anniversary of the opening of the 17th Balloon Centre / RAF Sutton on Hull in 1939 - the 28th June.
Initially he relates the purpose of the Balloon Barrages and the 18 Balloon Centres envisaged prior to World War 2 and the need for the Auxiliary Air Force to be expanded to man the Balloon Squadrons who were to operate passive defences at cities and ports within the United Kingdom.
He describes together with a detailed plan the construction of the Hull Balloon Centres’ buildings which would have been seen in all the other Centres, the formation of the three East Riding Balloon Squadrons that were to operate in the areas of the City of Hull / Humber Estuary and that nearly 900 local men volunteered to serve “on the Balloons.”
The details of the Balloon equipment the operation of them and the location of the Balloon Sites which can be seen on maps together with interesting anecdotes from members of the RAF, RAF Auxiliaries and WAAF who actually served; for those who did not survive a Roll Of Honour is included.
The post war years of the RAF Station Sutton on Hull is also covered including the RAF School of Fire Fighting & Rescue, the No 3505 (East Riding of Yorkshire) Air Defence Unit and the eventual closure of the Station.
More information comes in Chapter 7 - 2002 and shows the items of the Station and the Balloon Sites that remains today, the story of the Blue Plaque can be seen on the next page and the six Appendixes provide detailed information on all the subjects covered.
It has been said that Len’s book had helped to fill a gap in the information on Hull’s military activities where another say that the effort put into it with its detail and depth it is in fact the only book of its type seen on Balloon defence in any area so it is unique.
Len hails from Essex and was born there in 1929 he was to see the “Silver Monsters” flying over South East London, he has done well to record the story of them flying over Hull.
Copyright © 2006 Len Bacon/Hullwebs (UK)
RAF Crests © Crown Copyright
reproduced with the
permission of the Controller of her Majesty’s Stationery Office
This publication is the joint copyright of the author, Len Bacon, and those people and organisations who have supplied the illustrations and photographs contained herein. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the express written permission of the author or Hullwebs (UK).