© Crown Copyright/MOD

Hull's Own Air Force Station

© Crown Copyright/MOD
   

 




In January the RAF Balloon Command was disbanded and in February some 1,000 remaining airmen and airwomen who had served in that Command was reviewed fittingly at RAF Stanmore Park. This Station had been known previously, as the No. 3 Balloon Centre that had opened in 1938 and still operational in 2002.

The Air Ministry published on the 19 February 1945 on the command of His Majesty King George VI a fitting tribute to the loyal service of the RAF personnel, which reads:

Royal Message on the Disbandment of Balloon Command

"For five and a half years the Balloon Command of the Royal Air Force has played a vital part in the protection of these Islands. Now, as the enemy's forces are driven further and further away and with our growing mastery of the skies, the time for its disbandment has come.

By night and day throughout the years of war, you have manned your stations in all weathers and have not flinched under the many and various attacks of the enemy. When flying bombs were launched against us, your response was splendid. You deployed in new positions with exemplary speed. Your successes were a tribute to the thoroughness of your training, to the tactical methods you have developed, to the skilful techniques you have devised, and be it not forgotten, to the work of the Auxiliary volunteers who have pioneered the way. In our towns and cities many lives and many homes owe to you their preservation.

In our campaigns against the enemy over the seas you have also played your part. All over the world, parties drawn from your Command have protected our convoys and secured the landings of our forces from low-flying attacks.

A special word of praise is due to the airwomen of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force who have manned so many balloon sites. They have shown great devotion to duty and have made an outstanding contribution.

As our assault on our enemies reaches its climax most of you are being called to new employment in our air force. In whatever fields you serve, I wish success to you all."

During the existence of Balloon Command some 22,000 RAF and WAAF balloon operators had been trained at Training Units. Arguably added to that total should be the airmen of Auxiliary Air Force and Voluntary Reserve who only received training at the locality where they joined pre-war and later on Remote Sites. It is a fact that by the end of December 1939 - 876 Balloons were flying and a crew of 10 manned each. I submit that at least 5,000 more in AAF and VR also served the "Silver Monsters". The 27,000 is a staggering figure and the Balloonatics had all served in a Command whose a motto was - "Vi et ictu"- "BY FORCE AND IMPACT."

The year saw some three bombing air raids on Hull alone with 12 civilians dead and another 22 seriously injured. Thankfully that was the end, for at 2.41 A.M on Monday 7th May the War in Europe ended and with the surrender of Japan on Wednesday 14th August 1945 - the War was over.

The cost to human life of the civilian population, and Royal Air Force personnel stationed in the City of Hull and surrounding area during the Second World War was significant. They all endured nearly 1,000 hours during 815 Air Raid Alerts, with 82 actual bombing raids on the City alone. Some 1,200 civilians died, with a further 3,000 injured. Additionally, some 30 members of the RAF died.


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