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                                513948  Warrant Officer Henry Higgins

                   Henry Higgins was employed in civilian life as a Shop Assistant with the British Shoe Company at 133/5 high Street, Balham, London.

          He was employed there from March 1927 to March 1931, when he left to join the Royal Air Force and he had quite a fascinating career.

     He joined up on 13th march 1931, initially for 9 years and then a further 3 year extension. He was an Aircrafthand until 1939.  He was in Halton

   Hospital for 10 days in 1931. He was a Balloon Operator from 30th August 1939 to January 1949. In August 1931 he was posted to a Training

    Squadron and in August 1931 to No.23 Squadron at RAF Kenley, Surrey.  In 1932 he was posted to No.3 Air Training Corps, 23 Squadron.

   In 1932 as an Aircraftman 2nd Class, he took embarkation leave from 11th August 1932 to 7th September 1932 when on 4th October, No.23 squadron

   was sent to the Middle East.

   On 18th October 1943, he was in 43 Bomber Squadron in Karthoum, Sudan, where he stayed for 2 years until 1934.

   In 1934  he was posted to Station Headquarters at Ramleh, Palestine. In 1937 as Aircraftman 1st Class he took overseas leave from 8th December 1937

  to 18th February 1938.

  On 25th November 1937 he left Ramleh for Home Embarkation.

  On 6th December 1938 Home Embarkation to No. 21 Bomber Squadron Feltwell, Norfolk.

  On 5th January 1939 as a Corporal he left Feltwell for No.1 Balloon Training Unit at Cardington.

  On 31st May 1939 he was posted to 912 Barrage Balloon Squadron, Birmingham. He spends time from August 1939 training  on Balloons before

  being posted to Boulogne and evacuating through Calais probably with Alex Hinks


  In 1939 he was a Sergeant Balloon operator. He becomes a Flight-Sergeant Balloon operator in January 1940.

  He was admitted to Innsworth Hospital on 29 June 1940 and discharged from a hospital in Gloucester on 12 July 1940.

  On 14th August 1940 he is posted to No. 935 Squadron stationed in Filton, Bristol and on 18th October 1940 posted to 965 Squadron at Port Talbot.

  On 27th January 1941 he was posted to No. 968 Squadron at Belfast. From November 1942 he is at  R.A.F. Cardington and leaves there on 24th August

  for No. 938 Squadron, Northumberland (Stockton-on-Tees).

  He was transferred to the Initial Balloon Training Unit on 21st November 1944 and then back to No.938 Squadron.

  On 26th April 1945 he was transferred to 42 Base.

  On 1st January 1946 he was sent to R.A.F. Pocklington before it was closed and on 17th June 1946 he was sent to Full Sutton south east

  of Stamford Bridge, East Riding of Yorkshire and north west of Pocklington town which was then R.A.F Transport Command.

  On 21st October 1946 he spent 6 weeks at R.A.F. Bridlington which was essentially an Air Sea Rescue base.

  On January 13th 1947 he was at R.A.F. Leconfield which was the R.A.F Central Gunnery School.

  On 14th June 1948 he was sent to the Balloon Development Unit and then in August1948 back to the R.A.F  Central Gunnery School at Leconfield.

 On 5th June 1950 he was at Headquarters, Flying Training Command at Shinfield Park, Reading.

 On 24th September 1951 he was permitted to continue his R.A.F. engagement until his 55th birthday and was at Flying Training Command's Aircrew #

 Selection Centre at R.A.F. Hornchurch, Essex.

  On 19th January 1953 he was at R.A.F. Innsworth Records Registry and was now a Warrant Officer.

  On 11th January 1954 he was at the R.A.F. Medical Records, Air Ministry, Ruislip.  He was then posted overseas to R.A.F. Changi, Far East Force on

  2nd June 1954 and embarked for the United Kingdom on 29th November 1956.

  On 3rd January 1957 he was at R.A.F., 11 Group Hillingdon. On 20th November 1957 he was back at the R.A.F.  Medical Records, Air Ministry, Ruislip.

  On 19th May 1958 he was at R.A.F. Patrington, No .336 Signals Unit, near Holderness. On 29th July 1959 he was at R.A.F. Benson, near Wallingford,

  in South Oxfordshire.

  On 14th March 1960 he was at R.A.F. Kenley, Communications and Support Unit- Probably wireless. On 11th April 1960 he was at R.A.F. Bahrain later

  renamed R.A.F. Muharraq which was effectively a small and very lonesome signal unit comprising No. 152 Squadron.

  The unit played a major part in the Kuwait crisis of 1961, acting as a base for Operation Vantage and grew from there. He did apply to leave his R.A.F.

  engagement, this was initially agreed but later revoked. On 8th April 1964 he was at R.A.F. Odiham, then part of Transport Command, housing No.72

  Squadron flying Westland Whirlwind helicopters. From 1965 to 1967 he was at at Headquarters R.A.F. Fighter Command at Whitehall.

  He was awarded the 1938 General Service medal with clasp for Palestine, the General Service medal with clasp for Malaya, the 1949 Long Service & Good

  Conduct medal, the 1967 Long Service & Good Conduct medal, the 1939-45 Star, the British War medal and the  British Defence medal.


  All the photos relate to 968 Squadron or to Cardington during his training in 1939.





                   A great shot of a Cardington balloon crew letting the balloon up.



                               A great shot of a Cardington balloon crew and the winch.



                    A great shot of Cardington Hangars and mast.



               This is Ibis 1 and in August 1940 she was requisitioned as a Barrage Balloon vessel and was returned in 1945.








            The 127336 Betsy Slater BF390 was a steel hulled Herring Drifter built in June 1911. She had a compound 2 cylinder 28 H.P. engine

        by J. Abernethy & Co., Aberdeen, In 1913 the Mercantile Marine List gives Managing Owner as John M. Slater, 78 Portknockie,

        Banffshire. 1915-1919 she was requisitioned for War Service (Pennant No. 2408) as an anti-submarine net vessel/minesweeper

       and fitted with a 6-pounder gun. In 1916 the Managing Owner was John M. Slater, 78 Portknockie, Banffshire.

       In 1920 she was part sold to F. W. Slater and D. & J. Mair, Portknockie.

       In 1923 the Mercantile Navy List gives Managing Owner as Francis W. Slater, 317 Portknockie, Banffshire.

       In 1924 she was part sold to F. W. Slater and J. Innes, Portknockie.

       In 1940-1945 she was requisitioned for War Service as a barrage balloon vessel.

       In 1945 she was sold to J. C. Wood, Aberdeen but retained Banff Registry.

       In 1949 the Mercantile Navy List gives Owner as Dr J. C. Wood, Cullen, Banffshire and Managed by W. Wood, Aberdeen.

       On May 4 1951 she was sold for scrap and broken up at Charlestown, Fife.


                Henry is in the second row and is second from the left in this General Service Training picture.

                Henry met his wife in Birmingham and they married in Southampton.


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