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                                         History of No. 924-930 Balloon Barrage Squadron (East Lancashire) January 1943 to November 1944



30th 12.46 hours Two Spitfires flew through the barrage at 800 feet and the balloons were at 4,500 feet.

14.05 hours Spitfire hit cable at site 43, balloon broke free, and aircraft flew on.

15.43 hours A Douglas DC3 flew through barrage and landed at Eastleigh.

February  The month saw much routine flying of balloons.


21st A Swordfish from Lee-on-Solent, Fleet Air Arm impacted cable of site 31. Balloon deflated and aircraft continued its course.

April The month saw much routine flying of balloons.


7th  23.14 hours Six enemy aircraft flew over flares and incendiaries dropped in Minstead area and large fires started. At 23.41 Starfish 17A was lit. It did not draw any bombs.

14th 76061 Flight Lieutenant Anthony Melrose, age 53, died of natural causes at King Edward VII Hospital, Midhurst, Sussex. He was the son of Andrew Melrose and 

of Rosalind Florence Melrose (nee Woon); and the husband of Georgiana Melrose, of Chandler's Ford, Hampshire.        


18th 00.41 hours. Enemy aircraft over Winchester-Petersfield. Friendly twin engine aircraft, possibly a Whitley impacted the cable of Site 56, balloon broke away 

and aircraft carried on to its base.

12.00 hours Two friendly aircraft flew through barrage during conditions of poor visibility.

There were numerous plots of aircraft identified and the balloons were flown in response. Some were identified as friendly, and some were identified as enemy. 

None of the enemy entered the barrage.


Again, through July there were numerous plots of aircraft identified and the balloons were flown in response. Some were identified as friendly, and some were 

identified as enemy. None of the enemy entered the barrage.


The Station headquarters were at Bassett, Southampton.

Again, through August there were numerous plots of aircraft identified and the balloons were flown in response. Some were identified as friendly, and some were 

identified as enemy. None of the enemy entered the barrage.

September   The month saw much routine flying of balloons.


31st 10.12 hours A Sunderland Flying Boat infringed the barrage at 200 feet. Aircraft landed at Calshot at 10.13 hours.


28th  10.00 hours A Spitfire infringed the barrage below 1,000 feet.

December   The month saw much routine flying of balloons.




8th 90875 Wing Commander William Theodore Barnes O.B.E. resigned his Commission.


Much routine flying of balloons took place.


2nd   02.30 hours Seventy-six enemy aircraft plotted near barrage area but were on course for London.


2nd   02.00 hours  British Double Summertime was implemented, and clocks were advanced by one hour.

5th The Garrison Cup Final was played today. It was a replay of No.924/930 Squadron  versus 48th Anti-Aircraft Regiment. No.924 Squadron lost 2 goals to 1.

9th An advance party of Flight-Lieutenant Findlay, Commanding Officer No.119 (P) Balloon Flight along with 12 men proceeded to the barrage area at Lepe.

A Church Parade was held at Stoneham Church for Flights “E” and “F”, The Commanding Officer and Section Officer Nancy E. Stockings attended.

Personnel stationed on the “Admiralty Hards” took part in exercise “Trousers”. This was a full-scale rehearsal for D-day. 20,000 troops were used along with 

landing ships and 100 Landing Tank Crafts. Canadian troops embarked from various “Admiralty Hards” on the Solent.

11th  Wing Commander Adlington left the area after the completion of exercise “Trousers”.

Admiralty Hards Personnel took part in Exercise “Smash III” at Hards S.2, S.3 and at Poole.

Smash was a British training exercise prior to D-Day, at Studland Bay, Dorset, England

22nd  The Commanding Officer lunched with the Mayor of Southampton. Later the Commanding Officer attended the parade of the opening ceremony of “Salute the Soldier”.

23rd The S.L.A. along with Section Officer Nancy E. Stockings represented the Unit at a National Day of Prayer at Highfield Church to which the Mayor of Southampton had invited various public bodies.

26th The S.L.A. deputised for Wing Commander Hodgson at Civic Centre March Past- Salute The Soldier”.

29th The Commanding Officer attended the “Salute the Soldier” parade at West End. The Garrison Commander took the Salute.

At 21.55 hours Site C/28 reported that a carrier pigeon had struck a cable and had been killed.  It had three leg rings, but no message was found on the bird.


3rd Admiralty “Hards” completed the exercise “Fabius”.

14.08 hours Site 56 reported that a Typhoon hit the cable at 700 feet and crashed approximately 500 yards south of site 55. The pilot was killed going underground 

with the fuselage. He was J/26271 Flying Officer William Dempsay Peacock, age 24, Royal Canadian Air Force, No.44 Squadron. He was the son of William and 

Claribel Dempsay Peacock, of Noranda, Province of Quebec, Canada. The balloon was flying at 1,500 feet and the cloud base was down to 1,000 feet and it is likely 

the pilot never saw the balloon cable.

17.35 hours A Hurricane flying from Christchurch infringed the barrage at 500 feet.

11th A demonstration of handling of Mark VI balloons for Admiralty Hard purposes was carried out by Flight Lieutenant Hulburt, Balloon Port Liaison Officer. 

Personnel from R.A.F. and R.N. attended.

30th The Squadron undertook grenade training at the ranges morning and afternoon.


14th Enemy minelaying operations South-West of Isle of Wight to the South of Portland.

A church parade was held at Stoneham Church and personnel of “E” and “F” Flights attended.  The Commanding Officer and Section Officer Nancy E. Stockings 


15th  01.43 hours Over thirty enemy aircraft South of Portland were laying mines in the sea. Later at 20.10 hours, they began an attack over the barrage area. Three 

High Explosive bombs exploded in Highfield area and caused injury to civilians and damage. Site 32 had a bomb drop nearby but there was no damage to personnel 

or R.A.F. property. Two enemy aircraft were brought down by Anti-aircraft fire.  

16th 00.03 hours Enemy aircraft dropped flares over Calshot area. Ten High Explosive bombs were dropped at Fairoaks and caused slight damage.

19th 21.35 hours A typhoon crashed at Hurley and the pilot was taken to R.N.A.S. sick bay.

20th 30 Group held a Mixed Hockey Final at No.1 Balloon Centre versus No. 922/933 Squadron. No. 924/930 Squadron won 3 to 1.

25th Two Mosquito aircraft infringed the barrage area at 700 feet

30th 02.10 hours Thirty enemy aircraft crossed over Southampton. An Ammunition Dump at Sarisbury Green caught fire.


3rd At 17.00 hours a Mk IV bomb and parachute was picked up by a civilian near to site 54 and was handed in. A Naval Bomb Disposal Officer collected it.

4th 21.50 hours two Liberators circled the barrage area at 500 feet and balloons were immediately close-hauled.

6th “D-Day” . No, 924/930 Barrage Balloon Squadron supplied Mk. VI balloons to all its allocated vessels including L.C.T. and L.S.T. for the invasion of the continent 

despite the gale which blew the previous night. An emergency base was opened at Warsash to deal with the large numbers of casualties.

17th 00.58 hours Plotting of the course of pilotless aircraft “Divers” was started and concluded at 02.38 hours.

19th 00.20 hours “Divers” plots at Haslemere and Midhurst.

02.46 hours “Divers” plots at Chichester Area.

06.55 hours A pilotless plane crossed the barrage area at 1200 feet passing the Station Headquarters. It exploded outside the barrage area.

A small Concert Party of Squadron talent gave an open-air performance at Site 17 to personnel on this site and adjacent sites. Group Captain A. P. Beasley T.D, and 

Wing Commander R.A. Hodgson, Commanding Officer, attended and congratulated the party on the high standard of the performance.

21st 19.40 hours Flights were instructed to deflate 24 balloons. This was completed by 21.00 hours. The balloons were all laid out for modifications to take place 

on the 20th in order for them to be more effective at combatting “Divers”.

21.50 hours A further 14 balloons were ordered to deflate and this was completed by 23.10 hours..

This left a token barrage of 22 balloons.

26th June 00.01 hours “Divers” exploded in Hamble and Lymington areas.

03.58 hours “Divers” explosions in Fareham, Hamble, Calshot, Lyndhurst, Lymington.

04.30 hours “Divers” explosions at Guildford, Woking, and Biggin Hill. They were crossing the channel at 4100 feet and losing height to 1000 feet before crashing.

12.55 hours A “Diver” crashed at Marchwood.

14.43 hours A “Diver” crashed at Midhurst.

29th  17.17 hours  A “Diver” crashed into the river near site 69.

30th 02.26 hours “Divers” plotted outside Barrage Area. The Barrage remained grounded.

The Squadron continued supplying Shore Servicing Stations and Admiralty Hards with Mk. VI. Balloons to the British and American Beachheads as well as cover for all 

vessels leaving port. Group Officer Mansell of Balloon Command, Wing Officer Swatton and Flight Officer Coming visited this squadron with a view to assessing 

suitable W.A.A.F sites for the Waffisation of the Squadron.

During June a newly formed Squadron Dance Band enabled several successful and much appreciated Flight Dances to be held at the Station Headquarters Social 



3rd 01.33 hours A “Diver” bomb crashed near Chichester.

05.56 hours A “Diver” crashed near Isle of Wight area.

W.A.A.F. celebrated 5th birthday. Parties were held at all Flight Headquarters and Station Headquarters.

The Commanding Officer Wing Commander R. A. Hodgson read out a congratulatory message from Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Gloucester, Air Chief 

Commandant as well as a message  from The Chief of Air Staff, Sir Charles Portal. Wing Commander R. A. Hodgson then welcomed the new W.A.A.F. who had arrived 

for the Waffisation of the Unit.

Flight Officer Nancy E. Stockings was in charge of 250 W.A.A.F. Balloon Operators who had come to man 16 operational sites.

7th 01.06 hours  “Diver” crashed at a field in Fairoaks. Six persons were injured along with property damage.

9th A Church Parade was held at “F” Flight.

11th 04.24 hours  “Diver” crashes at Hamble, Lee, North Fareham, Lyndhurst, Beaulieu

05.31 hours Five “Diver “ crashes between Hamble and Fareham with one crashing into the sea.

05.34 hours Two “Divers” crashed about 1 ½ miles from Winchester.

12th 01.04 hours to 0159 “Diver” crashes at Newton, Brixedon, South of Beaulieu, and South-west of the Isle of Wight.  Throughout the morning there were crashes 

at Bishopstoke, Bognor, Langwood Warren, Dibden Bay, Botley, Alton, Littlehampton, Brinkden Wood.

14th From 02.27 to 03.22 hours a number of “Divers” came down in the area.

15th At 04.10 hours Site 46 of “E” Flight reported “Diver” crash causing broken windows.

16th A further 240 Balloon Operators were to be posted for “Diver” operations.

20th 06.48 hours “Diver” crashed at Worthing area.

21st 10.26 hours “Diver” crashed near Southampton.

22nd 04.33 hours Diver crashed into area West of Portsmouth.

23.51 hours Diver approaching from Southeast.

23rd 00.03 hours Diver crashed outside of area.

29th A cricket match was played at the Civic Centre Sports Ground against the Swallow’s Cricket Club, resulting in a win for the visiting team by 15 runs. Leading 

Aircraftman Tear batting for the Squadron scored 90 , not out.



1st A Barrage of 22 balloons was flown.

6th A Church Parade was held at Highfield Church at 11.00 hours. Flight Lieutenant Findlay was in charge as 24 W.A.A.F. and 73 W.A.A.F. paraded. Flight Lieutenant 

C. Ledger Lomas read the lesson and took the salute for the absent Commanding Officer.

7th 23.15 hours Explosions due to allied bombing on the French coast were reported to be causing windows to vibrate.

8th A gas test was held at Station Headquarters. All available Officers and other ranks passed through the chamber.

9th The remainder of personnel were passed through the gas chamber. The W.A.A. F. fielded a Cricket Team versus the University Air Squadron Cadets on the 

University ground at 15.00 hours. The Cadets won by 3 runs.

12th A Squadron XI played Charendon XI at the Civic Sports Centre at 15.00 hours, wining the match by 10 runs. Sergeant  Whitaker (Physical Training) took 6 

wickets for 18 runs.

13th An XI of Officers and N.C.O.’s played a Squadron W.A.A.F. XI at the Civic Centre Sports Ground. The R.A.F. team narrowly won despite having to play and bat 


16th  No 12 centre had a Sports meeting at Titchfield at 14.30 hours.

Leading Aircraft Woman Bennett won the 80 yards and the 220 yards race.

Sergeant Whittaker and Corporal Chester won the W.A.A.F Horse and Jockey Race.

The Squadron W.A.A.F. Team won the 440 yards Relay with the R.A.F. team taking second place.

The Throwing the Cricket Ball was won by Corporal Vane.

22nd A Social evening was held at the Officer’s Mess. W.A.A.F. N.C.O.’s attended along with N.C.O.’s from the Admiralty Flight and Warrant Officers from No. 2 

Embarkation unit.

26th No.924/No.930 Squadron played St.George’s Guild at the Civic Sports Centre at 15.00 hours.. St George’s won 205 to 123.

27th No.924/No.930 Squadron played Follands Cricket Club at the Civic Sports Centre at 15.00 hours but lost the game. Discussion Groups were held daily via the 

Education Officer.

“B” Flight played “E” Flight in an all W.A.A.F. Cricket Match on the Parks Ground (Site 38). “E” Flight win by 56 runs. They declared at 108 runs for 6 wickets. 

Leading Aircraft Woman Bennett got 58 runs.

National Savings at the end of July amounted to £178-5s-6d.

August was a very quiet month. National Savings at the end of August amounted to £93-13s-0d.

The Squadron gardeners exhibited much of their produce at the Eastleigh Show with the Squadron winning several classes.


3rd Station Headquarter’s personnel held a social evening at Station Headquarters.

8th Station Headquarters held a Officer’s Party for all Squadron Officers and their wives.

19th A Squadron Church Parade was held at Highfield Church at 11.00 hours. Flight Lieutenant P. C. Stone was in charge. Squadron leader Bird read the lesson and 

the Salute was taken by Group Captain R.E.G. Fulljames, M.C.

16th  No. 924/930 Squadron Admiralty Flight XI versus the University College XI played at Swaythling at 15.00 hours. University College won by 4 -Nil. The Squadron 

mixed Hockey Team played No. 12 balloon Centre at Southampton winning 9 to 2.

23rd 11.00 hours All balloons were signalled to deflate and balloons to be carefully packed in dry conditions.

15.30 hours The Squadron was deemed non-operational, and all balloons were ordered to be packed. No.924/930 Squadron was ordered to Stand Down and Fall Out.

16.30 hours All Land Sites were now packed including Waterborne Site 12 and 36 leaving Waterborne Sites 34 and 35 flying at 1000 feet.

20th A Squadron Sports Meeting was held at 14.00 hours at the Civic Sports Ground, Southampton. Prizes were distributed by Group Captain C. L. Pendlebury, M.C., 

T.D. The W.A.A.F Band from No.12 Balloon Centre.

23rd The Squadron played Winchester Hockey Club at the Civic Sports Ground, Southampton. The Squadron won 4-Nil.

26th Flight Lieutenant C. Ledger-Lomas attended a Committee Meeting at Douglas Nursing Home to discuss the future of the Balloon Barrage Sick Bay.

24th Church Parade held at North Stoneham Church. A General Mess Meeting was held at Station Headquarters at noon. The Mixed Hockey Team played H.M.S. Raven 

at Eastleigh winning 5 – 2.

 26th The Sick Bay was to be closed at the end of November.

30th Elimination Instructions were received by No. 924/No.930 Squadron


1st Flight Lieutenant C. L. Lomas, Officer Commanding with Flight Lieutenant A. T. Crook, Balloon Officer attended a conference at No. 12 balloon Centre at 15.00 

hours to discuss Squadron elimination.

3rd A Court of Enquiry was set up to investigate the disappearance of two keys to a safe belonging to “B” Flight.

4th “B” Flight safe was taken to Birmingham and opened by the makers. This revealed that the sum of £92-17s-0d was no longer in the safe. It had been stolen.

5th Flight Lieutenant C. Andrew, D.A.P.M. Winchester visited the Squadron to investigate the safe incident.

6th Special Investigation Branch Officers arrived to investigate the case.

10th All waterborne sites were closed. Moorings were lifted and Barges towed to Town Quay. All winches were removed from barges and placed onto Dodge Chassis 

and sent to No.12 Balloon Centre.

11th All Stores removed from Barges. All navy Stores sent to B.2 Store, Town Quay and R.A.F.  Stores to “B” Flight.

12th All Airmen removed from Barges. All Barges handed over to Royal Navy.

16th A conference was held about handing Houghton House to No.2 E. U.

With little enemy activity it was decided to occupy the men as much as possible with sports until a decision was made over the future of the Squadron.

On 4th October 1944 15.00 hours a mixed Hockey trial was played at the Civic Sports centre.

6th Flight Lieutenant C. Ledger-Thomas and Flight Officer N. E. Stockings represented the Squadron at Southampton Rotary Club Luncheon.

7th 1500 hours An R.A.F. Hockey match versus Wier Sports took place at the Civic Sports Centre with a draw resulting.

8th A Squadron Church Parade was held at Highfield Church at 1100 hours with 12 Centre W.A.A.F. Band in attanedance. The Parade was taken by Flight Lieutenant 

A.T. Crook and Squadron Leader H.G. Bird, who returned from leave for the occasion, took the salute at the March Past, accompanied by Staion Head Quarters and 

Flight Officers. Flight-Lieutenant B.M. Russ-Turner read the First Lesson and Squadron Leader read the Second Lesson. The Service was conducted by the Reverend 

A.C. Vodden who thanked the Squadron from the pulpit for all the good work they had done for Southampton in upholding the morale of the public and in foiling and 

disheartening enemy attacks on the Port. He said the people of Southampton were proud of what they called “their own Squadron”. 800 personnel paraded.

8th The Squadron played a Hockey match against the Royal Army Pay Corps at Bournemouth. The Suadron won 2-nil.

9th The Squadron War savings for September amounted to £808-4s-0d.

14th The Squadron played a Hockey match against Bournemouth Sports Club and lost 8-2.

15th The Squadron played a Hockey match against H.M.S. SQUID and won 10-2.

17th Wing-Commander   H.W. Hall, M.C., (who had at one point been commanding 924 Squadron) along with Mrs Hall and Lady Morwyth Benson – Chairwoman of the 

Douglas Voluntary hospital, lunched in the Mess as guests of Squadron Leader H.G. Bird. A Squadron dance was held at the Conservative Club, St. Denys at 18.00 

hours and an enjoyable evening was appreciated by R.A.F. and W.A.A.F. personnel and their friends.

19th The crew of site 33 handed the Commanding Officer the sum of £3-14s-0d, comprising a sheet of War Saving stamps and this has been sent to the Duke of 

Gloucester’s Red Cross and St. John’s Prisoner of War Fund. This was an entirely voluntary contribution to an excellent cause.

21st Contributions amounting to £2-3s-0d were paid into Barclay’s Bank account, for the Red Cross Penny A Week Fund.

24th The R.A.F. Gang Show, No.2 Unit, visited the Squadron at 20.00 hours and gave a performance at the Assembly Hall, University College, Southampton. Around 

500 personnel and their guests enjoyed the show. The audience was made up of 924/930 squadron personnel along with Cadets from 424, 1216, 1854 and 1917 


27th 19.00 hours a Squadron Hotpot and Smoker was held in the A.T.C. Hall at University College with 100 personnel attending. All ranks sat down to an enjoyable 

meal, followed by Squadron talent entertaining the audience and dancing.

31st 20.00 hours a “Farewell Re-union” party was held in the Officer’s Mess for the Senior N.C.O.’s and all original personnel of No.924/30 Squadron. Squadron 

Leader H.G. Bird received Group Captain Lord Asburton, Wing Commander H.W. Hall, M.C., and Squadron Leader  A.E.L. Hill who came to the dinner. The N.C.O.’s 

and the “originals” arrived later, and an enjoyable evening was had by all in a 1939-1940 atmosphere. Around 40 guests attended. Throughout October, daily 

Discussion Groups were held, and the men enjoyed the varied subjects that came up for discussion.

Discussion Group Leaders were Flight Lieutenant C. Ledger Lomas, B.M. Russ-Turner, L. Downey and H I. Redfern and Squadron Leader Woolam from No.12 Balloon 



1st The Squadron saved £105-0s-0d in War savings for the month of October 1944.

5th November  Byam’s House, Marchwood that had been “B” Flight’s Headquarters was vacated.

6th  Flight Lieutenant W. Findlay assumed command of No.924/930 Balloon Barrage Squadron as Squadron Leader H.G. Bird proceeded to Western Europe on duty.

11th Site 31 “A” Flight vacated.

12th Acting Flight Officer Stockings was posted to R.A.F. Honiley, retaining her Acting Rank.

14th Site 29 “A” Flight vacated.

15th Flight Lieutenant H.I. Redfern proceeded on attachment to R.A.F. School of Discussion, Highgate for a 5 Day Course.

20th Site 39 Shore Servicing Station vacated.

21st Site 39 was handed over to Area Officer Commanding Southampton at 1100 hours.

23rd No.924/930 Barrage Balloon Squadron was officially closed down on the orders of the Air Ministry. “A” Flight was closed. Normanhurst, Bidston and Harpenden 

vacated. All W.A.A.F. were sent to Station Headquarters and the remaining R.A.F were sent to No. 12 Balloon Centre

25th Flight Lieutenant W. Findlay proceeded on leave pending posting overseas.

27th Site 23 “A” Flight handed over to Area Officer Commanding, Southampton.

28th Marching Out inspection carried out on Normanhurst, Bidston and Harpenden.


That concluded the work of what had become No. 924/930 Balloon Barrage Squadron throughout World War II.

            Copyright Peter Garwood 2023

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