This page provides information on a book about the London, No 1 Balloon Centre of RAF Command at RAF Kidbrooke in WW2. It also covers the development of a permanent memorial to those that flew barrage balloons to spoil the accuracy of German bombers. It is to be published in support of a memorial to be built at the Thomas Tallis School, Kidbrooke. Cpl Henry Sydenham, the author's father, was a Balloon Operator there.. He miraculously survived a direct hit by a V1 bomb on his hut in June 1944, being the only person to not be killed of the 10 in that hut.
RAF Kidbrooke No 1 Balloon Centre: 1938-1945
This book, by Dr Peter H Sydenham is to be published by Red Robin Publishing, early in 2023.
It will be available via Printed on Demand POD by IngramSpark.
156x234mm. Soft gloss cover.
130 figures including many in colour. 180pp.
To be available online in soft-cover print and e-book formats. Distribution world-wide. Retail ca £9.99. (Search using title name.)
In 1937, land in London between the Thomas Tallis school and Kidbrooke railway station, was the location of the RAF No. 1 Balloon Centre.
During WW2 it supported flying of barrage balloons to defend targets from accurate enemy bombing. RAF Balloon Command had twenty Centres that flew thousands of balloons in the British Isles and abroad.
No 1 Centre was the first in operation with its Squadrons 901, 902 and 903. Personnel and support were needed for round the clock operation in all weathers.
It was a dangerous home-front service. Around 50 men and women, of the Balloon Command’s 500 personnel who lost their lives, died serving in this Centre.
The Thomas Tallis school is to be the site of a Balloon Barrage Reunion Club memorial set up in memory of the men and women gave their lives serving there in WW2.
Its historic importance is close to recognition with a Heritage Award of the Royal Aeronautical Society.
Described here are the creation of the Centre, its facilities, record books and its post-war use. An Honour Board lists details of the fallen. Memorials to Balloon operations are described, including the project being set up in Kidbrooke.
The book is ready for publication but must wait until the memorial at Kidbrooke is complete and a description is added to the book. It is at the design stage in June 2022.
Persons interested in the topic should contact Peter Sydenham on email: email@example.com
The memorial project began in 2013. Having decided a memorial to those who gave their lives in service in WW2, the task was to locate a place to put it where it would be seen by the public.
In 2019 the owners and staff of the Thomas Tallis School agreed to a school site seen from the footpath in Kidbrooke Park Road. London, SE3 9PX, the school having been built on the former RAF Kidbrooke base land..
The Head of Graphics, in the Design Technology Department, set up a design competition by the A-Level students. It ended in April 2022.
The winning design was announced and exhibited at the 50th Celebrations of the School held on 15 July 2022.
The RAeS Heritage Award has been granted and their award plaque will be placed on the memorial along with that of the Balloon Barrage Reunion Club.
Current project work is adapting the winner's design to suit our meager budget, in a way that makes the memorial attractive and long living.
This stage, of setting final specifications and purchase of items is not going easily as some emails get slow attention!