Stan Draper

Kite balloons of No 1 Balloon Training Unit at Cardington, October 1940. © IWM (CH 17333)

A memory from Stan Draper, Cardington, Buckinghamshire:

I am now 89. During World War Two we lived at 294 Southill Road, Cardington, just across one field and the railway track from RAF Cardington - then No.1 Balloon Centre. We were used to balloons descending in flames after lightning strikes but one early morning in 1940 I awoke to a very dark room and the smell of gas... the window was very dark - I went over and all I could see was grey balloon fabric. I woke my parents and we opened the door to find a partly inflated barrage balloon across the front the house! The broken cable had apparently caught in the railway line as the balloon came down on a very windy night, Normally on awakening my father would light a cigarette... for once he didn't... we didn't get a cooked breakfast either! I was about 11 at the time.

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Kite balloons and balloon winches of No 1 Balloon Training Unit are prepared for handling practice at Cardington during the Second World War. © IWM (CH 1521)

Thank you very much to Stan Draper for supplying this article. If you have an airfield story please contact us today.

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