New Info About Beach Balloon Photo

© IWM (CNA 1744)
“Personnel of ‘K’ Balloon Unit haul down one of their kite balloons for attention on a landing beach near Salerno, Italy, using a motorised winch in the back of a Bedford QL lorry.” Picture by F/Lt J. H. Daventry, R.A.F. Official Photographer © IWM (CNA 1744)

Information in the Operations Record Book of No. 6 Beach Balloon Detachment sheds new light on this picture.

In an earlier Blog post it was shown that the caption for this photograph on the IWM website was incorrect.

It is now clear that the photograph shows No. 6 Beach Balloon Detachment in the Salerno operation.

The photograph is one of a set of photographs published in “The Aeroplane” magazine on 26th November 1943 showing “Balloons at Salerno” and the Operations Record Book of No. 6 Beach Balloon Detachment, has an entry dated 16th September (when the unit was located in the Salerno beach-head) stating, “We are visited by the public relations officer, who takes a number of photographs of men working with balloons on the beaches.”

A page of pictures published in “The Aeroplane”, 26th November, 1943

Incidentally, the lorry shown is not a Bedford QL, but a CMP (Canadian Military Pattern), 3-tonner. In Tripoli, before the operation, three 3-ton lorries were provided (reluctantly) by the Army for the use of No. 6 Beach Balloon Detachment.


New Page Tells The Story of “K” Balloon Unit

I’ve just added a page about “K” Balloon Unit (Beach). I chose this unit for my first research into Beach Balloon Units that took part in landings in Italy because it was named in the caption to this photograph. However, when I read the Operations Record Book of “K” Beach Balloon Unit, I was surprised to find that the Unit was not at Salerno but, instead took part in Operation “BAYTOWN” and was at Reggio at the time of the Salerno landings!

So, either they have named the wrong unit in the caption for this picture, or the wrong landing! It is not the only mistake, as the lorry is not a Bedford QL!


Website Launched

I have created the RAF Beach Balloon Units website today and will be gradually adding content over the weeks to come.

I set up this website for two reasons:

Firstly, RAF Beach Balloon Units deserve a bit more attention in their own right. There is some information about them on the RAF Beach Units website and Facebook page but having a separate website dedicated to Beach Balloon Units will allow more information about them to be presented.

My second reason is to try out a WordPress platform with a view to re-platforming the RAF Beach Units website. Given the size of it, it is going be a major task but it needs to be done!