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Tyne and Wear HER(5550): Howdon, Barrage Balloon - Details

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N Tyneside

Howdon, Barrage Balloon




Anti Aircraft Defence Site

Barrage Balloon Site



Documentary Evidence

Barrage Balloon - near to Northumberland Dock - these were first used in WW1. They forced enemy aircraft to fly high, preventing an easier target for fighters and anti-aircrafts gunners and reducing the accuracy of bombing. Barrage balloons were either positioned around the perimeter of large vulnerable points or were "field sited" - moored over a circular area. They were an RAF responsibility. Equipment was usually mobile and based on lorries. Today the main evidence of their siting on the ground will be a ring of cylindrical concrete tethering blocks. Regional Balloon Centres, which acted as headquarters for the balloon units and storage depots had two unique buildings - a balloon shed or balloon hangar, where the balloons could be test inflated, and the balloon storage shed with gantries over each of its foor doors.




<< HER 5550 >> Alan Rudd, 1986, List of 20th century defence sites on Tyneside Council For British Archaeology, 1995, Twentieth Century, Defences in Britain - An Introductory Guide Handbook of The Defence of Britain Project, p 63

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