Barrage Balloon Sites of Orkney & Shetland
Balloon Barrage sites played a vital role in the defence of Scapa Flow and many sites were set up around both Orkney & Shetland to help deter low flying aircraft from attacking military installations and shipping.
Barrage Balloon being prepared on Fara.
Barrage Balloon of Fara.
These balloon sites will be documented and photographed to form part of the A.R.G.O.S collective archive.
A book came out recently with lots of interesting info written by one of the Balloon squadron women Ginny Schroder it is called `Bloody Orkney` and is available from Bellavista Publications, 3 Sabiston Crescent,Kirkwall, KW15 1YT.
Below is a brief extract found on the internet at:
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.geocities.com/bellavistabb)
"In early January 1940 the advance party of about 20 men arrived in Orkney to reconnoitre and establish Headquarters Camp at Ore Hill, Lyness. This was known as RAF Lyness. The plan was for 12 Balloon sites along the east coast of Hoy, 4 sites on the north coast of Flotta, 4 on Fara and 8 waterborne on the east side of the Fleet anchorage. Waterborne balloons were flown from trawlers manned by naval personnel with balloon crews of 4 airmen. A camp of wooden huts was constructed hastily in preparation for the arrival of the rest of the squadron which followed on 2nd February".
" In the summer of 1943….The number of balloons was increased - Hoy 19, Flotta 19, Cava 2, Waterbourne 26, South Walls 6 Fara 6, Rysa Little 1. This made it the biggest Balloon Barrage in Britain. The increased number and the consequent increase in casualties through weather damage by wind and lightening meant that a large hangar had to be built at Lyness for the repair of balloons. The winter of 43/44 was severe and, in a period of just three months, over 350 balloons were lost or badly damaged".
Above: A barrage balloon anchored to a boat in Scapa Flow, photographed on 8.9.43 from a US Navy carrier USS Ranger . Photo: Courtesy Air Group 4 at: http://www.airgroup4.com/crochet.htm
These balloons proved not only a threat to the enemy
Above: One of the pitfalls of flying near these Balloon Barrages. Defiant DR933 of 771 Squadron, RNAS Twatt, made a crash after hitting a balloon cable over Scapa Flow on 8th April 1943, the pilot was OK. Aircraft was DR933 coded `T8-M`. (Photo: Hamilton - Gregor Lamb Collection)
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