‘Observation Balloons on the Western Front – an "over view" ' by Vernon Creek
28 Mar

About this talk: Many groups of combatants could claim to be the unsung heroes of the Great War. But the men flying observation balloons must have a particularly strong claim. Operating at 1200-1800 meters above the front lines, the crew had nothing between their feet and the ground but a centimetre or two of wicker basket. The crews (or 'balloonatics' as they were known) were much in demand for reconnaissance missions. They could easily watch, far below, enemy movement on the battlefield. Tonight’s talk aims to demonstrate the role and purpose of kite balloons on the Western Front, illustrating this with first-hand accounts and a wide range of photographs, and giving you a clear impression of how formidable and effective these aircraft were at carrying out their allotted task.

About the speaker: Vernon has spent most of his career working in national museums, all with either military or naval collections: the National Maritime Museum, the National Army Museum, and the Royal Air Force Museum. As an Learning Officer at the RAF Museum’s London site, Vernon helps manage and deliver the Museum’s educational programme for formal learners and informal activities for families, groups and individuals. Vernon also leads guided tours for tourists or special interest groups, and lectures to clubs, societies and adult groups (just like this one). He also presents an air power lecture to RAF recruits of officer or junior ranks and manages the Museum’s educational Handling Collection. Vernon has had a long term interest in aviation history and in all aspects of the First World War.

  Caption: Vernon Creek

Where we meet: We meet at the Royal British Legion Club, Queensway, Petts Wood, Orpington, Kent BR5 1DH. Meetings are held on the last Thursday of each month (except August and December). They start at 19:30, with the doors (and the bar) opening at 18:30. We do not charge entrance fees but do welcome donations of £5 or more towards our costs.

How to get there: The club is next to Morrison's supermarket and Petts Wood railway station (trains from Charing Cross, Cannon Street, and Victoria). Parking at the rear of the club is free but you need to enter your car registration into the machine (on the left as you enter the club). Failure to enter your registration can lead to a £50 fine. There's easy free parking in adjacent side streets


Royal British Legion Club, Queensway, Petts Wood, Orpington, Kent BR5 1DH
28 Mar 2024 19:15