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School of Ballooning
MyWikiBiz, Author Your Legacy — Friday May 24, 2013
The School of Ballooning was a training and test centre for British Army experiments with airships. It was established at Chatham in Kent in 1888. The School moved to Stanhope Lines, Aldershot in 1890 when a balloon section and depot were formed as permanent units of the Royal Engineers establishment. The School was sometimes known as the Balloon Factory.
The British Army first took interest in ballooning in 1863 when Henry Coxwell was commissioned to perform a series of ascents at Aldershot. The demonstration showed how captive balloons could be used for reconnaissance, signalling and the dropping of bombs on an enemy. In 1878, the British Army established a Balloon Section at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, which was responsible for conducting experiments with balloons. In 1880 and in 1882, the Balloon Section participated in the Aldershot Manoeuvres. The Section's participation was judged to have been very successful and the Balloon Equipment Store at Woolwich was relocated to the School of Military Engineering at Chatham. A balloon factory, depot and school were later established at Chatham.
In 1906 Colonel John Capper took up command of the Balloon School. During his time in command, Capper contributed to the development of Britain's military airships and even piloting the first successful British airship flight, that of the Nulli Secundus over London during 1907.
It was also in 1906 that Samuel Cody was appointed as Chief Instructor in Kiting at the Balloon School.
In early 1911, the School of Ballooning was reorganized to form the Air Battalion.
The following officers served as superintendent of the Balloon Factory:
In 1909, the Balloon Factory was separated from the Balloon School. Colonel Capper continued as commander of the Balloon School, whilst Mr Mervyn O'Gorman managed the Balloon Factory. Several months later Major Sir Alexander Bannerman took over from Colonel Capper.
- ^ Taylor, John; Moyes, P J R (1968). Pictorial History of the RAF. Shepperton, Surrey, England: Ian Allan Ltd. pp. 2.
- ^ Royal Engineers Museum History Section - Aeronautics, Royal Engineers Museum and Library, Retrieved 15 August 2007
- ^ Turner, Charles Cyril (1972) . "XXII". The Old Flying Days. Ayer Publishing. pp. 294. ISBN 040503783X.