A Tribute To The Sheds

Aircraft Storage 1932 - 1938

Housing returning soldiers from the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940

Dunkirk evacuation

British soldiers waiting to be rescued on the

beach at Dunkirk in May 1940.

Barrage balloons, inflatable tanks, dinghies 1939 onwards....

Today

This newspaper snippet is part of a front page article describing a Home Day at RAF Cardington in September 1945 and illustrates the type of work that was carried out in Shed No 1 during wartime.

Indeed this type of work was to continue in the Sheds for many years after the war. Thousands of balloons were made at Cardington or sent there for repairs and testing. The Balloon Unit itself remained on the site until 1966.

Eye Witness report

Phil Collins received his call up papers in 1958. Here is an extract from his memories of Cardington when he first encountered the sheds:

" I remember one job which several of us were given to do probably the day before we were moved out to square bashing camp was to go out and push in off the sports field the cricket sight screens. They were to be put inside one of the large balloon sheds, which even now to me are an amazing size and sight. We got the screens to the doors of one of the two hangers and we wondered how on earth the doors could be opened? We soon found out when an N.C.O. turned a handle on a machine attached to one of the two doors to the shed and pressed a switch and with a groaning and rumbling noise this massive door moved on what seemed like railway lines several feet, just enough to push the screens inside. The view inside was amazing, I had never seen such massive indoor space in my life before, it still even now seems marvellous. It appeared that the whole M.T. section was parked inside, they looked like a set of dinky toys such was the size of the building." (Phil Collins RAF Cardington 1958)