The Story of a Plaque
Local Historian Len Bacon has sponsored a Hull City Council Blue plaque that is now displayed inside Bransholme Library (HU7 4EF / OS TA106337); it will commemorate in the area there was in existence from 1939 to 1961 a Royal Air Force Station.
Originally designated as RAF 17 Balloon Centre it was opened on Wednesday 28th June 1939 and from where during World War 2 the Balloon Barrage in the defence of Kingston upon Hull and the Humber Area was controlled and maintained. By September 1942 over 2,000 Royal Air Force and Women’s Auxiliary Air Force personnel served at and from the Centre which on the 15th October 1942 it was renamed to become RAF Station Sutton-on-Hull. There it was also the home of the RAF School of Fire Fighting and Rescue from1943-59.
The RAF Station was finally disposed of on Monday 14th August 1961. Covering 83 acres the land was developed for housing and facilities, including the library and what is now the North Point Shopping Centre.
Len Bacon has sponsored it entirely from the proceeds of the sale of his own book “Hull’s Own Air Force Station” and on the 24th September 2004 it was presented to Councillor David Gemmell. This Blue plaque is the first outside the Hull City Centre, the first marking a local World War 2 defence installation and definitely the first for Bransholme.
The original gates from the main entrance to the Station were found to be in use at the James Reckitt Avenue entrance to Hull's East Park (HU8 8LJ / OS TA116313). The local authority refurbished them in 1999 to mark the 60th anniversary of the opening of the Station and to identify and commemorate those who served and trained there two plaques are affixed to the gates.
It could be said that the 17 Balloon Centre and RAF Station Sutton on Hull
is now well and truly marked of their valuable existence!