Friday 25 June 2010 by Janice Farrer. 1 comment
Diary of an Anzac

Please note: Care has been taken to transcribe these entries without alteration to preserve the original language of Herbert Vincent Reynolds. 

The balloon ship "HECLA". The balloon ship "HECLA".

‘An aeroplane passed over here at about 11am but it was hard to distinguish who it belonged to. The distinguishing mark on our planes is a red, white and blue circle on each wing. The enemy is the same as the Germans, a black cross. At about 3pm the Lord Nelson accompanied by a balloon ship, and escorted by T.B.D’s took up position about midway between Imbros and Kaba Tepe point and from there fired broadside after broadside at the enemy away inland towards Maidos, the balloon from the balloon ship directed her fire. The enemy field guns began firing at the battleship but she took no notice of them, they could be seen flashing on the high ridge in front of our right flank. At about 4.30pm when the Lord Nelson and other boats steamed off, great columns of dense smoke could be seen rising away to the south-east towards Maidos. An enemy aeroplane flew over our lines at about 5pm and set a bundle of papers loose but the wind carried them all into enemy territory.’

For the classroom: List the advantages and disadvantages of using an observation balloon instead of an aeroplane.


SQNLDR Hugh Dolan

HMS Hector was one of two ship accommodated balloons deplyed to Gallipoli. The first balloon was serviced by No. 1 Experimental Kite Section onboard HMS Manica which arrived off the Gallipoli coast on 16 April 1915. HMS Hector followed in July 1915 on request of the army. The kite balloons provided a vital role for ANZAC; gunnery officers were suspended below the balloon in a basked at 3,000 feet and were able to correct fire form warships onto Turkish batteries. In July 1915 the Gallipoli offensive was assisted by a range of aircraft including a Seaplane Flight onboard the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, the seaplane tender HMS Ben-My-Chree, an aeroplane squadron based on the Aegean island of Tenedos and the two balloons. Aerial intelligence robbed the Turkish 5 Army of surprise and significantly helped the planning of assaults by the Allies.