Observation balloon

Accession Number ART50060
Collection type Art
Measurement sheet: 9.9 x 15.8 cm; image: 9.9 x 15.8 cm
Object type Work on paper
Physical description pencil on paper adhered to manila folder
Place made Australia
Date made c. 1920 - 1970
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Item copyright: Unlicensed copyright


Pencil sketch of a First World War Observation Balloon. Artist's notes accompany the image and have been hand written on the manila folder to which the sketch is adhered. Those that relate to this sketch read "[o]ne of our observation balloons broke away one day and headed to Hunland, he was fired on by all to stop him."
This sketch is one of a series of images produced from memory by Private Frank Ronald Rawlinson that relate to the events recorded in his manuscript, 'Wood and Wire' or 'Two for the Old Flying Corps'. Also in the War Memorial's collection, this manuscript provides a narrative of Rawlinson's experiences in the First World War and his service in the AIF (Australian Imperial Force), RFC (Royal Flying Corps) and AFC (Australian Flying Corps).

The AFC was established in 1913. In 1915 Australia was asked by Britain to form compile squadrons for service with the RFC . Australia responded by despatching No. 1 squadron to Egypt. During the next two years the squadron operated first from Heliopolis and later in Palestine and Syria. More squadrons were raised in Australia for the Western Front. No. 2, 3 and 4 squadrons arrived in France during August, September and December 1917 respectively. No. 2 squadron (flying DH5s) was attached to the Third Army and during the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917 carried out patrol duties, ground strafing of enemy troops and bombing. No. 3 squadron (flying RE8s) was supporting the last phase of the Passchendaele campaign in Flanders. The last Australian squadron to arrive (No. 4 flying Sopwith Camels) took up its duties with the First Army. At the end of the First World War, the AFC was disbanded and replaced by the Australian Air Corps which became the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in 1921.