When you are in an alien city a lot can go wrong but thanks to smartphones with GPS enabled maps it’s sometimes rather easy to track and locate offbeat tourist locations. During one of my trips to the capital I decided to visit the Delhi War Cemetery. It was important for me to visit the site for two reason one being that fact that it had to do something with World War which interests me a lot and on this subject I had written two blogs Japanese Air Raids on Kolkata during WWII and Balloon Squadron That Protected Calcutta Against Japanese. Secondly it was important for me to keep a promise. While researching about the Balloon Squadron during WWII I had come in contact with some friends from UK who helped me with lots of facts about this regiment and one of the member of this regiment who was killed during an air raid by the incoming Imperial Japanese Airforce was supposed to be buried here.
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This squadron was never meant to come to India in the first place it was destined for Rangoon but a series of mishaps and last minute change of plan led this squadron to be deployed in Calcutta (Kolkata). Balloon Squadrons do not exist anymore since the rules of war and the tools of war have subsequently changed and slowly these regiments were retired from active service.
The deployment of this squadron in my city of Kolkata came at a time when the fear of a Japanese attack was imminent. Contrary to the common belief Kolkata was not the only city to be bombed by the Japanese; cities like Vishakhapatnam, Kakinada and Chennai were also attacked. What was common between these cities were that all of them were major ports and the Japanese Imperial Army wanted somehow to break the supply chain of war supply to China which was a major front and was giving a tough fight to the Japanese aggression.
This blog is dedicated to the men of the 978 Balloon Squadron who despite the limited resources and the limited manpower took the challenge on their shoulder and with balloons defended my city.
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