Pluto and Bonnie Jean protected us

I had a close encounter with a barrage balloon when I was 2 or 3 years old. The balloons were deployed as part of the air defences over the Humber to protect Hull and its docks and Grimsby across the Humber. Their cables were a hazard to enemy planes, especially at night. There were two flown from nearby where I lived at the time, called Bonnie Jean and Pluto. These may have been nicknames given to them by local residents, or they might have been names they were called by their RAF crews.

I was in a pram with my sister, facing each other, when we saw on the other side of the street a barrage balloon being winched down, and very close to the ground. It was an enormous silver thing, with one of its three fins deflated. Maybe it was being brought down for repair and maintenance. I called out excitedly and asked to be taken across the road to where it was coming down. My sister, a year older but apparently less adventurous, screamed in fear and panic and demanded to be taken away from it. Fear outvoted curiosity, however, so I did not get any closer. 

We were told after the war that Pluto had been struck by lightning at some stage, and we presumed that meant it was destroyed. Apparently the balloon unit was moved South just before my 4th birthday to help defend against the V1 flying bombs.