The Skyrockets was the better known name of the No. 1 Balloon Centre Dance Orchestra, one of the two famous British service bands formed after the outbreak of World War 11. Their friendly rivals were the R.A.F. Dance Orchestra, better known as the Squadronaires. The 15 year history of the Skyrockets began in Blackpool in October 1940 where a group of professional musicians, who had volunteered for the R.A.F., were on a training course. They decided to play together in their off-duty periods, first under the leadership of saxophonist Buddy Featherstonhaugh in “Contact”, an Air-Force Revue.
They were then transferred to No. 1 Balloon Centre at Kidbrooke. There, in addition to servicing the silver barrage balloons, the 12-piece dance orchestra played under the direction of Corporal George Beaumont. When he was posted away in June 1941 Paul Fenoulhet took over the leadership. A highly respected musician and arranger he had toured with Jack Hylton and spent nine years at the Savoy with Carroll Gibbons.