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Tyne and Wear HER(5515): Whitburn, Wellands Farm, Bombing Decoy (SF15e) - Details

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S Tyneside

Whitburn, Wellands Farm, Bombing Decoy (SF15e)




Defence Obstruction

Bombing Decoy




Bombing decoy - starfish site - the control shelter for activating the decoys, which were situated on a ridge half a mile to the west, still exists near to the farmhouse. Newcastle's decoys were in place by January 1941. They remained in place until February 1944. This was one of a number of fake industrial targets set up in the North-East. The shelter is now used as a stable. Nothing remains of the decoys as these were merely metal baskets containing combustible material and lighting systems. The starfish included a device which looked like a working shipyard from the air - a huge trough full of water in which oil was set alight. Attempts had been made during WW1 to deceive the enemy by using decoy airfields and flare paths to divert bombers and exaggerate the number of operational airfields in France. In October 1939 a decision was taken to commence construction of daytime decoys - "K" sites for all satellite airfields and night decoys "Q" sites for both permanent airfields and satellites. Daytime decoy airfields consisted of tents and dummy aircraft. They were almost all abandoned in 1941. Night decoys consisted of electrical lighting to represent airfield flarepaths. Night decoys called "QF" sites provided mock fires to encourage enemy bombers to attack the decoys rather than the real targets. Night time urban decoys or "QL" sites represented hooded lighting, tram wire flashes, furnaces and marshalling yards. Following an attack on Coventry in November 1940, many major towns were provided with decoys codenamed "Special Fires", "SF" or STARFISH. These sites comprised a variety of effects to represent small fires to major fires. Very little tends to survive of bombing decoys today. The brick/concrete roofed control shelter and generator building may survive. These were sited around 365 metres away from the decoy. At some "QF" and "SF" sites evidence of the firebreak trenches that surrounded some of the displays may survive as earthworks or cropmarks. LOCAL LIST




<< HER 5515 >> Alan Rudd, 1986, List of 20th century defence sites on Tyneside Alan Rudd, 1986, List of 20th century defence sites on Tyneside Pers. Comm. Alan Owen, 2004 Alan Owen, 1990, How Fred's decoys left the Luftwaffe bunkered, The Journal, Monday July 9 1990 J. Schofield, 2003, Modern Military Matters Strategic Framework for Studying the Material Culture of War? C. Dobinson, 2000, Fields of Deception - Britain's Bombing Decoys of World War 2 Council For British Archaeology, 1995, Twentieth Century, Defences in Britain - An Introductory Guide Handbook of The Defence of Britain Project, p 63-64; Defence of Britain Project; RAF 540/1381 F22 0214 07-AUG-1954; C S Dobinson 1996 Twentieth century fortifications in England, volume 3. Bombing decoys of WWII : England's passive air defences, 1939-45, Page(s)127,134,150,162; Michael J. Anderton 1999 Twentieth century military recording project: World War Two bombing decoy sites Page(s)54; Colin Dobinson 2000 Fields of deception: Britain's bombing decoys of World War II, Page(s)89, 208, 279; SOUTH TYNESIDE LOCAL LIST REVIEW 2011, LSHA/193/W; English Heritage (Designation), Consultation report, 22 November 2013; English Heritage, 18, March 2014, Advice Report; Archaeological Research Services Ltd, 2009, North East Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment; NMR Monument 1414490; RAF 540/1381 F22 0214 07-AUG-1954; Northern Archaeological Associates, 2015, The Cleadon Village Atlas

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