Tyne and Wear HER(5522): West Boldon, Bombing Decoy (QL12i and SF15c) - Details
West Boldon, Bombing Decoy (QL12i and SF15c)
Bombing decoy - QL and starfish site. Newcastle's decoys were in place by January 1941. They remained in place until February 1944. 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. The Boldon decoy was lit on 12 March 1943 and drew around a dozen bombings away from Newcastle.
<< HER 5522 >> Alan Rudd, 1986, List of 20th century defence sites on Tyneside 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