Monument record BUC 061 - World War II 'Starfish' bombing decoy, visible as earthworks and structures.

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A 'Starfish' bombing decoy is visible as earthworks and structures on aerial photographs of Second World War date to the south of Bucklesham village, Bucklesham parish.


Grid reference Centred TM 23836 41057 (303m by 271m)
Map sheet TM24SW


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

A 'Starfish' bombing decoy is visible as earthworks and structures on aerial photographs of Second World War date approximately 1 kilometre to the south of Bucklesham village, Bucklesham parish, centred on circa TM23844102. 'Starfish' was the name given to the 'Special Fire' decoys which used a variety of differently fuelled fires to replicate the fires of bomb hit targets, hoping to divert enemy bombers from their intended targets. The fires, often burnt in large metal baskets, were enclosed within distinctively shaped firebreak trenches. Starfish decoys often operated in tandem with electrically powered bombing decoys called 'QL' sites and one such decoy was located approximately 500 metres to the north (see BUC 073). (S1, S2, S3)
A Second World War bombing decoy site at Bucklesham. It was built in early 1941 as a 'Permanent Starfish' site to deflect enemy bombing from the town of Ipswich. By September 1941 a 'QL' decoy was incorporated into the site as part of the 'C-series' of civil decoys for Ipswich to protect the London and North Eastern Railway marshalling yard. The 'Starfish' decoy operated by lighting a series of controlled fires during an air raid to replicate an urban area targeted by bombs. The 'QL' decoy displayed simulated marshalling yard lights and locomotive glows to reconstruct the railway yards. The site is referenced as being in use until 1943. Aerial photography from 1997 shows that a control building still stand at the site but in heavily overgrown condition. The control building would have housed an operations room and provided the decoy crew with shelter (S4).

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <S1> Photograph: RAF. Air Photograph. RAF 106G/LA39 3029-30 16-SEP-1944.
  • <S2> Photograph: RAF. Air Photograph. RAF 106G/LA17 4112-3 28-MAY-1944.
  • <S3> Monograph: Dobinson, C.. 2000. Fields of Deception: Britain's Bombing Decoys of World War II.
  • <S4> Index: English Heritage. Pastscape.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Sep 17 2013 10:48AM

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