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Historic England Research Records

Starfish Bombing Decoy Sf11n

Hob Uid: 1468332
Location :
Wirral
Non Civil Parish
Grid Ref : SJ2690079600
Summary : A Second World War bombing decoy site at Gayton. It was built as a 'Permanent Starfish' site to deflect enemy bombing from the city of Liverpool. The 'Starfish' decoy operated by lighting a series of controlled fires during an air raid to replicate an urban area targeted by bombs. It is referenced as being in use between 1942 and 1943, and was possibly commissioned in response to the Luftwaffe's Baedeker Raids. The site also incorporated a 'QL' decoy as part of the 'C-series' of civil decoys to protect Lime Street Station. This decoy displayed a series of lights to simulate the marshalling yards, factories and loco glows associated with the railway station. This is referenced as being operational from October 1942 to May 1943. By 1975 the site had been given over to agricultural use and no features of the decoy survive. Gayton was one of fourteen civil bombing decoys for Liverpool, and one of fourteen 'Starfish' sites.
More information : A Second World War 'Permanent Starfish' bombing decoy located at Gayton (SJ 269 796). It was constructed to deflect enemy bombing from Liverpool. It is referenced as being in use between 01-MAR-1942 and 08-APR-1943. It was also the site of a 'QL' decoy, which was built as part of the 'C-series' of civil decoys for Liverpool to protect Lime Street Station. This is referenced as being in use between 02-OCT-1942 and 01-MAY-1943. The 'QL' decoy featured lighting to simulate the marshalling yard, factory lights and loco glows associated with the railway station.
Further civil bombing decoy sites for Liverpool were located at Formby (SD 284 048), Little Crosby (SD 307 017), Lydiate (SD 347 038), Knowsley (SJ 421 955), Halewood (SJ 461 866), Hale (SJ 454 833), Ince (SJ 472 767), Brimstage (SJ 297 833), Moreton (SJ 247 909), Hoylake (SJ 229 882), Heswall (SJ 245 820), Little Hilber (SJ 189 872), and Burton Marsh (SJ 286 749).
Further 'Starfish' bombing decoy sites for Liverpool were located at Formby, Hale, Ince, Brimstage, Wallasey (exact position not traced), Little Crosby, Heswall, Moreton, Llandegla, Llanasa, Fenn's Moss, Little Hilber, and Burton Marsh. (1)

Aerial photography shows that by 1975 the site had been given over to agricultural use and no features of the decoy survive. (2)

NGR concords with that given in source 1. The first civil decoys for Liverpool were in place by the summer of 1941. The bombing decoys for Liverpool had limited success, possibly because the decoys were positioned too far out from their intended targets. (3)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Twentieth century fortifications in England, volume 3. Bombing decoys of WWII : England's passive air defences, 1939-45
Source details :
Page(s) : 126,133,149,160
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Twentieth century military recording project: World War Two bombing decoy sites
Source details :
Page(s) : 64
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Fields of deception: Britain's bombing decoys of World War II
Source details :
Page(s) : 86,135,213,277
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Second World War
Display Date : Built by 1942
Monument End Date : 1945
Monument Start Date : 1939
Monument Type : Bombing Decoy, Starfish Site
Evidence : Documentary Evidence

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SJ 27 NE 86
External Cross Reference Notes :

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Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, LANDSCAPES OF WAR RECORDING PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2009-12-31