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Historic England Research Records

Starfish Bombing Decoy Sf10b

Hob Uid: 1415790
Location :
Redcar and Cleveland
Guisborough
Grid Ref : NZ6200019600
Summary : A Second World War bombing decoy site at Kirkleatham. It was built in 1941 as a 'Permanent Starfish' site to deflect enemy bombing from the city of Middlesbrough. Also in 1941 a 'QF' decoy was constructed at the site as part of the 'C-series' of civil decoys. The 'Starfish' decoy operated by lighting a series of controlled fires during an air raid to replicate an urban area targeted by bombs. The 'QF' decoy was essentially a smaller scale 'Starfish', which was lit to replicate a target struck by bombs. The site is referenced as being in use between 1941 and 1942, but the 'Starfish' decoy could have been in use up until early 1945. Aerial photography from 1972 shows that the site had been given over to agricultural use and no features of the decoy were visible. A Defence of Britain survey classed the site to be in poor condition. Kirkleatham was one of ten civil bombing decoy sites for Middlesbrough, and one of six 'Starfish' sites.There was a control building on the site until August 2010 when it was finally demolished.
More information : A bombing decoy site that was used during World War II to provide a counterfeit target for enemy aircraft. The site would have been constructed between 1939 and 1945 but by the time of the Defence of Britain survey the site was classed to be in a poor condition. It was located in Soap Well Wood, Guisborough. (1)

A Second World War 'Permanent Starfish' bombing decoy located at Kirkleatham (NZ 616 193). It was built to deflect enemy bombing from the city of Middlesbrough. It was also the location of a 'QF' bombing decoy, which was constructed as part of the 'C-series' of civil decoys. The site is referenced as being in use between 01-AUG-1941 and 24-MAR-1942. Further civil bombing decoy sites for Middlesbrough were located at Bran Sands (NZ 559 236), Seal Sands (NZ 513 246), Greenabella (NZ 514 261), Cowpen Bewley (NZ 494 241), Grangetown ((NZ 572 218)), Wolviston (NZ 437 263), Elton (NZ 394 180), Middleton (NZ 481 114) and Newton Bewley (NZ 475 260). Further 'Starfish' site for Middlesbrough were located at Middleton, Kirkleatham, Osmotherley (SE 476 987), Guisborough (NZ 608 118), and Sneaton Moor (NZ 903 029). (2)

Aerial photography shows that by 1972 the site had been given over to agricultural use and no features of the decoy survive. (3)

NGR concords with that given in source 1. The 'Starfish' decoys for Middlesbrough were implemented in 1941 and the final few decommissioned in early 1945. They were among the most successful bombing decoys of the war. (4)

There was a control building on the site until August 2010 when it was finally demolished. This website has images of the now demolished control bunker. (5)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Migrated Defence of Britain Project database record originally compiled from various sources
Source details : The two databases developed by the Project can be searched on-line through the Archaeology Data Service at http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/catalogue/specColl/dob/index.cfm
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Source Number : 2
Source : Twentieth century fortifications in England, volume 3. Bombing decoys of WWII : England's passive air defences, 1939-45
Source details :
Page(s) : 125,132,144
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Source Number : 3
Source : Twentieth century military recording project: World War Two bombing decoy sites
Source details :
Page(s) : 56
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Source Number : 4
Source : Fields of deception: Britain's bombing decoys of World War II
Source details :
Page(s) : 276
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Source Number : 5
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Hidden Teesside. 2012. Starfish Decoy Site, New Marske, [Accessed 09-JAN-2012]
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Second World War
Display Date : Built in 1941
Monument End Date : 1945
Monument Start Date : 1941
Monument Type : Bombing Decoy Site, Bombing Decoy, Starfish Site
Evidence : Structure, Documentary Evidence

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : DoB Non Anti Invasion Database UID
External Cross Reference Number : 5240
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NZ 61 NW 107
External Cross Reference Notes :

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Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, THE DEFENCE OF BRITAIN PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1995-04-01
End Date : 2002-03-01
Associated Activities : Primary, LANDSCAPES OF WAR RECORDING PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2009-12-31