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HER Number:MDV58008
Name:Roborough Down decoy airfield


WWII bombing decoy airfield on Roborough Down, known as PL2, designed to imitate its parent site Roborough Aerodrome which lay 2.5 miles to the south. Variety of simulated runway lighting recorded on original site plan.


Grid Reference:SX 513 646
Map Sheet:SX56SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishBuckland Monachorum
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBUCKLAND MONACHORUM

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Earthwork and structural remains of the World War II RAF Harrowbeer airfield, as well as medieval fields and farms, industrial tin working, sections of the Devonport and Plymouth Leats, and part of the Plymouth and Dartmoor Tramway on Roborough Down

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX56SW52
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 1455726
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX56SW/338

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • DECOY AIRFIELD (World War II - 1939 AD to 1945 AD (Between))
  • BOMBING DECOY (World War II - 1941 AD to 1944 AD (Between))

Full description

RAF, 1940's, Roborough site "PL2(H)" (Cartographic). SDV324248.

Tracing from 6" Ordnance Survey. Shows location of Oil Fire, Runway Light and Obstruction Light decoys.

Dobinson, C. S., 1996, Bombing decoys of WWII, 116, 119 (Report - non-specific). SDV324125.

Dobinson records Roborough Down as an 'N' series, Naval decoy with QL (lighting) and QF (decoy fire) elements. Documented in 1941.

Crawshaw, A., 1996, WWII Bombing decoys (Un-published). SDV145387.

WWII bombing decoy on Roborough Down. Parent site was Roborough aerodrome 2.5 miles to the south. Variety of simulated runway lighting recorded on original site plan.

Hayes, M., 2014, RAF Harrowbeer Yelverton (Website). SDV356736.

The decoy airfield on Roborough Down, coded PL2, was probably established in the spring of 1941. It was one of ten night time naval decoy sites, codes PL1 to PL10, set up around Plymouth by the Admiralty to attract enemy action away from the city and dockyard. PL2 was the only decoy airfield, the other sites imitating city lights and fires.
See website for further information on operation of the site.

Historic England, 2021-2022, NRHE to HER website, Accessed 18/05/2021 (Website). SDV364039.

Naval Bombing Decoy N19/pl2
A Second World War 'Q-type and 'QF' bombing decoy located at Roborough Down (SX 513 644). It was constructed as part of the 'N-series' of naval decoys to deflect enemy bombing from Plymouth. It is referenced as being in use on 01-AUG-1941. It was laid out as a night dummy aerodrome and also had provided diversionary fires to be lit at the onset of an incendiary attack.Further naval bombing decoys for Plymouth were located at Down Thomas (SX 497 499), Boringdon (SX 532 583), Cofflete (SX 548 510), Wembury (SX 530 488), Worswell (SX 525 473), Earth (SX 382 558), Southdown (SX 438 533), Shapley Tor (SX 700 818) and Hillsons House (SX 635 623).
Citing: C S Dobinson, 1996, Twentieth century fortifications in England, volume 3. Bombing decoys of WWII : England's passive air defences, 1939-45, pg 116, 119
'Starfish' naval sites for Plymouth were introduced in December 1940, with 'QL' and 'QF' decoys following in 1941. All decoys for Plymouth were decommissioned in September 1944.
Citing Colin Dobinson, 2000, Fields of deception: Britain's bombing decoys of World War II, pg 205, 272.
(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)
Recorded in the Landscapes of War Recording Project (1463376).

Sources / Further Reading

SDV145387Un-published: Crawshaw, A.. 1996. WWII Bombing decoys.
SDV324125Report - non-specific: Dobinson, C. S.. 1996. Bombing decoys of WWII. Twentieth Century Fortifications in England. III. A4 Stapled + Digital. 116, 119.
SDV324248Cartographic: RAF. 1940's. Roborough site "PL2(H)". Site plan. [Mapped feature: #95968 ]
SDV356736Website: Hayes, M.. 2014. RAF Harrowbeer Yelverton. http://www.rafharrowbeer.co.uk/. Website.
SDV364039Website: Historic England. 2021-2022. NRHE to HER website. https://nrhe-to-her.esdm.co.uk/NRHE. Website. Accessed 18/05/2021.

Associated Monuments

MDV125958Parent of: Decoy anti-aircraft battery south-west of Chub Tor, Buckland Monachorum (Monument)
MDV56693Parent of: Decoy shelter on Roborough Down (Monument)
MDV125937Parent of: Direction Finding tower and rest hut, Harrowbeer airfield, Buckland Monachorum (Monument)
MDV56692Parent of: Roborough Down, Bombing Decoy (Monument)
MDV58007Parent of: Roborough Down, Bombing Decoy (Monument)
MDV56691Parent of: VHF Transmitting Site, Roborough Down (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:May 18 2021 3:56PM