Record Details

NHER Number:13550
Type of record:Monument
Name:Site of World War Two airfield bombing decoy


A World War Two bombing decoy is recorded at this location by documentary and bibliographic sources. A ‘Q’-type site built to draw bombers away from Horsham St Faith airfield (NHER 8137), it was equipped with lights for use at night in imitation of those belonging to a genuine airfield. The site was extensive, spreading over several fields. It was apparently in use between 1941 and 1943; unfortunately, the earliest photographs of the area consulted by the NMP date to 1946, by which time barely a trace of the site is visible. A surviving air raid shelter has been recorded in the vicinity, and an area of possible military activity (NHER 50844) recorded from aerial photographs 325m to the east could be a related site. A possible emplacement (NHER 50761) is very probably a dependent feature but its exact purpose is unclear.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 260 152
Map Sheet:TG21NE

Full description

Site of dummy airfield 1939-1945, deceptive enough for a crippled B24 to attempt to land there.
See (S1) for further details.

1983. NAU aerial photograph.
Shows a broken subrectangular enclosure in northeast corner of this area similar to NHER 17223 to south. Is this to do with airfield use, or is it an earlier feature here by coincidence? Or does it suggest NHER 17223 is of more recent date?
E. Rose (NAU), 9 March 1983.

However the revised 1988 edition of (S1) suggests the decoy may have been slightly further east.
E. Rose (NAU), 10 June 1988.

Airfield RAF no Q54(a). Protected Horsham St. Faith airfield. In use from August 1941 to May 1943.
Information from [1] via D. Edwards (NLA).
E. Rose (NLA), 24 September 1991

Site extended considerably to east and south on further information from Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum (see (S2) in file). These show that the main decoy runway overlaps the northern end of NHER 17223, which must show that either both cropmarks are to do with the airfield, or, perhaps more probably, they are both by coincidence included within it. Underground shelter remains. The site was bombed.
E. Rose (NLA), 23 July 1996.

Type Q.
Parent field was Horsham St Faith.
D. Gurney (NLA), 28 January 1997.

February 2008. Norfolk NMP.
The World War Two bombing decoy for Horsham St Faith described above is not visible on the consulted aerial photographs, presumably because the earliest of these were taken in 1946, while the decoy appears to have been in use between 1941 and 1943. The latest reference recorded by Dobinson (1996 (S3)) dates to August 1942. A patch of disturbed ground (not mapped) visible at TG 2636 1562 on photographs taken in 1947 (S4), could represent a related feature, but it does not correspond to anything marked on the sketch plan (S2) in the Secondary File, and could equally relate to agricultural activity. A possible small emplacement (NHER 50761), visible close to the southern edge of the suggested decoy site, is probably a dependent feature, but its precise purpose is unclear. An area of possible military activity (NHER 50844) recorded 325m to the east could also be a related site. A surviving air raid shelter, allegedly associated with the decoy site and with a Home Guard training area, has also been recorded in the vicinity by the Defence of Britain Project (NMR TG 21 NE 43); it presumably equates to that mentioned above. So too has a World War Two Auxiliary Unit operational base (NMR TG 21 NE 42), although there is no obvious sign of either this or the shelter on the consulted aerial photographs. There is no evidence that any of the cropmarks recorded in this area (e.g. NHER 50802) relate to World War Two military activity; the alleged enclosure visible on NLA oblique aerial photographs (see above) is not borne out by the NMP mapping.
S. Tremlett (NMP), 1 February 2008.

Monument Types

  • AIR RAID SHELTER (World War Two - 1941 AD to 1943 AD)
  • BOMBING DECOY (World War Two - 1941 AD to 1943 AD)
  • DECOY AIRFIELD (World War Two - 1941 AD to 1943 AD)
  • Q SITE (World War Two - 1941 AD to 1943 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (AAF). 1979. NHER TG 2614W (AAF 202/15) 30-JUL-1979.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Article in Serial: 1973. Airfields of Norfolk and Suffolk. Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum. Part 1.
<S2>Drawing: Unknown. Sketch plan of finds site. Film.
<S3>Serial: Dobinson, C.S.. 1996. Twentieth Century Fortifications in England Volume III: Bombing Decoys of WWII.. Vol III. p 105.
<S3>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1947. RAF CPE/UK/2050 5083-4 06-MAY-1947 (NMR).

Related records

50761Parent of: Site of possible World War Two emplacement (Monument)
8137Related to: Horsham St Faith airfield (Norwich Airport) (Monument)

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