Record Details

NHER Number:14980
Type of record:Monument
Name:World War Two decoy airfield, Roman and Saxon objects


This is the site of a decoy airfield which was used during World War Two to protect RAF Coltishall. It was in use between August 1941 and August 1942.This is an approximate location as these sites were usually 2 km long. Metal detecting in 1985 on this site recovered a possible Roman key, the head of an Early Saxon brooch, and a possible Middle Saxon copper alloy pin.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 23 32
Map Sheet:TG23SW

Full description

Decoy airfield; World War Two.
Reference RAF QX53(6), protected RAF Coltishall.
In use August 1941-August 1942.
Information from (S1) via D. Edwards (1991)
Lights on poles followed line of road; nearby searchlight batteries.
Compare with Airfields of Norfolk and Suffolk part II (1979).

Marked on map as in this field, but described as 'near to wood' which was not known at this point.
Key - Roman?
Head of small long Early Saxon brooch.
Middle Saxon? bronze pin.
Identified by S. Margeson (NCM).
Compiled by W. Milligan (NCM), 15 November 1985.

October 2013
Information from (S1). This was a 'Q site' airfield decoy known as Q53 (b).Its exact location is unknown but this polygon includes the grid reference given for the site and the probable shelter (NHER 17785). The majority of English Q sites were located in eastern and central southern regions, with a particular emphasis on East Anglia and Lincolnshire. The Q sites were designed to simulate the flarepath lighting of RAF stations to lure attack by night bombers. Q sites comprised pole mounted lights in the form of a flarepath, a motor head light, obstruction / recognition lights and a night shelter for personnel (see NHER 17785).

The Suffield decoy was one of a number of variants of the Q site, known as a 'Drem Q' the specification for which was issued in September 1941 to account for changing design in airfield patterns. This was one of the first sites to be converted to Drem type lighting. Drem Q sites comprised a single line flarepath and approach funnel, measuring 2300 yds (2102m) overall. The flarepath was aligned NE-SW with approach funnel to the NE. The shelter would have been located 400yds (365 m) from the flarepath and on this site is likely to have been the structure recorded as NHER 17785. This would have housed the generators to power the lights, provided accomodation and shelter for the crews and communications via telephone line.
K. Powell (HES), 1 October 2013

Monument Types

  • BOMBING DECOY (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • Q SITE (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)

Associated Finds

  • KEY (LOCKING) (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BROOCH (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • PIN (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. TG 2332W - Z, AG - AJ.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
<S1>Serial: Dobinson, C.S.. 1996. Twentieth Century Fortifications in England. Vol III.

Related records - none

Find out more...

Norfolk County Council logo Heritage Lottery Fund logo

Powered by HBSMR-web and the HBSMR Gateway from exeGesIS SDM Ltd, and mojoPortal CMS
© 2007 - 2021 Norfolk Historic Environment Service