Terrington decoy airfield

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Terrington decoy airfield

Postby supergt1971 » 30 Dec 2010, 17:53

Hi i'm looking for some information regarding a decoy airfield that was in the marsh area of Terrington St. Clement during WW2.I know this is a bit of a long shot but was just wondering if anybody had any stories relating to this site or know/knew somebody who was involved or lived near to this location.Many thanks in advance
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Re: Terrington decoy airfield

Postby delbert » 30 Dec 2010, 23:42

quite a few years ago i was looking to buy an old farmhouse on or near long road ,will see if i can recall the place.
anyhow whilst viewing the place i was told that it included a proper concrete bomb shelter,, upon querying why i was told that a dummy airfield was laid out quite near to property to try to get the bombers to waste bombs on it to thereby save some of the munitions being available for other targets :)
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Re: Terrington decoy airfield

Postby supergt1971 » 31 Dec 2010, 16:08

Thanks Delbert any ideas to narrow it down would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Terrington decoy airfield

Postby RomeoHotel » 31 Dec 2010, 18:41

The decoy airfield at Terrington St clement was a "Q" decoy site for the airfield at Sutton Bridge, designed to be used at night. It would have been equipped with lights to replicate the wartime flare path, obstruction lights on buildings etc, and some had a small searchlight which could be moved to resemble aircraft taxiing, landing etc. This was often mounted on the top of the concrete bunker that housed the ops room for the airman staffing the site, generator etc, and that may have been the bomb shelter that Delbert recalls. It seems to have been quite effective, as it’s reported that during the first concentrated raid on East Anglia "Fern House Farm was destroyed, a large amount of bomb damage was sustained by the village, and the Germans claimed that RAF Marham had been destroyed". The exact location of the decoy site seems uncertain, but I will look up Fern House Farm on the early maps at True’s Yard next time I am in.
There is an interesting article at http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stor ... 4394.shtml by a chap who remembers it, along with a story of how a stick of incendiaries intended for the decoy landed in a potatoes grave (remember those!) and provided a feed of roast potatoes for the onlookers! This seems quite possible, as most of the "Q" sites, which were only intended to deceive at night, were still cropped.
There were 230 decoy airfields in use during WW2. They were bombed in total 443 times. (Operational airfields were bombed 434 times)
Together with decoy towns, steelworks, marshalling yard and factories it is officially estimated that decoy sites saved 2500 lives and 3000 injuries. Good job they didn’t have GPS in 1939-45!
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Re: Terrington decoy airfield

Postby supergt1971 » 31 Dec 2010, 20:06

Hi RH
All the facts you mentioned i have already found around the net including the story by Ray Russell but i thank you for taking the time anyway.Both myself and another member of these forums are trying to narrow down the whereabouts of the exact location and if any building remnants or otherwise still exist and photos or stories about this location.We have a general area listed on other websites and these claim this was all turned back over to farming after closure.Also needed is info. on a potential site on north wootton that we now think was not so much a decoy and more of a bombing/gunnery range although i have found information that there were searchlights etc. positioned here.Thanks again.
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Re: Terrington decoy airfield

Postby teddybear1959 » 01 Jan 2011, 15:41

My Dad is now telling me that the airfield was between Terrington St Clements and Sutton Bridge. It was between the railway and the sea. It was about half a mile East of the river and North of the Railway, possibly Wingland Marsh. Dad doesn't think there were any buildings apart from a shelter for the lighters of the decoy lights. Most of the buildings were mock-ups.

It was a decoy for Sutton Bridge Airfield which was South of the Railway and a fighter training airfield. It was roughly at this time that Dad was waved by a pilot of a Messershmitt 110, a twin engined fighter bomber. Dad was in the garden at White Cross Lane and the plane was following the railway line, Dad waved at the plane and the pilot waved back. My Nanny came running out and grabbed him indoors.

Teddy
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Re: Terrington decoy airfield

Postby Alastair » 01 Jan 2011, 20:01

That's interesting Teddy (I'm the other person researching this with John). Fern House Farm is about 2 miles NNE of Terrington and the recorded position in the records (which seems to be only a best guess location) is about 1.3 miles due north of the village. We knew we had to extend our search area on the 1946 aerial surveys and this has given us a direction to take.

The control rooms were built to a standard design (combined field control room and generator house, drawing number CT 367/41) and I've visited the surviving control rooms at Wormegay and South Acre (both Q sites for RAF Marham) which are both in good condition for their age. We've also spotted a few more on Google Earth that we'll be visiting this year to record the condition. The pattern appears to be that the control room would be constructed alongside a hedgerow along the line of the headland. Terrington was also a Q site (night time only operation using systems of ground lights) so I would not expect there to be anything other than the control room surviving, the mechanisms for operating the lights were temporary structures.
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Re: Terrington decoy airfield

Postby teddybear1959 » 01 Jan 2011, 21:33

Hi

Have you contacted any of the older locals? My Dad isn't living that way now, but, I am sure, if you wanted to he would be very happy to meet up with you out there to see if he could pinpoint it better. There must be other people still living in the area though, who could help, perhaps a note to the Terrington History Group or the Tilney History Group would give you some leads to follow up.

Teddy
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Re: Terrington decoy airfield

Postby rospaul » 01 Jan 2011, 22:04

:smt017 ....... What about giving the local “Terrington St Clement History Group a try, they must be able to help ?
http://www.terringtonhistory.co.uk
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Re: Terrington decoy airfield

Postby supergt1971 » 02 Jan 2011, 20:56

Many thanks teddy and rospaul,i will drop that group a mail and will take a look on e-map for the location you gave us teddy.
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Re: Terrington decoy airfield

Postby supergt1971 » 03 Jan 2011, 17:36

Hi again.I sent a mail off to the site listed by rospaul and got a really swift reply from them.The location we had been looking at was the correct area and not as far west as Teddy indicated but i still appreciate any information that can be given.Many thanks again. John
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Re: Terrington decoy airfield

Postby Buffy » 11 Jan 2011, 20:31

My Mum was brought up in Terrington and was a teenager when WW2 broke out. She remembers the decoy airfield well as her grandparents lived close by to it.
If you turn off the old A17 onto Marsh Road, go past Sandygate Lane and turn right onto Rhoon Road and past Rhoon Farm (on the right hand side), you will see a house on the left that used to be the Marsh School. It is now a private house, but is easy to recognise as an old school building as the owners have left the painted rings on the walls that were used for ball games. There used to be two semi detached cottages next to the school which is where my great grandparents lived. These have now gone and newer properties are there I believe. Opposite the old school is a turning to the right that leads down to the sea bank. There was a large field behind the school & cottages and that is where the decoy airfield was. Mum cannot remember the name of the field, but I would suggest it would be in the vicinity of Judd's Marsh or Green Marsh.
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Re: Terrington decoy airfield

Postby supergt1971 » 12 Jan 2011, 07:41

Hi Buffy
Many thanks for that information.Myself and another forum member have been trying to locate the building that controlled the decoy airfield as we were aware which field it was but didn't know where the control building was located and was hoping to find some remains of the structure.I have been in contact with a historical group in Terrington who have now informed me that the control building was demolished and on the area it was located now stands a small row of terraced houses.As a long shot we decided to see if we could find the bomb shelter that was used by the decoy field's crew but the historical group say this is possibly gone and there were many shelters in the area for use by local residents.If i could be so cheeky to ask but does your mum have any stories connected to the decoy field or the whereabouts of any pictures of it?Many thanks again for your input. John
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Re: Terrington decoy airfield

Postby Buffy » 12 Jan 2011, 14:10

Hi John,
I had quite a chat with Mum last night to find out where the field was located, but did not ask if she had any other memories of it. I will ask her ASAP. She did say that there were cranks attached to mocked up aircraft & these cranks were wound by the site staff in order to move the "aircraft" about the field to make it look as though they had been out on a sortie.

My Grandfather was in the Terrington Home Guard and was involved in the capture of a Junkers Ju88C aircraft & crew that crash landed near Hay Green in March 1941. I have more info on that if you are interested.
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Re: Terrington decoy airfield

Postby teddybear1959 » 12 Jan 2011, 17:09

Post the information Buffy, we all like information about local history. It may well be one of the crashes my Dad remembers as he saw quite a few.

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