A Second World War ‘Q-type’ bombing decoy was located at Betchton for short period during the second world war. The decoy sites were also known as Starfish sites and were used to deflect enemy bombing from local RAF bases, landmarks of significance and contain bombings within unpopulated rural areas. This strategy restricted bomb damage on real buildings and minimised potential casualties / fatalities. The Betchton decoy site was referenced as being active for approximately 1 year between 1st August 1941 – 12th August 1942.
Although any evidence of the actual decoy site was removed during the war, the actual decoy site control bunker is still located in close proximity to where the decoy site once was. This shelter would have contained the generator for the electricity and supplies such as flares to power and illuminate the nearby decoy landmarks. The primary (and very dangerous) objective for the decoy site personnel who manned and controlled the decoys from the bunker was to divert the Luftwaffe’s attention enough distance away from the nearby RAF Cranage.
Once in the area the bunker has lots of concrete features above the ground which make this easy to identify as a bunker or air raid shelter. On arrival to the site you can see that the bunker entrance is concealed by three large sleepers. When entering down the steps it is evident that the bunker is heavily constructed, seems very sturdy and more than capable of what it was originally built for in protecting personnel from any shrapnel or blast damage from the decoy site.
Once inside, the bunker layout is made up of a small entrance with steps leading down to the main corridor. This links a small square shaped room at one end (pictured right) and one much larger long room (pictured below). The longer room has a vent at the far end in the ceiling and the vent is partly concealed by a disturbed concrete slab. The gaps left by the slab contributes to some of the foliage, a few stray crisp packets and rain water that has managed to enter the nearly sealed bunker.
When standing on top of the bunker you can see that the gaps left by the disturbed concrete slab (pictured left) allow a very small amount of light in to the longer room inside the bunker. All the pictures taken inside do not reflect just how pitch black it actually is it there. The flashgun I used really helped to capture the pictures. I could only really see what the bunker rooms actually looked like when returning home to view the images properly.
Overall the bunker is a nice piece of surviving local unmolested history. Although no fixtures, fittings or real internal features have survived within the bunker, it is off the beaten track so there isn’t the usual vandalism and graffiti these type of buildings often attract.