The industry and shipyards at Barrow-in-Furness were heavily defended during World War Two. But along with the Anti Aircraft guns,searchlights, pillboxes and barage balloons, there were less obvious defensive structures built. Four naval decoy sites protected Barrow and they were top secret. And while traces of some exist, what they did and how exactly they worked have been lost with the people that operated them.
The four sites (according to 'Fields of Deception' by Colin Dobinson) were: Whicham Valley, Lowsy Point, Westfield Point and this one at Snab Point/Wylock Marsh.
Our huge thanks to local historian/archaeologist, Dave Coward, who contacted us to point out an inaccuracy on our website and then invited us up to see this fantastic decoy site. We really appreciate him taking the time to show us around and to offer his vast experience and local knowledge.
ABOVE: On of two identical brick tanks isolated in the middle of the dunes and some distance apart. What exactly was their role in this decoy?
LEFT & BELOW: Several photos of the Control Bunker. It is different than many of the others we have visited and seems to be a combination of different designs used elsewhere in the country. Though internally it is split into the usual two rooms - one the generator room and the other the control room with escape hatch.
Note the embrasure at the front of the building. There may once have been a blast wall across the entrance but there is no sign of it now.
PLEASE NOTE THIS CONTROL BUNKER IS ON PRIVATE LAND AND IS NOT ACCESSIBLE TO THE PUBLIC. WE HAD SPECIAL PERMISSION FROM THE LANDOWNERS TO VISIT IT.
It is rare to have structures associated with a decoy still intact other than the control building. Wylock Marsh/Snab Point has three. Two are these identical brick tanks. One (BELOW & RIGHT) is sometimes in water but only after heavy rain. The two tanks are not visible to one another. Nor is the control room visible to them.
The second brick tank we visited has an earthwork adjacent to it (See photo RIGHT - the earthwork is in the foreground seen as a rectangular ditch) which Dave Coward believes is contemporary with the structure and associated with it somehow.
The third structure associated with the decoy is this building BELOW LEFT & RIGHT. It is similar to Small Arms Stores and Guard Houses. Again we are reliant on our guide's local knowledge and expertise as he is able to almost certainly confirm that this building is part of or contemporary with the decoy structure. Again, what its role was is unknown. It is near the control bunker but there does not appear to be a direct association. One cannot be seen from the other. Perhaps it is a look out post or an earlier phase in the decoy's life. We are told that this whole area was off limits during WW2.
At some point in the near future we hope to visit the other three associated sites: Whicham Valley, Lowsy Point, and Westfield Point. When we do, perhaps we will have a clearer idea as to what these decoys were intended for. Then again...
Once again our thanks to Dave for his time and knowledge.