Lancashire At War.co.uk

Exploring the hidden history of War sites in Lancashire

Brinscall Decoy Site

One of four decoy sites to protect Preston during World War Two, it was only recently that we realised Brinscall still had extant structures. And that some of these are rare examples of decoy site remains.

 

Remnants of decoy sites are usually limited to the Control Buildings alone. Until recently even this was not obvious as the building had been covered in earth. Today its entrance has been partly uncovered. Local webpages and Social Media often wrongly refer to it as "an air raid shelter".

 

These decoys were often a series of lights or fires designed to confuse enemy bombers who would see them from above and, hopefully, mistake them for their intended target. Thus drawing them away from vulnerable sites and their bombs dropping safely in moorland. SEE OUR MAIN DECOY PAGE HERE

 

Just a few dozen yards from the Control Bunker lies what we believe to be a rare part of the decoy - or associated part of it. In short, it seems to be an Oil Trap. We know from Colin Dobinson's 'Fields of Deception' book that this site used both fires and lights and that the fires were oil fires. Therefore, could this feature be linked to that oil use? It is at the bottom of a small, natural water course in a valley taking water off the moor above.

 

Our friend and Archaeologist/Historian David Coward has the following theory about it:" It looks good for something to separate oil from water, lower pipes could allow water flow while upper oil layer is taken off from above."

 

While we realise that this is speculation on our part, it is based on our knowledge of similar sites and Second World War structures. Despite looking across the moorland above this structure we saw no signs of any other remnants of the decoy.

 

According to Pastscape: "It was also the site of a 'QL' decoy, which was built as part of the 'C-series' of civil decoys for Preston to protect Blackburn junction. This is referenced as being in use on 02-OCT-1942. The 'QL' decoy displayed simulated marshalling yard and factory lighting. Further bombing decoy sites for Preston were located at Clifton Marsh (SD 470 288), Farington (SD 523 240) and Hoghton (SD 622 278). (1)"

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ABOVE: The earth covered Control Bunker of the decoy.

BELOW: The Oil Trap - a rare remnant of a decoy.

Near to the original Control Bunker are some other assocaited earthworks which are possibly platforms and appear to be associated with the decoy and most likely the Control Bunker itself. We have seen such features at other decoy sites but do not know there purpose. They are difficult to photograph because of their overgrown nature.

ABOVE, BELOW and LEFT: More photos of what we believe to be the remains of an oil trap associated with the decoy site.

BELOW & RIGHT: The unknown structures, with the Control Bunker visible in the near distance, RIGHT.