Report - Starfish Decoy Control Bunker, Cragg Vale - October 2012.

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Staff member
Nov 24, 2008

Starfish Decoy Control Bunker, Cragg Vale


This was the operations bunker for a 'Starfish' decoy intended to draw German bombers away from their intended target

It was built in 1941 as a 'Permanent Starfish' site to deflect enemy bombing from the city of Leeds.

By 1942 a 'QL' decoy was incorporated into the site as part of the 'C-series' of civil decoys to protect Greetland station and marshalling yard in Halifax.

The 'Starfish' decoy operated by lighting a series of controlled fires during an air raid to replicate an urban area targeted by bombs.

The 'QL' decoy displayed lights to simulate the railway marshalling yards at Greetland.

Referenced as being operational until 1943, but could have been in use up until July 1944. Cragg Vale was one of twelve 'Starfish' sites for Leeds, and one of nine civil bombing decoys.



Here, the starfish control bunker still survives at Slate Delf Hill. This consists of two rooms either side of a central entranceway protected by a blast wall.

The room on the left was the control room with an escape hatch and the room on the right housed the generators.

The decoy site was to the south west of the control bunker towards Great Manshead Hill.

It was comprised of two lines of flash pans where oil was burned to simulate incendiary bombs as well as decoy lights and shadow buildings constructed using walling stone from alongside some of the enclosure period tracks in the area.

Off on one of those 'Sunday strolls' myself and Stepping Lightly went out in search of something else only to find out this was to be the actual target..

It’s incredible to think that more than 70 years on, something as important as this still exists on our doorstep :thumb



Looking East from the entrance corridor - Generator room


Looking West from the entrance corridor - Control Room

(Complete with escape/observation hatch)


Escape Hatch




paul c dickinson79

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
going check this out today if I find it :) looking for a few today :) if anyone can pm me or help us out be much appreciated going be looking few bunkers today hopefully try my drome cam . im a novis at this guys appologies if my photos and videos not good or clear but I shall try my best :)

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