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View Full Version : Archived: Wormegay and South Acre Q-sites decoys (for RAF Marham)



SaltGeorge
01-03-2011, 05:12 PM
This is a compilation of visits made in November 2009 (Wormegay) and December 2010 (South Acre). The third decoy for RAF Marham (Q/K-site Swaffham) is recorded as removed, but I have yet to confirm this in the field.

Q-Site Wormegay

More information on this site can be found under NHER 34319 (http://www.heritage.norfolk.gov.uk/SingleResult.aspx?uid=MNF38419) and NHER 32381 (http://www.heritage.norfolk.gov.uk/SingleResult.aspx?uid=MNF32381).

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3592/3351787792_6441a1a395.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/saltgeorge/3351787792/)

Diversion and deception were key forms of defence during the 1939-45 period and Wormegay is an example of a decoy airfield constructed to lure attacking bombers away from genuine airfield targets, in this instance RAF Marham (and RAF Downham Market).

The available details for the history of these site are sketchy at best, and I'm still collating information on this and further decoy sites in the area.

This is a Drem Scheme: Combined Field Control Room and Generator House to drawing number CT 367/41.

http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r222/SaltGeorge/Q.jpg

The main pressed steel trough structure housed the crew, there is a small brick cross passage and a reinforced concrete generator area with pipes for the passage of fuel, exhaust, etc. The top of the structure would have been equipped with a "scarecrow" light and possibly a Lewis gun for air defence. In operation the structure would have been buried in a protective earth mound, but this has since been removed. The remains of a blast wall are visible on the end of the main structure.

There's a seperate toilet block.

The scarecrow light was used to simulate the movement of aircraft on the ground. The crew would also have operated a system of false runway lights, flares at night. Q-sites operated only at night and there was no attempt at daytime simulations using dummy aircraft.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3436/3351812164_707169acb9.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/saltgeorge/3351812164/)

Remains of the blast wall at the entrance to the crew quarters.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3563/3350973775_205d944bf2.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/saltgeorge/3350973775/)

Remains of the blast wall and the upper gantry. Note that the crew quarters were pressed steel troughing and were originally buried under an earthen mound.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3581/3351792884_3ec40017d1.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/saltgeorge/3351792884/)

The generator house end. More serious construction here with prefabricated concrete vault panels.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3611/3351807684_c3d3811602.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/saltgeorge/3351807684/)

Inside the crew quarters, now a cattle shelter. All the doors were wooden with a metal facing on both sides.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3663/3353869087_d607be6799.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/saltgeorge/3353869087/)

The generator housing, with the two slabs for mounting equipment it all looks rather sepulchral.

Dobinson gives the map reference as TF 649125 and that's pretty close. The structure is visible on Google Earth at 5241'6.33"N, 026'42.58"E.


Q-Site South Acre

South Acre Q site is also in excellent condition for it's age. At least as good a condition as Wormegay, potentially far better but I was not able to access the Control Room. Recorded as NHER 29538 (http://www.heritage.norfolk.gov.uk/SingleResult.aspx?uid=MNF29538). The GE coordinates are 5240'53.79"N, 039'16.58"E.

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5125/5283626748_f51992840d.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/saltgeorge/5283626748/)

The protective earth berm has been removed - which no doubt helps preserve the condition of the pressed sheet roof. But the site is heavily overgrown with brambles, elder etc. What I could see of the roof looked to be in very good condition, but the overgrowth completely hid the position of the headlamp platform. Most of the vents appear to be in place.

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5122/5283026441_0c94242df7.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/saltgeorge/5283026441/)

The cross passage is sound and the interior dry. There is a metal-faced door (it does not appear to be the original) that has been secured closed and prevents access to the operations room.

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5164/5283026721_394a56e5bb.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/saltgeorge/5283026721/)

The generator room contains the two generator beds, most of the mounting bolts are still in situ and looking at my photos I think I can see an original earth bonding strap still in place. There shouldn't be a door here according to the plans. Perhaps part of the end wall was removed to give access for getting the generators out. Except.. the hole shouldn't be there either. It should be in the middle as shown on CTD 367/41 and as seen at Wormegay. Perhaps this was a local variation and there was end access to the generator room?

Interestingly this is the mirror image of it's sister site at Wormegay. The generator and operations rooms are on opposite sides of the entrance to the cross-passage. South Acre is built as shown on CTD 367/41.

Comparing the two sites I can see a variety of similarities and differences between the two that I need to resolve. And I have other questions, such as whether the generator end constructed of Hydrocast (Ruck) panels or Stanton panels? At the moment I'm not sure of the differences to identify between the two.