The fascinating story of the ‘dummy’ Glasgow constructed to guard town throughout WW2

Whereas there is just one ‘correct’ Glasgow, there are many locations across the globe that share the identify of the ‘Pricey Inexperienced Place’ – in international locations such because the USA, Jamaica, Canada and Suriname.

However many could not have been conscious of the existence of a ‘pretend’ Glasgow positioned not too far-off from the precise metropolis which is believed to have protected Glaswegian lives throughout World Struggle Two.

It was constructed as a part of the British Authorities’s (extremely secretive) makes an attempt to supply night-time decoys to divert the German bombers away from giant city targets throughout the nation – with the Glasgow decoy believed to have saved numerous lives.

The decoy ‘metropolis’ fashioned a part of plans instigated by Colonel J F Turner’s Air Ministry following the mass bombing of Britain’s cities within the autumn of 1940, particularly that of the Coventry Blitz.

Dubbed ‘among the finest stored secrets and techniques of the struggle’, the plans sought to copy burning cities in areas away from actual city targets.

The decoy site was built to the north of the city beneath the Campsie Fells
The decoy website was constructed to the north of town beneath the Campsie Fells

Alongside patterns of electrical lights and pyrotechnics, tons of wooden and certainly something flamable, was gathered to make improvised bonfires, whereas metal tanks, troughs, pipes and grids and totally different flammable supplies have been used to create random fireplace results to resemble burning homes, factories and energy stations.

An extension of Turner’s decoy programme for airfields and factories (code named ‘Q websites’), a complete of 237 decoys have been constructed to guard 81 cities and cities throughout the UK, constructed round 4 miles from their safety goal and at the least one mile from another settlement.

A complete of 16 so known as ‘Starfish’ decoy websites have been constructed as a part of the Glasgow and Clyde Anti-Plane Defence community, together with places close to Eaglesham, Condorrat, Paisley (at Gleniffer Braes), with a decoy village additionally constructed by the Royal Navy on the Isle of Bute – all of which labored to lure the German bombers away from strategic areas within the metropolis and the Clydeside.

Data from the time point out that one of the vital distinguished Starfish decoy websites was positioned on open countryside between Craigmaddie Muir and Blairskaith Muir, beneath the Campsie Fells between Torrance and Balmore to the north of Glasgow.

The ‘Craigmaddie’ website because it was identified was a co-located Starfish and ‘QF/QL’ fireplace and lighting decoy website, consisting of elaborate gentle arrays and fires laid out to simulate a fire-bombed city managed by a close-by bunker (about 1 km to the west of the decoy website).

In operation from 1941 to 1945 and staffed by a group of 4, the hearth and lighting labored to create a small scale illustration of Glasgow, complicated the German pilots as to how excessive up they have been and make them suppose they have been over elements of town.

Operated from the close by bunker, the hearth and lighting would work to copy town streets, blazes of the blast furnaces and even presumably tram sparks to divert German raiders from the Clydeside after Pathfinder bombers had initially dropped incendiary bombs or flares within the metropolis.

And it labored. In response to data gathered by the BBC as a part of their ‘WW2 Individuals’s Struggle’ archive, as much as 100 bombs have been dropped within the hills surrounding Glasgow by German Luftwaffe plane, though such success was hampered by tram flashes within the metropolis.

Apparently, giant holes within the floor are evident additional to the north of town, within the countryside close to Strathblane, Killearn and Balfron. The German planes having been led north by the decoy lights and fires and dropping their bombs on any physique of water they might see within the hope it was certainly the Clyde.

By 1944, decoy websites throughout the UK had been attacked greater than 700 occasions by German plane, a determine which illustrates simply how essential such places have been throughout the struggle in saving the lives of hundreds of individuals – lots of those that little question resided in Glasgow.

First printed on Could 5, 2018.


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