Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Mapping WWII UK airfields, AA and decoy sites

Having created one or two maps, and plotted a good few locations using Google’s map API, I can recommend this Google Earth link to provide a superb overview of World War II airfields, Heavy Anti-Aircraft gun sites and (bombing) Decoy sites. In addition, there are locations included for the early Sound Mirrors, and many RADAR stations.

Google Earth placemarks for WWII (and more) sites

Not only do the placemarks identify the locations, they also contain further data when opened, and provide an excellent starting point for researching a given site, or cross-referencing information or data you may already have.

Unlike applications using the map API, GE does not suffer from the dreadful slowing down effect incurred when more than a hundred or so points are displayed, and this application allows all the points to be shown in a reasonable time (PC spec permitting of course). To see how bad this effect can sometimes be, check the various map options displaying the locations of ROC posts in Scotland I wrote while playing around with the map API, and the methods used to try and overcome the delay.
Thanks to Matin Briscoe for this effort, a name I know well from my time hunting ROC posts and spending hours on Subterranea Britannica and the Research Study Group section that specialises in Cold War sites.


September 16, 2006 - Posted by | Maps, World War II


  1. i am just sending out a message to ask if any one can tell me if there was a decoy airfield on the top of the hills over sowerby bridge nr halifax west yorkshire as we have seen a large bunker and the land in front is very flat we have been told that it was but would like to here more about what it was used for thanks ian


    Comment by john | May 3, 2010

  2. John,

    The answer to your question is in the link given in the above post, as it shows virtually all the documented World War II sites in Britain, including decoys.

    Follow the placemark link to the original post, and download the kmz file given there, then open it in Google Earth and navigate to the site location you are interested in. If there was a known decoy there, it will be shown.

    I suspect what you are looking at is not a decoy though, as their control bunkers were usually tiny.

    You may be looking at a covered underground reservoir, or a water board control building – they often look like anonymous grey bunkers, or concrete buildings. But I am only guessing, as this is not an area I have any knowledge of.

    Good luck.


    Comment by Apollo | May 3, 2010

  3. i have lived in glenmavis near airdrie for 38 years ,just outside glenmavis there is a ww2 AA site .All bunkers and gun platforms are easily seen but not from the road ,some of the bunkers have kept their heavy steel doors and shell rests inside.if you are interested email me and i will give you a grid ref. for this site .


    Comment by ALLISTER | June 26, 2010

  4. question. my elderly friend served in decoy service in w.w.II. among the places he was posted were, wick, thrumpster? rhyhope and seaham. my friend john is 90yrs. old. sharp as a tack in memory and talks often about setting off explosives to confuse german bombers. i have tried in vain to get information particularly about the places i named above. i’d love to show john some maps or even better, photos of the places mentioned. john served with colonel sir john turner, if that would be of any use. so, can anyone out there help? many thanks, shaun


    Comment by shaun linton | July 17, 2010

  5. Hi Shaun,

    Please visit the following page, which lists details and gives links to all the decoys in our local area:

    Secret Scotland – AA Decoys Clyde

    Unfortunately, no-one has covered any of the other areas in the same detail, maybe one day we’ll get around to the rest, however, we have covered a decoy airfield near Thrumster, and the details are here (together with a link on the page to local reports on the site):

    Secret Scotland – Sarclet Decoy

    Hope this might lead you to more info.


    Comment by Apollo | July 18, 2010

  6. Hi; does anyone know anything about a WWII “dummy” airfield known to have been set up near Barby Northants to decoy enemy aircraft away from nearby major engineering and railway works at Rugby?
    I am project manager of an archaeological project investigating the Iron Age and Romano-British settlement pattern in this area, and am keen to locate (if possible) any maps/plans/drawings/etc of this WWII decoy site, to help me interpret information of possible interest to my project on the RAF 1945 aerial photographs of this area.
    E-mails to please, if you can help in any way.
    Gren Hatton


    Comment by Gren Hatton | September 22, 2012

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