|Toft Grange Q/K Site|
Updated: 5 Dec 12
Decoy site opened: 13 Mar 1940 (K and Q Site)
Decoy site opened: Jun 1940 (QF Site)
Decoy site closed: 31 Oct 1941 (K site)
Decoy site closed: 12 Aug 1942 (Q site)
Airfield decoyed: RAF Hemswell
English Heritage Site Reference: Q16B
Approximate location of site centre: BNG TF033869 (Streetmap)
Pastscape record: 1464287
The Toft Grange Decoy site was a Second World War night-time bombing decoy that was built to deflect enemy bombing from RAF Hemswell. It was constructed in Feb 1940 and became operational in Mar 1940. The site operated as a 'K-type' day decoy consisting of a replica airfield equipped with dummy Whitley bombers.
In June 1940 the K site decoy at Toft Grange was used experimentally to develop a new type of fire decoy, which later became the 'QF' decoys. The QF sites provided controlled dummy fires 3-4 miles away from important and vulnerable non-flying RAF units, and could be lit when ordered by a Station Commander if and when his unit or environs were bombed.
The Toft Grange site also operated as a 'Q-type' night decoy by displaying lights simulating an active airfield. The K site closed in Oct 1941 due to the development of RAF Faldingworth whose perimeter effectively overlapped the decoy for Hemswell. The Q site remained operational until Aug 1942, after the K site's closure, until Faldingworth neared completion, when the crew operating the site moved to a new Q site at Glentham. Faldingworth opened in 1943. By 1972 the site had been given over to agricultural use and no features of the bombing decoys survive.
On 12 Oct 1942 an Oxford, P1868, of 12(P) AFU (Spitalgate or Harlaxton) crash-landed at the Toft Grange decoy site after becoming lost.
Q-sites operated at night and tried to lure the enemy with sets of lights arranged to look like a real operational airfield, set out over up to a mile and a half of countryside. Q sites generally had a night-time staff of two who would check lighting before dusk and await nightfall in a shelter.
K sites were daytime decoys for satellite airfields which were typically of no great size and with very limited numbers if any of buildings, as it was deemed unrealistic to build decoys for the substantial pre-war permanent airfields. Such sites normally had an area cleared of hedges, one entrance road and a concrete yard which was only occasionally occupied with aircraft. Suitable sites were selected 2 - 6 miles from the stations to be protected and wherever possible on the expected line of approach of enemy aircraft.
See further reading on dummy and decoy sites.
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