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Douglas Muir Decoy

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Control bunker, 2005
Control bunker
© Chris Upson

Records indicate that a World War II Starfish Decoy site was located to the north of Duntocher and Clydebank. Part of the . Site number SF13b. Known as Douglas Muir.

The decoy site was visible on aerial photographs taken by the RAF in 1945, with elements such as fire basket clusters, fire break trenches, and an oil ring visible over an area of some 500 metres per side, confirming that this was a QF (fire) decoy. The control bunker for the site was also noted, lying some 400 metres to northeast.

Reportedly still visible on a later 1988 aerial survey, aerial evidence of the decoy is no longer apparent on later imagery, dated from 2000 onwards. The same aerial images show the remains of the control bunker, partly buried at the recorded location.

It has also been suggested that the site may have been associated with a further bunker and gun emplacement, still visible, adjacent to Jaw Reservoir , some 1.5 kilometres to the west, but there are no details given as to the nature of this suggested association.

Site visit

A site visit was carried during 2009, when the bunker was found to be in good structural condition, partially set into the hillside, with a ditch surrounding two and a half of the sides. The blast wall which would have protected the entrance had been demolished, and the remains lie on the ground ahead of the entrance, which shows evidence of its door frame fixings. A 2-inch steel pipe was found in the ground adjacent the right of the entrance.

To the rear of the bunker are the remains of brick supporting structures with concrete tops, believed to have been for fuel and water tanks controlled from the bunker. A stump of threaded 2-inch steel pipe was observed protruding from the ground beside the supports. A 3-inch cast iron pipe was found outside, near the escape hatch, and may have been a rain water drain - some bunkers have gutters cast into them, this one has only a short section of casting. The steel frame of the escape hatch is still in place.

To the right of the entrance corridor lies an engine room with three concrete bases and signs of fixing studs for the engines. The rightmost base differs in that it has four cut out sections, two on each side. Three steel pipes were found in the outer wall, together with two large ceramic pipes at floor level, to the east and west. Holes for these large, floor level pipes are neatly constructed in the brickwork, and show no evidence of being fitted with wooden shutters. A further ceramic pipe higher up the wall is thought to have been for the engine exhaust. The walls do not appear to have been rendered or plastered.

To the left of the entrance corridor lies a control room, with the standard steel steps set into the wall and leading up to the escape hatch, also used for observation. The room is fitted with ventilators, and as with the engine room, shows no signs of being rendered, but appear to have been whitewashed - possibly to make the most of the limited illumination which personnel posted to the decoy would have been able to use. No trace of any wall fixtures was observed.

Looking to the south of the bunker, the ground appears to show two lines of parallel ditches which run along a fairly level area - this is similar to a long narrow area, running roughly north to south, and enclosed by banking as seen in the modern online aerial view. One concrete block, similar to those found at the Auchenreoch Decoy, and thought to be a fire box base, was found. The land is well covered with rushes and grass, making it difficult to confirm the existence of any others.

A circular artefact near the end of the access track, as seen on modern aerial views, was found to correspond to a circular area with much less verdant growth, and appears to lie slightly below the surrounding ground level. The area appears to have a solid base, possibly concrete, which would account for the reduced growth. One possibility is that it could have been a fire decoy for the (fuel oil) tank farm at Bowling, and the circular area could have been supplied with fuel and water mix, which could have produced a controlled burn to mimic an oil tank fire.

A pipeline marker in the middle of the decoy area suggests the ground may have been extensively worked in the past, with the loss of any related archaeology it may have contained.

External links

Related Canmore/RCAHMS and ScotlandsPlaces (SP) entries:-

 

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