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Craigmaddie Muir Decoy Site

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Since this site contains a limited number of specific features which fall within our area of interest, and nearly all are related, these have been gathered together and presented on this single page for convenience, rather than treated as independent subjects.
Cragmaddie Muir decoy site area
Cragmaddie Muir decoy site 2007

The Craigmaddie Muir Decoy Site was a large decoy system installed during World War II, intended to lure enemy bombers away from their intended targets. The site lies in open countryside to the north of Glasgow, beneath the Campsie Fells, and roams from Craigmaddie Muir in the west to Blairskaith Muir in the east.

Records report three sites relating to this decoy, located relatively close to one another, and summarised below rather than listed separately, so they may be viewed on a single map. The consistency of the names applied to these sites (by RCAHMS) seems to leave a little to be desired regarding consistency, however these have been retained in the hope of avoiding further confusion by changing them in any way.

Blairskaith Muir Civil Starfish Decoy

Record indicate that a World War II Starfish decoy site was located on the southern slopes of Blairskaith Muir. Part of the . Site number SF13c. The site was also known as Craigmaddie Muir.

The decoy site was visible on RAF aerial photographs taken in 1945, and comprised a number of firebreak enclosures that would have contained fire baskets which held burning oil, coal, and other material to create controlled decoy fires intended to attract enemy bombers from their intended targets. This would therefore have been a QF (fire) decoy. The site covered an area of some 300 square metres, but was no longer visible on a later aerial survey, carried out in 1988. Records indicate that the control bunker lay 1 kilometre west of the decoy site.

The same record reports "a second bunker 600 m to the west", but does not definitely associate it with this decoy, instead, referring to the existence of further QF and QL (lighting) decoys in the surrounding area.

Craigmaddie Muir Control Bunker - Newlands

Records indicate that a World War II Starfish control bunker was located on the southern slopes of Blairskaith Muir. Part of the . Site number SF13c. The bunker site was also known as Newlands.

The bunker was visible on RAF aerial photographs taken in 1945, and also in those of a later aerial survey carried out in 1988, and lay 1 kilometre east of the decoy site.

Craigmaddie Muir Decoy Control Bunker - Branziet Burn

Records indicate that a World War II Starfish Control Bunker was located on the southern slopes of Blairskaith Muir, on the north side of a minor road leading to Mugdock. Part of the . Site number SF13c. The bunker site was also known as Branziet Burn.

The bunker is described as a substantial brick and concrete structure, recessed into the hillside and measuring some 9 m x 16 m x 3 m high, with a concrete roof, and a baffle wall protecting the entrance. The design was noted to be similar to that seen at Drumnessie .

While the two bunkers appear to remain visible at the locations given, there is no evidence of any significant remains relating to the decoy itself.

Craigmaddie Muir Gun Emplacements - Unreported

A site visit carried out during May 2008 found four unfinished concrete gun emplacements, equipped with heavy anti-aircraft gun holdfasts, installed on the moor about 500 metres west of the Newlands bunker. Grid references: NS59897626, NS59927626, NS59947624 and NS59957622.

These references are marked on the map below, and reveal evidence of tracks visible in the aerial view, leading to them, and two holdfasts also visible in the aerial imagery, those of emplacements 3 and 4.

This anti-aircraft battery is believed to be a lost or forgotten site, as there are no references to the site in the records we have obtained from RCAHMS or the Royal Artillery, or in published locations of World War II defences in the UK. It may also simply be a construction which was started, and then cancelled.

Emplacement details

The emplacements are of a relatively standard design, containing the holdfast to which the guns would have been fixed, but their unfinished state is unusual, and not known to exist at any other Scottish battery reported date. Each consists of a concrete circle 3 metres in diameter and installed flush with the ground, surrounding a bolt circle 1 metre in diameter, to which an anti-aircraft gun could be temporarily mounted on arrival, thereby allowing the guns to be placed into service almost immediately in case of attack by enemy aircraft - the guns could then be permanently mounted when convenient. The holdfast structure itself is a steel and concrete cage which extends at least four feet under the surface. The bolts connect to a series of steel rods encased in the structure, with a precast channel let into the surface of the emplacement to carry cabling from the predictor machine in the command post, which controlled gun laying. The layout of the emplacements suggests the command post was to be built to the south, but there is no evidence of any other structures present in the immediate area. It was not unusual to build anti-aircraft batteries in the vicinity of decoy sites, but in this case there are at least two disused pit shafts very close by, which would have prevented any substantial building programme. The holdfasts themselves may also have been unserviceable items, and were placed to act as decoys to supplement the Starfish decoys which were located in the surrounding area.

Missing batteries

There are two known, but lost or missing batteries reported in the general area, numbered GNG5 and GNG6, which have been shown on the map below. Although grid references were recorded for these batteries, there does not appear to be any evidence of their existence, suggesting the references are in error, or that these batteries were planned, but never constructed.


Newlands Bunker

Overgrown bunker 2007
Overgrown bunker
Bunker entrance 2007
Bunker entrance
Interior with escape ladder 2007
Interior with escape ladder
Escape hatch

Branziet Burn Bunker

Newlands bunker entrance and blast wall 2007
Entrance and blast wall
Interior with escape ladder 2007
Interior with escape ladder
Ladder viewed from hatch 2007
Ladder viewed from hatch
Engine room detail 2007
Engine room detail

External links

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

Aerial views



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