A Second World War ‘Permanent Starfish’ bombing decoy site was established, on land behind Fairfield Court, in the marshy valley between Cross Coppice and Gorsey Piece (SO 938 754). It was constructed to deflect enemy bombing from Birmingham. It is referenced as being in use between 01-AUG-1941 and 08-APR-1943. Nothing remains of the decoy site itself but the stone road to it is still clearly to be seen.
Starfish sites were large-scale night-time decoys created during the Blitz to simulate burning British cities. The aim was to divert German night bombers from their intended targets so they would drop their ordnance over the countryside. The sites were an extension of Colonel John Turner’s decoy programme for airfields and factories (code named “Q” Sites). Following the bombing, and near destruction, of Coventry in November 1940, Turner was tasked with creating decoys for seven major cities.
Further ‘Starfish’ decoys were located outside Birmingham; Ballsall, Holt End, Maxstoke, Bickenhill, Peopleton, Halford, and Silvington.
All decoys for Birmingham were closed by late 1944. The bombing decoys for Birmingham had limited success, possibly because the decoys were positioned quite far out from their intended targets.