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The Story of the
Holton Heath, Dorset, UK
Royal Naval Cordite Factory

Decoy Sites Deployed
to Protect the RNCF

In the Second World War on Gore Heath some two miles west of the Royal Naval Cordite Factory, was a decoy “factory site” constructed of scaffolding poles, canvas, timber and scrap metal from old oil drums.

There were, in fact, two decoy sites: HH1 at Arne to the south of the real factory and this one designated “HH2”. HH1 was designed and built in six weeks in 1941 by theatrical scene designers and HH2 followed soon after. As well as the actual decoy buildings, a remote bunker had to be built for the personnel operating the site and the one at Gore Heath still exists although it is now very overgrown.

The decoys were manned by the Factory Home Guard two at a time, one patrolling and one in the bunker which had direct telephone communication with the control trench OP1 at Holton Heath.

In the event of a potential raid they had the job of operating various devices to distract enemy aircraft. These included fireworks to simulate incendiary bombs, large trays of oil and water which could be ignited to provide flame and smoke, and quantities of old cordite which could be used to simulate explosions. The site at Gore Hill was never put to use but the site at Arne, of which there is now no trace, was activated one night in 1942 when it attracted over 200 high explosive bombs which left craters, and numerous incendiary bombs.

Although the bunkers were some distance away, it must have been quite frightening to bring the weight of a major Luftwaffe raid right down in your own head below!