Monument record MCC7267 - WWII Bombing Decoy, "BR2 East Mersea", East Mersea


A "decoy bunker" stands in a small spinney to the NE of Mersea Island.


Grid reference TM 0554 1560 (point)
Map sheet TM01NE


Type and Period (2)

Full Description

A "decoy bunker" stands in a small spinney to the NE of Mersea Island. Built in this deserted area to house engines for pumping kerosene on to dummy buildings, it was hoped that these, when set alight, would persuade enemy bombers to drop their loads on this position. One photo of site.<1>

November 1999: Documented in contemporary records, "BR2 East Mersea" was a World War Two N Series (Naval) decoy controlled from Harwich. This class of decoy was designed specifically for the protection of naval installations - in this case the naval facilities at Brightlingsea, two miles to the E across the River Colne. Dobinson, 1996, records that the site was a QL/QF type - a type which not only attempted to draw night-time bombers away from the town with dummy lighting but also to continue the deception with fires from blazing "houses" and "factories". A wartime drawing by one of the camp guards, Hubert Inman, shows the layout of the East Mersea site. Some of the lighting arrays can be seen together with prepared Basket Fires and Boiler Fires.<2><3>

Site visit November 1999: The area of the decoy is on former marshland, now low-lying meadows. The contemporary Military Grid Reference, 98/499339, places the site 200 yards S of the sea wall.

400 yards E of the decoy site, the night shelter still survives in a thin band of trees leading from Shop Lane towards the sea wall. This bunker is almost completely covered in its protective earth banking. Surprisingly, the public footpath climbs one end of the bunker via steps cut into the earth, passes along its centre line and descends via steps on the other end! Its entrance, through sloping earth-retaining walls, is on the E side. The escape hatch is at the N end. Since the last survey visit in 1993 , the outside blast wall across the entrance has been demolished, the entrance has been closed with a glazed wooden door, and the escape hatch has been covered with a raised "skylight". Survival or condition of the internal features is not known.

Five photos of site <4>. Report ref <5>.

SITE ASSESSMENT: The pattern of the bunker is probably the same, or very similar to, those extant at "WRI Spinnels Farm" (SMR 20309) and "HA2 Kirby le Soken" (SMR 20310). All three were N Series (Naval) decoys controlled from Harwich. Subject to an internal inspection to assess the condition of the structure, every effort should be made to ensure the continued survival of this shelter.<5>

See also <7>.

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Photograph: Nash, Fred. 1996. WWII defences. one frame.
  • <2> DESC TEXT: Dobinson, Colin. 1996. Twentieth Century Fortifications in England - Vol III - Bombing decoys of WWII. list pp116, 118.
  • <3> DESC TEXT: Dobinson, Colin. 1996. Twentieth Century Fortifications in England - Vol III - Bombing decoys of WWII. pp 41-79.
  • <4> Photograph: Nash, Fred. 1999. WWII Bombing Decoy, "East Mersea", Essex. five frames.
  • <5> DESC TEXT: Nash, Fred. 2002. World War Two Decoy Bombing Sites in Essex: Project Report March 2002.
  • <6> Photograph: Tyler, Sue. 2002. WWII Bombing Decoy E. Mersea. 4 photos. 18th June 2002.
  • <7> Photograph: Colchester Historic Buildings Forum. 2011. Digital photograph of 10-14 Vineyard Street, Colchester. Digital. Volume 1.

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Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

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Record last edited

Jun 12 2020 1:45PM

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