Introduction

 

Badge of the ROF Entrance to ROF 53, taken in February 2008
During the phoney war that preceded the second world war, many people did not believe that Adolf Hitler and Germany were capable of waging another war on the same scale as the first world war. Reports of the re-armament of Germany were not taken seriously till the very last minute. The public at least did not expect the coming war. Germanys advances through Europe after appeasement had failed was a wake up call to the allies......were we ready for war ?

The development of Battle of Britain winning aircraft and the preparations for evacuees have been well documented, the provision of gas masks to every man, women and child have also been well documented. But what about the arms and munitions to wage war ? Woolich Arsenal was well within range of German bombers, their technology in bombing had been on display since the Spanish Civil war. The means to manufacture these munitions had to be moved out of  harms way.

In fact, as early is 1935, proposals were made to relocate the Arsenals to Bridgend, expansion of the existing sites were a concern initially  as increased manufacture was needed, as stocks of munitions were very low since the end of the first world war. Expansion was a major problem, as the Woolich and Waltham Abbey arsenals were located in built up areas. So, in 1936, it was agreed that new factories were to built in Bridgend.

A location was found in Bridgend , South Wales, which was out of harms way, had good rail and road links, was directly south of the Welsh coal fields, and a huge steelworks very near. The location of this huge factory was ideal, as the site was nearly always covered in a fine mist due to being on old marshland, that was very difficult to see through from the air. Two sites were ear-marked, one at Waterton, and the other at Brackla. The land was purchased early in 1936, later additional land was purchased at Brackla Hill, which could be tunnelled for secure storage of munitions.

So, this was it, the largest factory of it's type was to be constructed in this depressed area of South Wales area. A factory that would help win the second world war. Bridgend ROF 53 was born.

 

The image below of ROF 53 at Waterton has been reproduced in low quality format without permission from the owner.  The copies of the original images have been loaned to me to illustrate the magnitude of the site. Please contact me if I have infringed any copyright or you believe you are the owner, and I will remove the images immediately. I have taken every precaution to protect theft of the image.

Why Bridgend ?

All Images unless otherwise stated are the property of the author ©Richard Williams 2005-2008

www.bracklaordnance.co.uk

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