MoD Corsham

Coordinates: 51°25′14.28″N 2°13′0.70″W / 51.4206333°N 2.2168611°W / 51.4206333; -2.2168611
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Ministry of Defence Corsham
Near Corsham, Wiltshire in England
Defence Digital Operations HQ, MOD Corsham.jpg
Defence Digital Operations HQ, MOD Corsham
Ministry of Defence badge
MOD Corsham is located in Wiltshire
MOD Corsham
MOD Corsham
Location within Wiltshire
Coordinates51°25′14.28″N 2°13′0.70″W / 51.4206333°N 2.2168611°W / 51.4206333; -2.2168611
TypeMilitary communications centre
Site information
OwnerMinistry of Defence
OperatorStrategic Command
Controlled byDefence Digital
Site history
Built1936 (1936)
In use1936-present
Garrison information
  • Global Operations Security Control Centre
  • Joint Cyber Unit (Corsham)
  • Joint Security Co-ordination Centre
  • Land Information Assurance Group
  • 10th Signal Regiment
  • 600 Signal Troop

MOD Corsham (formerly Basil Hill Barracks) is a Ministry of Defence establishment located between the towns of Corsham and Box in Wiltshire, England.


The War Office bought a section of the Pockeridge estate to provide space for Basil Hill Barracks in 1936.[1][2][3] The barracks were used by 15 Company Royal Army Ordnance Corps as the administrative headquarters for a Central Ammunitions Depot serving the south of England, known as CAD Corsham or CAD Monkton Farleigh.[4][5] The depot closed in 1964,[6] although the site was retained by the Royal Army Ordnance Corps and was still used as the headquarters of their Territorial Army section in the 1980s.[7]

The site had two significant older buildings. Pockeridge House, to the east of the site, has origins in the 18th century, with additions including coach houses, stables and a walled garden; it was used as the Officers' Mess.[8][9] Sandhurst Block is a substantial two-storey office building which was built in 1938, reputedly in the style of a monastery to disguise the site's use.[10]

From 1998, Corsham was the headquarters of the newly created Defence Communication Services Agency, taking over from the Navy, Army and RAF which had dealt with their own communications. The site was then sometimes called DCSA Corsham.[11] In 2007 the DCSA was subsumed into Information Systems & Services (ISS) within Defence Equipment and Support.[12]

In 2019 Information Systems & Services and a number of organisations were brought together as Defence Digital, with an annual budget of over £2 billion and about 2,400 staff including military, civil servants and contractors, led by the Ministry of Defence chief information officer Charles Forte.[13][14]


Located on the former Basil Hill Barracks site, MOD Corsham is the product of a £690 million development project that was completed at the end of 2011.[15][16] The site is home to the Ministry of Defence's Global Operations Security Control Centre (GOSCC),[17][18] the Joint Security Co-ordination Centre (JSyCC),[19] and Defence Digital.[13] In 2012, GOSCC monitored and managed over 500,000 configurable IT assets in its "Operate and Defend" mission over MOD networks.[20]

For the Army Reserve, the site has two multi-service units under JFC DD which recruit nationwide: the Land Information Assurance Group and a Joint Cyber Unit.[21][22]

Corsham New Environment programme[edit]

The Corsham New Environment programme was initiated in 2001, to modernise the three sites around MoD Corsham with their 118 old buildings and 350 acres (140 ha) of underground facilities.[23] The programme was approved in 2004, business case approved in 2006, and a 25-year £690 million Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract placed in 2008 with the Inteq Consortium, a joint-venture between John Laing and Interserve. Two sites – the manor itself at RAF Rudloe Manor north, and Copenacre – were sold[24] and the more efficient new site required 370 fewer operational staff.[16][23][25]

Construction began in 2010 and the first staff moved in in 2011. The new Global Operations and Security Control Centre (GOSCC) building was built over the capped large Queen Mary vent to the underground facilities below. New accommodation for 180 service personnel and a sports hall were also built. Remediation works were carried out to the underground facilities.[16][23][26] About 2,200 personnel, including industry partners, were expected to work at the site.[18][27][28]

The programme was part of the Defence Equipment and Support 'PACE' (Performance, Agility, Confidence and Efficiency) business improvement programme to consolidate many of its staff within the Bristol and Bath area around its major MoD Abbey Wood site.[17][27]

The south-west of the site, both under and above ground, formerly part of RAF Rudloe Manor south, has been used to house data centres by Ark Data Centres[29] and their joint partnership with the UK Government, Crown Hosting Data Centres.[30][31][32]

Other units[edit]

In addition to GOSCC, JSyCC and JFC DD, MOD Corsham is home to several more MoD units, among them 11th Signal Brigade's 10th Signal Regiment[33] including its reserve unit 81 Signal Squadron;[21] and 233 (Global Communication Networks) Signal Squadron (now part of the re-activated 13th Signal Regiment.[15] The United Kingdom National Distribution Agency (UKNDA) and Electronic Messaging Service (email and secure dial-up) are also on the site.[10][34] The site served as the headquarters of the British Army's 2nd (National Communications) Signal Brigade until it was disbanded in 2012.[35]

In April 2016, a new Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC) "to protect the MOD's cyberspace from malicious actors" was announced at MOD Corsham, with a budget of over £40 million. The Operations Centre was to work alongside the planned civilian National Cyber Security Centre.[36][37]

Airbus Defence and Space (previously Paradigm Secure Communications) have a base a few hundred metres north of the site to support the Skynet 5 private finance initiative satellite operations contract, in partnership with Defence Digital.[38] The Corsham Computer Centre, a Royal Navy submarine support unit, is a few hundred metres north-east of MoD Corsham.[39]

Scheduled monuments[edit]

Canteen paintings circa 1943 by Olga Lehmann

A number of the underground facilities under MOD Corsham are scheduled monuments relating to Cold War history, including parts of the Central Government War Headquarters (CGWHQ). Additionally a number of underground murals painted by Olga Lehmann during World War II are Grade II* listed. East to west they are:

  • Tunnel Quarry[40]
  • Slope Shaft (Emergency Exit) A[41]
  • Kitchen, Canteen, Laundry, Dining and Washroom Areas[42]
  • Prime Minister's Rooms and Operations Rooms[43]
  • Radio Studio[44]
  • GPO Telephone Exchange[45]
  • Lamson Terminus Room and associated Fan Room[46]
  • Quarry Operations Centre (QOC) Murals[47]


  1. ^ "Basil Hill Barracks". BBC. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  2. ^ Phimester, Jane (March 2010). MOD Corsham, Wiltshire – Values Study (PDF) (Report). English Heritage. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  3. ^ Corsham tunnels – A brief history (PDF) (Report). Defence Equipment and Support. 2006. BTH 0002777. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  4. ^ "Central Ammunition Depot Corsham". British Army units 1945 on. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  5. ^ Alan Henry Fernyhough; Henry Edward David Harris (1966). History of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, 1920-1945. Blackdown: Royal Army Ordnance Corps. p. 59.
  6. ^ "DE&S Rudloe: explosive Ordnance Risk Assessment". Wiltshire Council. Defence Equipment & Support. March 2010. p. 7. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  7. ^ "Headquarters RAOC Territorial Army, Basil Hill Barracks, Corsham". Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  8. ^ "Pockeridge House". Pastscape. Historic England. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  9. ^ "MoD Film Locations: Corsham: Pockeridge House". The National Archives. 2008. Archived from the original on 11 September 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  10. ^ a b "Supporting Planning Statement – Redevelopment of Basil Hill Site, Corsham". Ministry of Defence. 8 June 2007. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  11. ^ "Agency's new role welcomed by chiefs". Gazette & Herald. Trowbridge. 15 April 2000. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  12. ^ "Ministry of Defence: Agency Changes". Hansard. 28 March 2007. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  13. ^ a b "Defence Digital". Defence Digital. 23 January 2020. Retrieved 23 January 2020. Defence Digital brought together and replaced a number of organisations, including Information Systems and Services (ISS) in 2019.
  14. ^ Qualtrough, Edward (16 December 2019). "Ministry of Defence CIO Charles Forte interview - Digitising Warfare in the Information Age". CIO. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  15. ^ a b Wilkinson, Mike (11 June 2011). "The new £690 million central communications centre in Corsham". Gazette & Herald. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  16. ^ a b c "Corsham project will make Defence connections more efficient". GOV.UK. 13 August 2010. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  17. ^ a b Defence and Cyber-Security - The Global Operations Security Control Centre (GOSCC). House of Commons Defence Committee (Report). UK Parliament. 18 December 2012. p. Ev w48,w57. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  18. ^ a b Wilkinson, Mike (14 June 2011). "Nerve centre based in Wiltshire's leafy lanes at Corsham". Wiltshire Times. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  19. ^ "Defence Security and Assurance Services: defence industry/list X - Detailed guidance". GOV.UK. 7 February 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  20. ^ "Sixth Report, Defence and Cyber-Security - The Global Operations Security Control Centre (GOSCC)". Defence Select Committee. UK Parliament. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  21. ^ a b "Army Reserve units". British Army. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  22. ^ "Central Reserve Headquarters Royal Signals (CRHQ)". British Army. 2016. Archived from the original on 17 January 2016.
  23. ^ a b c "Corsham New Environment Programme". Association for Project Management. 21 March 2012. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  24. ^ "Corsham - the new environment is open for business" (PDF). desider. Defence Equipment and Support (36): 25–27. May 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  25. ^ "Inteq reaches Financial Close on Corsham Defence PFI". John Laing. 5 August 2008. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  26. ^ "The Performance of the Ministry of Defence 2009-10" (PDF). House of Commons Defence Committee. UK Parliament. 22 June 2011. p. Ev w68. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  27. ^ a b "Delivering the Blueprint" (PDF). desider. Defence Equipment and Support (21): 11, 34–35. January 2010. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  28. ^ "Corsham CDP - Basil Hill Site". Abbey Business Interiors. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  29. ^ "Ark Data Centres, Spring Park, Westwells Rd, Corsham, SN13 9GB". Colocation Exchange. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  30. ^ Jha, Alok (11 November 2009). "Secrets of the data bunker". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  31. ^ "Government selects Ark Data Centres for major joint venture as it looks to slash millions off IT bill". Swindon Business. 23 March 2015. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  32. ^ Hall, Kat (12 March 2015). "Ark scoops £700m to host ALL's data centre needs". The Register. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  33. ^ "Army 2020 Report" (PDF). British Army. July 2013. p. 12. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 June 2014.
  34. ^ "Boldon James - UK MOD". October 2002. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  35. ^ The Signal Officer in Chief's message on change for the Corps, dated 19 September 2011
  36. ^ "Defence Secretary announces £40m Cyber Security Operations Centre". Ministry of Defence. 1 April 2016. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  37. ^ Hammick, Murray (30 October 2018). "The Budget and Defence". The Military Times. London. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  38. ^ Reacher is a highlight of Paradigm factfinder (PDF). desider (Report). Defence Equipment and Support. November 2011. p. 17. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  39. ^ "Chiller project tackles environment and efficiency" (PDF). desider. Ministry of Defence. January 2010. p. 33. Archived (PDF) from the original on 7 February 2019.
  40. ^ Historic England. "MoD CORSHAM: Tunnel Quarry (Grade Scheduled Monument) (1409857)". National Heritage List for England.
  41. ^ Historic England. "MoD CORSHAM: Slope Shaft (Emergency Exit) A (Grade Scheduled Monument) (1409125)". National Heritage List for England.
  42. ^ Historic England. "MoD CORSHAM: Kitchen, Canteen, Laundry, Dining and Washroom Areas (Grade Scheduled Monument) (1409120)". National Heritage List for England.
  43. ^ Historic England. "MoD CORSHAM: Prime Minister's Rooms and Operations Rooms (Grade Scheduled Monument) (1409131)". National Heritage List for England.
  44. ^ Historic England. "MoD CORSHAM: Radio Studio (Grade Scheduled Monument) (1409123)". National Heritage List for England.
  45. ^ Historic England. "MoD CORSHAM: GPO Telephone Exchange (Grade Scheduled Monument) (1409129)". National Heritage List for England.
  46. ^ Historic England. "MoD CORSHAM: Lamson Terminus Room and associated Fan Room (Grade Scheduled Monument) (1409121)". National Heritage List for England.
  47. ^ Historic England. "MoD CORSHAM: Quarry Operations Centre (QOC) Murals (Grade II*) (1409132)". National Heritage List for England.