Royal Naval Armaments Depot

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A Royal Naval Armament Depot (RNAD) was a group of armament depots dedicated to supplying the needs of the Royal Navy as well as the Royal Air Force, British Army and foreign/commonwealth governments; they were sister depots of Royal Naval Cordite Factories, Royal Naval Torpedo and Royal Naval Mine Depots. Between 1965 and 1994, they were part of the Royal Naval Supply and Transport Service (RNSTS).

Most RNADs were located near to Royal Navy Dockyards to facilitate the transfer of armaments between the depot and the warships; but not too close to minimise the risk of any accident or explosion in the depot causing damage to warships. The term RNAD is no longer in use, except for RNAD Coulport which is the UK Strategic Weapon Facility for the Trident Missile System. The RNSTS has also ceased to exist; first renamed the 'Warship Support Agency', it went on to form part of the tri-service Defence Logistics Organisation, which is now part of the Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) conglomerate. Those RNADs (except Coulport) that are still in use today are known as Defence Munitions centres (DM), e.g. DM Beith.



The earliest Naval Ordnance Depots, which later became RNADs, were built by the Board of Ordnance. Many were former forts with large gunpowder magazines and other facilities, such as at Priddy's Hard and Upnor Castle. The Board of Ordnance was responsible for all forts and armaments within the United Kingdom as well as the British Empire.[1] When the Board of Ordnance was abolished in 1855, control passed first to the War Office, then in 1891 to the Admiralty.[2]

On 1 January 1965 control of the armament depots passed to the Ministry of Defence and they became part of the Royal Naval Supply and Transport Service (RNSTS).[2] The RNSTS was formed from an amalgamation of the Directorates of Naval Stores, Victualling, Armament Supply, and Movements.[3]

Disbandment of the RNSTS[edit]

On 1 April 1994, the RNSTS ceased to exist and was absorbed into the Naval Support Command. The RNADs also lost their independence.

List of RNADs and their status[edit]

Name County Country Years active Status Notes
RNAD Alexandria Egypt Closed
RNAD Antrim Closed
RNAD Beith operational as DM Beith
— RNAD Auchemade Quarry Ayrshire Closed - (sub depot of RNAD Beith)[4]
RNAD Benghaisa Malta Closed
RNAD Broughton Moor Decommissioned
RNAD Bull Point Devon 1852-2009 Closed
RNAD Butcher Island Bombay Closed
RNAD Charlesfield Closed
RNAD Colombo Closed
RNAD Corradino Malta Closed
RNAD Coulport Operational
RNAD Crombie Operational as DM Crombie
— RNAD Bandeath Closed (sub depot of RNAD Crombie)[4]
— RNAD Grangemouth Closed (sub depot of RNAD Crombie)[4]
— RNAD Leadburn Closed (sub depot of RNAD Crombie)[4]
RNAD Dalbeattie Closed
RNAD Dean Hill 1941-2004[5] Closed (latterly DM Dean Hill)
RNAD Ditton Priors Shropshire 1941-1968[6] Closed now an industrial estate
RNAD Ernesettle Devon Operational as DM Plymouth
RNAD Glen Douglas Operational as DM Glen Douglas
RNAD Fort William Closed (sub depot of RNAD Crombie)[4]
— RNAD Achdalieu Closed (sub depot of RNAD Fort William)[4]
— RNAD Annat Closed (sub depot of RNAD Fort William)[4]
— RNAD Caol Farm Closed (sub depot of RNAD Fort William)[4]
— RNAD Corpach Closed (sub depot of RNAD Fort William)[4]
— RNAD Lochailort Closed (sub depot of RNAD Fort William)[4]
— RNAD Locheilside Closed (sub depot of RNAD Fort William)[4]
RNAD Gosport 1977- Operational as DM Gosport The collective name for the Gosport depots was changed in 1977 from RNAD Priddy's Hard to RNAD Gosport in anticipation of the closure of Priddy's Hard itself.[7]
— RNAD Bedenham 1910- Operational as part of DM Gosport (formerly sub-depot of RNAD Priddy's Hard)
— RNAD Elson 1925- Operational as part of DM Gosport (formerly sub-depot of RNAD Priddy's Hard) initially a magazine depot; guided missile depot since 1964.[7]
— RNAD Frater 1918- Operational as part of DM Gosport (formerly sub-depot of RNAD Priddy's Hard) a Mine Depot (RNMD) until 1959, then a torpedo depot.[7]
— RNAD Priddy's Hard Hampshire England 1777-1988 Closed (latterly sub-depot of RNAD Gosport); site now used for housing and Explosion! Museum of Naval Firepower
RNAD Grain Closed
RNAD Haifa Closed
RNAD Kilnappy Closed
RNAD Marchwood Hampshire England 1811-1961 Closed
RNAD Mombasa Closed
RNAD Port Said Closed
RNAD Spectacle Island Sydney 1865- Closed
RNAD Singapore Closed
RNAD Trecwn 1938-1998[8] Closed Initially a mine depot.
RNAD Trincomalee Closed
RNAD Upton Closed
RNAD Upnor 1668-1964 Closed Lower Upnor Ordnance Depot remained in MOD hands until 2013
— RNAD Chattenden 1875-1961 Closed (formerly sub-depot of RNAD Upnor) later became part of Royal School of Military Engineering; site disused from 1995, for sale in 2016.
— RNAD Lodge Hill Kent England 1898-1961 Closed (formerly sub-depot of RNAD Upnor) Later Defence Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Munitions and Search School (DEMSS South); closed 2011. For sale 2016.
RNAD Woolwich 1671-1967 Closed Part of the Royal Arsenal
RNCF Holton Heath 1914-1959[7] Closed Cordite Factory
RNMD Milford Haven Closed Mine Depot
RNMD Wrabness 1921-1963 Closed Mine Depot (The site, sold in 1992, is now Wrabness Nature Reserve).
RNPF Caerwent Closed Propellant Factory
RNTD Chatham Closed Torpedo Depot
RNTD Kalagrama Malta Closed Torpedo Depot
RNTD Portsmouth 1886-1959[7] Closed Torpedo Depot (transferred to RNAD Frater in 1959).
RNTD Weymouth 1902-1959[7] Closed
RNTF Alexandria Dunbartonshire 1935-1970[7] Closed Torpedo Factory
RNTF Greenock 1910-1951[7] Closed Torpedo Factory (Torpedo Experimental Establishment remained on site until 1959)

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Semark (1997). Page 6.
  2. ^ a b Semark (1997). Page 1.
  3. ^ Semark (1997). Pp 464-465.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "NAVAL ESTABLISHMENTS, (SCOTLAND)". Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  5. ^ "Subterranea Britannica". Retrieved 12 September 2016. 
  6. ^ "Subterranea Britannica". Retrieved 12 September 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Semark, H. W. (1997). The Royal Naval Armament Depots of Priddy's Hard [etc] 1768-1977. Hampshire County Council. 
  8. ^ "Subterranea Britannica". Retrieved 12 September 2016. 


  • W N Mansfield (1995), "Priddy's Hard 1846 - 1906 - The site impact of the introduction of modern chemical explosives" - BSc (Hons) Archaeology dissertation.
  • Semark, H.W. (1997). The Royal Naval Armaments Depots of Priddy's Hard, Elson, Frater and Bedebham (Gosport, Hampshire) 1768 to 1977. Winchester: Hampshire County Council. ISBN 1-85975-132-6.