'A Pictorial Record of the Royal Naval Cordite Factory, Holton
by M R Bowditch and L Hayward
128 pages, 80 photographs
During the first few weeks of World War I, Winston Churchill
- then First Lord of the Admiralty - insisted on the need for
the Royal Navy to have its own independent supply of propellants
(cordite) for shells. Realising that the propellant for use in
fighting at sea had to be of a high quality, it was decided that
could best be achieved by a specialist factory designed specifically
for the purpose.
The large scale production of explosive called for the careful
selection of a suitable manufacturing site and Holton Heath in
East Dorset was selected in 1914 where the isolated site was
turned into a secretive munitions plant, the true scale of which
only became apparent in recent times by the publication of this
This wide-ranging book tells the absorbing story of the Royal
Naval Cordite Factory (RNCF), Holton Heath from its inception
in 1914, through to 1957 - when the production of propellant
was stopped - up to the present, including a detailed study of
the remaining facilities, some of which today provide a refuge
for wild life under the watchful eye of English Nature.
Malcolm Bowditch and Les Hayward are both well qualified to present
this unique survey of what was potentially one of the most dangerous
working environments in this country. Talking to people who formerly
worked at RNCF, researching official files and gathering together
a collection of photographs - most of which have never been published
before - they describe the magnificent plant that was the RNCF
and what it meant to work in such a dangerous environment.
here for more details of 'A Pictorial Record of the Royal Naval
Cordite Factory, Holton Heath' and how to order the book.