Gwilym Elwyn Lloyd

1912 - 2001

During WWII an overspill country branch of the Woolwich Arsenal was built at Waterton on the outskirts of Bridgend. The Royal Ordnance Factory, No 53 - known as "The Arsenal & The Admiralty" to locals, was opened in 1938 a year before the outbreak of WWII .  It was constructed in two distinct sections, one for storing ammunition (The Arsenal) and the other as a shell-filling factory for the Navy (The Admiralty).

Gwilym Elwyn Lloyd, aged 89 and buried 13th October 2001 is best remembered for his part in the construction and development of the Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF) at Bridgend, Glamorgan.

He was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1972 for his dedication to British industry after he painstakingly mapped the site following the Second World War.

His son Graham, from Brackla (Near Bridgend), said

"My father started off as a miner in Pentrebach, near Methyr Tydfil, when he was 14. He quickly realised that wasn't for him so he moved to London, trained as a carpenter and started work for the original HMV record company making vaneer units. He moved to Bridgend in 1936 and began work on the Arsenal. It had 1,000 buildings and my father knew them all intimately. After the war the Arsenal was demolished and turned into an industrial estate, but because all the top secret documents detailing the land were destroyed, my father was asked to help catalogue where the pipes and foundation lay"

In the 1970s Mr Lloyd, a keen inventor and entrepreneur, developed the Bridgend / Brackla ROF factory site where he patented and developed a set of bellows for inflatable boats. He also became an associate member of the Bath Institute of Medical Engineering after a respirator he had invented saved a young girl's life.

The Royal Ordnance Factory Consisted of two parts:

1) "The Admiralty (Waterton)"

This part of the factory, south of Bridgend town centre, made the shell casings for the Navy before sending them to the "The Arsenal" Factory in Brackla (via rail) for filling and storage. During its peak production 40,000 people worked in the two factories making it the largest employee factory that has ever been in Britain !

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Main Entrance

Photo profile is left of right photo heading towards Coity and The Arsenal

Photo profile is looking from end of Cowbridge Road towards Coychurch

 

Outside the main entrance.

Workers arriving for work

This is today the main entrance to the South Wales Police Head Quarters (Cowbridge Road)

Buses waiting to transport workers. Spot the chimney in the top right hand corner ? This can be seen in the Waterton Aerial photo taken by the RAF (See next page)
Workers leave for their homes in Aberwynfi & Ferndale

The reason for the photo is unknown, but this is a photo of what appears to be a meeting in the canteen of The Arsenal

Photo Courtesy of: Ms Connie Thomas

2) "The Arsenal (Brackla)"

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View Of The Arsenal & Coity Village
View Of The Arsenal and Simonston Rear Entrance
View of The Rear Of the Arsenal Showing Canteen Area

 

This ROF factory, north east of Bridgend, received the shell cases from "The Admiralty" factory, filled them with ammuntion and stored them in vast underground chambers

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The security office for the factory next
to the cordite producing "F" site
One of many existing pill-boxes
along the ridge above the site
The remains of a shop in the "F" site
cordite factory

 

Plan, Showing Chamber 5, 6 & 7 in same orientation as photo to the right
The ammunition and filled shells were stored in large underground heated chambers (my grandfather worked as a boilerman during the nights) and these chambers were often referred, locally, as the Eight X's. One of these was maintained up until recently (until the end of the Cold War) as a nuclear bunker. Each exit entered the hill from the left as you look at the photo  The RGHQ mast can be seen to the left of the picture and the vent for 8x2 can just be made out slightly below it.

8x7 was totally demolished.

8x6 & 8x5 still exist, but the iron rings which were used to support the construction were salvaged for scrap sometime after its closure, thus making them extremely unstable. The ground is water-logged shale.

8x4 & 8x3 were converted into SRHQ 8.2 in the 1950's. Later becoming RGHQ 8.2. (Nuclear Bunker)

8x1 & 8x2 were of concrete construction and too small for the SRHQ so they have been untouched. The entrances have been covered, but  still exist below ground
.

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Entrance to Chamber Number 8x1
Entrance to Chamber Number 8x1
Entrance to Chamber Number 8x2
 
Railway track leading into 8x1 and 8x2
Entrance Secured To Chamber Used as a Nuclear Bunker
 

Further aerial photos of the factory taken by the Luftwaffe and the RAF can be viewed on the next page !

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