Before Pendine 1853: An ‘Establishment for the instruction of the Army in rifle and target practice’ was formed in Hythe, Kent. It later went on to become known as ’The School of Musketry’. The school devoted a percentage of its time to experimental work as well as its main function as a teaching facility.
Establishment of Pendine:
- 1938-1940: An ‘Inter Service Small Arms Experimental Establishment’ was developed, based on the existing experimental wing at Hythe and also the establishment of other new sites such as Shoeburyness in Essex (currently MOD Shoeburyness, also operated and managed by QinetiQ). After Dunkirk (1940) and the threat of invasion, it was decided that Hythe was unsuitable as the base for the establishment and so, after surveying the UK for alternative locations, Pendine was chosen in the summer of 1940.
- Under the authority of Captain S.A.Pears, a collaborative team of newly recruited staff from Shoeburyness and the majority of staff from the establishment at Hythe relocated to Pendine. At first a temporary headquarters was set up at the Beach Hotel, before occupying and developing new HQ at Llanmiloe House. The relocation process, from leaving Hythe to the first set of gun fire, took approximate three weeks.
- 1945- 1948: Initially Pendine had been established as a temporary war time location to test and develop ‘small arms’. However, a review of all the ranges owned and run by the Ministry of Defence (MOD), decided that Pendine should become a permanent establishment for the testing and evaluation of a wide variety of weapons, rather than just focusing on ‘small arms’.
C9; the building of the 1.5km long test track:
- 1951-1956: In 1951 work began on the 1500 metre test track, to meet the ever growing demand for the development of dynamic missiles. Work was completed by the summer of 1956.