Department of the Director of Armament Supply
Department of the Director of Armament Supply
Preceded by Naval Ordnance Store Department
Country United Kingdom
Founded 1918
Abolished 1965
Headquarters Whitehall, London, England
Head Director of Armament Supply
Role Armament Supply
Part of Director of Armament Supply
Succeeded by Royal Naval Supply and Transport Service

The Department of the Director of Armament Supply was created in 1918 as the Armament Supply Department it replaced the Naval Ordnance Stores Department. It was part of the Naval Ordnance Department. The department exited until 1966 when it was absorbed within the new Royal Naval Supply and Transport Service where it became a subordinate unit of that organisation.

1) History

On 23 December 1918 the Naval Ordnance Stores Department was renamed the Armament Supply Department and its depots were likewise renamed Royal Naval Armament Depots (RNAD) in 1920. The change of nomenclature recognised the inclusion of torpedoes and naval mines (which had been managed separately during the war) alongside ordnance as part of the new department's responsibilities. The department was a component part of the Naval Ordnance Department. The vulnerability of the armament depots to air strikes was now acknowledged, so the Admiralty explored the feasibility of building magazines underground, initially at Ernesettle (just north of Bull Point, Plymouth) where four such magazines were built and at the recently established RNAD Crombie (near HM Dockyard, Rosyth) where six were built. Despite the cost, and sustained resistance from HM Treasury, plans were then laid down for the development of several far larger subterranean depots, with sixty magazines proposed at Dean Hill (near Salisbury) and ninety at Trec┼Án (near Fishguard). Approval for these was only given in 1938-39, when war seemed all but inevitable, and they took several years to build; in the meantime a temporary depot was established (and later made permanent) on the site of a former colliery at Broughton Moor in West Cumberland. Once war was declared, however, the development of similar underground complexes was abandoned in favour of faster solutions, with railway tunnels, warehouses and other improvised locations made use of. Thus, whereas in early 1939 only five home RNADs were listed in the Navy List (viz. Woolwich, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Chatham and Crombie), by 1945 over thirty are mentioned, in addition to these five, with nine more RNADs in various locations listed as sub-depots of the 'Central Naval Armament Supply Depots, Wolverhampton'. Similarly overseas, the 1939 list of seven RNADs (Gibraltar, Malta, Hong Kong, Singapore, Simon's Town, Bermuda and Ceylon) had grown to a list of over twenty (with several more sub-depots in addition). On 1 January 1965 control of the naval armament depots passed to the Ministry of Defence and they became part of the Royal Naval Supply and Transport Service (RNSTS). The RNSTS was formed from an amalgamation of the Directorates of Naval Stores, Victualling, Armament Supply, and Movements.

2) Key Officials

2.1) Director of Armament Supply

3) Sources


4) Attribution

  1. Flag of the Board of Admiralty by Martin Grieve at
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