11 January 2023 – History of Christchurch

Paul de Jonghe – ADEE/ADRDE 1939 – 1942

In 1939 it became clear that army and navy air defence research was insufficiently cohesive and needed co-location. This led to creation of the new ADEE R&D establishment at Somerford and Steamer Point, Christchurch. This paved the way for rapid technological developments in the early years of WW2 that unquestionably impacted the war effort and beyond. Some of this work is widely recognised and appreciated, some is not.

This presentation seeks to tell the early WW2 ADEE story by briefly covering:

  • Creation of ADEE Christchurch
  • Key R&D outputs at ADEE/ADRDE Steamer Point and Somerford sites
  • Transfer to Malvern
  • Subsequent use of site (SRDE to present) and ongoing efforts to commemorate/preserve the remaining buildings/plinths

In 1976 I joined the Royal Navy as an Artificer Apprentice and progressed to serve a full career as a Weapon Engineer Officer, retiring in 2008. My engineering specialisation centred around surface-to-air missile and combat system performance, particularly in Type 42 destroyers. Later in career, time was spent supporting military defence sales in the MoD, and loan service to the Royal Navy of Oman. After RN retirement I was employed for 10 years by the Bahrain Ministry of Interior and UAE Navy before retiring to Friars Cliff, Christchurch. In retirement I co-chair the Friars Cliff Residents’ Association, enjoy writing articles on local history, and seek to preserve a little of our local history.