Unit History: Proof and Experimental Establishment
Several establishments in the UK and 2 overseas have had the title Proof and Experimental Establishment. In the case of the UK units, these formerly came under the control of the Master General of the Ordnance (MGO).
MGO was initially chairman of the Board of Ordnance, an independent Department of State established in the 15th century and serving both the Army’s and the Royal Navy’s requirements for guns and ammunition. After 1855, MGO and his organisation were absorbed into the War Office. Latterly MGO was a Board Member in the Procurement Executive of the Ministry of Defence.
The establishments came under the control of the Directorate General of Test and Evaluation (DGTE) on 1 April 1992. On 1 April 1995, DGTE merged with the Defence Research Agency to form the Defence Evaluation & Research Agency (DERA). The surviving establishments (Eskmeals, Pendine and Shoeburyness) were privatised with the creation of Qinetiq in June 2001.
Proof and Experimental Establishment, Eskmeals, Cumbria:
[Unit history t.b.a.]
Proof and Experimental Establishment, Inchterf, East Dunbartonshire:
[Unit history t.b.a.]
Proof and Experimental Establishment, Lavington, Wiltshire
Proof and Experimental Establishment, Pendine, Dyfed
Established on land acquired during WWII. Also known as Laugharne Range. [Unit history t.b.a.]
Proof and Experimental Establishment, Shoeburyness, Essex:
During the 1840s the artillery ranges at Plumstead Marshes, near Woolwich, became increasingly difficult to use for testing and practice firing of weaponry owing to greater distances needed and their proximity to the heavily used shipping route along the Thames. The Board of Ordnance decided that Shoeburyness was the best option for a new testing and practice Station.
Shoeburyness offered an isolated site, extensive land and foreshore for firing, easy access by river from Woolwich and a coastal location for the transport of heavy artillery. Land began to be purchased in stages from 1849 and for the next five years Shoeburyness and its foreshore were used as a temporary Station during summer months. The former coastguard station became officers’ quarters with an extension built in 1852 for the Mess and servant’s quarters; temporary wooden buildings were erected for personnel, stores, etc., to the north; and the Station’s first brick building, one of the powder magazines, was erected in 1851
The following establishments in the former British Empire retain this title:
Proof and Experimental Establishment, Balasore, India established in 1894
Proof and Experimental Establishment, Port Wakefield, South Australia established in 1929