My father, Arthur McPhail, was seconded from Hadfields Steelworks, Sheﬃeld down to Malvern TRE in 1944. H
e first worked at the North Site (Pale Manor). I believe he worked on Defensive Weapons and Radar.
We later moved to Malvern, probably around 1948/9, to a prefab in Bawdsey Avenue oﬀ Pickersleigh Road. This little estate of prefabs had roads named after places pertinent to earlier Establishment sites such as Orford Way, Steamer Point and Matravers Road. We thought the prefabs were little palaces with built-in fridges, cookers and cupboards and a garden!
These prefabs are long since demolished!
Later in 1953 we moved to a 3 bedroomed Ministry House in Clerkenwell Crescent. I remember the day we moved in. My mother was 9 months pregnant, it rained all day and, as the road was not surfaced, there was mud everywhere. My poor Dad was on his hands and knees cleaning!!
Clerkenwell Crescent was like a little community, everyone knew each other and we children had a lovely time. The house was a semi, but very roomy and we had a big garden. My Dad grew lots of vegetables and he was very proud of his show of dahlias each year. I remember we always had a bonfire and fireworks in the garden on November 5th. The houses didn’t have garages and at first my Dad used to drive up to a garage on Graham Road to park his car overnight. At the end of Clerkenwell Crescent by the railway there was some land where there was an old building that the ATC used for their meetings, also there was an old Spitfire plane which we used to clamber over. This area was later cleared and garages were built for rent for the Ministry residents.
I lived at 16 Clerkenwell Crescent until I left when I married in 1968. During this time I remember Dad leaving North Site and moving over to South Site on St Andrews Road. Of course, I never really knew what he did as it was all top secret and he never spoke of his work. I do remember he often used to be picked up by car, driven usually by a young lady in uniform, to be taken to diﬀerent places. He often used to go to Marconi in Rugby and went further afield to Fylingdales in North Yorkshire. I think the highlight of his career was when he was sent to the Rocket Range in Woomera near Adelaide in Australia. In those days flying time from UK to Australia was a week! I remember him telling us how they had steaks for breakfast and were then flown out by light aircraft to the Rocket Range each day.
I still have little ornaments of a kangaroo and a duck billed platypus. On the return trip he came via Singapore and brought us all gifts back from there. My sister still has a musical box. He bought himself a camera there and had big arguments with customers oﬃcers when he arrived back in the UK! He was gone for over 6 weeks and we were all pleased to see him back safely.
I remember, probably around 1965/6 I was going on a work course to Norwich and, as Dad was going up to London on the
Also he was often over at Deﬀord climbing over satellite dishes, I remember him coming home from these trips shivering with cold.
Another memory is a visit to North Site by the Queen, I remember standing on Avenue Road near Barnards Green with my Union Jack flag waiting to wave to the Queen as she was driven past.
Its all a long time ago now and the memories get shrouded in mist. I have no doubt there are many other things that I have forgotten about. It will be interesting to see if anyone recognises either themselves or members of their family in the photos.