Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Fighting Vehicles Research and Development Establishment

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1917 The Tank Committee was formed in the War Office

1917 The Mechanical Warfare Supply Department of the Ministry of Munitions added design responsibilities to those which it already possessed for tank supply. Its experimental grounds were at Dollis Hill in North London and Oldbury in Worcestershire.

Post-WWI As part of the transfer of design and research functions back to the War Office, the Tank Committee was re-constituted in 1919.

1919 April: responsibility for designs, patterns and specifications of arms and ammunition - and for the administration of research establishments - was restored to the Director of Artillery within the Master-General of the Ordnance's Department.

1920 January: a Mechanical Transport Advisory Board was formed

1921 the experimental establishment at Dollis Hill was moved to Farnborough and renamed the War Office Tank Design and Experimental Branch (later Department). This had responsibility for the development of tanks.

1922 The Tank Committee was re-named the Tank Technical Committee.

1923 The Tank Design and Experimental Branch was reduced to a tank testing section and its design responsibilities were divided between the Research Department, Woolwich and industry.

1926 Design and testing functions were reunited in the Tank and Tracked Transport Experimental Establishment.

1927 The Tank and Tracked Transport Experimental Establishment became the Mechanical Warfare Experimental Establishment; the Tank and Tracked Transport Technical Committee became the Mechanical Warfare Board.

1927 The Directorate of Mechanization was established from earlier directorates; it had responsibility for small arms, tanks (later known as 'A' vehicles) and wheeled (later 'B') vehicles.

1934 The establishment and the board were renamed as the Mechanisation Experimental Establishment and the Mechanisation Board respectively.

c.1942 Under the Ministry of Supply the Wheeled Vehicle Experimental Establishment concentrated on wheeled vehicles and a new Department (or Directorate) of Tank Design (later the Fighting Vehicles Design Department or Establishment) at Farnborough and the Fighting Vehicles Proving Establishment covered tracked vehicles.

Work included design and development of fighting vehicles. Specialist branches included those dealing with engines, transmissions, electrical equipment and armour.

Developed the Centurion Tank.

1952 The Wheeled Vehicle Experimental Establishment was closed and research and testing of wheeled and tracked vehicles were reunited under the Fighting Vehicles Research and Development Establishment.

1961 of Chobham

1970 The Fighting Vehicles Research and Development Establishment merged with the Military Engineering Experimental Establishment to become the Military Vehicles and Engineering Establishment.

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