With any British military organisation, there are acronyms. Lots of them! This page hopes to expand on some of the more technical and obscure.


  • ADD – Armament Design and Development (Department) founded in 1915 at Woolwich Arsenal
  • ARD – Armament Research Department founded in 1903 at Woolwich Arsenal. Combined with the ARE in 1962 to become ARDE.
  • ARDE – Armament Research Development Establishment. Gained Royal appellation in 1974, becoming RARDE.
  • ARE – Armament Research Establishment. Combined with the ARD in 1962 to become ARDE.
  • AWRE – Atomic Weapons Research Establishment. Based at Fort Halstead until 1955 when it moved to the new site at Aldermaston.


  • CSRD – Chief Superintendent Research Department
  • CEAD – Chief Engineer Armament Design




  • ERDE – Explosive Research and Development Establishment based at Waltham Abbey


  • FEL – Forensic Explosive Laboratory which can date its history back to 1923 as the Home Office lab to assist police with investigations involving explosives.


  • HEC – Halstead Exploiting Centre. A wartime technical exploitation centre based in a manor house at Halstead Place primarily for the technical exploitation and translation of captured German documents. It was here that many of the secrets of German weapon design were uncovered.
  • HER – High Explosive Research. A department tasked with developing the UK atomic weapon. Worked out of Fort Halstead between 1945 and 1955 when it relocated to Aldermaston and became the AWE.


  • MOW – Ministry of Works


  • PDE – Projectile Development Establishment formed in 1938 at Fort Halstead as a Woolwich Arsenal outstation for the purposes of undertaking high-risk rocket development work.