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RAAF 1 Central Reserve/No. 1 Central Ammunition Depot Kingswood - History

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A Quick Overview

The following facts are copied from the National Archives of Australia Agency details for: CA 2727 - RAAF No 1 Central Ammunition Depot/ (from 1998) Defence Establishment, Orchard Hills:

"No. 1 Central Ammunition Depot (1 CAMD) was originally formed as 1 Central Reserve at Marrangaroo, New South Wales on 1 April 1942, under the command of Squadron Leader G. S. Anderson, with sub depots at Moorebank and Glenbrook. The unit's primary role was the storage and supply of munitions for the RAAF. The establishment of the unit at the time of occupying the first barracks in June 1942 was 6 officers and 121 airmen. In August 1942 Picton railway tunnel became a storage area, titled 4 Sub-Depot. 1 Central Reserve's personnel increased during the course of World War 2 and a number of added storage sites were selected, with Marrangaroo as the controlling headquarters. The sites were Glenbrook, Clarence Tunnel, Kowguren [1], Albury, Mt. Druitt and Kingswood. In September 1943 a War Dog Training School was established at Marrangaroo, transferring to Mt. Druitt in 1944. With the cessation of hostilities, 1 Central Reserve ceased to issue munitions, and the total manning dropped dramatically. War-time munitions were either 'safe stored' or destroyed.

The outbreak of the Korean War reactivated 1 Central Reserve in August 1950, with munitions being issued to 77 Squadron in Japan and Korea. During this time a total strength of 1 officer and 28 airmen managed to operate Marrangaroo and all the sub depots. In 1951 Marrangaroo became the processing centre for National Servicemen, accepting the first intake on 21 August. Picton and Bowral sub depots were closed and 1 Central Reserve headquarters were transferred to Kingswood (Orchard Hills) on 12 November 1956, and Marrangaroo became Detachment A, before closing in 1958.

The RAAF first began using the Kingswood site in early 1945 for explosive storage in order to avoid double handling of explosives on consignment to and from Sydney and local storage, whilst awaiting on-forwarding to the North-West and New Guinea. The Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy also used the area to store wartime munitions. After the transfer in 1956, Kingswood was developed by the construction of permanent living quarters and messes. The main headquarters building was completed and occupied on 15 January 1960. The unit oversaw the introduction of guided weapons into the RAAF, as well as the disposal of obsolete munitions and the supply of ammunition to RAAF units in Vietnam. From January 1963, 1 Central Reserve took over responsibility for explosive inspection of all RAAF units.

On 1 October 1967, 1 Central Reserve, then under the command of Wing Commander K. Therkelsen, was renamed 1 Central Ammunition Depot. The Depot has since evolved into a centre of expertise on the handling and storage of explosive ordnance. A training flight has been developed, training engineering officers and armourers in various aspects of explosive control and maintenance. In April 1993 the Bogan Gate depot was reactivated as Detachment A to 1 CAMD, with excess ordnance from Kingswood being relocated from July 1993 for long term storage. The current commanding officer of 1 CAMD (from February 1992) is Wing Commander R. I. McDonald."

( -accessed 18 May 2011.)

Note: 1. Kowguren (Kowguran) is in Queensland. Available information suggests that it was operated by 3 Central Reserve, not 1 Central Reserve.

A Detailed Unit History to 1992

Download a concise unit history (PDF Format, 625 KB), supplied by courtesy of the RAAF's Office of Air Force History. A more detailed history is available on request to the email address shown at the foot of this page.

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Robert Curran
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