Memories of a secret Blast Tester at Millersford Range

Author: Gareth Owen

An oral history interview with Vera Storr. 

Interview Date 27/04/2013

Vera Storr was from the Manchester area.  She attended Walthamstow College to do a course in radio and telecommunications.  After signing the Official Secrets Act Vera was posted to Millersford where she worked in secret assembling gauges to test the blasts form exploding bombs. Staff at the Millersford site were known in the village as ‘them over the wire’ due to the secret nature of their work.




Group Photo ID sheets:

Can you help add the names to these faces? Leave a comment or get in touch.


Interview Quick Clips

All material is © 2016 New Forest National Park Authority.

Full transcription of interview recordings.

Download transcription (PDF)

Interviewed by: Sue Jackson
Transcription by: Liz Rolfs
Checked by: John Martin
Audio Editor: Cosmic Carrot


List of known staff names in the large group photo:

2. Mrs Hayter, (Canteen)
5. Hersey
10. Vera Storr (nee Fazackerley)
11. Maureen Weir
15. Clifford, messenger
16. Mr Swanborough, (Caretaker)
17. Mr A G Rimmer, (Scientist)
19. Barbara Smith
20. Celia Trott (nee Revell), (purged)
22. Jean Crow
23. Joyce Walker
24. Pearl Crouch, (local)
25. Cox, (local)
26. Cooper, (local)
27. Vi Trout, (Telephonist)
28. Mr C L Farror, (Deputy Superintendent)
29. Mr Roy Pilgrim, (Superintendent)
30. Mr John Rice, (Officer)
31. Betty Marshall (Higgs)
32. Pat Gyton (nee Hunt)
33. Mr Ottaway
34. Mr Hayes
35. Mr Jessop
37. Mervyn Deacon, (Industrial)
41. Huffy Houghton
44. Boy
45. George Waterman
46. Bill Simmonds, (Experimental Officer)
48. Beryl
49. Joyce Gerrish
50. Alice Burrill
51. Winnie Worsfold, (Photographic)
52. Meg Gilling, (Experimental officer)
53. Frances Williams, “higher up”
54. Joyce Walker
55. Iris Hiscock, local
60. Bill Scanlon, (Office)
61. Tom Nix, (Workman)
65. John Chadwick
66. Mr Jock Purdey
67. Isobel Hutton
68. Noah Pearce “a boss”
69. John Trott
71. Jack Batchelor
73. Ray Gyton
74. Maurice? Boyce
75. Norman Smith
77. Charlie Eels, (Driver)
78. Alec Douglas


You can find more memories of S.A.E. Millersford Experimental Works below:

Armaments Research Department – Millersford Overview

Group Photo with names – SAE Millersford – 1945

Barbara Smith – Memories of the secret work at Millersford Range

Betty McCarthy – Memories of assistant photographer at Millersford Range

John Robinson – Blast Pressure Group. Armaments Research Test Range – Millersford Range


Date: 1943
  1. Julia Sinclair

    The ‘Mr Simmonds’ Vera mentions as one of the big bosses was my uncle. I have a few details of what he did at Millersford although my aunt said he never discussed the project in detail with her.

  2. Chrishall

    For the record number 75 is a typo, it is listed as Norman Smith but is in fact my late father-in-law Bernard Smith, a member of the Blast Pressure Group.

Your Comment