ROF Newport, construction, 1940

ROF, No 1, January 1941

President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, 1943

Ruby Loftus screwing a breech ring, painting, Dame Laura Knight, 1943

ROF, passed inspection, 1941/42
Wartime Newport:
The Home Front

The Gun Factory

Number 11 Royal Ordnance Factory
The Factory
The Number 11 Royal Ordnance Factory was established in Newport under the management of a Superintendent, Mr Alexander McWilliam Galbraith. He had previously been the General Manager of the Naval Construction Works at Dalmuir in Scotland.

Building started on a former allotment site off Corporation Road in April 1940. The Factory was almost complete when the first machine tools were delivered during July.

On 7th November 1940 the Factory was officially opened by Sir Charles McLaren, the Director General of Ordnance Factories. The first gun was manufactured in January 1941.

It had taken less than a year to build and equip the factory, to employ and train the workers and to start production.


President Franklin D. Roosevelt first told the American public about Lend-Lease in a radio broadcast on 17th December, 1940. In his message to Congress on 6th January 1941 the President said:

"The best immediate defence of the United States is the success of Great Britain in defending itself. From a selfish point of view of American defence we should do everything to help the British Empire to defend itself.

Whether they [the Lend-Lease arms and equipment] were planes or guns or something else, we would enter into some kind of arrangement for their use by the British on the grounds that it was the best thing for American defence, with the understanding that when the show was over, we would get repaid sometime in kind."

"Give us the tools and we will finish the job."
Winston Churchill, 9 February 1941

In 1941 Lend-Lease machines from America arrived at Newport ROF and were immediately put into use to produce guns.

The output at the Factory exceeded the Government’s projected targets.

Between 1942 and 1943 production doubled. By December 1943 10,000 guns had been made, including 6314 two-pounder anti-tank guns and 3686 Bofors anti-aircraft guns, as well as shell cases and spare parts, gun-barrels and couplings.

By December 1944, the number of guns produced rose to 12,132. The maximum monthly output of the Factory was 722 guns in January 1943.

Copyright: Newport Museum & Art Gallery Newport South Wales NP20 1PA


Number 11 Royal Ordnance Factory
ROF Stories