Guest Speaker: Gordon Rogers Winston Churchill’s toyshop.
Only 13 years ago did I learn that the premises from which, as a schoolboy, I nicked a couple of Blacker bombard anti-tank missiles and a box of L-delay fuzes was “Winston Churchill’s Toyshop”, the UK’s premier weapons experimental station in WW2. I wrote to the BBC suggesting they make a documentary: their response was: The BBC “does not accept ideas for programmes of a documentary or factual nature” so I decided to put together my own Powerpoint presentation. The title is
arrived at in that when becoming PM Churchill knew of the massive War Office red tape; to by-pass this he appointed himself Minister of Defence and created just one Department, MD1 located just north of Aylesbury. The department was to be under Churchill’s direct control via Lord Cherwell and over 50 weapons were invented which went into service. I have carried out extensive research at the Nuffield library in Oxford reading the papers passing between Churchill and Cherwell – fascinating stuff and the source of much information for my talk. James Tuck was a very important member of the team: he was a nuclear scientist who made a fundamental input into the allied war effort and yet the military seek to efface him from history. It is such an untold story and I did manage to persuade the Discovery Channel to make a TV documentary but they only scratched the surface of the topic.