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Longtown Munitions Depot

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Longtown munitions depot lies immediately to the southwest of the town of Longtown. The depot now known once again as DSDA (Defence Storage and Distribution Agency) Longtown and previously as DM Longtown, BAD Longtown, and CAD Longtown.

The town of Longtown actually lies in England, but belongs in Secret Scotland because it marked the eastern extent of the largest munitions factory in the world, HM Factory, Gretna, constructed during World War I.

The facility is reported to contain 252 Explosive Storehouses (ESH), where munitions are received from the original manufacturer and are then processed, being inspected, modified, proofed, refurbished, assembled, and stocked in readiness for use munitions from the manufacturer, in stock, and returns.

The Longtown depot is supplement by a further facility at Eastriggs some 7 miles to the west, which has 63 ESH and is used to hold munitions (now mothballed 2011) for all three armed services, in support of routine training, major exercises, and operations at home and overseas. Together with the usual road access links, the depots have rail access directly from the main west coast London to Glasgow railway line.

The depot is surrounded by a perimeter road which total some 7 miles in length.Three blue buildings that can be seen in an aerial view, and are used for the storage of non-hazardous materiel. The smallest, Shed 3 on the north west corner, was used during the investigation of the bombing of Pan-Am Flight 103, which crashed on Lockerbie, and was large enough to accommodate the indoor reconstruction of the aircraft from the recovered parts. The long white building visible to the south is a transfer building, where trains load and unload.

In 2005, the Government noted that Longtown is anticipated to close by mid-2009, but this closure was later noted to refer only to the non-explosive aspects of the facility.

DSDA Longtown receives, stores, processes, issue’s and distributes explosive and non-explosive munitions and materiel to UK Armed Forces world-wide. The site operates from two locations, Longtown and Eastriggs. Longtown site facilities include 252 Explosive Storehouses (ESH), with a multi-skilled work force who operate extensive processing facilities, that inspect, modify, proof, refurbish and assemble munitions from the manufacturer, in stock, and returns. Eastriggs has 63 ESH which stores Tri-service ammunition, in support of routine training, major exercises and operations at home and overseas, operating a road and rail transfer at both locations.

Please note that the non-explosive element of Longtown is, in line with Future Defence Supply Chain initiative (FDSCi), to close by June 2009.

© 2007 Crown Copyright DSDA web site August 2007

In May 2011, the issue of longtown's future was raised again, after a site inspection at DSDA Longtown and its Eastriggs satellite identified some of the storehouses as being unsafe. The MoD stated that an interim solution would see some of the buildings being 'patched up' but that the long term future of Longtown was still being considered.[1]


1 Cumberland News | News | Fears resurface for future of munitions depot at Longtown Retrieved November 13, 2011.

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