Rocket Discovery at the Cliff Hotel, Gwbert
Recently, as I was waiting to start a presentation on historical aerial photography at a hotel near Cardigan, I spotted an object placed on a hall-stand, and recognised it as a small replica of a 3” rocket launcher. Intrigued, I picked up the model and read the inscription:
THE ORIGINAL 3” A.A. ROCKET PROJECTOR
DESIGNED IN THE CLIFF HOTEL IN THE SUMMER OF 1940
PRESENTED BY SIR ALWYN CROW C.B.E.
The 3” ground-to-air rocket was a ground-breaking early application of military rocketry. Each projector at the AA battery had a ground crew of two. The missile was fired by a small electrical charge, igniting the 9lb of cordite propellant, to guide the 7ft long rocket, with a 4lb explosive charge in the warhead, towards enemy aircraft.
Although the system wasn’t terribly successful, with only a very few confirmed “kills”, the rocket launchers boosted the morale of the local population. By all accounts, battery salvos generated a tremendous noise as the missiles were sent on their way.
This discovery underlines the significant developments undertaken with both liquid and solid-fuelled rocketry in Ceredigion.
By Medwyn Parry