RAPC Computer Centre - Bray House
FOUNDATION CEREMONY FOR NEW COMPUTER CENTRE APRIL 23 1987
On St George's Day 1987 the Adjutant General, Gen Sir David Mostyn KCB CBE ADC Gen, laid the ceremonial foundation stone of the new Royal Army Pay Corps Computer Centre. The Mayor of Winchester, Mrs Sue Gentry, planted a tree to mark .the occasion and can be seen in the photograph labouring under the direction of the Paymaster-in-Chief. The original ceremony had been planned for January 16, but inclement weather forced a postponement. In the event the decision proved most wise as April 23 was unseasonably sunny and warm. One hopes this augurs well for the new centre which is planned to open in May 1988 and be fully operational the following September.
OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE NEW COMPUTER CENTRE
The new Computer Centre at Worthy Down was formally opened on November 29 1988 by the Representative Colonel Commandant, General Sir John Stibbon KCB OBE, the Master General of the Ordnance.
The opening ceremony took place in the rectangular courtyard of the Computer Centre watched by 350 spectators including the Mayor of Winchester, local dignitaries, senior officers of the Corps and members of the Computer Centre staff and their families . Background music was provided by the Quebec Band of the Queen's Regt as the spectators and guests were arriving.
On his arrival in the courtyard General Stibbon, accompanied by the Paymaster-in-Chief, inspected a Guard of Honour commanded by SSgt L. J . Somerville.
The Paymaster-in-Chief then welcomed General and Lady Stibbon and invited the General to formally declare the Centre open.
After his address General Stibbon invited past Paymasters-in-Chief present to help him unveil the commemorative plaque. The plaque was then unveiled by General Stibbon assisted by the present Paymaster-in-Chief, Maj Gen B. M. Bowen CB; the Colonel Commandant, Maj Gen J . L. Bartlett CB; Maj Gen Sir Hamish Campbell KBE CB MA; Maj Gen J. C. Gould CB and Maj Gen K. Saunders CB.
After the unveiling ceremony, General Stibbon presented medals to Maj T. Lowry RAPC (Mention in Despatches) and to Maj D. M. Wills US Army (Meritorious Service Medal).
Lady Stibbon then planted a tree in the courtyard with a commemorative plaque, and was presented with a bouquet of flowers by three year old Helen True, daughter of John True, an HEO working in the Computer Centre.
The Paymaster-in-Chief presented General Stibbon with a framed water colour of the new building together with a commemorative plaque as a memento of the occasion. General Stibbon returned the compliment by presenting the Chief Paymaster ADP, Brig P. S. Bray, with a Master General of the Ordnance's Medal.
After the opening ceremony General Stibbon and senior guests toured the new Computer Centre. They were shown the facilities of the Centre and met members of the programming staff. The tour started in Operations and included the Operations Room, Network Control where the General sent a message of greeting to the screens of all network users, the Computer Hall, the Post Room and Output Section. This was followed by a demonstration in Pay Systems on the means of access to Pay records .
The tour ended with a presentation on PAMPAS by Lt Col L. P. Latham RAPC which was followed by a demonstration of the operation of the Unit Administrative Office by the 1st Bn Devonshire and Dorset Regt UAO.
During this tour of the Centre, the remaining spectators and guests were entertained at a concert in Armstrong Hall given by the Band of the Queen's Regt. The morning was completed by celebratory lunches in both the Officers' and Sergeants' Messes, and in the afternoon informal tours of the Centre were organised for spectators and their families.
The new Computer Centre was designed in 1982 and work began in October 1986. The foundation stone was laid on April 23 1987 by the Adjutant General, General Sir David Mostyn KCB CBE ADC Gen. The completed building was handed over on July 7 1988 and the move of staff commenced eight days later. The move took three weeks to complete and was carried out without once interrupting the worldwide service to customers who are linked, through their terminals, to the main frames at Worthy Down.
Bray House Worthy Down
With the move towards tri-service pay and administration, this purpose-built facility became the Defence Food Services School and after extensive refitting Bray House has been re-named Alexis Soyer House in honour of "the famous French cook that improved food provided to British soldiers in the Crimean War"!