IRGON (Independent Research Group Orford Ness) was set up by some Orford Ness volunteer Rangers who wanted to increase the level of research being undertaken into the many and varied military trials that had occurred on Orford Ness.
In 2013 National Trust had invited one of its volunteer Rangers to locate and interview Orford Ness ‘Veterans’ - those who had previously been involved in the ‘Cold War’ period and associated military trials. See Invaluable Veterans for more detail.
During these interviews with a sadly decreasing pool of aged ‘Vets’, significant information about a number of largely unknown military trials was recorded. These included the mysterious 'concrete ring’, the later use of the ‘Plate Store’ and ‘why was 'Blue Streak' tested on the Ness?
A number of volunteers thus proposed the creation of a formal research group to acquire and publish such information. IRGON, with those stated objectives, was created later.
The Ness’s environment and wild life is enjoyed by most, and recorded by many. IRGON believes that, in addition, its military history should be given greater value and promoted more fully. It seeks to find and archive relevant material for future generations, knowing that many visitors have a similar interest.
We have been fortunate that our ambitions have been supported by a number of people and organisations, including AWE* who has provided us with more than 800 declassified files. (AWRE Aldermaston* was the UK Government's primary atomic weapons agency and main employer on Orford Ness during the Cold War Period.)
Our initial priorities are (a) researching and archiving the less-well known military trials, (b) building on information gathered from our ageing Veterans, and (c) using digital technology to acquire, archive and to place it in the public domain.
IRGON is self-funded and managed, and operates independently of National Trust's policies, procedures and priorities.
A list of our current research projects can be seen above IRGON Research
A list of relevant information sources is shown in Useful Links
We can be reached via Contact Us if you have any questions, can provide us with information, or would like to get involved.
*In 1987 AWRE (Atomic Weapons Research Establishment) based at Aldermaston was combined with ROF Burghfield and ROF Cardiff to form AWE (Atomic Weapons Establishment). its current business name. https://www.awe.co.uk