B.O.

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B.O.

Ben Townsend
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Ben Townsend
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Joined: November 19th, 2007, 9:35 pm

July 4th, 2008, 4:45 pm #1

Board of ordnance marks that is, not tent hygiene. Can anyone clarify for me what was issued and marked by the B.O.? I know we have our water canteens marked, though I've only seen Crimean era ones marked thus. Can anyone fill me in with chapter and verse?
Cheers, Ben

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Ben Townsend
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Ben Townsend
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July 4th, 2008, 9:13 pm #2

This info at the Discriminating General website courtesy of Mr Robert Henderson.

http://www.militaryheritage.com/canteen.htm

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Billfred
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July 6th, 2008, 10:50 pm #3

I believe that Pierre Turner's canteens for our period are marked with the BO stamp.
RFN Dawson 2/95th
FUS Dawson 3 RWelsh
1 and the same.
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Ben Townsend
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Ben Townsend
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July 7th, 2008, 2:44 pm #4

Not so Bill: he shows one marked GR which is often an AWI thing, and one stamped BO dated 1854. Have a look at the post marked, 'F.P.on B.O. markings' in the research section under canteens. He is quite clear that B.O. on canteens is a post 1821 marking. He favours SD though notes that GR did continue on and off til 1830.

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Billfred
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July 7th, 2008, 3:07 pm #5

Ahh, a mystery to solve there is!
RFN Dawson 2/95th
FUS Dawson 3 RWelsh
1 and the same.
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Ben Townsend
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July 7th, 2008, 6:20 pm #6

Info on BO markings from Frank Packer.
The markings with the Broad Arrow vary depending on usage. B/|\O was in use some time after the beginning of the 19th C., though the Board of Ordnance had been around since the early 1700's. Before that, there are examples of G/|\R, possibly dating as early as the American Revolution. The Board was abolished in 1855, and from 1856 on the W/|\D marking is found, and in use through most of Queen Victoria's reign until the marking was abolished 30 Jan 1895 in List of Changes order 7815. The Broad Arrow was also used throughout the colonies as an ownership mark. For instance C/|\G is Cape Government (South Africa).

Judging from the context of the initials, my best guess about the S G marking would be that they identify property of the Storekeeper General's Department, a branch of the British Treasury which existed from 1808 to about 1821. Quick history -- During most of the 18th Century, British Army regiments were expected to provide their own camp equipage from a lump sum paid to the unit only when it was ordered onto active campaigning. The equipment was therefore the property of the regiment and generally marked (if the few documented originals allow us to make any generalizations at all!) with Regimental number, company letter, and a 'rack number' of the soldier the equipment was issued to (looking often like, for example 13 B 32 which would be soldier 32 of company B of the 13th Foot (1st Somersetshire Regiment). Often the broad arrow is also put on, and often the GR initials or GR cypher is present.

During the French Revolution the British government found that it was cheaper to buy camp equipment direct from the largest supplier (the Trotter brothers [who NEVER made/designed a wood-framed knapsack, but that's a whole other story!!!]) and issue it to units than it was to pay sums to the regiments. After some 'financial irregularities' and two Parliamentary inquiries into the dealings of the Trotter family it was decided that the Government should take over the procurement and tendering process for camp equipage but the disperse nature of the British Army meant that there was no organisation which could take over its duties (part of the reason a private company had been left in control of it in the first place!). As all expenditure of this kind had to come from the Treasury, the first thought was to dump the responsibility on the Commissariat, at that point a branch of the Treasury not the Army, and the only department familiar with the tendering and evaluation of military contracts. The Commissariat had enough to do simply finding food fuel and coal for the Army, so the Treasury created the Storekeeper General's Department to contract for camp equipage and also to warehouse, ship and disburse almost all Army property in the British Isles (later Spain and Holland).
In 1821 with the army of the Napoleonic Wars being reduced, the necessity of a separate department was not seen, and the SGD was absorbed into the Commissariat. To avoid a duplication of duties the contracting and tendering responsibilities of the Commissariat were then passed across to the Ordnance Board who were already providing those services to the units of the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, Sappers and Miners, etc. (None of whom were actually part of the Army at that point!). Because of various reforms in the British military structure in the 1853-1855 period the Army, the Board of Ordnance, and the military departments of the Treasury [primarily the Commissariat] were all amagamated into the new War Department.

It is possible that GR markings would be used up until 1830 as has already been noted in this thread, although I would expect equipment for Army use (as opposed to militia equipment) to have the SG markings from 1808 to 1821. I have never found equipment of Commissariat provenance, but following the pattern I would expect it to be a C with broad arrow. From 1825 on the BO marking would take over, depending on the type of equipment (Ordnance had been issuing some types of tents as early as 1803), with WD being used after 1855.

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The Sarge!
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July 8th, 2008, 12:52 pm #7

Ben,

I believe ours have been marked thatb way as the Rifles had a habit of making there gear there own, as they also marked up the knapsacks.

I have seen the original canteens Shaun Phillips has and if my memory serves me right, they had a very small BO and arrow mark stamped into the woodwork.

The way we mark ours is from a stencil Dave G made, so he may know more.

Be good to get a definative system of marking based more on history. the search is endless. see you at the end my friend.
C/Sjt Blake
2nd 95th (Rifles) Regt. of Foot, 4th Coy.

Here's to the Bloody Fighting 95th, the first into the fray and the last out of it!

Stau Und Fest. (Stauch and Steadfast)
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Ben Townsend
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Ben Townsend
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August 7th, 2008, 6:08 pm #8

Just to muddy the waters further, if that is possible. Two barrel canteens from the Salisbury wardrobe museum. One indent-marked WD/I\ 1854, which conflicts gently with the info above that WD is post-1856, and another unidentified unit marked one. Presumably volunteer?







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khazzard2000
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August 9th, 2008, 2:23 am #9

Just to muddy the waters further, if that is possible. Two barrel canteens from the Salisbury wardrobe museum. One indent-marked WD/I\ 1854, which conflicts gently with the info above that WD is post-1856
Does it? Having a close look it seems like the date is 1856 to me. You can just see a faint curve toward the bottom of the last number. No?
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it
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Ben Townsend
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Ben Townsend
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August 9th, 2008, 6:18 am #10

Hi Kieran,
I see what you mean, but have a closer look and see what you think. In the flesh it looked a definite four to me, but in the photo it looks like it could be a six.


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