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B.O.
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Ben Townsend
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 4:45 pm    Post subject: B.O.  Reply with quote

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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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe that Pierre Turner's canteens for our period are marked with the BO stamp.
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Ben Townsend
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahh, a mystery to solve there is!
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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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PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2008 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
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?
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Ben Townsend
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2008 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

More Frank Packer on B.O. markings.
" Next Napoleonic event you go to, have a look at how many British infantry re-enactors have put a B O stamp on their canteen and haversack. The Board of Ordnance did not issue these pieces of equipment to infantry until after 1821. We've known this since, well, 1821. This isn't some arcane piece of knowledge pulled from an obscure reference: the transfer of the Commissariat to the Ordnance in 1821 was discussed at the highest levels at the time and is even mentioned in Wellington's correspondence. But... somewhere along the line someone has seen a Victorian canteen in a collection with B O markings, believed that nothing ever changed from Waterloo to the Crimea, and Hey Presto! instant anachronism! Although these 're-enactorisms' start easily enough, they are very difficult to eliminate once they become entrenched".

Quoted from Frank Packer on open forum at http://skirmishmagazine.ning.com/...22966&x=1&page=1#comments
Living History Worldwide, the Skirmish magazine site.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 7:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to labour this point, (and personally I was backsliding on a small BO brand because I have great respect for Sean's research), Frank Packer has this to say. I archive it here for the sake of posterity, although Frank originlly made these comments on the 'Skirmish' Living history forums, where he is making some fascinating points to a rapt audience and two idiots (Paul D and 'Lasalle' hold your hands up).

"Since LaSalle has decided to 'poke the bear' regarding the B O markings, you will all have to suffer a longer explanation of why the marking is completely wrong for an infantryman:

During the first half of the 18th century, regiments selected to go on active service were paid an extra-ordinary payment, over and above the normal annual payments made to the colonels. These 'Extra-ordinaries' were to cover the extra costs of items such as camp equipage -- haversacks, canteens, tents. The items were bought by the regiments themselves through their regimental agents, and were their own property, not the government's at all.

Under the normal system of activation, and of campaigns which began in the Spring and went into Winter quarters in October, the system worked well enough. There were some problems of providing camp equipment during the Seven Years War, and the system collapsed completely during the American Revolution. To fill the gap the Army itself, through the office of the Secretary at War, ordered quantities of camp equipment and deducted the cost from the Extra-ordinaries paid to the unit, issuing the equipment instead. The Treasury itself also ordered and issued camp equipment, based on the authority and approval of the Comptrollers of Army Accounts, the office which oversaw every Army expenditure.

At the end of the Revolution the British goverment attempted to bring camp equipment supply back in line with the 'official' (legal!) method of regiments buying their own, and with the Army and government stepping back. A partial mobilisation of the Army in 1786 was an expensive disaster from a logistical point of view, and the Army administration decided that central purchasing of camp equipment from a single provider would be the best course. So in 1787, the Trotter company was given a monopoly of providing all camp equipment to the Army; which was a bit ironic, since it was the Trotter exploitation of a bureaucratic loophole which had made the old system so expensive. (Basically, they sold the Army back it's own equipment... repeatedly!!)

The Trotter monopoly on haversacks and canteens held until 1806 -- the provision of tents was lost about 1803. In 1806 the Treasury 'had a cow' over a long string of fiscal irregularities, accounting mismanagement, insurance fraud, and other assorted naughtiness happening between the Secretary at War office and the Trotter company, and the Trotters were essentially banned. Almost no purchasing of Army equipment was needed from then until 1808 while they sorted out what to do (an indication of the largesse and over-spending going on).

In 1808 new regulations came through for Army equipment. Camp equipment was stored and issued by the Storekeeper-General's Department, a branch of the Treasury. Camp equipment was contracted for and paid for by the Commissariat; another branch of the Treasury. Officers of the SGD were not expected to operate outside of the British Isles, so the responsibility was assigned to the Quartermaster branch of the Army to issue this equipment overseas. In reality, SGD officials worked in Spain and the Netherlands from 1809 to 1815, and were also present in France during the occupation.

With peace restored, the work of the SGD lessened, and in the cost-cutting post-war mood its expense seemed a bit much. The functions of the SGD were amalgamated into the Commissariat in 1821, still under Treasury control. In 1822, the Commissariat itself (and its responsibility for camp equipment) was transferred to the Ordnance, also as a cost-cutting measure. In 1854, the Ordnance and all its responibilities finally fall under Army authority when the newly-revamped War Department is formed.

So, to recap: prior to 1787 camp equipment might be purchased by the regiment, by the Army, or by the Treasury; but the ultimate owner was still the regiment as they were paid for out of their funds. Between 1787 and 1806, canteens and haversacks would be ordered by the Army, and either remained Army property 'on loan' to units until returned, or owned by the unit outright (both events seem to have happened). After 1808, and until 1822, canteens and haversacks were purchased by the Treasury, issued by the SGD (Treasury) or Quartermaster (Army), and on loan to units (that is, expected to be returned or accounted for).

There is, throughout the entire period of the Napoleonic Wars, one Department, one branch of government, one BOARD which is completely and utterly uninvolved in the contracting, purchasing, storage, issuance, or upkeep of canteens and haversacks for Army regiments -- the Ordnance! The Ordnance Board would have had the full responsibility for clothing and equipping only its own rankers, that is, the Artillery and the Sappers and Miners. It also had the responsibility to issue arms and accoutrements to the Army, but never canteens and haversacks until it absorbed the Commissariat post-war.

I cannot see how there can really be any dispute about this, as every primary source I have seen states exactly the same thing that I have recorded here. As I said early on in this thread -- this is not arcane obscure stuff. Sure you can find this throughout the Treasury and War Office documents at the PRO; but no-one needs to travel to Kew. Glenn Steppler's Doctoral thesis lays most of this out, Norman Baker's 'Government and Contractors' covers the American Revolution period, the three published volumes of post-Rev Parlimentary investigations into Army expenditure should be available in most university libraries, along with the fifteen reports of military enquiry published during the Napoleonic Wars, many other works on 18th century finance, and, as also mentioned... Wellington's Dispatches.

I do realise that most re-enactors do not get into the hobby out of a love for logistics and finance! So I do not expect everyone to have an interest in knowing all of the sources backwards and forwards, the problem lies more in the intermediaries writing and transmitting this information for public consumption. So I am sympathetic -- up to a point!

On the other hand, I must sputter indignantly when scholarly works, doctoral theses, authors that actually use footnotes, researchers who have dedicated years to the subject of Army finance and structure, and linear feet upon linear feet of archival documents are placed upon one end of a scale, with... something, anything (please let me know!) on the other side, and a declaration is made that somehow the matter is under debate -- as if the two sides weigh equally!

There is NO situation within the NORMAL course of operations, where an infantryman would receive a canteen from the Ordnance during the Napoleonic Wars. There is NO documented unusual situation within an EXCEPTIONAL course of operations where an infantryman has received a canteen from the Ordnance, that I have ever found. I really would like someone to turn up a situation or two, or even an ambiguous case, so that at least I could stop banging my head wondering why there is a BO fan club!"

Sorry for such a long post, and to Frank for quoting him at such length, but I think it is time to lay this one to bed, if only to stop Frank from having a heart attack.
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Last edited by Ben Townsend on Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:44 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

so that means no BO on our kit then?
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Ben Townsend
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Certainly not on haversacks or canteens. And we don't mark  our haversacks like that anyway, in fact, I washed my haversack twice and the regimental markings have faded to the point where they resemble a dog cocking its leg more than anything else. Its quite uncanny.

If Dave ever gets his ammo box to sit on, and thanks Sylvene, for providing some great info on that, he could have a BO brand on that.

Sean P makes the pertinent point that the hand-painting we use at the mo' is a must for canteen markings, and I'm with the Sarge on having regimental motif or numerals on the front, and soldier's number on the back. Anyone got better suggestions?
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Ben Townsend
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clarification?

p.64
STATEMENT of the Articles which are issued from the
Ordnance department:
To Regiments of
Infantry

Serjeants Spears
Rifles with Sword
Bayonets
Musquets for Pioneers.
Fusils with Ramrods,
Bayonets and Scabbards
Musquets with
Ramrods, Bayonets and
Scabbards
Drums with Sticks
Bugles for Light
Infantry
A portable Forge for the
Armourer, with a Chest
of Armourís Tools
Magazines

From the King's regs 1811.


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