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'War Department' (arrow) Marking

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Nick_G31/08/2014 21:43:54
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1808 forum posts
744 photos

.

Yesterday I was given some goodies when visiting a friends workshop. One of the items was a small surface table that had been in storage for years.

It is actually brand new and still had the manufacturers grease and protective paper on it. - It looks 'yukky' in the picture as I have doused it with parafin to help remove the grease. Under the crud it's perfect. laugh

Upon turning it upon it's side there are markings visible. One states 1970 and I am presuming that this was the year of manufacture. One of the other markings is the 'War Department' arrow logo.

When did the government stop using this once iconic arrow marking and generally was the tooling that carried it any good.? question

Cheers, Nick

Oompa Lumpa31/08/2014 22:07:04
888 forum posts
271 photos

The old "Broadarrow" - to be found on everything from Watches to Gluepots and surface plates - I have at least one of each. I don't know that they have actually stopped using it on WD gear, if someone could confirm that? Always top notch stuff, the government tend to buy good quality kit.

graham.

Michael Gilligan31/08/2014 22:18:45
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12908 forum posts
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Some interesting info. here

MichaelG.

ronan walsh31/08/2014 23:19:08
500 forum posts
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I thought the broadarrow and war office were very old terms, and would have been long gone again the 70's ?

Michael Gilligan01/09/2014 00:01:42
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Ronan,

Check the publication date of the document in the link I posted.

MichaelG.

ronan walsh01/09/2014 00:07:27
500 forum posts
32 photos
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 01/09/2014 00:01:42:

Ronan,

Check the publication date of the document in the link I posted.

MichaelG.

Well i'll be jiggered, i always thought it went in the 50's.

jason udall01/09/2014 00:13:51
2005 forum posts
41 photos

Mmm.intresting reading in that doc Michael...

Also noted at bottom of forum the on off status of things like smilies

Rik Shaw01/09/2014 07:43:47
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1246 forum posts
345 photos

I left the army in 1969 and I seem to remember that WD was still current. MOD I'm fairly certain came into being after that date. Graham is right, WD kit is pukkah - it had to be. All of my ex WD tooling is tops in quality and reliability.

Rik

Clive Hartland01/09/2014 08:25:48
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2427 forum posts
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I see one of the pics. in MichaelG's links is a, 'Bench mark'. These were usually set up by the RE Survey and in this area of Kent there are lots of them. During the 1st World war they surveyed the whole area as they wanted clear lines of sight over the Thames and Medway estuary for Artillery use. One of the effects of this was they had the right to demolish any structure that got in the way of the gunfire sight arcs. Consequently when my parents bought their house they had to pay to have this taken off the deeds being an obselescent requirement.

Incidently the markers are made from Sarsen stone, a very hard stone which was carried by Glaciers during the ice Age and often found in odd places when building work is carried out as they are not as one might put it, local stone. In fact when an extension was built to our Chatham workshop they found one about a meter down right across the foundation and when taken out weighed 20 tonne. They could not break it in situ with a JCB hammer pick

Clive

Martin W01/09/2014 10:47:02
784 forum posts
29 photos

Clive

If you are referring to the picture of WD marker at Tower Bridge it looks as if this one could be cast iron from the rust coloured staining at the bottom of the marker. It is interesting to see that it is still painted and I wonder how many of these things are still in existence and where and are the others still maintained.

Martin

Russell Eberhardt01/09/2014 10:57:52
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2430 forum posts
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I was always under the impression that a "Benchmark" had a line over the arrow that indicated the exact height above sea level. I guess in that case it's the tip of the arrow. They were used to mark heights rather than lat and long.

Russell

Trevor Wright01/09/2014 12:51:32
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139 forum posts
36 photos

As an apprentice and miller at the ROF Nottingham in the seventies my safety boots had red caps with the arrow on each toe-cap.......

Trevor

Clive Hartland01/09/2014 14:58:50
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2427 forum posts
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Russel, you are right, the bar above the arrow is the actual height above sea level. when I read the post and saw the pic. I just focused on the arrow. The one by my house read 42 ft and my Brother has one actually cut into the wall of his house!.

Clive

V8Eng01/09/2014 21:37:57
1253 forum posts
27 photos

I'm pretty sure it was the MOD when I worked in one of their Engineering labs in the early 1970s.

The arrow symbol appeared on most things including tools, usually with a long part number alongside.

Although it was a long time ago I seem to remember that everything we used was best quality and, testing procedures were very rigorous.

.

Martin Botting 202/09/2014 20:45:05
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86 forum posts
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The Port of London authority (PLA) and its predecessor the Thames conservancy used to mark plying places with the same mark as the broad arrow. Plying places were like wapping stairs, Mill stairs and Chiswick causeway that Watermen were allowed to pick up fares in much the same way as cabbies. (boring fact No 3976!)

Bill Pudney03/09/2014 04:57:57
405 forum posts
16 photos

According to our friend Wikipedia the War Office became the Ministry of Defence in 1964. Being what it was, the legacy items and WO philosophy would have taken A LONG TIME to work their way out of the MoD. Certainly when I was at the MoD starting in 1975, there were a lot of senior people who referred to the place as "The Admiralty", which handled the Real Navy, whilst the War Office dealt with the Army and the Air Ministry (?) amazingly dealt with the RAF.

At one stage I was using a plenimeter which had broad arrows all over it, was last calibrated in the mid 70s and was "taken on charge" and first calibrated in 1936.

cheers

Bill

Nick_G03/09/2014 10:30:51
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1808 forum posts
744 photos

.

Some very interesting and informative replies here. laugh

How about people posting a few pics of their broad arrow / WD marked items they have.

Nick

Cornish Jack03/09/2014 10:49:37
874 forum posts
111 photos

A couple of personal memories re, service equipment. In '54 we were issued with flying kit which included gauntlets. Most were unmatched in colour. On enquiring why, the reply (possibly apocryphal) was that they were manufactured in different factories - one made left hand and one right - hence no colour match. (Less attractive to thieves) Seems odd and unlikely but 35 years experience says that it would have been entirely possible!!sad Still have the gauntlets!!!blush

In the 80s while doing the SDO stores inspection, one requirement was to select a card from the bins and check the item was 'present and correct'. My selection indicated 100 yards of madapolam and it was indeed there ... and had been since the 30s.Most useful for Tiger Moth repairs but less so, maybe, for VC10ssarcastic

Rgds

Bill

Edited By Cornish Jack on 03/09/2014 10:50:49

Martin W03/09/2014 11:41:21
784 forum posts
29 photos

Used to work for MoD in the 60's on the avionics side, not a term that was is use then, and can still remember going to stores with a requisition chit for some item and being given a small cardboard box in which the wanted item was enclosed. Each one was carefully labelled, including the packing date which could be amusing, and had a notice stating 'Not To Be Opened Until Required For Use' and the box was sealed with brown paper tape. Once inside there were layers of various protective wrappings and within these was the component, sometimes nothing more than a large resistor or something similar.

The stores had a classification system with 10R for resistors, 10CV for valves, 10H for chokes, 10C for capacitors etc.If the item had been classified as 'Valuable or Attractive' then the old part had to be exchanged with the order chit. At times, if we wanted to build up our local stock of a particular item, we used to present the storeman with part of the unit with some other odds n ends. This worked for a bit but they soon got wise to it; replace a file and you had to present the tang end the blade was not accepted, CRTs they would after a while only accept the base and complete with the gun and deflection assembly we couldn't get away the the just the glass envelope and a few odds n sods thrown in for good measure Even the toilet paper which was more like an abrasive paper was marked 'Government Property' on each sheet.

Happy days, well some of them.

Cheers

Martin

Cornish Jack03/09/2014 11:55:23
874 forum posts
111 photos

Martin

So right!!

With our limited radio gear, if we were going 'long-haul' we had to carry spare Xtals and over the years collected some 'spares' . When I was posted, I tried to hand these in - no way !! They weren't on someone's inventory so couldn't be accounted for.

We had high hopes that when 'Stores' was renamed 'Supply', things would change. No way!! ...

" Can I have a new Navigation bag, please?"

"Sorry, we only have one in stock"

"But I only want one!!"

"But if I issue this one we will be out of stock!!"

Logic means quite different things to different peoplecrying 2

Rgds

Bill

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