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'War Department' (arrow) Marking

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Oompa Lumpa03/09/2014 12:36:42
888 forum posts
36 photos

Here's some of mine, one even survived the war!




As you can see, good kit.


Martin W03/09/2014 12:48:45
844 forum posts
29 photos


The other side of that was when something was listed on the inventory that couldn't be found. Then it was cobble something together that could be acceptable and write it off as 'Beyond Economical Repair' and hope wink. If questioned say "Well thats what I signed for when I took the inventory over!!" and never had cause to use it.



Clive Hartland03/09/2014 14:52:46
2569 forum posts
40 photos

Reminds me of the time the QM's Marquee caught fire on exercise, lads were running up and extracting kit on one side and the QM was on the other throwing it back in to the fire, its easier to add things to the list than save it. All caused by a Kerosene stove being knocked over. Foam mattresses burn with lovely black smoke.


Michael Gilligan14/04/2019 22:29:07
15765 forum posts
689 photos

I feel obliged to revive this old thread, having just found this detail in "Sundials, Incised Dials or Mass-Clocks" by Arthur Robert Green in 1926 ...


It is an interesting fact that the "broad arrow" as a Government mark was first used in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. She appointed Sir Henry Sidney to be Master of the Ordnance, and he, finding that the Government effects were constantly being stolen, caused everything under his charge to be marked with his own heraldic badge, the pheon. Since that time the "broad arrow" has been retained as the official Government mark.


... so now we know !!


Guy Lamb15/04/2019 08:18:02
86 forum posts

Interesting thread. I too have a lot of tools so marked and was lead to believe the 'broad arrow' was used due to the fact that it was easily reproduced with three strokes of a hammer and chisel.


Mike Poole15/04/2019 08:53:47
2578 forum posts
60 photos
Posted by Guy Lamb on 15/04/2019 08:18:02:

Interesting thread. I too have a lot of tools so marked and was lead to believe the 'broad arrow' was used due to the fact that it was easily reproduced with three strokes of a hammer and chisel.


Some of the marks I have seen look as though they have been produced by exactly that method, I wondered whether that was the case as a chisel can usually be found but a broad arrow punch is a bit harder to find.


Michael Gilligan15/04/2019 09:05:55
15765 forum posts
689 photos

A bonus reference, just found at para 10.3 of this: **LINK**


SillyOldDuffer15/04/2019 09:50:01
5797 forum posts
1235 photos
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 15/04/2019 09:05:55:

A bonus reference, just found at para 10.3 of this: **LINK**


Another enjoyable breakfast read from Michael. I see requirements for High Pressure Cylinders include:


'Albeit with some damage' reminded me V-Bomber aircrew were issued with eye-patches. These were worn in expectation that nuclear weapons would be exploding over Europe whilst they were en-route to their target in the Soviet Union. If the flash blinded the pilot, he would be able to carry on using his other eye...

The Def Stan also gives the correct name for the Government Broad Arrow - it's a Pheon.


Mick B115/04/2019 10:16:55
1578 forum posts
84 photos

There are recognisable stylistic tendencies of Broad Arrow varying by period.

Victorian may sometimes have recurved barbs, as often visible on C19 firearms.

That style tended to become replaced by 3 converging tapered wedges - you see this on Ordnance Survey benchmarking on summits later topped by trig points, and late Victorian to WW1 military items , tools and instruments.

The 3 chisel-scrape version of the Broad Arrow tends to be more modern - WW2 and later.

Plus there were variants for the Empire - for example, a Broad Arrow surrounded by a 'C' or a 'U', or with an 'I' in subscript indicated Canada, Union of South Africa and India respectively.

I believe it's an offence to fake it, but that doesn't stop (for example) recently-made 'repro' telescopes and binoculars with arrow-like symbols on them appearing regularly on the Bay. I think most of these originate from the prolific brassworks of the northern Indian subcontinent.

Phil Whitley15/04/2019 19:21:52
1204 forum posts
145 photos

Lots of history here, it is VERY old!

Brian G15/04/2019 19:45:34
701 forum posts
27 photos

I'm always amused by MOD issue 13-amp plugs, which have an arrow on them to show which way up they go

In the workshop I have a set of metric spanners, feeler, screw and radius gauges issued to my father in the 70s. All marked with the crow's foot (the story passed down in legend within the Dockyard was that Samuel Pepys based the mark on a bird's footprint in the snow whilst trying to reduce theft) but accompanied by a letter saying they were issued as his personal property. This was done as part of metrication as fitters had been expected to buy their own tools, and all their BS/UN tools were becoming obsolete.


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