Department of the Surveyor General of the Ordnance

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Department of the Surveyor General of the Ordnance
British Army Flag 1938 to 1959.gif
Department overview
Formed1870
Preceding Department
Dissolved1887
JurisdictionUnited Kingdom
HeadquartersWar Office building
Whitehall
London
Department executive
  • Surveyor General of the Ordnance
Parent departmentWar Office

The Department of the Surveyor General of the Ordnance of the War Office was established in 1870 and was responsible for for supplies and ordnance to the British Army. The department was controlled and directed by a Surveyor General of the Ordnance until 1887 when his office and this department was abolished. Its former functions were then distributed among the several divisions of the Military and Civil Departments.[1]

History

Following organisational changes in the War Office in 1870 a Surveyor General of the Ordnance was appointed on 5 August to replace the Controller in-Chief as head of one of the four new departments into which the War Office was to be divided. The Surveyor General was assigned responsibility for supplies and ordnance under the Secretary of State for War.[2]

The Department of the Surveyor General of the Ordnance retained the Control Department and was further structured into four new divisions superintended by a director; the first was the Supply and Transport Division formed from the merging of the former commissariat, purveyors and barrack departments, the second was an Artillery and Stores Division that absorbed the former contracts, clothing, ordnance and stores departments and the third was a Contracts Division.[3]

The fourth division created was called the Control Establishments Subdivision that became responsible for the administration of the control departments staff. In 1875 the Central Department transferred responsibility for its Works Division to this department, at the same time the control department was abolished responsibility for field service was transferred to two new departments Commissariat and Transport Department and the Ordnance Store Department within this department.[4]

In 1878 the Control Establishments Subdivision’s name was altered to the Commissariat and Transport Establishments Division under the supervision of a Commissary General. In 1883 was the Commissariat and Transport Establishments Division was reallocated to the Military Department of the Commander-in-Chief.[5]

In 1887 Department of the Surveyor General of the Ordnance and its head was abolished; its former functions were then distributed among the several divisions of the Military and Civil Departments: the work of the Supply and Transport Division was allocated to the Quartermaster General’s Division; the Works Division then became part of the Military Department..[6]

Head of Department

The appointment of the Surveyor-General of the Ordnance was first created in 1597 when he was a member of the Board of Ordnance and was a subordinate of the Master-General of the Ordnance. Appointments to the post were made by the crown under Letters Patent. On 6 June 1855 the Ordnance Office (then a government department of state) was abolished along with its executive board and his position. Responsibility for the management and supply of ordnance to the British Army passed to the War Office. In 1870 the office was revived and the appointee was made head of his own department. In 1887 his office was abolished for the final time.

Structure of the Department

The department consisted of a number specialist departments and a corps responsible for areas of army administration they included:[7]

Artillery and Stores Division

Contracts Division

Control Department

Control Establishments Subdivision

(renamed Commissariat and Transport Establishments Division in 1878)

Commissariat and Transport Establishments Division

(to Military Department 1883)

Supply and Transport Division

Works Division

(from Central Department in 1874)

Commissariat Department

Footnotes

  1. Roper, Michael (1998). "Ordnance Departments after 1855". The Records of the War Office and Related Departments, 1660-1964. London: Public Record Office. pp. 164–165. ISBN 9781873162453.
  2. Roper.
  3. Roper.
  4. Roper.
  5. Roper.
  6. Roper.
  7. Roper, pp.97-100.

Bibliography

  1. Roper, Michael (1998). "Ordnance Departments after 1855". The Records of the War Office and Related Departments, 1660-1964. London: Public Record Office.