Enfield-Stuff

Codes & Marks: Inspection Marks

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Inspection Codes and Marks

The Broad Arrow is the oldest and most common mark of British government ownership.  Arrows may be alone, above or between letters. There are many variations of broad arrow.

War Department mark, adopted around 1856, may or may not have an arrow above or between the letters.  Although officially discontinued after 1895 (LoC §7815) the mark remained in use for some time.  Twenty years later, during WWI, the WD mark routinely appeared in political cartoons.  No explanation was needed.

The Royal Navy mark is a simple Times New Roman style  N found on rifles, bayonets and oilers. Not much larger than 1/4 inch (4mm), the mark on rifles can easily be missed.

AUSTRALIA - Colonial Governments

Six separate colonies until 1901, each colonial government had it's own defence and police forces and individual variations of government mark.

New South Wales First colony on the new continent, the broad arrow was not as widely used here as elsewhere.  Other letters and marks may appear above or below the NSW mark.

Victoria  Second largest colony in Australia, the broad arrow was not as widely used here as elsewhere.  Other letters and marks may appear above or below the VIC mark.

Queensland separated from New South Wales in 1859 and quickly established it's own Navy, Police and Defense Force. The Queensland mark has several variations.

Tasmania is the furthest south and was the second Australian colony to be granted self-government.  The Broad Arrow mark was not in widespread use.

South Australia  Already a self-governing colony in 1834, South Australia was one of the first colonies to import British arms for it's Defense Forces.  The SA mark is very similar to marks of South Africa.

West Australia  Less prosperous than the eastern colonies, West Australia also had fewer variations of it's government mark.

AUSTRALIA - National Government

Formally inaugurated as a self-governing dominion of the British Empire in 1901. Australians were organized solely for home defence prior to 1914. The tiny army (2,862 in 1914) was backed by a part-time volunteer militia (CMF~45,000 men in 1914).  Royal Australian Navy founded in 1909; Australian Flying Corps founded in 1914.  Many Australian marks are a combination of National and State government marks.

New South Wales First colony on the new continent, the broad arrow was not as widely used here as elsewhere.  Other letters and marks may appear above or below the NSW mark.

Citizen Military Forces

1st Military District, Northern Command, Queensland

2nd Military District, Eastern Command, New South Wales

3rd Military District, Southern Command, Victoria

4th Military District, Central Command, South Australia

5th Military District, Western Command, West Australia

6th Military District, Tasmania Command, Tasmania

7th Military District, Northern Territory Command

Defense Department

Probably the most commonly encountered mark of Australian ownership, this mark was in widespread use from about 1910.

Royal Australian Navy

Royal Australian Air Force

Australian Commonwealth. This mark is seen 1901 - 1910 and gradually disappeared in favor of the D-Arrow mark. Often found within a shield, or below a shield with a kangaroo within.

The seven-pointed star which appears on many Australian military items can be traced back directly to the Australian flag. The original 1901 flag had six stars (one each for the six colonies), each with six points. In 1905 it was proposed to add a seventh point to each star for Papua New Guinea. The 1905 Australian flag is still in use today.

CANADA - Provincial Governments

The Dominion of Canada was formed in 1867 by confederation of the provinces of Canada (Ontario and Quebec), Nova Scotia and New BrunswickManitoba added 1870; British Columbia 1871, Prince Edward Island 1873, Saskatchewan and Alberta 1905. The Red Ensign with a shield emblazed with each provincial coat-of-arms was Canada's flag 1907 - 1965.

Unlike the Australians, there are very few Broad Arrow marks specifically identified with Canadian Provincial governments. The C-Arrow variants were used as a national mark.

Militia & Defense. Commonly found on pre-WWI (1914) arms.

North-West Mounted Police; later Royal NWMP. The Northwest Territories (NWT: French, les Territoires du Nord-Ouest) is not a province but a large territory (currently 1.2M kilometers, much reduced from it's pre-1900 size) north of the 60th parallel in Canada.  This is one of several marks specifically associated with the force sent to police that huge territory. The name of the Force changed to Royal North West Mounted Police in 1904.  The RNWMP amalgamated with the Dominion Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police came into being in early 1920.

CANADA - National Government

At the outbreak of WWI Canadian Regular Forces totaled 3,312 and 341 men in the Officer Training Corps. While it was true that Canada had 178 Militia regiments, nearly all of these were under strength and poorly equipped, totaling about 65,000 men. Nonetheless, before the Great War ended more than 620,000 Canadians had volunteered for service, of which 418,000 served overseas. More than 200,000 were casualties, including 66,651 killed in action or died of wounds. The Blue Jack Ensign was flown by Canada's Navy from 1910 until the adoption of the Maple Leaf flag in 1965.

Canada continued to use variants of the C-broad arrow mark through WWI and WWII.

Canadian Officer Training Corps.

Canadian Navy. Also seen with a Broad Arrow between the letters.

BRITISH INDIA

Regarded as Britain's colonial jewel, the territory once known as the Indian Empire is now divided into the independent republics of India, Burma, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The army of British India was made up of all volunteer Indian troops commanded by British officers and trained and equipped on the British pattern.  Often overlooked, Indian Army units served with distinction on the Western Front in WWI and carried the main burden of fighting against Turkey in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) as well as the world's last and greatest calvary army in Palestine.  By the end of the Great War India had sent more than 1,300,000 volunteer soldiers overseas.  The Union Jack flew over the Indian Empire until 1947.

Many of the Indian Government marks are variations of the letter and a Broad Arrow.

Indian Government

Central Forces, Government of India. Found on a Mk III oiler.

THE REPUBLIC OF INDIA

India gained independence from Great Britain on 15th August 1947 following endorsement of a plan by the Muslim League and the All-India Congress to partition the sub-continent into two countries, India and Pakistan. The Tiranga was raised over the Red Fort as the the national flag of India on Independence Day, 1947.

Until the British came along 2,000 years later, Ashoka the Great (273 BC - 232 BC) was the last time the Indian subcontinent had been united under a single ruler. His symbol, four lions standing back to back, standing atop a lotus beneath the Wheel of Law, was adopted as the emblem of the Government of India in 1950.  Only three lions are visible; the fourth is hidden from view.

Indian Government

Many of modern India's marks are not much different from their pre-independence forebears. The Broad Arrow continues to be seen through the 1970's.

The SA is presumed to mean Small Arms.

The SA is presumed to mean Small Arms. The Broad Arrow continues to be seen through the 1970's.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland

Under English domination since the Middle Ages, Ireland became part of the United Kingdom (of England, Scotland, Wales & Ireland) in 1801.

With one possible exception, there were no government marks specific to Ireland during the period Ireland was part of the United Kingdom. Unique to the United Kingdom was the Royal Irish Constabulary, Ireland's armed country-wide and completely Irish police force.

The Irish Free State

Sinn Fein was formed in 1905 with the aim of nothing less than full independence from Britain.  Talks between the Republican leadership and the British government led to the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921, with the Irish delegation eventually agreeing to self-governing dominion status for the twenty-six counties in the Irish Free State.  The Irish tri-color flag had been around in various forms since the 1800's; the flag currently in use was adopted in 1937.

In January 1922 an agreement was reached between the British and new Irish Free State Government to disband the RIC. It was replaced by a new force, the Garda Siochana. On April 4th 1922, exactly a century after the original formation of the Constabulary in 1822, the RIC staged its final parade in Phoenix Park before disbanding.

Upon gaining independence in 1921, the new government of the Republic of Ireland formed a new national army. Weapons of this force were supplied by Britain, with the standard service rifle being the SMLE. These rifles were marked “FF”, Fianna Fail (Men of Destiny) . Throughout the 1920s and 1930s the Irish continued to purchase rifles from Britain, all of which were marked with the “FF” cartouche. This practice was discontinued after WWII.

NAZI GERMANY

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NEW ZEALAND

A colony in 1841, New Zealand and the outlying dependent islands were granted status as an autonomous Dominion of the British Empire in 1907. All able-bodied males received some military training from age 12 in peacetime.  The Territorial Army, formed in 1911, was a part-time national militia with about 25,000 men, which became the backbone of the new volunteer regiments established for imperial service overseas after 1914. The first New Zealand troops left almost immediately, occupying the German Pacific islands of Western Samoa without meeting resistance. The Blue Ensign flag was adopted in June 1902.

The Broad Arrow was used widely in New Zealand markings.

PAKISTAN

Pakistan gained independence from Great Britain on 15th August 1947 following endorsement of a plan by the Muslim League and the All-India Congress to partition the sub-continent into two countries, India and Pakistan. The flag was officially adopted on August 14, 1947.

The British-Indian parentage of this particular mark is easy to discern. The MD is presumed to be Ministry of Defence. This mark has been seen on 1950's production No.4 rifles.

SOUTH AFRICA - National Government

The Union of South Africa was created on May 31, 1910 as a new dominion of the British Empire when the Cape Colony and Natal Colony were combined with the former Boer Republics of the Orange Free State (Orange Colony) and the South African Republic (Crown Colony of Transvaal).  T.
The Red Ensign was adopted in 1910, although the Union Jack remained the official flag. The South African troops fighting in East Africa, the Middle East and in the trenches in France during the First World War did so under the Union Jack.

After 1910 the Broad Arrow quickly makes an appearance within the U for the new Union of South Africa.

SOUTH AFRICA - National Government

In 1925 a Bill was introduced in parliament to make provision for a national flag for the Union of South Africa which resulted in the adoption of a flag for the Union late in 1927 and which was first hoisted on 31 May 1928.  A part of the compromise was that the British Union Jack would continue to fly alongside the Union national flag everywhere over official buildings.  South Africa was thus the only country in the world that flew two national flags simultaneously.  This situation continued until 1957 when the Union Jack was finally dispensed with by an Act of Parliament.

The U-Broad Arrow continues in use through WWII, although the font of the U may be much simplified.

Sometime after WWII a diamond makes it's appearance within the South African U.   It is believed that this mark was used after 31st May, 1961, when the Union of South Africa left the British Commonwealth and became the Republic of South Africa.  This mark has been seen on both rifles and oilers.

Sometime after WWII an M makes it's appearance within the South African U.   It is believed that this mark was used after 31st May, 1961, when the Union of South Africa left the British Commonwealth and became the Republic of South Africa.  This mark has been seen on both rifles and oilers.

U with an "upside down" arrow has been found on a variety of South African kit, most of which appears to be WWII or later production.  The mark, although South African, remains a mystery. This mark has been seen on both rifles and oilers.

THAILAND

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