Perhaps one of the oldest symbols of Government and/ or Ordnance is the mark of the 'Broad Arrow'. The purpose of this Annex is to outline the history of this mark as its origins are linked quite closely to the Ordnance Service of the United Kingdom, and of the Government Commissaries, Colonial Storekeepers, Military Stores Departments and Ordnance Stores Corps both in England and in the Colonies.
The mark of the broad arrow was also adopted by the Australian Army Ordnance Department at the beginning of this Century, and the mark is still used today by the Army to identify property belonging to the Department of Defense. The earliest trace of the 'Broad Arrow' in connection with munitions occurred in 1553 when Sir Thomas Gresham, the founder of the Royal Exchange, was smuggling gunpowder into England. Writing from Antwerp to the Council he mentions: 'giving your Lordships to understand that I have this day received 36 barrels of gunpowder, part of the complement that was lent to the Regent, which I have shipped in the name of Mr Thomas Spacke of Lye, under this particular mark ( /\ ) in the margin, the weight thereof you shall receive by the ship, and for the rest as it can be made, so it shall be delivered with as much expedition as may be'
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