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sgt-maj

Re-issue stampings!

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sgt-maj

Hello everyone,

I've started this topic for quite a valid reason... to try and clear up any inherent misunderstanding that has arisen from the myriad of official stampings found upon firearms and edged weapons in British service.

There are only four instances where a weapon will have a permanent record stamped into the metal or, in the case of many sword and bayonet scabbards and frogs... the leather. Those four cases are:-

1) During the manufacturing process as a record of quality control.

2) After an officially sanctioned modification has been carried out.

3) Upon replacement / refit of a damaged part.... undertaken during officially scheduled inspection.

4) As a means of showing the manufacturer + manufacture date (as in the case of leather scabbards and frogs).

A weapon is never stamped in a likewise fashion upon entering or leaving stores. A record of its movements is kept in ledgers... a written form of verification and stock control... readily available should an audit ever be required. A written entry can take many forms, dependant upon the organisation, the stock being controlled, the experience of the staff concerned.... the criteria are endless, and would take several volumes of explanation, the task of which is not the concern of this thread.

The system of stampings is endless, and varies between countries. All have one particular criteria in common, and that is that each modification will be backed up by a written explanation. For British Arms, that written verification is through the War Department as official monthly circulars entitled:- List of Changes. These deal with all matters of British Military Equipment's, but we here are solely concerned with the weapons section. The 'List of Changes' is a numerical sequence cross referenced by 'date of issue'. In 1993, a well respected weapons author: Ian D. Skennerton compiled a listing of a great number of the pertinent LoC's, and published them in a four volume set:- 1860-1886, 1886-1900, 1900-1910, 1910-1918. The latter two volumes give explanation and sanity to a major section of the stamping that we here on the GWF will and are encountering. Further research is required on a number of items, as connect reference to earlier (yet not published within these volumes) LoC's are given.

Upon reading the various notified changes to certain items, it becomes clearer as to why a certain inspectors stamping, or symbol: e.g.; a star, has been placed where it appears.

We all like to.... for want of a better phrase... romanticise as to the history of a certain piece, not really knowing or understanding what a certain stamping means, or why it was placed where it is. Understanding the sequence or process of repair and inspection is part of the learning curve. It is also part of the process we go through in gaining a better knowledge of our chosen hobby, and thus with it gaining a higher degree of confidence to negotiate in order to acquire higher quality items. It also gives the individual a greater confidence in helping others, by passing on ones higher lever of knowledge.

Where did the tern of 'Re-issue stampings' originate? Personally, I have no clue. The only re-issue stamping I am aware of, is the sequence of 'Rubber stamps' upon the various forms required from stores to units concerned. I prefer the term: Verification stampings... due to them being a verification of the work carried out.

I invite anyone to enquire of items from the latter two volumes listed above, and I shall endeavour to pass on the information sought.

Seph

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trajan

Thanks for this clarification and looking forward to more forensic analysis!

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msdt

Hi Seph,

Good to have you aboard - you've certainly been actively posting!

I think a lot of people are using the terms 're-issue marks' and 'oil holes' just because they seem to have become the parlance, not because of their literal meaning.

I for one am very keen to try to understand 're-issue marks'. Whereas I totally accept your explanation above, it just seems to me that some bayonets have too many marks to be repairs. You mention an 'officially scheduled inspection', is it possible that some units stamped both the weapons that required repairs and also those that passed the inspection first time?

Cheers,

Tony

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reese williams

Skennerton, In "The Broad Arrow", page 12 states "Sword-bayonets too were stamped with the issue date". I have several Pattern-1888 bayonets that are stamped with dates every year or two from their manufacture dates in the mid 1890's until as late as 1907. I'm hard pressed to think those are inspection dates, especially since there were no changes to the P-1888 aside from the major changes that caused a change in the mark number. I certainly welcome more discussion on this topic.

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shippingsteel

In reference to the subject of the 'issue stampings', e.g.; '04', '05', '10', '16', etc. They are predominantly used upon a modification to an item, and can in some cases be rather a contradiction to the rule. When an item has been kept in storage for a certain amount of time... upon re-issue, it will be checked over, and modified as and if required, before being issued out of stores to the unit concerned.

Seph.

I think Seph was spot on with his comments in regard the "reissue marks" on the other thread HERE. (It should be remembered this is a complex issue with no simple answers)

I agree with his thoughts that they are 'verification stampings' as they indicate that a certain process has been undertaken (and certified as done with date and inspectors stamp)

But checking and inspection processes are also gone through when the kit is issued out of stores, and when being cleaned and checked over upon being returned to the stores.

So the "reissue mark" is not stamped because of the issue of the bayonet, but due to the other inspection, checking & repair processes that were being done as part of the issue.

I think you cannot look at any of these things in isolation. Processes would have been different at any given time depending on what was required to bring kit up to "the standard".

Skennerton's "Broad Arrow" does touch on this without a lot of detail. The prolific marks on P'88s are due to the regular inspection routines during that period. But things changed.

Cheers, S>S

post-52604-0-84875500-1410240362_thumb.j

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trajan

...(It should be remembered this is a complex issue with no simple answers)...

Right on SS! :thumbsup:

Certain people make far too many ex cathedra comments on the Forum on this and like bayonet matters - usually with no back-up references or further details whatsoever! Good on Seph for providing the requisite back-up on this topic!

Trajan

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sgt-maj

attachicon.gifSS1888.JPG

S>S.... your comment of: "It should be remembered this is a complex issue with no simple answers."

Having served with colours myself for 22yrs, I have experienced the system at first hand. The system we use today is nothing near as complex as it was in the pre and Great War era. To the layman.... the mind boggles at the complexity. When the basics have been learned, it becomes as a second language, and thus easier to understand with regular use.

As an example, I have used the pic which S>S posted above. This ricasso shows (amongst others) a verification date stamping of '02' (1902). From volume three of - List of Changes - I sourced the following reference (which incidentally is the only reference to the Pattern 1888 Sword Bayonet. There are references to the various scabbards):-

"11292 - Sword-bayonets, pattern 1888. 4th September 1902.

(Marks I, II & III).

Marking.

In future, sword-bayonets of the above description having blemishes which cannot be removed from the pommel, but which do not affect the serviceability of the bayonets, will be marked with a star on the end of the pommel. The star will only be added at the Ordnance Factories as the sword-bayonets pass through for repair."

The above notification may not directly explain as to why the blade in the pic has the '02' date stamp (My Vol's-1 & 2 are across the big pond at present), but it does give an idea as to why verification stampings appear.

Once the system becomes more understandable... from a process of elimination, everything will seem ( in the words of that most famous of sleuths).... "Quite elementary my dear Watson!"

Seph.

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shippingsteel

Seph, I am aware of your service and you have my respect as a fellow collector, however herein lies the weakness, no-one has experienced the 'period' system first hand.

I also have the List of Changes titles that you quoted, and having read through them in their entirety, there is no way known you can validate each inspection/reissue mark.

Having some knowledge of the different bayonet models and the changes they went through, most collectors would have unmodified examples with multiple reissue marks.

There is certainly more to it than just what modifications are noted in the List of Changes. But if you want to explain your theory further with more examples then lets have it.! :thumbsup:

Cheers, S>S

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sgt-maj

S>S.... I was simply trying to point out that, having been within - The system - in actuality, I had seen the process in action at first hand, having been present within an operational unit when the MOD Armourers Inspection Team makes a visit. In actual fact, present upon three occasions:-

1) Annual inspection of the total units armoury.

2) Change over from wooden SLR furniture to 'Black Plastic'.

3) Change over of weapons type:- From SLR -to- SA.80.

Also... if you note, quote: "The above notification may not directly explain as to why the blade in the pic has the '02' date stamp (My Vol's-1 & 2 are across the big pond at present), but it does give an idea as to why verification stampings appear." : end quote. That was an attempt to try and illustrate as to why the verification stampings would occur, and how they would be interpreted upon the item.

Due to the fact that you have stated, quote: "I also have the List of Changes titles that you quoted, and having read through them in their entirety, there is no way known you can validate each inspection/reissue mark." end quote.; you will understand that, as I stated in my initial post, quote: "Further research is required on a number of items, as connect reference to earlier (yet not published within these volumes) LoC's are given." end quote.

This multiple view in interpretation... aptly illustrated here between you and I... of the whole process of the various stampings encountered, and their reason for being where they are, is the very reason I started this thread. As time passes, systems and processes change, become streamlined, or are dropped entirely. For the British Military, it is my experience that the inherent system of verification stampings has become greatly streamlined to that which was in place during the latter part of the 19th and early part of the 20th centuries. However, it is to the latter where our interest lies, not the present.

Why were so many year date stampings used? I personally feel that unless one has the opportunity to undergo the actual training of an armourer of the Boer War or Great War periods, using the actual manuals as used during either of those time periods, the question posed may never be answered fully.

In my view, and as an aid to helping those who see the various stampings as nothing more than the result of - Playtime for armourers! - we should use a specific item, and then step by step, try our utmost to decipher what we see.... here, within this thread.

Seph.

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trajan

... In my view, and as an aid to helping those who see the various stampings as nothing more than the result of - Playtime for armourers! - we should use a specific item, and then step by step, try our utmost to decipher what we see.... here, within this thread.

Seph.

I could not agree with you more. As I have commented before, what needs doing is for somebody to systematically go through known reported examples of, let's say, P.1888's with single and multiples stampings, and see what kind of picture builds up or develops. But this information is only of use if the person(s) doing it is willing to share the data. I find it somewhat frustrating that one GWF member has happily accepted data I and others have supplied to him on Ottoman bayonet markings (manufacturers and dates) and yet refuses to share the information he has collated this way...

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msdt

Hi All,

I'm trying to decide if we are singing from the same song sheet!

In my post on the 3 SG 1888 bayonet I posted the pictures as I thought that it was a good example. Seph has given examples of when 're-issue marks' are used with respect to repairs and modifications, but with many 1888's in particular having prolific markings, the single point I'm trying to find any concensus on is whether in times of relative peace certain units had near annual inspections carried out with official armourers / inspectors present from Enfield or wherever who stamped every bayonet that was inspected and passed without any modifications or repairs needed. This would then provide a simple explanation for some of the marks.

I think the 1888 that I've seen (but don't own) with the most marks was a Royal Garrison Artillery one - it must have had at least 10 dates on it. The dealer wanted too much!!! The most I have is 6 on a 3rd Battalion Essex Regiment one (will photograph it). It could be that these training units and static ones like the RGA had more time to organise inspections, or there again it could be that those are the examples that have survived.

There does also seem to be a significant difference between the stampings en masse on the Left Ricasso and the single ones found on the Right Ricasso - see my and S>S's examples on my Scots Guards post.

I agree that looking at actual examples is the way to go.

Cheers,

Tony

To add something more visual, any easy one to start with!!!

post-22051-0-72021100-1410287838_thumb.j

post-22051-0-39224200-1410287851_thumb.j

post-22051-0-93769600-1410287863_thumb.j

post-22051-0-23507400-1410287872_thumb.j

post-22051-0-35956200-1410287882_thumb.j

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trajan

Seph, would you clarify one point for this tenderfoot? Like I said elsewhere I don't really follow these GB markings, but with respect to the P.1888 and P.1903 bayonets, the 're-issue' stamps - are they generally just the year or the month and year?

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msdt

Year only Trajan.

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shippingsteel

Seph has given examples of when 're-issue marks' are used with respect to repairs and modifications, but with many 1888's in particular having prolific markings, the single point I'm trying to find any concensus on is whether in times of relative peace certain units had near annual inspections carried out with official armourers / inspectors present from Enfield or wherever who stamped every bayonet that was inspected and passed without any modifications or repairs needed. This would then provide a simple explanation for some of the marks.

Tony, the simple answer is YES. And as I mentioned above, Skennerton's work "The Broad Arrow" is the reference you need to read. It mentions this in Armourers Markings, Chap.6, p.73

And as I stated in post #5 - "The prolific marks on P'88s are due to the regular inspection routines during that period". You will also note my example is marked tri-annually 96, 99, 02 & 05.

I imagine these things varied greatly depending on the type of unit the bayonet was with, where the unit was located in regard to the Ordnance Depots, and the rigour of the OIC at the time.

I would recommend to any persons interested in the markings found on British weaponry to get hold of this book as it provides a good grounding. I will scan the page and send it to your PM.

Cheers, S>S

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trajan

Year only Trajan.

Thanks. I thought as much but I have only one multi-stamped example I think (away from home) and no time to check through what's on GWF.

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msdt

Thanks a lot S>S, I shall make sure that "The Broad Arrow" is a key part of my library! BTW, is it worth getting hold of one of the "Instructions for Armourers" reprints?

Cheers,

Tony

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auchonvillerssomme

ex cathedra

I had to look that up, and will certainly use it in future.

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trajan

I had to look that up, and will certainly use it in future.

:thumbsup: It is a nice one to use (tongue in cheek) in relation to a variety of subjects, e.g., sons of famous people spouting off ex cathedra - e.g. your post 1626 on http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=207955&page=66#entry2154277

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trajan

I thought I'd take up on my own suggestion of searching the web (http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=218182&page=2 post 32) to see what could be learnt about P.1907 bayonets re: clearance holes, but as a trial run I decided to do 're-issue' marks instead. What occurred to me that as the newly-formed RAF was supplied with P.1907 bayonets, then some clues might be found in these on the matter of re-issue marks - working on the basis that any P.1907 made and in service before the RAF was formed in April 1918 and then assigned to the RAF should (in theory) have a re-issue mark.

The results? Well, I tracked down from a variety of web sources (including GWF) the details for some 15 P.1907’s marked for the RAF, although not all the required details (i.e., manufacture date; reissue marks; etc.) were available. Of those 15 for which there was sufficient data to come to any tentative conclusion I ignored (with one exception - see below) any P.1907's made between 1/17 and 03/1918 as they may have been 'in stock' when the RAF was formed. Of the remainder four certainly pre-dated the formation of the RAF: two were **/10 (months not visible for either); a 12/15; and a 12/16. In addition to these four, though, there was an 09/18 that had two struck-out rack numbers, so let's say a total of five that probably or certainly saw service before being assigned to the RAF. Of these five only one of the **/10's and the 12/15 had 're-issue' marks - 1922 and 1925 respectively. So that's three out of five, including the 09/18 with pre-RAF rack numbers, that have no re-issue marks...

OK, a very limited sample, and sample-bias involved. But I thought some of you might find it interesting!

Trajan

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collectorsguide

I believe the RAF DEPOT Markings were applied after the war.I found an ACI giving the instruction and the markings to be applied.If I recall correctly it was in the 1919 ACIs. best w, Howard

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trajan

Thanks for the tip Howard - if you remember or re-locate the reference, I'd certainly be grateful! BTW, I have opened up a new thread on this - http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=218466

Trajan

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trajan

Re-issue, whatever... How about this one from Old Smithy's site?

post-69449-0-91658400-1429284840_thumb.j

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Michael Haselgrove

Dear All,

I wonder if someone can assist me by answering a question. We are told in Post 1 that a weapon is stamped only in one of four instances. As I understand it the date on a Pattern 1907 bayonet is not the date of manufacture but rather the date of acceptance into service. The date of completion of manufacture and that of acceptance into service may be very different.

In those circumstances, I wonder into which of the four instances the date of acceptance into service falls?

Regards,

Michael.

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trajan

I had always assumed that, as with Germany, the date was applied to GB bayonets when they were manufactured and approved for service, not acceptance into service. So the thing could sit around for a while... In the German system, as originally developed and practiced (well, at least as in Prussia by 1865), the stamps on the blade back or wherever were applied by an official known as a Revisor and according to a document of that date I have somewhere his stamp served along the lines of a 'guarantee of the quality of the product as to its suitability for payment to the firm concerned' (I can find the actual text later if you like). Of course, it could well have been different in GB - but I would have thought that somewhere there is an official document on this.

T.

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msdt

An interesting example, Trajan, looks to be a Jan 1894 manufacture, with an inspection mark for every single year through to 1906. Definitely an annual process. Perhaps we had better stick to inspection mark as less misleading than reissue mark.

Cheers,

Tony

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