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Master-General of the Ordnance: Wikis


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The Master-General of the Ordnance (MGO) was a very senior British military position before 1855, when the Board of Ordnance was abolished.



Usually held by a serving general, the Master-General of the Ordnance was responsible for all British artillery, engineers, fortifications, military supplies, transport, field hospitals and much else, and was not subordinate to the commander-in chief of the British military. In 1764 it established the British standard ordnance weights and measurements for the artillery, one of the earliest standards in the world.

The position was frequently a cabinet-level one, especially in the late 18th and early 19th centuries when it was normally a political appointment. In 1855 the post was discontinued and certain of the ceremonial aspects of the post were subsequently vested in the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces.[1] In 1904 the post was re-established and until 1938 the Master-General of the Ordnance was the Fourth Military Member of the Army Board.[2]

In 1913 the control of military aviation was separated from the responsibilities of the Master-General of the Ordnance. A new Department of Military Aeronautics was established and Brigadier-General Henderson was appointed the first director.[3]

The role still exists but is now held by a Major-General.

Masters-General of the Ordnance, 1544–1855

William Berkeley, 1st Lord Berkeley
Sir John Duncombe
Thomas Chicheley
  • Sir Thomas Chicheley 1670–1679
  • in commission 1679–1682
Sir John Chicheley
Sir William Hickman, 2nd Bt.
Sir Christopher Musgrave


Post vacant from 1855 to 1904

Post vacant from 1939 to 1959

Notes and References

  1. ^ London Gazette: no. 22509, p. 2003, 10 May 1861. Retrieved on 2009-12-13.
  2. ^ The Army in 1906: A Policy and a Vindication By Hugh Oakeley Arnold-Forster, Page 481 Bibliobazaar, 2008, ISBN 978-0559664991
  3. ^ Joubert de la Ferté, Philip. The Third Service. London: Thames and Hudson. p. 15.  
  4. ^ Corps History - Part 2 Website of the Royal Engineers' Museum

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