Ordnance Department

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The Ordnance Department was the part of the military responsible for the supply of weapons and ammunition. It appears that, at least in Bengal, it was also responsible for the Stud Department.[1]

In the days of the EIC, it was part of the Town Major's List (Bengal & Bombay) and Effective Supernumeraries (Madras). Initially part of the Unattached List (B) in the Indian Army, it became the Indian Army Ordnance Department in 1884 and was headed by the Commissariat General - Ordnance and then became the Indian Army Ordnance Corps in 1922.

FIBIS resources

  • "John Braddock- Powder Master" by Sylvia Murphy FIBIS Journal Number 28 (Autumn 2012) pages 25-31. John Braddock arrived in Madras in 1813. See FIBIS Journals for details of how to access this article.

Also see

History of the Ordnance Department

In 1775 the East India Company established the 'Board of Ordnance' at Fort William, in Calcutta. In 1787 a gunpowder factory was established at Ishapore which started production in 1791. In 1801 a 'Gun Carriage Agency' was set up at Cossipore that started production in 1802. In 1906 the administration of Indian Ordnance factories came under the 'Inspector General of Ordnance Factories'. This changed again in 1936 to the 'Director of Ordnance Factories [2].

The following Ordnance Factories have been identified as having railways (see separate pages for more information):-

Also the following Arsenals and Ordinance Depots:-

Small Arms

Small Arms were procured in Britain by the East India Company which included "Company's Pattern" pieces[3] such as the Indian Pattern Musket.[4]


Carnatic Ordnance Artificers

In June 1821, the Governor in Council authorised the formation of a corps of Carnatic Ordnance Artificers, to be recruited from the sons of Europeans born in India and to be enlisted as European soldiers. They were to come from the Orphan Asylum, the fort school, and from other charitable institutions. One of the reasons for the establishment was the desirability of providing suitable employment for a portion of the Eurasian (mixed race) population.[5] The Corps was attached to the Gun Carriage Manufactory[6]

An artificer, or artifier, has the general meaning of craftsman, and the meanings also include ‘A military mechanic, as a blacksmith, carpenter, etc.; also, one who prepares the shells, fuses, grenades, etc., in a military laboratory’ and 'A member of the military who specializes in manufacturing and repairing weapon systems' (Carnatic is a term for South India, and refers to Madras Presidency)

Civil Chief Master Armourer

They appear to be persons who went around inspecting weapons in places which held them, such as police stations and prisons. ‪

Stud farms


Pusa is located in Bihar, previously part of the Bengal Presidency, and is now an Agricultural Research Institute.[7]

  • "The Origin of "the Pusa Experiment" : The East India Company and Horse-Breeding in Bengal, 1793-1808" by Garry John Adler. Bengal Past & Present, 98 (1979), 10-32. Publisher: Calcutta Historical Society.
  • "A government stud farm 1798-1811 in the days of the company bahadur" by R A Addington Cavalry Journal Issue No 18, 1928, published London. (Title Index for the issue)

Other studs

In 1835 there was a stud at Buxar, now Bihar, then part of the Bengal Presidency.[8]

External links

Historical books online


  1. Strength, Organisation and Composition of the Army of Great Britain by Martin Petrie (1864) p165
  2. “Industrial Railways and Locomotives of India and South Asia” compiled by Simon Darvill. Published by ‘The Industrial Railway Society’ 2013. ISBN 978 1 901556 82-7. Available at http://irsshop.co.uk/India. Reference: Entry IA15 page ....
  3. Reviews of Smallarms Of The East India Company 1600-1856 by D.F. Harding, published 1999 in four volumes. Also An Introduction to East India Company Smallarms c1775-1851 by D F Harding, published in 2013. All five books are available at the British Library.
  4. India Pattern Musket barry-lewis.com
  5. Page 194 The East India Company’s Arsenals & Manufactories by Brigadier-General H. A. Young, Director of Ordnance Factories in India 1917-1920 Google Books
  6. "The Anglo-Indians of Madras" from Madras Musings dated October 1-15, 2010. Retrieved 10 November 2014
  7. IARI Regional Station, Pusa (Bihar) iari.res.in
  8. Page 41 Five Years in India: Comprising a Narrative of Travels in the Presidency of Bengal, a Visit to the Court of Runjeet Sing, Residence in the Himalayah Mountains, an Account of the Late Expedition to Cabul and Affghanistan, Voyage Down the Indus, and Journey Overland to England, Volume I by Henry Edward Fane 1842 Archive.org
  9. East India Company’s Arsenals and Manufactories Naval & Military Press reprint edition.