In 1414 a Master of Ordnance was appointed with headquarters in the Tower of London. As well as being the King’s military treasurer and paymaster, the Master of Ordnance was responsible for supplying ‘war materials’. The Board of Ordnance was established in 1683 as a civilian department of government; responsible for supplying and maintaining military equipment such as ammunition and weapons and also the building and maintenance of dockyards, depots, fortifications and map making.
Following a number of short-lived ordnance organisations, both the Ordnance Depot and the
Army Ordnance Corps were formed in 1896. In 1918 these two units amalgamated and were granted the ‘Royal’ prefix thus creating the
Royal Army Ordnance Corps.
During the Second World War the RAOC expanded rapidly from a few hundred officers and a few thousand men to 8,000 officers and 130,000 men in the space of four years.
In 1965 the RAOC incorporated the supply functions of the RASC.