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Corps of Royal Engineers

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Corps of Royal Engineers
British Army

Images - Left - by HQ SOinC(A) - HQ SOinC(A), CC0, Wiki Commons: Right by United Kingdom Government - Royal Engineers Cap Badge.jpg, Public Domain, Wiki Commons

Including Royal Corps of Signals

Please link profiles of those who served in the Corps of Royal Engineers and the Royal Corps of Signals to this project regardless of rank or nationality. People of note can be individually listed below in Alphabetical Order

Royal Engineers (RE's) have been involved in every major conflict the British Army has fought. Their Motto is "Ubique" ("Everywhere") - awarded in 1832 as the unit has been involved in all the British Army's combat theatres).


  • The Sappers (other ranks in the corps are known as 'sappers', not privates, after the ‘saps’ or trenches dug by them right up to the Victorian period)
  • The Mudlarks
  • The Measurers
  • The Mounted Brick-layers

Titles to date:

  • Corps of Engineers
  • Corps of Royal Engineers
  • Corps of Royal Military Artificers
  • Corps of Royal Sappers and Miners

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// 300 years

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The Corps of Royal Engineers were the direct descent from William the Conqueror's Military Engineers who were directed in 1066 by Humphrey de Tilleaul.

Although British armies have included engineers since medieval times, they were first constituted as a corps in 1717, the year in which an officer-only Corps of Engineers was established. The 'Royal' prefix was gained in 1787 becoming the Corps of Royal Engineers. Other ranks were supplied by contracted civilian workers. From 1787 members of the Corps of Royal Military Artificers filled this requirement.

By the end of the Peninsular War in 1814 there were five companies serving with Wellington's Army.

Set up and initially commanded by the Board of Ordnance, the Corps of Engineers transferred to direct army control in 1855 when the Board was abolished.

In 1856, the Corps of Royal Sappers and Miners were amalgamated with the Corps of Royal Engineers. The rank of 'Private' in the newly formed Corps of Royal Engineers was changed to 'Sapper' and still exists today.

In the 1860's the RE's explored the possibilities of using air balloons for aerial observation. This interest developed into an interest in fixed winged aircraft. In 1911 the Corps formed its Balloon Unit, the first flying unit of the British Armed Forces. This was the forerunner of the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force.

Before the Second World War, Royal Engineers recruits were required to be at least 5 feet 4 inches tall (5 feet 2 inches for the Mounted Branch), enlisting initially for six years with the colours and a further six years with the reserve or four years and eight years. Unlike most corps and regiments, in which the upper age limit was 25, men could enlist in the Royal Engineers up to 30 years of age. They trained at the Royal Engineers Depot in Chatham or the RE Mounted Depot at Aldershot.


Regimental History, Royal Engineers / Royals Sappers and Miners

  • 1716: Formed as Corps of Engineers (officers only)
  • 1772: Soldier Artificer Company (other ranks) formed at Gibraltar (later 2 companies)
  • 1787: Corps of Military Artificers and Labourers (other ranks) formed (6 companies)
  • 1787: Corps of Engineers renamed Royal Engineers (officers only)
  • 1793: Four companies of foreign Military Artificers for overseas postings formed (2 in Flanders, 1 in West Indies, 1 in Upper Canada but never formed)
  • 1797: Artificers absorbed Gibraltar companies 1798: Artificers renamed Corps of Royal Military Artificers 1801: Absorbed Royal Engineers in Ireland upon Act of Union
  • 1806: Establishment increased from 10 to 12 companies designated by number rather than station
  • 1811: Establishment to be 4 battalions of 8 companies 1812: Artificers renamed Royal Military Artificers or Sappers and Miners (other ranks)
  • 1813: Renamed Royal Sappers and Miners (other ranks)
  • 1817: 4th Battalion disbanded
  • 1856: Royal Engineers absorbed Royal Sappers and Miners (becoming an all ranks corps)
  • 1862: Absorbed Honourable East India Company sappers and miners Current: The Corps of Royal Engineers

Corps of Royal Engineers - Badge History/Modifications

The modifications from 1856 (when the Corps of Royal Engineers (Officers) and Corps of Royal Sappers and Miners were amalgamated and came under Army control) to 1952 involved a change to the crown and cypher in 1901, to the cypher in 1936 (not shown here) and to the crown and cypher in 1952. The images are linked to a page where profiles can be tagged according to when they served.

// 1856 1901 // 1952

Royal Corps of Signals - Badge History/Modifications

The modifications from 1920 (when the Corps of Signals was formed) to 1947 and 1952 are shown below. The crown was changed in 1952. The images are linked to a page where profiles can be tagged according to when they served.

// 1920 // 1947 1952

Notable Royal Engineers

Royal Engineers - details of many Notables

Victoria Cross Recipients

The following Royal Engineers have been awarded the Victoria Cross (VC), the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

  • Tom Edwin Adlam, (1893-1975) 1916, Thiepval, France
  • Adam Archibald, 1918, Ors, France
  • Fenton John Aylmer, 1891, Nilt Fort, India (1862 - 1935) Served in WW1
  • Mark Sever Bell, 1874, Battle Of Ordashu, Ashanti (now Ghana)
  • John Rouse Merriott Chard, 1879, Rorke's Drift, South Africa
  • Brett Mackay Cloutman, 1918, Pont-Sur-Sambre, France
  • Clifford Coffin, 1917, Westhoek, Belgium
  • James Morris Colquhoun Colvin, (1870-1945) 1897, Mohmand Valley, India (1847-1897)
  • James Lennox Dawson, 1915, Hohenzollern Redoubt, France
  • Robert James Thomas Digby-Jones, 1900, Ladysmith, South Africa
  • Thomas Frank Durrant, 1942, St. Nazaire, France
  • Howard Craufurd Elphinstone, 1855, Sevastopol, Crimea
  • George de Cardonnel Elmsall Findlay, 1918, Catillon, France
  • William Hackett, 1916, Givenchy, France
  • Gerald Graham, 1855, Sevastopol, Crimea
  • Reginald Clare Hart, 1879, Bazar Valley, Afghanistan
  • Lanoe Hawker, VC, DSO (1890-1917 KIA) 1915 {While serving with the RFC}
  • Charles Alfred Jarvis, 1914, Jemappes, Belgium
  • Frederick Henry Johnson, 1915, Hill 70, France
  • William Henry Johnston, 1914, Missy, France
  • Frank Howard Kirby, 1900, Delagoa Bay Railway, South Africa
  • Cecil Leonard Knox, 1918, Tugny, France
  • Edward Pemberton Leach, (1847-1913) 1879, Maidanah, Afghanistan
  • Peter Leitch, 1855, Sevastopol, Crimea
  • William James Lendrim, 1855, Sevastopol, Crimea
  • Wilbraham Oates Lennox, (1830-1897) 1854, Sevastopol, Crimea
  • Henry MacDonald, 1855, Sevastopol, Crimea
  • Cyril Gordon Martin, 1915, Spanbroek Molen, Belgium
  • James McPhie, 1918, Aubencheul-Au-Bac, France
  • Philip Neame, (1888-1978) 1914, Neuve Chapelle, France
  • John Perie, 1855, Sevastopol, Crimea
  • Claude Raymond, 1945, Talaku, Burma (now Myanmar)
  • John Ross, 1855, Sevastopol, Crimea
  • Michael Sleavon, 1858, Jhansi, India
  • Arnold Horace Santo Waters, 1918, Ors, France
  • Thomas Colclough Watson, 1897, Mamund Valley, India
  • Theodore Wright, 1914, Mons, Belgium

Other Notes

The Royal Engineers conducted some of the most significant "civil" engineering schemes around the world. Some examples of great works of the era of empire can be found in A. J. Smithers's book Honourable Conquests.. These include

  • Royal Albert Hall
  • Pentonville Prison

World War 2

The RE's maintained the railways, roads, water supply, bridges and transport etc. From 1940 they also disposed of bombs. RE’s were responsible for the construction and operation of the Mulberry Harbour which supported the Battle of Normandy.


Notable Royal Engineers

See WIKI Royal Engineer Soldiers
WIKI Royal Engineer Officers

























Units Today

See The Field Companies RE

8th Engineer Brigade

12 (Air Support) Engineer Group===

  • 39 Engineer Regiment
  • 20 Works Group

29 EOD & Search Group===

  • 33 Engineer Regiment (EOD)
  • 101 Engineer Regiment (EOD)
  • 11 EOD Regiment RLC
  • 36 Engineer Regiment (Search)
  • 1 Military Working Dog Regiment

170 (Infrastructure Support) Engineer Group (previously Military Works Force)===

HQ Works Group===

  • Royal Engineers Specialist Advisory Team (RESAT)
  • Technical Information Centre Royal Engineers

62 Works Group (Water utilities, water development and well drilling)

  • 506 STRE (Water Infrastructure) (Volunteers)
  • 519 STRE (Works)
  • 523 STRE (Works)
  • 521 STRE (Water Development)

63 Works Group (Electrical power generation and distribution)

  • 504 STRE (Power Infrastructure) (Volunteers)
  • 518 STRE (Works)
  • 528 STRE (Power)
  • 535 STRE (Works)

64 Works Group (Fuels, fuel production and distribution)

  • 503 STRE (Fuel Infrastructure) (Volunteers)
  • 516 STRE (Fuels)
  • 524 STRE (Works)
  • 527 STRE (Works)

65 (Volunteers) Works Group (Civilian infrastructure, railway and ports infrastructure)

  • 503 STRE (Fuels)
  • 504 STRE (Power)
  • 506 STRE (Water)
  • 507 STRE (Rail)
  • 509 STRE (Ports)
  • 510 STRE (Air)

66 Works Group (Air Support and geotechnical engineering)

  • 510 STRE (Air Support)(Volunteers)
  • 517 STRE (Works)
  • 522 STRE (Works)
  • 530 STRE (Materials)

67 Works Group

  • 502 STRE (Works)
  • 505 STRE (Works)

21 Engineer Regiment:

  • 7 Headquarters and Support Squadron
  • 1 Field Squadron Squadron
  • 4 Field Squadron Squadron
  • 103 (1st Newcastle) Field Squadron [Newcastle/Sunderland(2Tp)]
  • 106 (West Riding) Field Squadron [Sheffield/Bradford]
  • Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Light Aid Detachment

22 Engineer Regiment:

  • 6 Headquarters and Support Squadron
  • 3 Armoured Engineer Squadron
  • 5 Armoured Engineer Squadron
  • 52 Armoured Engineer Squadron
  • Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Light Aid Detachment

23 Parachute Engineer Regiment – part of 16 Air Assault Brigade

  • 12 (Nova Scotia) Headquarters and Support Squadron (Air Assault)
  • 9 Parachute Squadron
  • 51 Parachute Squadron
  • 299 Para Field Squadron (Reserve) [Wakefield/Hull/Gateshead]

24 Commando Engineer Regiment

– part of 3 Commando Brigade, Royal Marines (based at Chivenor). Formed in 2008 as part of the Delivering Security in a Changing World review, when the engineering support for 3 Commando Brigade was increased to a full regiment.
  • 54 Commando Squadron
  • 59 Commando Squadron
  • 131 Commando Squadron (Reserve) - based in Kingsbury, Plymouth, Birmingham and Bath

26 Engineer Regiment:

  • 38 Headquarters and Support Squadron
  • 8 Armoured Engineer Squadron
  • 30 Armoured Engineer Squadron
  • 33 Armoured Engineer Squadron

32 Engineer Regiment:

  • 2 Headquarters and Support Squadron
  • 26 Armoured Engineer Squadron
  • 31 Armoured Engineer Squadron
  • 39 Armoured Engineer Squadron

33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal)

[Hybrid Regiment with Regular & Army Reserve Squadrons]:

  • 58 Field Squadron (EOD)
  • 217 (London) Field Squadron (EOD)(V) {Holloway}
  • 350 Field Squadron (Air Support) [Nottingham]
  • 821 Field Squadron (EOD)
  • EOC Group

35 Engineer Regiment:

  • 44 Headquarters and Support Squadron
  • 29 Armoured Engineer Squadron
  • 37 Armoured Engineer Squadron
  • 77 Armoured Engineer Squadron

36 Engineer Regiment:

  • 50 Headquarters & Support Squadron
  • 20 Field Squadron
  • 69 Gurkha Field Squadron
  • 70 Gurkha Field Support Squadron

39 Engineer Regiment:

  • 60 Headquarters and Support Squadron (Air Support)
  • 10 Field Squadron (Air Support)
  • 34 Field Squadron (Air Support)
  • 48 Field Squadron (Air Support)
  • 53 Field Squadron (Air Support)
  • REME Workshop

42 Engineer Regiment (Geographic):

  • 13 Geographic Squadron
  • 14 Geographic Squadron
  • 16 Geographic Support Squadron
  • 135 Geographic Squadron (Reserve)

71 Engineer Regiment:

  • 10 (Orkney) Troop - Kirkwall
  • RHQ [Leuchars Station]
  • 102 Field Squadron [Paisley/Barnsford Bridge]
  • 124 Field Support Squadron [Cumbernauld, Leuchars, Kinloss and Orkney]
  • 236 Troop - Kinloss Barracks
  • 591 (Antrim Artillery) Field Squadron [Bangor, NI]

75 Engineer Regiment (Field):

  • 107 (Lancashire and Cheshire) Field Squadron [Birkenhead]
  • 202 Field Support Squadron [Manchester]
  • 412 Amphibious Engineer Troop(Volunteers) Reserve ( MINDEN, GERMANY )

101 (City of London) Engineer Regiment

(Explosive Ordnance Disposal) [Hybrid Regiment with Regular & Army Reserve Squadrons]:

  • 22 Headquarters and Support Squadron (EOD)
  • 17 Field Squadron (EOD)
  • 21 Field Squadron (EOD)
  • 221 Field Squadron (EOD)(V) {Rochester/Catford}
  • 579 Field Squadron (EOD)(V) {Tunbridge Wells}

Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia):

  • RHQ Troop [Monmouth]
  • 100 Field Squadron [Cwmbran/Bristol/Cardiff/Swansea]
  • 225 Field Squadron [Birmingham]
  • Jersey Field Squadron [St Helier]

Engineer and Logistic Staff Corps (Volunteers):

  • The Nottinghamshire Band of The Royal Engineers [Nottingham]

// this project is in History Link