Royal Engineers

The Royal Engineers trace their origins back to the military engineers brought to England by William the Conqueror, specifically Bishop Gundulf of Rochester Cathedral, and claim over 900 years of unbroken service to the crown. Engineers have always served in the armies of the Crown; however, the origins of the modern corps, along with those of the Royal Artillery, lie in the Board of Ordnance established in the 15th century.

 

In Woolwich in 1716, the Board formed the Royal Regiment of Artillery and established a Corps of Engineers, consisting entirely of commissioned officers. The manual work was done by the Artificer Companies, made up of contracted civilian artisans and labourers. In 1782, a Soldier Artificer Company was established for service in Gibraltar, the first instance of non-commissioned military engineers. In 1787, the Corps of Engineers was granted the Royal prefix and adopted its current name and in the same year a Corps of Royal Military Artificers was formed, consisting of non-commissioned officers and privates, to be officered by the RE. Ten years later the Gibraltar company, which had remained separate, was absorbed and in 1812 the name was changed to the Corps of Royal Sappers and Miners.

 

In 1855 the Board of Ordnance was abolished and authority over the Royal Engineers, Royal Sappers and Miners and Royal Artillery was transferred to the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, thus uniting them with the rest of the Army. The following year, the Royal Engineers and Royal Sappers and Miners became a unified corps as the Corps of Royal Engineers and their headquarters were moved from the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, to Chatham, Kent.

 

In 1911 the Corps formed its Air Battalion, the first flying unit of the British Armed Forces. The Air Battalion was the forerunner of the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force.

 

In 1915, in response to German mining of British trenches under the then static siege conditions of the First World War, the corps formed its own tunnelling companies. Manned by experienced coal miners from across the country, they operated with great success until 1917, when after the fixed positions broke, they built deep dugouts such as the Vampire dugout to protect troops from heavy shelling.

 

The Corps has no battle honours. Its mottoes, Ubique (Everywhere) and Quo Fas et Gloria Ducunt (Where Duty and Glory lead), were granted by King William IV in 1832, signifying that the Corps had seen action in all the major conflicts of the British Army and almost all of the minor ones as well.The Royal Engineers Museum is in Gillingham in Kent.

 

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). They initially enlisted 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 35 years of age. They trained at the Royal Engineers Depot in Chatham or the RE Mounted Depot at Aldershot.

 

 

Name: Rose, James

Rank: Sapper

Age 37

No.2137986

Unit:91 Field Company

Missing since: 30-09-1944

Next of Kin:

Groesbeek Panel: 2

KIA Information: No specific information is known about his death.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Name: Redrup, Arthur

Rank: Lance Sergeant

Age 25

No.2076861

Unit:284 Assault Squadron

Missing since: 20-10-1944

Next of Kin: Son of A.L and Florence May Redrup, of Barry Dock, Glamorgan.

Groesbeek Panel: 2

KIA Information: Known to have been killed in a explosion at Ijzendijke.

 


Name: Weston, Frederick Arthur

Rank: Lance Sergeant

Age 21

No.14236731

Unit:284 Assault Squadron

Missing since: 20-10-1944

Next of Kin:

Groesbeek Panel: 2

KIA Information: Known to have been killed in a explosion at Ijzendijke.

 


Name: Young, William Edward

Rank: Sapper

Age 20

No.14509787

Unit:284 Assault Squadron

Missing since: 20-10-1944

Next of Kin:Son of Albert Edward and Sarah Lilian Young, of Blackpool, Lancashire.

Groesbeek Panel: 2

KIA Information: Known to have been killed in a explosion at Ijzendijke.

 

 

 

 


Name: Coyne, James Patrick

Rank: Corporal

Age 39

No.1912249

Unit:24 Bomb Disposal Company

Missing since: 30-04-1945

Next of Kin:

Groesbeek Panel: 2

KIA Information: Believed to have been killed at Almelo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Name: Carr, Albert Edward

Rank: Sapper

Age 29

No.14342220

Unit:284 Assault Squadron

Missing since: 20-10-1944

Next of Kin:

Groesbeek Panel: 2

KIA Information: Known to have been killed in a explosion at Ijzendijke.

 


Name: Smith, Alan

Rank: Sapper

Age 20

No.14366915

Unit:284 Assault Squadron

Missing since: 20-10-1944

Next of Kin:Son of Williand and Frances Maud Smith, of Gorton, Manchester

Groesbeek Panel: 2

KIA Information: Known to have been killed in a explosion at Ijzendijke.


Name: Wilson, Charles John

Rank: Sapper

Age 20

No.1878289

Unit:284 Assault Squadron

Missing since: 20-10-1944

Next of Kin:Son of John and Evelyn Wilson, of Wallasey, Cheshire.

Groesbeek Panel: 2

KIA Information: Known to have been killed in a explosion at Ijzendijke.

 


Name: Gilchrist, Donald

Rank: Sapper

Age 37

No.2135965

Unit:91 Field Company

Missing since: 01-01-1944

Next of Kin: Husband of Christina D.E. Gilchrist, of Glasgow.

Groesbeek Panel: 2

KIA Information: Believed to have been drowned in river Waal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Name: Nisbet, Peter Samuel

Rank: Sapper

Age 30

No.14541296

Unit:284 Assault Squadron

Missing since: 20-10-1944

Next of Kin:Husband of Charlotte Nisbet, of Musselburh, Midlothian. Son of Peter Samuel and Jessie Thomson Nisbet.

Groesbeek Panel: 2

KIA Information: Known to have been killed in a explosion at Ijzendijke.


Name: Walby, William

Rank: Sapper

Age 28

No.1903584

Unit:284 Assault Squadron

Missing since: 20-10-1944

Next of Kin:Husband of Lena Walby, of Upperby, Carlisle.

Son of Joseph and Catherine Walby.

Groesbeek Panel: 2

KIA Information: Known to have been killed in a explosion at Ijzendijke.


Name: Wilson, James

Rank: Sapper

Age 34

No.14349401

Unit:284 Assault Squadron

Missing since: 20-10-1944

Next of Kin:Husband of Edna Doreen Wilson, of Stretford, Lancashire.

Groesbeek Panel: 2

KIA Information: Known to have been killed in a explosion at Ijzendijke.


Name: Cook, Dennis Clayton

Rank: Corporal

Age 26

No.2133841

Unit:70 Field Company

Missing since: 14-02-1945

Next of Kin:

Groesbeek Panel: 2

KIA Information: Known to have been drowned in river Maas, at Gennep, whilst working on repair on the railway bridge.

 

On 11 February 1945 the Company moved and were billeted in the school and convent at Hagelkruststraat 19, 5835 BD Beugen. Mine clearance commenced and tug boats and pontoon rafting stores were unloaded at St Agitha. A small stream was bridged on the approach road to the ferry site. On the remaining 4 stone peirs of the old railway bridge at Gennep a Class 18 Bailey Bridge was to be built. The site was declared safe from the enemy and work commenced on 12th February and was completed on 2nd March. Regrettably Corporal Cook was not to witness its completion. On 14th February at approx19.00 hrs whilst engaged on these bridge operations he , at the age of 26, fell in to the fast waters of the flooded river and was lost.

 

The War Diary of 70 Field Company records that both he and the Commanding Officer were thrown from a Tug boat which had collided with a pontoon and capsized in the fast flowing waters. The C.O. was rescued but Corporal Cook was lost. (War Diary-70 Field Co, Royal Engineers-June44 to March 45)